Why do we have to have a General Reassessment?
A general reassessment is required by state law (Code of Virginia § 58.1-3252), and is necessary to ensure that current property values reflect their actual worth, based on its fair market value. In order to be sure that property in our county is valued fairly and equally, periodic reassessments are necessary to provide our office with the records it needs to make sure that our county conforms to state law.
How does the Wise County Assessment Office value residential property?
We are required by Virginia State Law to assess property at 100% of fair market value. (Code of Virginia: § 58.1-3201) Similar properties are compared to one another, and are adjusted for their differences. All factors will be considered, including location, quality, and the age & condition of any improvements. Homes in a given neighborhood will all be valued using the same methodology to ensure a fair and true representation of actual value. This will be accomplished by using a valid and reliable grading system, and a uniform method of depreciation.
What is “fair market value?”
Fair market value is considered to be the most likely price that someone would pay for a given piece of property on the open market, when there are no special circumstances to be considered.
How will my assessment change?
The purpose of a countywide reassessment is to equalize and update values. We have no control over changes in the sales market, but we are required by State Law to respond to fluctuations in the market. The price people are paying for property in Wise County is what determines whether or not there will be a change, and how much that change will be.
Why would my assessed value change, even though I haven’t made any changes to my house?
The value of your property is based on what property is currently selling for in your area. Raw land which has not been improved may change if similar land is selling at a different price than at the time of the previous assessment.
Does adding to my house or renovating it increase the value?
When renovation takes place or additions are made, the value will increase in most cases. However, the cost in dollars may not equal the value that the renovation contributes to the total property value. To assess property fairly, we must take into account the influences of the location, market demand, quality of construction, workmanship, and other factors. Cost is not always the same as value.
Who will value my home? How can I be sure they are familiar with property in my area?
Our staff is made up of local assessors who have both appraisal training and many years of experience assessing property in our county. Some benefits of using local assessors include better consistency and familiarity with neighborhoods in the county and broader flexibility to adjust properties. Our Chief Property Assessor is certified by the Virginia Department of Taxation as the assessor designated to complete this general reassessment.
If the local sales market has changed by a certain percentage, why did my property change at a different rate?
Due to the process of equalization, all properties will not change at the same rate. In addition, market trends dictate that properties in a certain section of Wise County may increase at a different rate, on average, than properties in another area of the county. The sales study will reflect the higher demand for particular types of properties, including those which are located in more desirable areas. The county increase is an average that reflects the difference in total value over the last reassessment cycle, but does not necessarily reflect each individual and unique property.
Who determines the rate at which properties will be taxed?
The Wise County Board of Supervisors is the governing body that will determine the rate at which taxes will be paid. All questions or concerns about the tax rate should be addressed to your representative on the Board of Supervisors.
Isn't it true that you reassess so you can raise taxes?
The purpose of a general reassessment is not to raise taxes, but to accurately value property. Historically, values generally always increase over time; however it is possible to experience a higher value with lower taxes if the Board of Supervisors decreases its tax rate. Our office has no control over the county tax rate, collection policies, or the local sales ratio.
Will the assessor be able to tell me my value once he has completed the assessment?
No values will be available to the public until the sales study has been completed, and data has been entered in the mass appraisal system and calculated. Values will not be finalized until after the Reassessment process has been completed on January 1, 2014.
How will I know what my new value is?
Our office will send you a Notice of Value when it is available. All new values will be effective as of January 1, 2014.
I have heard there is a program in place to assist the disabled or senior citizens in paying their taxes. How can I know if I qualify?
If you are permanently & totally disabled, or over the age of 65, on January 1, 2014, you may qualify to have a portion of your tax bill reduced. Please call the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office at 276 - 328 - 3556 for more information or to request an application.
If I don’t agree with my assessment, is there an Appeal Process?
An appeal process is in place to guarantee that your assessment is accurate. We recommend the following steps:
- Request a departmental review by the Assessment Team. (Most concerns should be handled at this level.)
- Appeal to the Board of Equalization
- File suit in Circuit Court
You may call 276 - 328 - 8228 to schedule a departmental review by the Assessment Team.