Document Center

eGov ContentF.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a reassessment?

Reassessment is the process of re-determining the value of property or land for tax purposes.

 

Why have reassessments?

Periodic reassessments are required by law and are to insure that each property is valued fairly. The purpose of property tax reassessment is to realign the values of real property that are determined with values of other kinds of property that are assessed annually, such as personal property, utilities, and mobile homes.

 

As required by the Code of Virginia, Amherst County is conducting a general reassessment to be effective for January 1, 2014. Amherst County is required to reassess all real property at least every six years.

 

The Code of Virginia requires that all property be assessed at market value. This is the value used to calculate property taxes, which are the product of the assessed value and the tax rate.

 

What should I expect from reassessment?

A reassessment will result in a new value being established for your property. This new value will replace the value currently on your property and will be the basis used for taxing property. Please remember that an increase in property value does not automatically mean an increase in your property taxes.

 

When was the last reassessment?

The last reassessment occurred in 2012-2013. Its results went into effect on January 1, 2014. The 2014 reassessment encompassed over 19,000 parcels with a total value of more than $2 billion.

 

What is the reassessment process?

  1. The County is divided into smaller neighborhoods for purpose of market comparison.
  2. Each property is visited by a field inspector who verifies data and collects additional data. The field review is done with the homeowner if they are at home.
  3. Data collection is entered into mass appraisal system and accuracy validated.
  4. Neighborhood sales, land values, yearly appreciation trends and other data are analyzed throughout the process.
  5. When reassessment is complete in late 2013, property owners will be notified. Hearings with the appraisers will be held if requested.
  6. Property owners who continue to disagree with the reassessment results may appeal to a Board of Equalization appointed by the Circuit Court from recommendation made by the County.

 

Who is conducting the reassessment?

The professional appraisal firm, Wampler-Eanes Appraisal Group LTD of Daleville, Virginia has been retained by Amherst County to do new real estate value assessments of every property in the County.

 

What causes property values to change?

A property's value can change for a number of reasons: physical changes such as additions, garages, remodeling; or damage or destruction; to name just a few.

 

However, the most frequent cause of change in value results from a change in the market. When market value changes, so do assessed values change.

 

What is "Market Value"?

Market value is defined as the amount a typical, well-informed purchaser would be willing to pay for a property, under the following conditions:

 

  • The seller and buyer must not be related.
  • The seller must be willing, but not under undue pressure to sell and the buyer must be willing, but not under any obligation to buy.
  • The property must be on the market for a reasonable length of time.
  • The payment must be in cash or its equivalent, and the financing, if required, must be typical for that type of property.

 

If all these conditions are present, this is considered a market value, or "arm's length," sale.

 

How will the reassessment affect my taxes?

The percentage increase in your assessed value does not automatically mean the same percentage increase in your taxes. The Board of Supervisors and Town Council will establish tax rates to be applied to this assessed value during the upcoming budget process.

 

Why do I have to pay property taxes?

We've all become accustomed to the level of services provided by our local community. Schools, police and fire protection, libraries, emergency medical services, and public safety are only a few of the amenities property taxes make possible. Without property taxes, we couldn't support any of the above.

 

When will the results be available?

Reassessment notices to property owners will be mailed after all of the field work is completed.

 

How can I tell if my reassessed value is fair and accurate?

Compare the property's value with other comparable properties. Look at properties of similar age, lot and building size, construction, improvements, location, proximity to shopping, schools, and other amenities.

 

  • You can compare your property with other properties by utilizing the online Tax Map Parcel Lookup on the County's web site.

 

What if I disagree with the assessed value?

A taxpayer has a right to appeal their property tax assessment for any reason. The burden of proof, however, will be on the taxpayer to prove why they should have their assessment changed. Just saying: "My taxes are too high" is not sufficient. You may appeal by either submitting a written appeal or by scheduling a hearing with the Board of Assessors.

Note also that three things may happen on appeal:

 

  1. the assessed value may be raised;
  2. it may be lowered; or
  3. it may remain the same

 

After the Board of Assessors completes its hearings the Board of Supervisors will establish a Board of Equalization to review appeals. The hearing dates and times for the Board of Equalization will be advertised in the local newspapers.

 

The final appeal after the Board of Equalization will be to petition the Amherst County Circuit Court for judicial review. The Code of Virginia provides all property owners the opportunity to appeal an unfair reassessment through the Circuit Court system.

 

How do I open a PDF form or document?

We use a lot of PDF forms and documents on the County web site. If you are unable to open the PDF documents, please download Adobe Reader software (free).

 

How do I change my mailing address?

If you would like to change your address for reassessment correspondence and for your Real Estate tax tickets, please contact the Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue at 434-946-9310 or 434-946-9311.

 

What do I do if I have further questions?

If you have further questions, please call 1-800-213-7314.  This is the Wampler-Eanes Appraisal Group phone number.

 

Definitions:

 

            Assessment Notice - A written notice to the property owner of the assessed value of certain properties described in the notice. Law mandates that notice be given to the property owner following a revaluation of the property.

 

            Land - The ground on which improvements may be placed. This does not include anything but the land itself.

 

            Improvements - Anything that is built on the land. (i.e., house, barn, pool, paving, water/sewer hook-ups etc.)

 

            Real Property - It is the sum of tangible and intangible rights in land and improvements on the land.

 

            Personal Property - Movable items not permanently affixed to or part of the real estate such as:

 

  • Nursery stock that has been severed from the ground.
  • Florists' stocks of growing crops which are ready for sale as potted plants.
  • Billboards and other advertising devices which are located on real property that is not owned by the owner of the devices.
  • Motor vehicles, mobile homes, airplanes, boats, and trailers.
  • Foundations (other than foundations which support a building or structure) on which machinery or equipment is installed.
  • All other tangible property (other than real property) which is being held for sale in the ordinary course of a trade or business, held, used, or consumed in connection with the production of income, or held as an investment.

 

Real Estate - The physical land and everything permanently attached to it.

 

Tangible Property - It is the combination of Real Property and Personal Property.

 

Tangible Personal Property - Personal Property, such as goods, wares, and merchandise. Anything that has physical attributes (that can been seen and handled physically).

 

Intangible Personal Property - Personal Property, such as money, deposits, credits, shares of stock, bonds, notes, other evidences of indebtedness, and o