West Virginia Property Taxes
Overview of West Virginia Property Taxes
All properties in the state of West Virginia, with few exceptions, are subject to property taxes. West Virginia property taxes are levied both at the county and state level. County boards of education, county commissions, municipalities, and the State are all responsible for levying property taxes. Revenue collected from property taxes pays for important state, county, and city/municipal services like law enforcement, public libraries, public parks, and public schools among others.
The state and its local governments collect $16 billion in total revenue every year. Of that, $1.7 billion or 10.56% of total revenue comes from property taxes. Generally, West Virginia is a tax-friendly state for homeowners as indicated by the lower percentage of property taxes compared to total revenue collected. Homeowners pay $5.31 for every $1,000 of home value in property taxes. On average, the West Virginia property tax bill adds up to $685 which is among the lowest in the country. However, the tax bill tends to fluctuate depending on location. For instance, homeowners in Berkeley County pay an average of $1,219 while those in Lincoln County pay $363.
How do West Virginia property taxes work? Property taxes are based on your property's assessed value and the total tax rates in a particular tax district. Each county has an assessor who must reappraise property once every five years to establish their "market value" or the amount the seller would normally receive for the property. This is called the appraised value. The state requires that properties be assessed at 60% of their appraised value. Therefore, if your home has an appraised value of $100,000, the assessed value would be ($100,000 x 60%) $60,000. Tax rates are applied to the assessed value to calculate your annual West Virginia property tax bill.
West Virginia property tax rates are levied by the various taxing units including counties, cities, and school districts. The total tax rate applied to your property's assessed value is the sum of those rates. Tax rates are expressed as cents per $100 of assessed value. For example, if your home has an assessed value of $60,000 and a total tax rate of 70, your annual West Virginia property tax bill would add up to ($60,000 /100 x 0.70) = $420
If you are planning to buy a home in West Virginia and want to understand how much your property tax bill could potentially cost, check out our West Virginia Property Tax Tool to see what your bill would be.
West Virginia Property Tax Due Dates
Properties in West Virginia are valued as of July 1 for the next calendar year. This means if the property tax year is the calendar year 2021, the value of your property is determined as of July 1, 2020. West Virginia Property tax bills, commonly known as "tickets" in the state, are sent to homeowners by July 15 of the tax year by County Sheriffs. If your property's assessed value increases by $1,000 or 10%, you receive a Notification of Increase in Assessed Value by January 15 of the calendar tax year.
You can appeal property taxes by protesting your property's assessed value to your local County Commission sitting as a Board of Equalization and Review no later than February 20. Decisions by the County Board can be appealed to the County Circuit Court in the county where your property is located within 30 days of the County Board rendering its decision. See the subsequent sections for more details on the appeal process.
When are property taxes due in West Virginia? You can pay your West Virginia property taxes in two installments. The first half is due on September 1 of the property tax year. The second half is due on March 1 of the next calendar year. The state offers a 2.5% discount for property taxes paid before the September 1 and March 1 due dates.
Taxes that remain unpaid after the West Virginia property tax due dates result in interest that accrues at a rate of 9% per year. The first half and second half installments become delinquent on October 1 and April 1 respectively. West Virginia property taxes are payable to the County Sheriff, as ex officio County Treasurer. Delinquent taxes can result in a Tax Lien Sale which is a public auction where your property is sold to the highest bidder. The state offers you an 18-month "redemption period" in which to clear the delinquent taxes, interest, and other costs. At the end of the redemption period, the highest bidder assumes ownership of your property.
West Virginia Property Tax Exemptions
Besides the option to appeal property taxes if you disagree with your property's assessment, the state of West Virginia offers several exemptions to eligible homeowners. The most common are senior and homestead exemptions. Qualified homeowners can save hundreds of dollars in West Virginia property taxes. However, even eligible homeowners must comply with West Virginia property tax due dates.
West Virginia Homestead Exemption
West Virginia's homestead exemption exempts $20,000 of your property's assessed value from West Virginia property taxes. To qualify, you must be using the property as your principal residence and be aged at least 65 years. Additionally, you must have resided and paid taxes for the principal residence for two consecutive taxable years. Totally and permanently disabled homeowners also qualify for this exemption. If you receive a homestead exemption in another state, you are ineligible for this exemption. Contact your local County Assessor's office for application details.
West Virginia Senior Citizens Exemption
West Virginia's senior exemption is known as the Senior Citizens Tax Credit. It is an extension of the homestead exemption. Under this provision, eligible homeowners are allowed a refundable credit against the taxes paid for the first $20,000 of their principal residence's taxable assessed value. Eligible homeowners must first qualify for the homestead exemption, have paid their West Virginia property taxes, and meet certain income limit requirements.
Other West Virginia property tax exemptions include the Permanent and Total Disabled Veterans exemption which is also an extension of the homestead exemption. Under this provision, disabled veterans benefit from an exemption of up to $20,000 for their principal residence provided they were residents of West Virginia when they entered military service and remain residents after being discharged from service due to their disability. A certificate from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs certifying the disabilities are related to military service is required.
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in West Virginia
You can appeal property taxes in West Virginia if you disagree with the assessor's valuation of your property. If successful, an appeal can lower your West Virginia property tax bill. The first step of appeal is contacting your County Assessor after the July 1st assessment with your objections. Many issues are typically solved at this level. However, if there is still a difference of opinion, you can preserve your rights to appeal by appearing before the County Commission in the county where your property is located on the July 1st assessment date. The Commission meets as a Board of Equalization and Review to hear appeals starting February 1 of the tax year. The Board must complete its work by February 28. If you wish to appeal to the Board, you must inform the clerk of the County Commission as soon as possible in February. The deadline for filing appeals is February 20. Decisions by the County Board can be appealed to the County Circuit Court within 30 days of receiving the County Board's decision.
The process of filing an assessment appeal varies across West Virginia though it generally follows the same steps from county to county:
- Obtain your assessment
- Determine if you are overassessed
- Complete forms needed to appeal
- File property tax appeal
- Prepare for hearing
- Attend hearing
- Appeal the decision
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Kanawha County
To help you understand how to appeal your property taxes in West Virginia, here is a breakdown of the process in Kanawha County, the most populous county in West Virginia.
Obtain your assessment
Details of your assessment can be obtained from the Change of Value Notice or your tax bill. You may also contact the Kanawha County Assessor.
Determine if you are over-assessed
The best way to determine if you are over-assessed is by checking the recent sales prices of properties with similar characteristics to your property. You can use TaxProper's search tool in that endeavor. The sales prices should help you determine if your property is over-appraised.
Complete forms needed to appeal
The forms you need to appeal property taxes can be found on the State Tax Department's website, the Kanawha County Assessor's Office, or the Kanawha County Clerk's Office.
File property tax appeal
Property tax appeals in Kanawha County are filed with the Kanawha County Commission.
Prepare for hearing
The County Assessor's valuation of your property is presumed correct and the burden of proof is on you as the appellant. Preparation for a hearing means collecting compelling evidence supporting your opinion of value. This can include but is not limited to a recent appraisal of your property, comparable sales, and photos showing excessive deterioration of the property.
The Kanawha Board of Equalization and Review requires you to attend the appeal hearing so you can give oral testimony and other evidence supporting your opinion of value.
Appeal the decision
You can appeal the County Board's decision to the Kanawha County Circuit Court within 30 days of the County Board rendering their decision.
Property Tax Information for West Virginia Counties
The table below provides county-level information about how property taxes work in each West Virginia county.
Want to learn more? Click the county links to learn more about a specific West Virginia county.
|County||Average Home Value||Average Tax Bill||Bill per $1,000|