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What is a General Reappraisal?

A general reappraisal, commonly called a "revaluation," is the process that matches your tax value with what your property is worth on the open market today. By law, your property is appraised at fair market value as of January 1, 2020. Market value is the most probable price a property would bring in a competitive and open market.

Why do you appraise property?

An appraisal provides a basis for determining a property owner's share of the taxes that support schools, roads, parks, public health programs, libraries, and police and fire protection. The amount of your tax bill depends on both your property value and the tax rates set each year by elected county and city/town officials.

How often are properties appraised?

From 1976 to 2016, Wake County held a General Reappraisal every eight (8) years. On March 21, 2016, the County Commissioners voted to shorten the cycle to four (4) years. The effective date of the current General Reappraisal is January 1, 2020. Because properties increase or decrease in value at different rates, this will allow for better equity and fairness in the distribution of property taxes. Of the 100 counties in North Carolina, 45 use a cycle of less than eight years, including eight of the ten largest.

How is a General Reappraisal performed?

The appraisal process began long before you received your Notice of Value. First, the County was divided into neighborhoods based on similar market, economic, and geographic conditions; for example, a subdivision with homes that are about the same age, style, and quality of construction. This has been ongoing since the last revaluation. These properties would typically be affected by the same market conditions and have similar desirability on the market. Recent sales were analyzed to determine if they are a good indication of market value. Land was then appraised based on available sale data. Once land rates were established, analyses were performed to establish the influence of various property characteristics for all building and outbuilding types. The rates and value ranges established by these analyses were compiled into the Schedule of Values, which was approved by the Board of Commissioners. Further analyses and quality control procedures were performed to confirm that the values generated using the Schedule of Values are in line with the current market in each neighborhood. These reviews were done continuously until the Notices of Value were mailed.

What if my house was still under construction on January 1, 2020?

Property is appraised based on whatever improvements are present on January 1 of a given year. If your home was under construction on January 1, it will be given an adjusted value based on how much of the work was completed. This value is based on an estimate of what the home may be worth when finished. This method also applies to new additions to existing buildings, as well as outbuildings and detached structures. Improvements begun after January 1, 2020 will be valued using the same Schedule of Values applied to property built prior to that date.

What if my house was built after January 1, 2020?

Property is appraised based on whatever improvements are present on January 1 of a given year. If your home was built after January 1, 2020, it will be appraised using the rates and guidelines in the current Schedule of Values. This ensures that the values of new homes are equitable with those that existed before the General Reappraisal. To determine if your home is valued accurately, you will want to research comparable sales of similar homes that took place prior to January 1, 2020. Sales that occurred after that date will not be used to determine your value.

Will my value stay the same between revaluations?

If no changes are made to your property, your assessed value will not change. Your value may be updated to reflect changes made to the property, such as construction of additions, remodeling, or demolition. Any updates to your value would be made using the 2020 Schedule of Values.

What is the Schedule of Values, and can I get a copy?

The Schedule of Values (SOV) is a manual providing rates, value ranges, and guidelines for appraising property. The same standards are applied to all property in the County to keep values equitable. Every four years, a new SOV is prepared by the Department of Tax Administration and approved by the Board of Commissioners. All changes and improvements to property between January 1, 2020 and the next General Reappraisal will be appraised according to this manual. It is available online as a .pdf file here: SOV

What determines my tax bill?

Your property tax bill is made up of two parts - the assessed value and the tax rate. They are multiplied to get the dollar amount owed. For example, if a house has an assessed value of $250,000 and the current tax rate is 53.4 cents per $100 of value, the tax amount would be $1,335.00 ($250,000 x .00534).

What does "revenue-neutral" mean? Will my tax bill stay the same?

The term "revenue-neutral" is often misunderstood. It is a budget term that means revenue brought in by property taxes in a revaluation year would be about the same as if the revaluation had not taken place. It does not mean that any particular tax bill will be the same as the previous year.

When is the tax rate set?

The tax rate is set by elected officials in the annual budget. The Wake County budget process, like that of many municipalities, begins in May. Public input is encouraged before the budget is adopted, typically in late June. Wake County and its municipalities operate on a July 1 - June 30 fiscal year, so the tax rate that will apply to your new property value will be set in Spring and will go into effect July 1.

Are there any discounts for senior citizens, veterans, or taxpayers with disabilities?

Yes! Please visit Tax Relief Programs for information on tax relief programs.

Can I appeal my value?

All property owners have the right to appeal the appraised value of their property. If you believe the value does not reflect fair market value and have information to support your position, or you can document damage or factors that may influence the value, you may want to consider an appeal. An appeal will not be effective if you think your value is accurate but the taxes are too high. The appeals process pertains only to the appraised value.

I agree with my new appraised value. Do I need to do anything?

No action is required if you agree with your appraised value. You can expect your first tax bill calculated using this value in July.

How can I find out what my value was before the reappraisal?

Use the Wake County Tax Administration Portal to search for your property, then click the button labeled "Previous Values."

What if the County has incorrect information about my house?

You should file an appeal. State what the error is and include relevant documentation. Depending on the nature of the error, one of our appraisers may need to visit your home. You will be contacted if that is the case.

The photo of my house is wrong. Does that mean the value is wrong?

Your value is based on the building sketch and property data collected by our appraisers during a past visit to your property. Photos are taken by a contractor at a later date and are not used to determine value. If the photo on your record is not of your house, you can contact us at taxhelp@wakegov.com and let us know to remove it. A new picture will be taken the following year. If the picture is of a house you recognize, we can move it to the correct record.

How do I know what my house would sell for?

If you are uncertain of your property's value, you can review recent sales in your neighborhood online using the Wake County Tax Administration Portal. Click the button labeled "Research Sales" and enter your Real Estate ID #, then click View 2018-2019 sales. This will show you sales in your neighborhood in the two years leading up to January 1, 2020. Because all properties will continue to be appraised based on the market January 1, 2020 until the next General Reappraisal, these are the sales that are most relevant in determining your value for tax purposes.

I just bought my house. Should the value match what I paid for it?

Properties are assessed at fair market value, which means the most probable price a property would bring in a competitive and open market. This assumes the buyer and seller are both knowledgeable and not under any compulsion to complete the transaction. Sales through foreclosure, short sales, and transactions between family members or related corporations are examples of sales that are not "fair market." Different buyers may be willing to pay slightly more or less for the same home, so your value may not match exactly. If you bought your house after January 1, 2020, there may be a difference in value due to appreciation or depreciation in the market for that neighborhood.

Is there a fee to file an appeal?

Wake County does not charge a fee for requesting a review or appealing your value at any level

Do I need to hire an attorney?

No, you may represent yourself for any property you own. If someone other than yourself or an attorney licensed to practice in North Carolina is filing an appeal, they must provide proof of Power of Attorney. If you have a unique legal situation, you may wish to contact an attorney for advice.

Do I need to pay for a formal appraisal?

For most taxpayers, comparable sales of homes in your neighborhood will be sufficient evidence of value. If your property has an unusual quality that influences its value, or you don't feel you can collect adequate information, you may want to request assistance from a professional appraiser or realtor. If you choose to hire an appraiser, be sure to request an effective date of January 1, 2020, not the current date.

Do I have to supply comparable sales?

Most taxpayers appealing residential values will want to provide comparable sales ("comps"). If there are unique circumstances pertaining to your home, other documentation may be more relevant. Examples would include a house with extensive damage (beyond normal wear and tear), or a vacant lot that does not perk.

What if there are no sales comparable to my property?

Comparable sales do not have to match your property exactly. Make note of how each home that sold is different and what makes it more or less desirable than your own; that will help you determine whether your home might have sold for more or less. If there are not many sales in your own neighborhood, you may need to look for sales in another neighborhood nearby. Look for one that has homes of similar age, style, and quality.

My property is valued fairly, but I think taxes are too high.

An appeal will not help you with this situation. Property values are determined through the appraisal process, but the elected officials set tax rates as part of their annual budget. The best thing to do if you disagree with the tax rate is to attend public hearings held by the governmental groups that set tax rates; each invites public comment. The Wake County Board of Commissioners holds budget sessions in May and June before adopting the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. If you also live within city/town limits, check with your municipality about its budget schedule.

Can I talk to an appraiser?

You are welcome to call, visit our office, or set up an appointment if you think your situation is easier to describe in person or if you have questions about the appeal process. Please keep in mind that appraisers will not give decisions or change values on the spot. Please see the Contact Us link for our phone, email, and location information.

How can I appeal my value?

A request for appeal can be filed online using the Wake County Tax Administration Portal or in writing. Submissions may be hand-delivered. Please be sure to keep a copy for your records.

What is the Board of Equalization and Review (BOE)?

The BOE is a special board appointed by the County Commissioners. It consists of Wake County residents with knowledge of the local commercial and residential real estate market. All appeals to the BOE will have a hearing scheduled.

What is the difference between a BOE appeal and an informal review?

An informal review is performed by an appraiser in our office who also decides the result. The result of a BOE appeal is decided by the Board of Equalization at a hearing. They will consider both information submitted by the appellant and the opinion of the County appraiser when making a decision.

What is the Tax Committee?

The Tax Committee was established to review and make recommendations for taxpayer requests involving value adjustments, late-filed applications, and listing penalties. It consists of County and City administrators. A property owner is only eligible for an appeal to the Tax Committee if their value changes after the Board of Equalization has adjourned for the year AND an informal review has not resolved their concern. Tax Committee appeals can not be filed online; the appraiser conducting the informal review will explain that process.

Do I have to use the Department of Tax Administration's form if I'm not using the online system?

You are not required to use the form, however it is strongly recommended. The questions on the form cover the information that is most helpful to our appraisers in reviewing your value. If there is not enough room on the form to describe your situation, you can include additional pages or a cover letter. You are encouraged to provide as much supporting documentation as possible.

Does it matter if I use the online system or the paper form?

No. Both methods ask for the same information and are given the same consideration.

What is the deadline to appeal?

It is requested that appeals be filed within 30 days of the date on the Notice of Appraised Value. This will give appraisal staff time to work with property owners in resolving their concerns prior to the Board of Equalization and Review convening. The absolute last day to file an appeal to the BOE is April 14, 2021; the day the 2021 Board of Equalization and Review adjourns.

What supporting documents will I need?

You are trying to prove that the value you are requesting is more in line with the market than our appraised value, therefore your documentation will depend on why you think our value is wrong. For most appeals, a list of comparable sales or a recent appraisal will be sufficient. Other common documents include estimates for repairs and photos of damage, survey maps, and income/expense data or rent rolls.

Do I have to provide documentation?

You are not required to provide supporting documentation, but should keep in mind that our values are presumed to be correct. Just writing "too high" or "too low" will not give the appraiser anything to go on. You should be able to state why you think a value is incorrect.

What if I don't have time to collect all my documentation before the deadline?

You may indicate in your application that you will be submitting additional information. We ask that you have all documents to us within 30 days of filing. If you are using the Wake County Tax Administration Portal to file online, you will be able to print a cover sheet to attach to any documents you send separately. The absolute last day to file an appeal is April 14, 2021; the day the 2021 Board of Equalization and Review adjourns.

What if I am appealing the value of more than one parcel?

A separate application must be filed for each parcel.

Will I have a hearing?

Hearings are not scheduled for informal reviews, which are decided by our appraisers. If you would like, you may call or schedule an appointment to speak to an appraiser. Appeals to the Board of Equalization & Review may include a hearing.

Do I have to be present at my BOE hearing?

You are not required to attend your hearing. The Board will be presented with a copy of your appeal and supporting documents, along with information submitted by a County appraiser, and will review this information even if you do not appear in person.

What happens at a BOE hearing? Do I have to bring anything?

You are not required to bring anything. The Board members will each be provided with a copy of your appeal and any supporting documentation you have already provided, along with information submitted by a County appraiser. The County will have a projector available to display property records, maps, and other visuals. You will be called in at the appointed time to present your case to the Board members. They may ask follow-up questions as needed. Decisions are made after the hearing, not during, and you will receive a letter in the mail notifying you of the outcome.

How will I be notified of the decision?

For each level of appeal, you will receive a decision letter in the mail. You should allow about 90 days for a decision on an informal review, but please keep in mind that requests are not reviewed in the order in which they are received. Decision letters for BOE appeals are mailed approximately 30 days after the hearing date.

What if I disagree with the decision?

All result letters contain instructions on how to proceed if you disagree with the decision. If you disagree with the outcome of a BOE appeal, you may appeal to the North Carolina Property Tax Commission within 30 days of the date of the decision letter. There is no fee to file an appeal at any level.

How do online appeals work?

The online appeals system will walk you through the process step-by-step, asking some basic questions that will help in reviewing your value. These are the same questions that appear on the paper applications. You will have the opportunity to research and attach comparable sales to your appeal, and upload supporting documents.

What information should I have before I begin an online appeal?

You will need the Access Code printed on your Notice of Appraised Value or your Informal Review Decision Letter. You will also want to have considered your basis for appeal and collected your supporting documentation. If your supporting documentation will include comparable sales or comparably assessed properties, you will want to do this research first.

Can I save my appeal and complete it later?

No, the Wake County Tax Administration Portal does not save work in progress. The questions asked by the online system are the same as the ones on the Notice of Appraised Value you received. Please be sure you are ready to answer those questions before you begin your online appeal, and that you have any supporting documents ready to upload.

What if I have documentation that can't be scanned or uploaded?

You may indicate in your application that you will be submitting additional information. Once you have successfully submitted your online appeal, you will be able to print a cover sheet to attach to any documents you send separately.

How do I know if my online appeal was submitted successfully?

You should see a confirmation screen displayed and will be able to print a copy of your completed application in PDF format.

What if I want to make changes to my appeal after I submit it?

Once your application is received, you cannot make changes through the Wake County Tax Administration Portal. You may contact us by phone or email; please see the Contact Us link at the top of your screen. If you filed online, you can use the Portal to create a Mail Document form to include with items sent through the mail.

I am having technical problems using the Taxpayer Portal. What are the system requirements?

Please click the link for Site Help at the top of the screen to review technical requirements and user guides.

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

Please see the Contact Us link at the top of your screen for our phone, email, and location information.