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Property Revaluations

October Revaluation Letter

Land & Building Appraisal

Land and buildings located in the county are revalued at least every eight years. This procedure allows the tax department to adjust the appraised value of real estate to reflect the property's true value in light of changing real estate market conditions.  The next revaluation is currently ongoing and will be effective January 1, 2017.

Property Taxes

The property or "ad valorem" tax is the primary source of revenue for local governments. Income taxes are generally reserved for the federal and state governments. Property tax revenues are used to operate schools and county agencies such as the Sheriff's Department, Health Department, Social Services and others.

The amount of property tax you pay is based upon the value of your property and the tax rate as determined by the Board of Commissioners. The County Tax Office determines the assessed value of all property in the county. Through the budget process the Board of Commissioners determine how much it will cost to operate the county government. The tax rate is set by dividing the county budget needs (less revenues generated from sources other than property taxes) by the total value of all taxable property.

Statutory Requirements

The property tax in North Carolina is governed by Subchapter 11 of Chapter 105 of the General Statutes of North Carolina. Local Boards of Commissioners have very little discretion in property taxes due to these statutes (also known as the 
Machinery Act) being state law rather than local ordinances. The Machinery Act guarantees all 100 North Carolina counties will administer the property tax under the same guidelines with a minimum of local discretion.

The Machinery Act requires each county to conduct a revaluation of real property (land, buildings, and other improvements to the land) at least every eight (8) years. The Act also requires the counties to appraise real property uniformly at its true value in money. True value in money is "the price estimated in terms of money at which the property would change hands between a willing and financially able 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" (NCGS 105-283).

Simply put, this means when two people trade land for money, both knowing what can and cannot be done with the land, and an agreement on price is reached and the trade occurs, market value is established. Market value is not necessarily the price for which a realtor may list the land, nor is it the price for which a father may sell his son a piece of land. Market value is generally determined from sales between unrelated and unbiased buyers and sellers. This is commonly known as an "arm’s length" transaction. You may feel this should have no effect on you because you may have owned your property for many years and it is not for sale. You will be affected because the Machinery Act requires the counties to appraise real property uniformly. If comparable properties in your neighborhood are being sold in the $80,000 range and there are no significant differences in your property and the comparable properties, it is reasonable to believe your property may be worth $80,000. It would not be fair to assess taxes on neighbors who recently purchased their property at $80,000 and assess your taxes at $40,000 because you paid $40,000 for the property twenty years ago.

Schedule of Values

Why value a house built in 2016 according to a 2017 schedule of values? Remember uniformity? Using the same schedule of values until the next revaluation insures equitable treatment of comparable properties.

The most important point to remember is that the primary goal of revaluation is uniformity. The purpose of any revaluation program is to provide equalization among all property owners, as well as among all classes of property. 

Application for Present Use Value Assessment and Taxation of Agricultural, Horticultural or Forest Lands
Real Property Valuation Appea