Real property is defined as surface real estate, all buildings permanently affixed, and most mineral interests. Tax Appraisers are appointed by the Assessor and are granted the authority to conduct appraisals (determination of value), which are usually done by visual inspection.
The Tax Appraisers are responsible for both residential and commercial real property. They use many factors to determine fair market value: comparable sales, condition, desirability, and utility.
The West Virginia State Code directs all Assessors to value property at market value (what the property will sell for on the open market with a willing buyer and seller) and will allow for only a 10% variation from the market value. The West Virginia Department of Tax and Revenue audits all Assessors each year. During the audit the state randomly selects parcels located throughout each county and verifies if the property is being properly valued at the Market Value.
After the property has been appraised with a fair market value, then the assessed value is determined. The assessed value is 60% of the appraised value (fair market value). For example: if a house is appraised (valued) at $100,000, then the assessed value would be $60,000. To determine your tax multiply the assessed value by the levy rate. The assessed value and the levy rate (tax rate) determine how much you pay in taxes.
If property owners feel their appraisal is incorrect or have questions about it, they should contact the Assessor’s Appraisal Office. If the the issue of appraisal value cannot be resolved between the property owner and appraiser, then the property owner has the right to ask for an appointment with the County Commission. This process occurs in February and is conducted by the County Commission sitting as the board of review and equalization. The Board may not address question of tax-ability, classification or prior year's appraisals. Property owners should be well prepared with documentation of comparable sales (within the required time frame) and photos that support their position. Contact the Assessor's Office before January 31st for details on filing deadlines.
Your Assessor does not set your property tax. Your tax bill is determined by multiplying a tax rate against your assessed value (60% of market value). Remember, the Assessor determines your assessed value and the levy rate is determined by the legislature (for the Board of Education), the county commission and the municipalities. Levy rate sheets are prepared for your convenience and may be obtained in the Assessor’s Office or on our download page.