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.
If 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)
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.