Here's an interesting one, the Department of Revenue (Montana) shows up on your property. They seem nice, and they want to measure your house / walk around in it etc. It's still under construction. This happens several times when I'm not around and I hear from my contractors; "some guy is here measuring, should we make him leave?"

I validated the individual. He is from the state department of revenue. I'm not trying to avoid taxes, but I guess I would have expected the typical process to be a bit different. When I called and asked, they claimed that because there are no building codes in my area, and thus no filing of permits etc., they have field agents who simply drive around and check out material changes. I let them know it is private property and they blatantly stated they would enter without my permission, anytime they see something of note. Now, I live where I live for a reason: Privacy being a very big chunk of the reasoning.

My question: I realize this might be state constitution specific, but can I deny entry to the State Revenue Department? Mainly, I would prefer that they work a time out. I can even send them building plans and pictures. However, being told that they have unfettered access and rights to my private property seems insane. When this individual was here last, there were crews working over-head setting trusses. I cannot guarantee their safety and I see no reason I should have to.

Is this just one of the many areas where our property rights no longer apply and we have zero expectation of privacy?

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    Do you have any idea what kind of tax they are interested in dealing with? Does Montana assess real estate for property taxes at a state level of something? Or, do you suspect that they are interested in something else? (Also changing tax to remove IRS which is federal and add Montana and taxes)
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 20, 2021 at 22:02
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    @ohwilleke Ah, good catch - yes! It's not actually the IRS. So, they are assessing property taxes. It's at the county level (property taxes are different by county).
    – maplemale
    Jan 21, 2021 at 0:50

1 Answer 1


MCA 15-7-139 says

(1) Subject to the conditions and restriction of this section, the provisions of 45-6-203 do not apply to property valuation staff employed by the department and acting within the course and scope of the employees' official duties.

(2) A person qualified under subsection (1) may enter private land to appraise or audit property for property tax purposes.

(where 45-6-203 is the law against trespassing). There are some additional subsections about giving notice.

You can prevent them from entering, and then

(6) If a landowner or the landowner's agent prevents a person qualified under subsection (1) from entering land to appraise or audit property or fails or refuses to establish a date and time for entering the land pursuant to subsection (5), the department shall estimate the value of the real and personal property located on the land.

which then makes it (mildly) harder to correct an over-estimate:

(7) A county tax appeal board and the state tax appeal board may not adjust the estimated value of the real or personal property determined under subsection (6) unless the landowner or the landowner's agent (a) gives permission to the department to enter the land to appraise or audit the property; or (b) provides to the department and files with the county tax appeal board or the state tax appeal board an appraisal of the property conducted by an appraiser who is certified by the Montana board of real estate appraisers. The appraisal must be conducted in accordance with current uniform standards of professional appraisal practice established for certified real estate appraisers under 37-54-403.

Nothing in the law sanctions unfettered repeated access.

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