New real estate assessment notices were sent to James City County homeowners Friday, and owners of about 9,000 properties will learn their real estate is worth less.
That means a lower tax bill for those owners, but it won’t result in significantly lower tax collections for the county.
Overall, the taxable real estate assessments declined .9 percent, from $11.2 billion to $11.1 billion. The lower values brought the actual taxable value down by around 1.2 percent, but that reduction was offset by new development.
The county’s Real Estate Assessment Division has assessed all real property based on the fair market value of the property as of January 1, 2010. The new values will be effective for fiscal tax years 2011 (July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011) and 2012 (July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012).
James City’s state-licensed appraisers arrive at assessments by analyzing current sales and the assessment-sales ratios. Properties are analyzed by assessment areas, which are based on common land uses, types and ages of building, range of value and other characteristics of the particular location. All those factors are part of a calculation completed by a nationally recognized computer program used to appraise properties.
Property owners may request reassessment reviews now through March 29 by calling 253-6650 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
During the review, an appraiser considers the assessment to insure that the property information is correct, and to confirm that it represents fair market value and is equitable with other similar properties. Most changes, including reductions, are made in this administrative review period. If the issue is not resolved by phone the property owner may request that an appraiser visit the property. Property owners will be notified by mail if the assessment is revised.
Property owners dissatisfied with the outcome of the review may file an appeal in writing with the Board of Equalization; the deadline for filing Board of Equalization appeals is April 28.
How much a property owner will pay in taxes is determined by multiplying a tax rate times the assessed property value. The current tax rate is $0.77 per $100 of value. The Board of Supervisors adopts the tax rate when it adopts its annual budget. The expected adoption date for the budget for the year beginning July 1, 2010 is expected to be May 11. The County Administrator’s proposed budget will be released in early April and a public hearing on both the budget and the proposed tax rate will be held on April 27.
If the Board of Supervisors keeps the tax rate at its current level, a home assessed at $250,000 would pay $1,925 in taxes, half due Dec. 5, 2010 and half due June 5, 2011. That tax payment could be less if a property owner qualifies for a tax relief program for elderly and disabled citizens.
For information on the County’s real estate tax relief program for elderly and disabled citizens, please contact the Commissioner of the Revenue at 757-253-6695. The program provides tax relief to homeowners who are 65 or older and those who are permanently and totally disabled if they meet certain income and financial worth qualifications.
The Commissioner of the Revenue also administers the land use assessment program, which provides for tax deferrals for qualifying forested and agricultural land. Reduced real estate taxation is also available to properties with conservation and preservation easements.