Why do we have to have a general reassessment?
A general reassessment is required by state law (Code of Virginia § 58.1-3252). 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)
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. Our office has no control over whether values go up or down, but we are required by State Law to reflect all market fluctuations in our assessed values. The two things that drive whether or not there will be a change, and how much that change will be are the prices people are paying to build a home and the prices people are paying to buy property in Wise County.
Why would my assessed value change, even though I haven’t made any changes to my house?
Mass Appraisal employs a cost approach, whereby improvement value is determined by calculating the cost to replace the construction today if it were new, minus the current depreciation of the structure based on its effective age. Raw land which has not been improved may be selling at a different price than at the time of the previous assessment. In addition, market demand can drive a fluctuation in sales prices.
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, craftsmanship, and other factors. A fundamental concept which all appraisers must recognize is that price is not 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. All three of our assessors are certified with Master designations through the Weldon Cooper Center of the University of Virginia.
If properties in the County 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. A scientific analysis of 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 or decrease 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. One property value changing at a different rate than the county-wide average is not grounds for an appeal by itself.
Isn't it true that you reassess so you can raise taxes?
The purpose of a general reassessment is not to raise taxes. The Wise County Assessment Office is not responsible for determining the tax rate or setting the county budget. The Wise County Board of Supervisors is the governing body that will determine the rate at which taxes will be paid, and they can vote to increase or lower the tax rate for any tax year, whether or not it is a reassessment year. The tax rate should be set at an amount that covers the county’s expenses, regardless of what the assessed value is. Historically, values normally 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. All questions or concerns about the tax rate should be addressed to your representative on the Board of Supervisors.
Will the assessor be able to tell me my value before he leaves my property?
The value will not be determined during the assessor’s site visit. In fact, no values will be calculated until the sales study has been completed, and data has been entered in the mass appraisal system. Values will be available to the public once the reassessment process has been completed on January 1, 2018.
Didn’t we just have a reassessment? Why are we already having another one?
The last reassessment went into effect on January 1, 2014. State law mandates the frequency of our reassessment cycles based on the population of our county. (§ 58.1-3252).
How will I know what my new value is?
Our office will send you a Notice of Value to the address we have on file. All new values will be effective as of January 1, 2018.
I have heard there are programs in place to assist veterans, the disabled, or senior citizens in paying their taxes. How can I know if I qualify?
If you are permanently & totally disabled, over the age of 65, or if you are a veteran who has a 100% service related disability through the Veterans Administration, 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. You may also print an application from our webpage: www.wisecounty.org/CommRev/forms.html
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:
- Appeal to the Assessment Office.
- Appeal to the Board of Equalization
- File suit in Circuit Court
If you disagree with the assessment, you may call 276-328-8228 to schedule an appeal with the Assessment Office. You will need to be prepared to provide substantial proof of an error to proceed with your appeal.