Property tax is a tax that is imposed on ownership or possession of property and is measured by the market value of the property. In West Virginia, all real and personal property is subject to tax unless specifically exempted by law. A list of exemptions is contained in W.Va. Code §11-3-9.
Your assessor does not set your property tax. Your bill is determined by multiplying a tax rate against your assessed value (60% of market value). Remember, the Assessor determines the assessed value and the levy rate is determined by the legislature (for the Board of Education), the County Commission and the municipalities. Click here for the current levy rates.
State law requires county assessors to list properties and assess them at their true and actual value in money, according to the highest and best use of the property. Fair market value or true value is the amount that a willing and unobligated buyer is willing to pay a willing and unobligated seller. Occasionally, state law will require a valuation at something other than market value (such as pollution control facilities being valued at 5% of original cost). The county assessor values real property using one or more of three professional appraisal methods: income approach, market approach and cost approach. Some species of property are appraised by the State Tax Department, including industrial properties, natural resource properties and public utilities.
Property is to be revalued annually; however state law only requires a physical inspection of said property at least every three years. Should the appraised real property value increase in excess of ten percent each year, notification of “Notice of Increase in Assessment” is the responsibility of your local county assessor. The frequency of changes in value to your property is subject to the county’s revaluation cycle and the natural resource valuation variables for ad valorem tax purposes. Should you have issues with the appraised value of your property, you are encouraged to contact your local county assessor’s office.
To appeal your assessment, you must appear before the local County Commission sitting as a Board of Equalization and Review. These hearings are held annually, not later than the first day of February and not remaining in session for a period of longer than twenty days, but not adjourning before the fifteenth day of February. Should a person fail to apply for relief at this meeting, he or she shall have waived his or her right to ask for correction in his or her assessment for the current year and shall not thereafter be permitted to question the correctness of his property, except on appeal to the circuit court. For information concerning Review and Equalization see W.Va. Code §11-3-24.