It's Revaluation Time
I suspect that revaluations are equally hated by both taxpayers and tax assessors. The taxpayers hate revaluations because they believe their tax values, and therefore their tax bills, are going up. Tax assessors also hate revaluations because of the tremendous amount of work they entail and the controversy they cause with taxpayers.
In North Carolina, personal property is revalued on an annual basis as of January 1 of each year. NCGS 105-285(b) Real property is handled differently. North Carolina law requires that real property be revalued at least every eight years. NCGS 105-286(a) However, counties can (and many do) choose to revalue real property more frequently than the octennial cycle. Those county's electing to revalue sooner than required typically do so on a four-year cycle.
When the octennial cycle for revaluations was imposed, the start date for the counties was staggered. Both because of this staggered start date and because various counties have chosen to revalue more frequently than the octennial cycle, the year in which each of North Carolina’s one hundred counties revalues its real estate varies. A good source for determining when each county is planning to revalue its real property is the North Carolina Department of Revenue website. There you can find this spreadsheet (.xls), which shows tax rates and the latest year of revaluation for each North Carolina county and some municipalities. You can also find this document (.pdf), which shows the tax rates, latest year of revaluation, and next scheduled revalaution for each North Carolina county starting in 2010 and going back five years. Note, however, that these documents should only be used as a guide. Many counties will (or have already) delay their revaluations and these documents may or may not be updated to so reflect. You should call your County's tax office and ask when they plan to next revalue.
It is important to be aware of when the county in which your real property is located is scheduled for a revaluation.
Obviously, the year of revaluation is when the assessed value of your real property is likely to change. If you don't appeal in the revaluation year, you've lost the right to reduce your taxes for that year. While a failure to appeal the assessed value of your property during the revaluation year does not preclude you from appealing the assessed value of your property during a later non-revaluation year, a reduction resulting from your non-revaluation year appeal would not have retroactive effect. In other words, appealing in a revaluation year is the only way to realize the tax benefit of a valuation reduction in all years of the county's revaluation cycle.
The counties that are conducting a revaluation in 2011 are the following*:
If you own real property in one of the above listed counties, you should be on the lookout for a letter from the tax office notifying you of the new assessed value for your property. Such notice will also give you information regarding your appeal rights in the event that you believe the proposed assessed value is in excess of fair market value. We will discuss in a subsequent post how the appeal process works, but it merits noting here that a failure to timely file an appeal will mean that you can no longer contest the assessed value for that particular year.
* NOTE that this post, as originally posted on March 9, 2011, also stated that Burke, Caldwell, Davidson, Gaston, Macon, Moore, Person, Rutherford & Stanly Counties were scheduled for 2011 revaluations. Since that time, we learned that Rutherford County has postponed its revaluation to 2012; Burke, Caldwell, Davidson, Gaston, Macon, Person & Stanly Counties have postponed their revaluations to 2013; and Moore County has postponed its revaluation to 2015.
The copyright holder of the image used in this post has released the image into the public domain, and unconditionally granted to anyone the right to use the image for any purpose, without condition.