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Real Property FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)

 

Q: What does the real property assessed value represent?

A: All real property shall as far as practicable be appraised or valued at its true value in money as of the effective date of the last countywide reappraisal. The words "true value" shall be interpreted as meaning market value, that is, the price estimated in terms of money at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of all the uses to which the property is adapted and for which it is capable of being used (N.C.G.S. 105-283).

 

Q: When was your last reappraisal and when can we expect another?

A: Our last reappraisal was effective January 1, 2012. The effective date of the next reappraisal will be January 1, 2019.

 

Q: When do I need to let your office know about my new construction?

A: You must list any changes in your real estate during the month of January. You will need to list all new buildings, improvements and additions along with your cost and the percent complete as of January 1st. Also you need to let us know if you have demolished or removed any improvements.

 

Q: I do not agree with the value you have on my house and land. How do I appeal this value?

A: You may appeal the value of your house or land by writing your concerns to the Rutherford County Assessor, PO Box 143, Rutherfordton, NC 28139. After we have received your request for appeal, an appraiser from our office will review your request. At that time he or she will either make a change in your value (increase or decrease) or make no change at all. If you disagree with their decision you may request an Application for Hearing with the Rutherford County Board of Equalization and Review. The first meeting of the Board of Equalization and Review must be held no earlier than the first Monday in April and no later than the first Monday in May. Actual times and dates will be advertised in the local newspaper.

If you are dissatisfied with the Board's ruling you may appeal to the Property Tax Commission in Raleigh, NC. The final part of the appeals process is through the North Carolina court system.

 

Appeals Process

Informal Appeal

The information provided here is intended to provide property owners with a general understanding of what must be done to submit a informal appeal.

A request for an informal review of your assessed value must be made in writing by completing the informal review form. The form must be completed in its entirety to be considered a valid appeal. 

Valid Reasons For An Appeal

  1. The assessed value is not comparable to market value as of the last reappraisal date.
  2. The assessment is not equitable to comparable properties as of the last reappraisal date.

Invalid Reasons For An Appeal

  1. Taxes are too high.
  2. Inability to pay.
  3. Lack of county services.
  4. Amount or percent of increase.

How The Appeal Will Be Reviewed

The property owner is responsible for supplying information which supports his or her opinion of market value for the property in question. Such information may include, but is not limited to, a recent appraisal, recent construction cost, asking price or comparable sales of similar properties. It is of utmost importance that proper information is provided to the appraiser who will review the assessment. One of our staff may contact you for additional information or to make an on-site inspection of the property. This information will be taken into consideration by the appraiser responsible for your area. The appraiser will provide a notice of real estate value that will reflect their decision. Based upon all the information available to the appraiser, he or she will make a decision that will result in one of the following:

  1. The property was assessed greater than market value and will be reduced to reflect current market value.
  2. The property was under assessed and the value will be increased to reflect current market value.
  3. The property is currently assessed at market value and no change will be made.

For further assistance or additional information please call the Assessor’s Office at (828) 287-6355.

INFORMAL APPEAL REQUEST FORM

 

Rutherford County Board of Equalization and Review

What is the Board of Equalization and Review?

The Board of Equalization and Review is the first step in the formal appeals process. If a taxpayer is not satisfied with the results of the informal review by the County Assessor’s Office, he may then file an appeal with the Board. The Board is authorized to hear appeals of listing and appraisal decisions of the Rutherford County Tax Assessor’s Office. The Board is composed of five members appointed to by the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners.

How and when are appeals to the Board of Equalization and Review to be filed?

A request for an appeal to the Board of Equalization and Review must be in writing. The request must state the grounds for the appeal and identify the property in question. The request must be signed by the property owner or the property owner’s attorney. A non-attorney “tax representative” may sign a request only if he attaches a copy of his power of attorney to represent the property owner. In the case of a partnership or corporation, a request for appeal must be signed by a general partner of a partnership, an officer of a corporation, or an attorney for the organization. Following receipt of the request for appeal, the party making the request will receive a Board of Equalization and Review appeal form from the County Assessor’s Office. This form must be completed and returned to the Board prior to the published date for adjournment.

The only notice of assessed value for personal property is the tax bill; therefore, a request for appeal of personal property must be filed within 30 days after the County Tax Collector has mailed the tax bill. Tax bills are usually mailed in July or August of each year.

A request for an appeal form submitted by a means other than the United States mail is considered to be filed on the date it is received in the office of the County Assessor. An appeal form is considered to be filed on the date shown on the postmark stamped by the U.S. Postal Service. If there is no postmark, or if the postmark does not show the date of mailing, the request for appeal will be considered to be filed the date it is received in the office of the County Assessor.

What are the grounds for an appeal?

Grounds for appealing valuation decisions are generally:

  1. property has been appraised at a figure in excess of its true value in money or
  2. property has been appraised at a greater percentage of its true value in money than other similar property in the county.

An increase in value, by itself, is not a valid basis for appeal.

Grounds for appealing listing decisions are as follows:

  1. The property is not taxable.
  2. The property has been assessed against the wrong person.
  3. Procedural requirements have not been met.

Where are appeals heard?

Informal appeals are heard in the Rutherford County Assessor’s Office at 229 N. Main Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139

Formal appeals go before the Board of Equalization and Review, Rutherford County Annex, 289 N. Main Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139

Who will be present at the hearings?

The five members of the Board of Equalization and Review and the County Assessor acting as Clerk to the Board will conduct the hearing. The appraiser responsible for the property in question will be present to present the County’s position on the appeal. Property owners are allowed to represent themselves at the Board of Equalization and Review, they may send an attorney or they may grant power of attorney to a representative.

How are hearings conducted?

A hearing before the Board of Equalization and Review is the first step in the formal appeal process. In hearings involving valuation, the county’s appraisal is presumed to be correct. In order for a property owner to prevail, he must carry the burden of proof. An appraiser will inspect the property and make his recommendation to the Board at the hearing. After all evidence is presented, the Board will inform the property owner of its decision in writing.

Anyone desiring further information concerning the Board of Equalization and Review may contact the Rutherford County Assessor’s Office, P.O. Box 143, Rutherfordton, NC 28139 or call (828) 287-6000.

 

The North Carolina Property Tax Commission

What is the Property Tax Commission?

The North Carolina Property Tax Commission is the trial court of record in property tax cases within its jurisdiction. It is authorized to hear appeals from listing and appraisal decisions of County Boards of Commissioners and Boards of Equalization and Review, and from orders of County Board of Commissioners adopting schedules, standards and rules in countywide reappraisals. The Commission is composed of five members; three appointed by the Governor and one each by the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House.

How and when are appeals to the Property Tax Commission (PTC) due to be filed?

A notice of appeal to the PTC from a local property tax decision must be in writing. It may be in the form of a letter, however, it must state the grounds for the appeal and identify the property in question. The appeal must be signed by the property owner or the property owner’s attorney. In the case of a partnership or corporation, a notice of appeal should be signed by a general partner of the partnership, an officer of a corporation, or an attorney for the organization. In all cases, a copy of the notice of appeal should be sent to the county assessor at the time the appeal is filed with the Commission. Following receipt of the notice of appeal by the Commission, the party making the appeal will be provided an Application of Hearing (Form AV-14) with instructions. This application must be completed and returned to the Commission within 30 days.

Appeals to the PTC from orders of boards of equalization and review or from boards of county commissioners (other than orders adopting uniform schedules of values) must be filed within 30 days after the board has mailed notice of its decision. Appeals from an order adopting schedules of value must be filed in accordance with G.S. 105-290(c) and (e).

A notice of appeal submitted by a means other than United States mail is considered to be filed on the date it is received in the office of the PTC. A notice of appeal submitted by United States mail is considered to be filed on the date shown on the postmark stamped by the U.S. Postal Service. If there is no postmark or if the postmark does not show the date of mailing, the appeal will be considered to be filed the date it is received in the office of the Commission.

What are grounds for an appeal?

Valuation Decisions: Grounds for appealing valuation decisions are generally

  1. That the property has been appraised at a figure in excess of its true value in money or
  2. The property has been assessed against the wrong person, or
  3. Procedural requirements have not been met.

Listing Decisions: Grounds for appealing listing decisions are

  1. The property is not taxable, 
  2. The property has been assessed against the wrong person, or 
  3. Procedural requirements have not been met.

Schedules of Values: Orders adopting schedules, standards, and rules must be appealed on the grounds that their application will not result in the appraisal of all real property in the county at its true value in money.

Where are appeals heard?

Hearings before the Property Tax Commission are generally held in Raleigh, NC.

Who must appear at the hearing?

In order to pursue an appeal, the property owner (or his attorney) must appear at the hearings. Individual property owners are allowed (but not encouraged) to represent themselves at Commission hearings. 

Corporate taxpayers must be represented at hearings by an attorney licensed to practice in NC. A trustee may appear for a trust and a "general partner" may appear for a partnership.

How are hearings conducted?

Hearings before the Property Tax Commission are "de novo" (new hearings) and are not merely a review of the hearing that was heard by the county board. In hearings involving valuation, the county's appraisal is generally presumed to be correct. In order for a property owner to prevail, he must carry the burden of proof. Hearings are conducted under the rules of evidence as practiced in the general courts of justice of the state. All testimony is given under oath and is recorded by a court reporter. Decisions of the Commission are made in the form of an order setting forth its findings of fact and conclusions of law. Appeals from Commission decisions are to the Court of Appeals and are based on the record made at the hearing.

Anyone desiring further information concerning the procedure for filing an appeal with the Property Tax Commission and its functions may write to the Property Tax Commission, PO Box 871, Raleigh, NC 27602 or call 919-733-7711.

 

What is present use value (PUV) and what are the requirements?

The present use value program was created under the NC General Statutes to give tax relief to specific qualifying landowners for property under sound management and engaged in the production of an agricultural, horticultural or forest products. There are four types of requirements that must be met in order to qualify for the program: 

1. Ownership:

  • It is the owner's place of residence or 
  • It has been owned by the current owner or a relative as defined in statute 105-277.2 (5A) for the four years preceding January 1 of the year for which application is being made or 
  • At the time of transfer the property was assessed at its present use value or was eligible for present use value assessment.

2. Land: There must be at least one tract that meets the qualifying tract requirements of five acres for horticultural applications, ten acres for agricultural applications and twenty acres for forest application. 

3. Income: Property must produce an average of $1,000 gross income for the previous three years, (only required for agricultural and horticultural land). 

4. Sound Management: A program of production designed to obtain the greatest net return from the land consistent with its conservation and long-term improvement.