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Important Dates and Frequently Asked Questions

 

Important Dates To Remember

July 1 - Property is assessed to the owner of record on July 1 for real estate and personal property.  Applications for Farm Use, Managed Timber, and Homestead Exemption can begin to be accepted.

September 1 - WV Farm Use Application due in Assessor's Office.   Application for Managed Timberland due at the State Tax Department in Charleston.  First half taxes due with a 2 1/2% discount in effect.  New farm decals are to be on vehicles.  Business Personal Property Returns are due.

October 1 - Personal Property Assessment Returns due in Assessor's Office. Dogs tags must be purchased from the Assessor's Office by October 1. Mobile Home Park owners' lists due in the Assessor's Office.  

December 1 - Homestead Exemption application period ends.

January 31  - Appeals to the Assessor on value must be completed.

February - Board of Equalization and Review meets to hear appeals of assessed value. Appointments are required and must be made with the County Commission office.

March 1 - Second half taxes are due with a 2 1/2% discount in effect.

July 15  - The Sheriff's Office is required by law to mail property tax tickets.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do Assessed and Appraised Value Mean?

Assessed value refers to 60 percent of market or appraised value and this is the amount upon which tax levy rates are extended to yield property tax amounts.  Appraised value is the same as fair market value.

What is Market Value?  

It is the most probable selling price of a piece of property between a willing seller and a willing and knowledgeable buyer, that are unrelated and assuming the property has had adequate time for marketing.

What Types of Taxable Properties Exist?

Real Estate and Personal Property are taxable properties in West Virginia.  Real Estate includes all land and improvements thereon (less all applicable exemptions such as farm use, homestead, managed timber, etc.).  Personal Property primarily consists of vehicles and mobile homes, boats, campers, trailers, ATV's, etc..

If My Tax Ticket Doesn't Have My Name, Do I Have To Pay for It?

This issue is commonly referred to as "pro-ration of property taxes" between a seller and a buyer.  This is one of the most confusing issues inherent in real estate transactions.  From a strict interpretation of WV Code, it is always the legal responsibility of the person in whose name the property was assessed to pay the entire amount of yearly taxes.  From a practical standpoint, things are not that simple.  The only provision for enforcement of real estate property tax collection is for the property itself to stand good for the taxes.  What happens is, once the seller has sold the property, it could be another year before the property is transferred out of his/her name to the new owner. The Assessor's Office only transfers property according to owners of record on July 1 of each year.  f the seller does not pay the taxes, it's not their property that the Sheriff sells a tax lien upon during the annual delinquency sale, because the seller no longer owns the property.  This presents a problem for the new owner because they are the ones who now own the property and it is in their interest to see that the tax ticket is paid.  In many cases when a property sale is being closed, the attorney or bank loan officer if either is used, will make consideration for some form of pro-ration for the following year's tax ticket.   Individuals who do not use an attorney or a bank to close a real estate transaction need to be extremely careful about what was agreed upon.  Buyers should be aware of this issue prior to closing.  There is no set formula or method for this however, most Jackson County attorneys and banks pro-rate taxes on a calendar year basis.  Neither the Assessor nor the Sheriff have any statutory authority to advise buyers and sellers how to pro-rate real estate taxes.  (WV Code: 11-3-1, 11-3-8, 11-4-6, 11-5-3, 11-6G-16)      

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What if My House Was Under Construction on July 1?

In accordance with WV Code 11-4-11, if buildings are not completed to the point of occupancy, as of the July 1 assessment date, State law provides that the cost of materials be entered in the Personal Property Books and assessed to the owner as such.   The amount to be reported by the taxpayer should include cost of materials only, no labor.  In addition, WV Code 11-3-3a states that whenever any property owner has spent more than $1,000 in improvements to real property, they are to report this information to the Assessor's Office within 60 days after the commencement of the improvements.

 If A Field Deputy Does Not Visit My House, Do I Have To Be Assessed?

Yes.  According to WV Code 11-5-4, every person required by law to list personal property for taxation shall list the tangible personal property in the tax district wherein it is on July 1.  Even though this office still utilizes summer field deputies to canvass door-to-door during the months of July, August, September, and part of October, this is done as a courtesy only.  Jackson County is one of the very few West Virginia counties still providing this service.  It is the responsibility of each tax payer to report to the Assessor each summer.

How Are Motor Vehicles Valued and Taxed?

WV Code 17A-3-3a prescribes that all County Assessors appraise vehicle values by using a nationally accepted used car guide.  The National Automobile Dealers Association's (NADA) book of values is currently being used.  Of the three values that appear in the book for each vehicle, "retail," "trade-in," and "loan" value, the Tax Department requires that our office use only the lowest value or the "loan" value to assess vehicles.  The Assessor's Office enters the vehicle's serial or identification number (VIN) in the State Computer network.  The Tax Department personal property system then recognizes the VIN and assigns the appropriate NADA loan value for that vehicle and then applies 60 percent of that value against the levy rate to determine the taxes for that vehicle.  If your car has mileage in excess of 100,000 miles, be sure to report this with your personal property assessment.

How Do I Obtain a Farm Use Permit for a Farm Vehicle?

WV Code 17A-3-2 is the section of State law that deals with farm use vehicles.  Certain restrictions apply such as the painting of 10" letters on the sides of the vehicle stating "FARM USE."  The vehicle cannot be driven between dusk to dawn hours nor can it be driven beyond a 25-mile limit.  Liability insurance is still required for any vehicle driven on public highways in West Virginia.  Annual inspection stickers are also required.  Permits are obtained in the Assessor's Office at a cost of $2.00.

How Can I See What My Neighbor's Property Values Are?

The Real Estate and Personal Property Books are always available for public inspection in the Jackson County Assessor's Office and are categorized by tax district.  Locate your tax district, which is stated on the top right portion of your tax tickets, and examine the current book for that district.  Property owners are listed in alphabetical order with the assessed values listed.  The assessed value is 60 percent of the appraised value, but keep in mind your neighbor may be receiving homestead or farm use exemption and you may not.  The West Virginia State Tax Department uses regression analysis and other statistical methods to assist assessors in equalizing values.  County assessors are closely monitored each year by the State Tax Department.

Are Churches and Non-Profit Agencies Taxed for Real and Personal Property?

The West Virginia State Constitution requires that ALL PROPERTY be assessed at it's true and actual value unless specifically exempt by law.  Exempt status is based upon use, not ownership.  If a property is not being used for an exempt purpose (worship) then it is still taxable.  Vacant property is not considered exempt.  Personal property such as church buses and vans are exempt as long as these vehicles are used for church purposes.  Fraternal organizations are also exempt as long as they do not make a profit.  One of the ways an organization can document non-profit status, is to apply under section 501-c of the Internal Revenue Code.  Contact the IRS for details and request form 1023.

How Does the Assessor Value Rental Property?

Three methods are available:

Cost Approach - First, the value of the land is estimated, as if vacant. The Assessor than adds the amount it would take to replace your structure with one of similar utility, including current costs of materials and labor, profit, overhead, permit fees, and the like. If your structure is not new, the Assessor then approximates depreciation from all causes, and subtracts that from the calculation of replacement cost.

Market (sales comparison) Approach - Your property is evaluated based on comparable properties that have recently sold, and adjusted for differences, such as a garage, finished basement, or better location. Where there are frequent sales and similarities in properties, this can be the most reliable approach for residential property.

Income Approach - This approach works well for apartments, shopping centers and office buildings. The Assessor estimates potential gross income from rentals, then subtracts an amount for vacancies and operating expenses. The amount of net income is then converted to a value for the property, using a process called capitalization.

How Often is Property Reassessed In Jackson County?

According to current State law, the Assessor is required to physically visit each parcel of real estate at least once every three years.  This process is known as a tri-annual update.  In addition, based upon sales information recorded with the County Clerk, and statistical studies, the Assessor is required to maintain market values each year. 

If No Improvements Have Been Made to May Property, Why Should the Assessed Value Increase?

Over time market value changes even if no improvements are made to the property. Many people sell their homes for much more than they paid for them years earlier. WV State Code requires that property be reviewed every three (3) years to maintain realistic market values and treat all taxpayers fairly.

Will I Be Notified If There Is an Increase in My Assessment?

The Assessor is required by WV Code to notify owners of any increase in the valuation of real property that is 10 percent or greater in January of each year.

What If I Disagree With My Assessment?

You should first contact the Assessor's Office so that we can verify that our information concerning your property is accurate.  Each parcel of real estate has what is known as a property record card.  This is where basic information for your property is maintained by the Assessor's office.  If this information is correct, the Assessor must assume your property appraisal is also correct.  If you have a recent independent fee appraisal of your property stating a different value, please bring that to the Assessor's Office.  If you still disagree with your appraisal, you should contact the County Commission and schedule an appointment when the Commissioners convene as a Board of Equalization and Review during February of each year.  If you disagree with the decision rendered by the Board of Equalization and Review, an appeal can then be made to the Circuit Court.