NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – Many property owners in New Hanover County saw the tax value of their homes go way up this year. Every four years, New Hanover County does what is called a tax revaluation, when the county takes a look at property values and assures property owners are being taxed correctly, based on the value of their land and home.
The county says that it goes through a meticulous process to ensure accurate property values, however, some taxpayers are not convinced the tax office got it right. More than 5,000 property owners filed appeals, disputing their tax valuations. Many of those appeals remain unresolved.
“We are still working appeals and we will probably be working them through November of this year. We had 5,023 parcels with an appeal on them. Of those, 1,346 are in some stage of being worked but not yet scheduled to be heard by the Board of Equalization and Review,” explained New Hanover County Tax Administrator Allison Snell. “It is important to note that property owners filed their appeal, which we then reviewed and either made a change or made no change. If the property owner disagreed with our decision, they could then decide to appear before the Board of Equalization and Review. This causes our staff to have to work some property appeals more than once – essentially increasing the number of appeals we work to about 7,500.”
Responding to complaints WECT received from residents still waiting for a decision, a county spokeswoman says it is normal for a county to have their board sitting to hear appeals through December in a revaluation year.
“While I can understand their concerns, we will get to their appeal before the taxes become delinquent in January,” NHC Chief Communications Officer Jessica Loeper said. “They do have the option to go ahead and pay their taxes and should there be a change in value, the tax bill will be corrected and a refund issued.”
State law presumes that assessments are correct. This presumption places the burden on the taxpayer to ‘produce competent, material and substantial evidence that tends to show: (1) either the county tax supervisor used an arbitrary method of valuation; or (2) the county tax assessor used an illegal method of valuation; and (3) the assessment substantially exceeded the true value in money of the property. You also must appeal within 30 days of receiving a new tax value.
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