Wetzel County Assessor FAQ
How do I...
Wetzel County Assessor
Assistant Chief Deputy
Real Property Deputy
Personal Property Deputy
Wetzel County Assessor
PO Box 7
New Martinsville, WV 26155
What does the July 1 Assessment Date mean?
All property is assessed annually as of July 1. Each person's annual tax bill is based upon the condition and ownership of real and personal property as of July 1 of the previous year. For example, your 2015 tax bill was based upon ownership as of July 2014. The 2014 tax bill was based upon ownership on July 1, 2013. The 2013 Tax was based upon ownership as of July 1, 2012.
This process can benefit and hurt the taxpayer on occasion. For example, if you purchase a vehicle on July 5, 2015, you will not have to pay taxes on it until you receive the 2017 tax bill (no taxes are due on this vehicle in 2016 since you did not own the car on July 1, 2015!).
However if you purchase a home on July 5, 2015, which was classified as rental on July 1st, you will be responsible for the 2016 tax bill as rental property, not an owner-occupied home. This means that the 2016 bill will be twice what you will pay in the following years since the tax rate on the rental property is double the owner-occupied home rate.
If there is a mistake on my assessment and I am overcharged on my tax bill, how can it be corrected?
In certain instances, an exoneration can be given to the taxpayer so that the amount attributed to the error is refunded to the taxpayer or credited to any outstanding bills. The Assessor's Office will process the necessary paperwork to correct the error which usually takes 2-4 weeks. Exonerations can't be given, however, because you simply think your taxes are too high. A verifiable clerical, computer, classification or data collection error must have occurred to be eligible for an exoneration to be approved. Contact the Assessor's office immediately to determine if an exoneration is warranted.
Since the Assessor is elected in West Virginia, can't he/she assess property any way they want?
NO, as with all public officials, Assessors, take an oath to obey the laws of the United States and the State of West Virginia. The methods of assessing property are clearly spelled out in the property tax laws and regulations in each county with every Assessor
Besides determining property values, what other responsibilities does the Assessor have?
In West Virginia, the Assessor has several additional responsibilities. We keep track of ownership changes, maintain maps of parcel boundaries, keep descriptions of building and property characteristics up to date and keep track of exemptions. We also analyze trends in sales prices, construction costs and rents to estimate the value of all assessable property. We are also responsible for collecting fees for dog licenses. As you can see, in order to serve you effectively, we need your cooperation. By submitting timely accurate property returns and providing accurate information to deputies who visit your property, you help us better serve you.
I own rental property and a vacant lot, are they taxed differently than the home in which I live?
In West Virginia, yes. Remember the goal of the Assessor's Office is to estimate each property's fair, current market value. The assessed value is then multiplied by a tax rate. According to state law, the tax rate for rental and vacant property is twice that for owner occupied property. This means that if your home is assessed for $20,000, taxes on the rental property will be twice the taxes due on the owner occupied home. The method for determining the value of each property is the same, but the tax rate applied to certain classes of property are different.
What is the state-mandated property reappraisal?
In 1990, the West Virginia Legislature ordered a statewide reappraisal of all property in West Viginia. This was ordered because most property in the state had not been revalued for 20 to 30 years. In other words, similar homes were not being assessed the same. Reappraisal now occurs in three year cycles and the goal is to estimate each property's fair, current marker value- the price your property could sell for on the open market.
I believe my assessment is incorrect, what can the Assessor's Office do?
There is no greater obligation of an Assessor than to value all property fairly and accurately. In West Virginia, you can ask for a review of your assessment by the Assessor's Office if you believe either one of two things: 1) items that affect the value of your property are listed incorrectly; or 2) the estimated market value is too high and you have evidence that similar properties have sold for less than the market value of your property. Remember, however, that an assessment appeal is not a complaint about higher property taxes. It is an attempt to prove that your property's estimated current market value is not accurate.
What happens if the Assessor fails in maintaining property at fair market value?
The State Commissioner is required under West Virginia Law to seize our office’s records and to bring the assessments into compliance. I will use all resources at my disposal to ensure that we are in compliance and that these penalties and adverse effects do not occur. The taxpayers of Wetzel County deserve an equal and uniform tax base and we will diligently work to ensure that they have one.
Does the Assessor raise your taxes?
No. State law requires that the property tax assessments are to be annually updated to the end and that all property is assessed at an equal and uniform 60% of its market value (see WV Code §11-1C-9). The Board of Education, the County Commission, the Municipality, and the West Virginia Legislature set the tax rates or levy rates.
Do taxes have to raise?
No. Your property tax bill is determined by multiplying a tax rate against your assessed value. The assessed value is 60% of the property's current market value. If property values rise and levy rates are reduced, taxes do not have to rise.
Assessed Value x Tax Rate = Tax Bill