Q: How are property taxes calculated?
A. How To Calculate A Tax Bill:
Multiply the applicable county and special district combined tax rate to the county tax appraisal of the property plus any additional fees or charges. Special districts include: fire protection, drainage, and water/sewer. Fees include solid waste fees and animal taxes.
Example 1, Real Property Taxes:
The 2013 county tax rate for Currituck County was set on July 1, 2013 at 48.5 cents. This means property will be taxed at 48.5 cents per $100 value. Property that was to be listed as of January 1, 2013 would be subject to this tax rate. The house in this example has an assessed value (the value as of the last reappraisal) of $150,000 and is located in a special district with a tax rate of 1 cent per $100.00 of value. The combined rate is 49.5 cents (48.5 + 1) per $100 value. The solid waste fee in this example is $114.00 per house. The taxes would be:
$150,000/100 x .495 = $742.50 + $114 = $ 856.50
Example 2, Motor Vehicle Taxes:
I live in the same house as described above and the tag on my car expires in October 2012. The assessor will automatically send me a bill about 3-4 months after I renew. By North Carolina Statute, the assessor determines the value as of January 1 of the year the taxes are due, so the value is as of January 1, 2013. The value is determined to be $12,000. The taxes on my car would be:
$12,000/100 x .495 = $59.40, due February 1, 2013. Note that with motor vehicle taxes, the rates that are in effect at the time of renewal are the rates used to calculate the taxes.
Q: What do you mean by "assessed value"?
A. The assessed value of real estate is a snapshot of the market value of a piece of property as of January 1st of the year the last countywide revaluation was performed. This is the value that will be used in calculating the taxes due for that property.
Q: I think my property is worth considerably more (or less) than the tax records show. Why is that?
A. Real estate property assessments reflect the fair market value as of the last general reassessment date, which was January 1, 2013 for Currituck County. With the exception of a reassessment year, the records do not reflect the current market value. Assessed values are not increased or decreased due to changes in the real estate market prior to the next countywide reevaluation. The State of North Carolina requires counties to reassess real estate at least every eight years.
The values of personal property such as cars, boats, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, and airplanes are updated annually.
Q: If I mail my tax payment, what is the last date it can be postmarked before being considered late?
A. Property tax payments must be postmarked by January 5th.
If that date falls on a weekend, the due date is extended to the next business day.
Real estate and personal property taxes become due on September 1st of each year. The taxes may be paid until January 5th of the following year without interest or penalty. Real and Personal taxes are billed and paid annually. (For example: 2006 taxes become due on September 1, 2006 but can be paid without interest on or before January 5, 2007)
Q: Who establishes the tax rate?
A. Tax rates are set by the Currituck County Board of Commissioners. The Board determines how much money must be collected to fund the budget and the rate of tax necessary to meet the budget. Property taxes make up only a portion of the total amount of revenue needed to fund the budget. Fees and other sources of income make up the remainder.
Q: If I disagree with the assessed value of my property, how can I appeal?
A. During the year of the revaluation or any year of the revaluation cycle, a taxpayer may appeal the appraised value of his property. The taxpayer may appeal any property valuation in the county, so long as the taxpayer owns property in the county. Reasons to appeal include, that the assessed value is greater than the actual value on the valuation date (January 1 of the revaluation year) or that other similar properties are assessed less. High taxes, a tax increase or a large increase in the assessed value is not a valid reason to appeal.
In many cases, the first step is to contact the tax office informally and seek to resolve the difference without filing a formal appeal. It is suggested however, that all appeals be in writing. Should the situation not be remedied immediately, you may be asked to submit a written appeal (if you have not done so) to the Tax Department stating your grounds for appeal and what you believe the assessed value should be. If the appeal cannot be settled informally, the taxpayer may appeal to the County Board of Equalization and Review, which begins its deliberations around the first week in April. The Board of County Commissioners may comprise the Board of Equalization and Review or the County Commissioners may appoint a special board to handle the appeals. This level of the appeal process is more formal, with the taxpayer being allotted a specific amount of time to present his case and the county also having time to present its side. The Board of Equalization and Review may choose to decide the appeal immediately or choose to delay its decision and deliberate further. The taxpayer should receive a copy of this decision in writing.
If the taxpayer is not satisfied with the decision of the local board, he may appeal to the State Board of Equalization and Review, known as the Property Tax Commission. The Commission meets monthly in Raleigh to decide questions on valuation and exemption. The Commission is a trial court. Like any trial court, it is required to follow the North Carolina Rules of Evidence. When the taxpayer appeals, the taxpayer has the burden of proof. Individual taxpayers may present their own cases, but are encouraged to hire an attorney. Corporate taxpayers are required to have an attorney. The Commission will render its decision within a short time, based upon the greater weight of the evidence. Evidence is usually presented as sworn testimony and/or documents. The county has the opportunity to cross-examine any witnesses. The taxpayer may appeal a decision of the Property Tax Commission to the state Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court, but those bodies may choose to not hear the case as the grounds for appeal are more limited.