County Assessor Links

 

Scott Lemley

Wetzel County Assessor

304-455-8216

slemley@wvassessor.com

Beth Hayes

Assistant Chief Deputy

304-455-8216

bhayes@assessor.state.wv.us

Ruth Glasscock

Real Property Deputy

304-455-8216

rglassco@assessor.state.wv.us

Cathy Phillips

Personal Property Deputy

304-455-8214

cphilli1@assessor.state.wv.us

Sandy Nelson

Reappraisal Deputy

304-455-8216

snelson@assessor.state.wv.us

Wetzel County Assessor

PO Box 7

New Martinsville, WV 26155

304-455-8216

Fax: 304-455-5256

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Information Provided by the WV State Agency Directory

All property shall be obtained from every person who is liable to assess a full and correct description of all personal property. In most counties, this is done by mailing an assessment form to all individuals and businesses. Assessors are required to visit all real estate at least once every three years but all property is to be at market value on an annual basis. The Assessor shall finish the work of assessment and complete the land and personal property books no later than the 30th day of January.

Land and Personal Property books are to be completed in time to submit to the Board of Equalization and Review no later than the first day of February of that assessment year. The Assessor and his/her assistants shall attend the first Board of Equalization and Review meeting and render any possible assistance in connection with the valuation of property.

The Assessor shall annually, no later than the third day of March, furnish to the Recorder or Clerk of Cities and Towns, Secretary to the Board of Education, State Board of Education and the County Commission, along with Public Utilities, certification of the assessed values for the current year. The levying bodies are required to use these values to prepare their budget estimates and lay the levies.

Once levy rates are certified to the Auditor, they are certified to the Assessor and are entered into the computer to allow the Sheriff to print tax tickets. Assessors determine values and in turn, the levies set by levying bodies, including excess levies, determine tax revenue.

Estimating Real Estate Tax:

  • Appraised Value X 60% = Assessed Value

  • Assessed Value X Levy Rate = Tax

 

Property Tax Classification

  • CLASS I- All tangible personal property employed exclusively in farming and livestock

  • CLASS II- All property owned, used and occupied by owner, exclusively for residential purposes, and farms used and occupied by their owners or bona fide tenants

  • CLASS III & IV- All real and personal property exclusive of Classes I and II, situated outside a municipality (Class III) or within a municipality (Class IV)(rental and vacant), not used and occupied by the owner

Taxation

Taxing authorities such as the State Legislature, School Board, County Commission and City Councils set tax rates and levy taxes. Levy rates differ according to the class of property. In West Virginia, there are four classes of property:

  • Class I: all property formerly classified as Class I is exempt. 

  • Class II: all property owned, used, and occupied by the owner exclusively for residential purposes and farms occupied and cultivated by their owners or tenants. 

  • Class III: all other real or personal property situated outside of municipalities (vacant land and buildings, rental property, vehicles, commercial real estate, equipment, inventory). 

  • Class IV: all other real or personal property situated within municipalities (vacant land and buildings, rental property, vehicles, commercial real estate, equipment, inventory).


Valuation

The Assessor's Office studies the Real Estate market and collects information about properties to estimate value. The goal of the Assessor's Office is to estimate each property's fair, current market value - the price your property could sell for today on the open market. To estimate current market value, the Assessor's Office considers the characteristics of the property, the neighborhood, recent sales of similar property and local building and construction costs.

Property Value Changes

A property's value can change for many reasons, the most obvious is the property changes - an addition, a new garage, or the property undergoes renovation or demolition. Another frequent cause of change is a change in the market - properties in certain neighborhoods begin selling for higher prices. 

The Assessor's Office must, however, maintain property values that are at least 90% of recent sales prices. A quick method to determine if your value is fair is to compare it to sales prices in your neighborhood, taking into account various differences in structures.

Real Estate Assessments

In 1990, the West Virginia Legislature ordered a statewide reappraisal of all property in West Virginia. Reappraisal occurs in three year cycles. During each three year cycle, the Assessor's Office must visit every piece of real estate to confirm and update characteristics of the property. 

Although property reappraisal is now a continuous process, dramatic future increases in your property's value probably will not occur. Many taxpayers saw a dramatic increase in their property's value during the initial cycle because most property in the county had not been revalued for 20 to 30 years.

In 2009, however, the State Tax Commissioner under the direction of the Governor and Legislature hired independent appraisal firms to review assessments in all 55 counties. While this study was opposed by Assessors, the study may result in larger assessment increases for Wetzel County and other counties in future years. 

If at anytime, however, you believe there is an error in the value of your property, you should contact the Assessor's Office. An official from the office will visit the property to determine if a reduction is warranted.

Exemptions

If you are 65 years of age or older, or if you are permanently and totally disabled, you may be eligible for the Homestead Property Tax Exemption. If approved, $20,000 will be deducted from the assessed value of the home used as your primary residence. To claim this exemption, you must file the application with the Assessor's Office between July 1 and December 1. 

A Senior Citizens Tax Credit is also available for eligible senior citizens. It is based on the amount of property taxes paid on the first $20,000 of the taxable assessed value over the $20,000 Homestead Exemption. If for example, the assessed value of your home is $35,000, the Homestead Exemption automatically exempts $20,000 from the payment of property taxes, which is shown on your annual property tax bill. 

The additional $15,000 is then eligible for the Senior Citizens Tax Credit. You must first pay the property tax due, but after filing the proper forms with the State Tax Department, the amount paid is credited to any State Income Tax owed. If no state income tax is owed, the homeowner will receive a refund check from the State Tax Department. 

There are low income guidelines associated with the Senior Citizen Tax Credit, although Social Security benefits are not included in the income limits. To claim the credit, a one-person household must have income less than $16,335. A two-person household must have income less than $22,065.

Personal Property Assessments

Personal property assessments differ somewhat from real estate assessments. All persons must report to the Assessor all personal property owned as of July 1 of each year whether visited by a deputy or not. This can be done in one of four ways:

1. Necessary forms are mailed to every property owner in the County prior to July 1 of each year. Simply complete and return the form to the Assessor's Office prior to October 1. 

2. While visiting the courthouse, report the information to the Assessor's Office personnel. 

3. Call the Wetzel County Assessor’s Office at 304-455-8214 

4. You are now able to complete the Individual Personal Property Report form online. Simply visit  http://wetzel.wvassessor.com/onlinefiling/, click on Begin Personal Property Assessment, complete the applicable sections, and then click "Submit".


Vehicle assessments are based on 60% of the lowest value listed in the N.A.D.A. Used Car Guide. Assessment discounts for vehicles with high mileage are available. High Mileage Certification Forms must be turned in each year prior to October 1.

Business Personal Property

All businesses in the county are mailed a blue, four-page reporting form in early July. The form requests that accurate costs be entered for all personal property owned as of July 1 of each year, including machinery and equipment, inventory, computer equipment, vehicles and furniture and fixtures. All business returns must be submitted no later than September 1st. Those businesses not submitting a return are automatically subject to a 25% increase on the previous year's assessment.

Appealing Your Property Rights

An assessment appeal is not a complaint about higher taxes. It is an attempt to prove that your property's estimated current market value is not accurate. You can ask for a review of your assessment by the Assessor's Office at any time during the year if you believe either of two things: 

  • Items that affect the value on your property record card are incorrect - you have one bath not two; you have a carport, not a garage. 

  • The estimated market value is too high and you have evidence that similar properties have sold for less than the estimated market value of your property.


If you are not satisfied with the Assessor's Office review, you then have the opportunity to appear before the Board of Review and Equalization during the month of February each year. The Board is only concerned whether the value placed on your property is fair and accurate, not whether or not your taxes are too high. After the Board adjourns at the end of February, no changes in assessments can be made until the following year. If the taxpayer wants a hearing in October before the Board of Assessment and Appeals, application must be made by February 20.

YOUR TAX BILL
The Sheriff's Tax Office is responsible for the layout, printing, and mailing of the tax bills. Questions regarding any of those processes should be directed to the Sheriff of Wetzel County. You should also pay your bill at the Sheriff's Tax Office. If you do not receive a bill and believe that you should have, questions regarding amounts due, delinquencies, or payment due dates should also be directed to the Sheriff's Office.

Annual Assessment & Application Deadlines

July 1 
All property assessed annually, according to its value as of July 1. 

July 1 - October 1 
Filing period for high mileage discount certification.

July 1 - September 1 
Farm use discount application period. 
Filing period for business personal property returns.

July 1 - December 1 
Homestead property tax exemption application period.

July 1 - January 31 
Period that Assessor's Office will accept individual personal property returns. 

January 31 
Last day for the Assessor to revise real estate & personal property assessments. 

February 1 - 28 
Board of Review and Equalization meets to hear assessment appeals.

Gas Industry Assessment Procedures & Potential

During the past few years, Wetzel County has seen a substantial growth in lease and sale transactions related to the Marcellus Shale formation. The potential for creating wealth for the owners of those mineral rights as well as for the gas companies leasing, drilling, and producing natural gas in Wetzel County is unlimited.

In the gas industry, it is a general practice for a producer to lease the right to drill on a property and, if gas is found, to participate in the revenues from such production. Generally, in past years it was customary for the property owner to receive 1/8 or 12.5% of the revenues from production (royalty interest) and the producer to receive 7/8 or 87.5% of the revenues from production (working interest). These percentages can and do fluctuate, however, according to individual lease terms agreed to by both parties. Both the royalty interest and the working interest created through the lease are subject to property taxation in the State of West Virginia. When production begins, the royalty interest is listed and assessed on the real property books and the working interest is listed and assessed on the personal property books. Therefore, 100% of the receipts from production are assessed annually. 

The appraisal formula for producing wells is somewhat complicated because it includes estimating annual production for 1st year wells, utilizing actual royalties for 2nd year wells, and calculating a 3 year average for older wells. The appraisal model then capitalizes that value to predict a future income stream and then discounts that future income to a present worth value. In our area the appraised value of the royalty interest usually equals 2-5 times the amount of one year’s income. The assessed value would be 60% of that amount.