Do you think the property tax appraisers in your West Virginia County do a good job?
Depending on where you live, the answer to this question might be “maybe”.
In 2006, Marshall University released a report showing that West Virginia was subsidizing counties with undervalued properties that weren’t collecting enough tax revenue.
After this 2006 report, the West Virginia state legislature authorized a three year property tax equalization study to take a more in depth look at the questions raised by the Marshall University research.
This new West Virginia study was designed to evaluate the quality of the property assessments in all of the state’s 55 counties to make sure that you pay your fair share of property taxes no matter where you live.
Now the first report covering the first 19 counties reviewed has been released and 11 county assessors have been advised that there is room for improvement. The other 8 have been told that their process is fair and equitable.
One of the major issues identified in the problem counties was the issue of sales chasing. This practice causes the assessed value of recently sold homes to increase much more dramatically than unsold homes. Monongalia County was one county where this was identified as a problem – the value of sold properties was increased 70%, while the value of unsold property went up only 26%.
Berkeley County received a good report but was still told it would have to make improvements including taking steps to consolidate neighborhoods with less than 50 homes. Berkeley County was also asked to improve the modifier – in order to better update the cost per square feet of older homes.
Between now and the end of 2011, additional reports will be issued for the remaining 36 counties.
Don’t let some of the terminologies in this study fool you.
Making sure that everyone pays their fair of property taxes never means that your taxes are going down. It usually means that if you’ve enjoyed an unreasonably low property tax assessed value that you should expect that value to up – and along with it your West Virginia property taxes.