The Orange County tax office has been contacting property owners and getting tax records updated for the required 2017 revaluation, tax office director Dwane Brinson said.
North Carolina requires counties to conduct a revaluation – updating records to ensure local taxes are levied at a property’s current market value – once every eight years. The tax office first creates a “schedule of values,” based on all home sales in the county, except for foreclosed or distressed properties. Individual homes are judged on their exterior quality rating and the market value for similar homes.
Orange County’s last revaluation was in 2009, and previously was on a four-year schedule, but the recession and resulting fluctuations in local home sales delayed the 2013 update, Brinson told the Orange County Board of Commissioners last week.
There have been a lot of changes to the county’s tax base since then, he said, but the economy is doing better now and houses are starting to sell for slightly over their currently assessed property values.
Staff members have been reaching out to property owners to get their help getting the revaluation right, Brinson said, leaving yellow cards with property owners seeking more information. Many already have been returned, he said.
They’re also going to neighborhoods to research the properties, he said, and have posted videos and information on the tax office website (bit.ly/23j77El). There’s also an interactive quiz that residents can take to learn more about the process, he said. Those who pass the quiz can become 2017 Revaluation Partners, earning a certificate of appreciation and the opportunity to be involved in 2017 revaluation pilot studies.
Getting correct information is important for accurately determining everyone’s tax bill through the next four years, Brinson said. The commissioners extended the deadline for returning the cards by 30 days last week. The new deadline is Feb. 29.
No one will be penalized or charged back taxes for updating information that may have been missed before, he said.
The tax office will update the commissioners in September and follow up with the final revaluation numbers in December, Brinson said. The new tax bills will go out early next year, and the county then will return to a four-year revaluation cycle, he said.
“We’re a little bit ahead of the game on this. We’re already testing several models in the tax office,” Brinson said. “We’re very eager to see how things look for 2017 so we are already running sales ratio studies based on 2017 assessments, even though we haven’t finished it yet. It will good guide for where additional work needs to take place.”
Property owners will have multiple opportunities to appeal values they think are incorrect, starting with the local tax office and moving up to the county’s Board of Equalization and Review and the N.C. State Property Tax Commission.