Real Estate Assessment Appeals Process

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The reassessment process, it's purpose and how to appeal your assessment 

Why have I received a notice? General Reassessments of real estate are required by the Code of Virginia. In Accomack County general reassessments are currently performed biennially (every two years).§ 58.1-3330 of the Code of Virginia requires that property owners be notified of the assessment on their real estate whenever there is a reassessment of real estate in the locality, or there is a change in the assessed value of their real estate. The purpose of a reassessment is to equalize the assessments and value properties at 100% of fair market value.

Assessments:    Sales that occur within Accomack County neighborhoods are examined by the Department of Assessment. These sales are studied to determine if they represent fair market value (the price a willing buyer will pay a willing seller on the open market) and to confirm the physical features of the properties being sold. After adjusting for differences between properties, these sales are used as a guide to determine the proper assessment for all other properties in the neighborhood. 

The difference between sales price, appraisals, and assessments.    Sales price is the actual price a buyer pays for a particular property. An appraisal  is a detailed single property valuation and may be obtained any time throughout the year. Appraisals can have a variety of purposes, e.g. mortgage loan, sale, home equity loan, and estate valuations.  An  assessment is a mass appraisal of property as of a specific date (in Accomack County, January 1 of each year ) for tax purposes. Assessments are based on large numbers of sales that are analyzed utilizing statistics to determine values for large groups of similar properties. 

Why is my assessment changing?   The law requires assessments to reflect market value. Market values are created by hundreds of buyers and sellers acting independently. Market values (and assessments) may change due to appreciation and decline in the market place. If sale prices in your neighborhood increase or decrease, the market value of your property may also increase or decrease even though your specific property did not sell or otherwise change. Assessments will follow the sales trend. Assessments also change as a result of such things as new construction, remodeling, depreciation, demolition, rezoning, land division, or other changes.

Am I able to compare my assessment to other properties? Yes. By law real estate records are public information. Accessing this information provides an easy way for taxpayers to validate their records and to compare assessments of comparable properties. In the Department of Assessment office located in Room 106 of the County Administration Building in the town of Accomac, you can examine and review a copy of the 2020 Sales Study containing a listing of sales within your assessment neighborhood. If your property is unique for your neighborhood or there were few sales in your neighborhood, appraisers may also have considered sales of similar properties outside your immediate neighborhood. Other data sources are: real estate Multiple Listing Service websites containing information on properties listed for sale and their listing prices and sales information on properties that have sold in the county; and, the county's Geographic Information System (GIS) website AccoMap at accomack.mapsdirect.net providing viewable and printable assessments, tax maps, aerial photos and other details and attributes about parcels.

How do I appeal if I believe that my new assessment is incorrect? First, consider whether your property could be sold for the assessed value. If you believe that you could not sell your property for an amount reasonably equal to the 2020 assessment, you may wish to file an appeal with the Department of Assessment on the basis the assessment exceeds fair market value. (Please note that the percentage of assessment change from one year to the next is not, by itself, a basis for appeal.) Second, check the assessments of properties located in your general area that have physical features similar to your own. If they are not reasonably comparable, you may wish to file an appeal with the Department of Assessment on the basis the assessment is not uniform with other comparable properties. 

Accomack County Reassessment Hearings:  Appointments for hearings with the Department of Assessment in regards to the 2020 Accomack County reassessment must be made by no later than Friday, March 6, 2020.  To make an appointment for a hearing with the Department of Assessment to discuss your values, please call 757-787-5729 or 757- 824-4455, or send your request in writing to the Accomack County Department of Assessment, PO Box 248, Accomac,  VA 23301.  Office hours are 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.  Please find the Informal Appeal Request Form ( step 1) here . 

Public Disclosure of Assessment Records/Physical Examination:  In accordance with § 58.1-3331 of the Code of Virginia, any taxpayer, or their duly authorized representative, may during normal office hours inspect, review, and copy assessment cards maintained by the Department of Assessment showing the assessed value of the land and improvements, if any, and the calculations and methodology used in determining the assessed value of their property and other properties in the county.   Information used in determining value, such as the 2020 Sales Study that was conducted and compiled listing properties that sold during the period from 01/01/2018 and 12/31/2019, and from which sales of comparable properties and assessment/sales ratio data can be obtained, is also available. In addition, a taxpayer also has the right to request that the assessor make a physical examination of their subject property.

You may also appeal to the Board of Equalization (BOE). This is a citizen Board consisting of 5 members appointed by the Judge of the Circuit Court of Accomack County to hear appeals on real estate assessments. The Board is charged with the especial duty of increasing, decreasing or upholding assessments so that equalization is accomplished and the burden of taxation rests equally upon all citizens in the county.

Board of Equalization:  Applications to appear for a hearing before the Board of Equalization may be filed at any time prior to March 15, 2020. The Board of Equalization must complete its work during the period from March 15, 2020 to April 15, 2020. Public notice of when and where the Board will be sitting to discharge its duties during this period and details regarding making application will be published in the Eastern Shore News and posted on the County website at www.co.accomack.va.us.  Application forms can be obtained from our department.  Applications for a hearing must be filed prior to March 15, 2020.  Applications not timely filed will not be heard.

 

Further, you may also appeal to the Circuit Court of Accomack County.  Property owners have the right to do any or all three forms of appeal.