A general reassessment is necessary to ensure that current property assessments reflect an accurate value of what property is truly worth, based on the fair market. The Wise County Assessment Team did not select this method of appraisal. Both fair market assessment and countywide general reassessment cycles are mandated by Virginia state law. (Code of Virginia: § 58.1-3201, § 58.1-3252.) This is referred to as “ad valorem taxation.” This is a normal function of government that exists in every locality in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
This method of assessment is designed to ensure that we, as citizens of Wise County, only pay our fair share of the tax burden. 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.
The value of your property may increase or decrease, even if you have made no changes to your home or property. This happens frequently when the sales market has changed. It is normal for properties to sell at a different price than they would have at the time of the last reassessment. The reassessment process should ensure that all properties which have similar characteristics are valued consistently.
The purpose of a general reassessment is not to raise taxes. While the amount of change may vary from property to property, it will be based upon the overall change that has taken place in our local market since the last countywide assessment. The county Board of Supervisors is the governing body that will determine the rate at which taxes will be levied. It is our intention to ensure that the citizens of Wise County pay only fair and equal amounts based on an accurate assessed value of their individual properties.
Assessed values are based on the activity of the sales market in our county. Our staff has carefully reviewed sales data from properties that have sold recently to establish the fair market value of each parcel of property in Wise County. The Commonwealth of Virginia defines fair market value as “the price which property will bring when offered for sale by one who desires, but is under no duress or pressure to sell and it is purchased by one who is under no undue necessity of buying, with both buyer and seller being knowledgeable of the uses to which the property is adaptable.” Simply put, fair market value is 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. In order for us to determine fair market value, we must consider the price at which properties in Wise County have recently sold, which will allow us to establish a proven rate at which homes currently sale for in Wise County. The results of the analysis will determine what property is actually worth.The Assessment Team will assign appropriate values to all properties in the county that are considered commercial, residential, or non taxable. Both land and improvements, also known as fixtures, are to be assessed. Any additions or new constructions will be recorded, and all factors will be considered, including size and location. No values will be established until the full cycle of the reassessment process is completed. New values will be determined by conducting a comparative analysis of the sales data from our county. These values will be posted in the Eagle Assessor system, and proofed by the Assessment team once the fieldwork and all data entry has been completed. Only after all final check reports have been run will the values will be finalized. Once the values are finalized, notices will be mailed out to the address listed on file so that each property owner may have the opportunity to review their new value. Departmental Reviews will then be scheduled with the assessors for citizens who question the new values of their property. It will always be our basic function and purpose to serve the citizens of Wise County and ensure an equal and fair assessment. If warranted, we will gladly make the appropriate revisions to reflect the most accurate value. Some factors that might contribute to a revision include new information provided to the assessor by the property owner, or changes in the property between the time of the initial review and the date of the hearing. Should any data entry errors have resulted in an erroneous assessment, they will be corrected at this time. At the request of the property owner, or if the assessor determines that there is a need to conduct an on-site review, the assessor will conduct a field visit to the property in question. After that field visit, if the assessor feels the concern is legitimate, an adjustment will be made and the value corrected for the Land Book. If the assessor’s opinion remains unchanged, then the value will not be adjusted. In either case, the land owner will be notified of our decision in writing via US Mail.
For a more detailed description of the Hearings and Appeals process, please click here (Appeals page).
Our Assessment Team is made up of local assessors who are very familiar with our county, all of whom have been involved in the reassessment process before. Many localities contract appraisers from large cities to conduct their general reassessments. By having the advantage of a local team who work with property right here in Wise County each and every day, we have not only ensured the most accurate assessment possible, but we have saved the county taxpayers money by doing so. Our assessors are authorized to make any necessary adjustments to your property value, by utilizing a uniform method of appraisal.
In addition to physical inspections, our assessors also make use of cutting edge technology in their appraisal process, including Geographical Information Systems, Geographical Surveys, Flood Zone Maps, and Pictometry.
Historically, values almost 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. When values decline or remain stable, it is typically the result of an unusual trend in the market, such as a high number of properties for sale, with a low number of potential buyers. Other economic factors can contribute to a slow or distressed market, which can be seen in the length of time that a property remains on the market, as well as the price for which it is eventually sold. Regardless of public perception or opinion, we are bound by state law to reflect what the scientific data indicates about any changes in our current market.
Our Chief Assessor, who has over ten years of experience as a property assessor in Wise County, is certified by the Virginia Department of Taxation to complete this General Reassessment. In addition, he has earned a Master Certification as a Deputy Commissioner of the Revenue. All of our appraisers have completed the educational requirements for licensed appraisers, and have been certified in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. Our Assessment Team has been trained in a variety of appraisal techniques, including sales comparison, cost assessment, income analysis, and mass appraisal.
After a thorough Sales Study of the Wise County and a cost analysis of the attributes and extra features associated with a property, our local assessors will utilize their knowledge and experience for this endeavor. Our pledge to all citizens of Wise County is to pursue fairness and equality by following established and accepted practices for mass appraisal, in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.
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