West Virginia Property Tax Codes

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§11-6B-1 | §11A-1-1 | §11-3-9 | §7-7-6d | §11-3-24 | §11-3-24a


§11-1-1 et. seq.

Tax Commissioner Chief Executive Office of Department appointed by Governor.

General Duties and powers:

  • To see the laws concerning assessment and collection of taxes are faithfully enforced.
  • Visit, from time-to-time, county officials and confer with them respecting work for the future.
  • Attend meetings of the Board of Public Works when considering matters of assessment or revenue and assist Board in making assessments.
  • Compile reports and revenue statistics.
  • Provide forms and instructions to county assessors.
W. Va. Code § 11-1A and 11-1B

§11-1C-1 et. seq.

Reappraisal of property in three year cycles.
All property to be assessed at 60% of market value by Tax Year 1994.
Appraisals to be maintained on an annual basis each year thereafter.

Assessors to appraise:
  • Residential Real & Personal Property
  • Commercial Real & Personal Property
  • Farm Real & Personal Property
Tax Commissioner to appraise:
  • Industrial Real & Personal Property
  • Natural Resources Real & Personal Property

Board of Public Works to appraise & assess:

  • Public Service Business Real & Personal Property
Create Property Valuation Training & Procedures Commission (PVC)
Required training for county personnel.

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§11-2-1 et. seq.

"Each county in this State shall constitute one assessment district and shall elect one assessor,...."

Assessors shall select deputies, assistants, and other employees.

Assessor to apportion work among deputies equally.

Assessor to review and revise work of deputies to ensure equal and uniform assessments.

Assessor required to value property according to the rule prescribed by law.

There shall be an annual meeting of the assessors.

Deputies assess property of assessor and assessor assesses property of deputies.

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§11-3-1 et.seq.

All property to be assessed annually as of July 1st at its true and actual value.

Farms to be valued by giving consideration to the income the property may be expected to earn in its locality.

The taxes are to be paid by the owner on July 1st whether assessed to them or to others.

Recordation of a plan or plat not to be used by assessor for valuation purposes until such time as the actual use of the property has changed.

Assessor to canvas taxpayers to obtain a list of property to be assessed.

Assessment work to be completed by 30th of January.

Taxpayer to receive notice of increase in real property assessment where the increase is more than 10%.

Property omitted from books for period less than 5 years is to be entered and assessed on the current books.

Supplemental assessment can now be made on all Personal Property.

Who is deemed owner:

  • Real property owner is the person who, by himself or his tenants, has the freehold in his possession.
  • Person who has made a mortgage or trust deed is deemed owner until mortgagee or trustee takes possession.

Certain property is exempt from taxation (see W. Va. Code § 11-3-9 and Title 110 Series 3 Legislative Rules).

Failure to list property:

  • Refuse to answer or falsely answer questions fine of $25 to $1000.
  • Failure to return a true list of forfeiture of 1% of value, thus not returned.

Assessor to use best information available to assess property.

Corporate property to be returned on or before October 1st.

Assessment of property of banks formerly limited to stock and realty.

Property books to be completed and submitted to Board of Review and Equalization no later than February 1st.

After copies of the property books are delivered to Board of Review, they may not be altered except on action of Board of Review or court order on appeal.

Board of Reviews:

  • Meeting annually no later than February 1st.
  • Shall not adjourn for more than 3 days at a time.
  • Shall not adjourn sine die before the 15th of February.
  • Shall not remain in session for a period longer than 28 days.
  • First meeting assessor delivers books.
  • Assessor and assistants are to assist in connection to value of property.
  • Board to correct errors in books except in matters of classification or taxability.

Classification of Taxability Issues:

  • Taxpayer files objection in writing to assessor
  • Assessor sustains and makes correction or states in writing, if requested, reason for refusal.
  • Assessor may, and if taxpayer requests, assessor shall certify question to Tax Commissioner.
  • Commissioner must rule on matter by 28th day of February.
  • Ruling binding on both parties and appeal able to Circuit Court.

Errors of clerical nature as opposed to an error in judgment may be corrected on appeal to County Commission.

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§ 11-4-1 et. seq.

In making out land book, copy of last year's books to be used where proper.

Clerk to provide transfer list by 10th day of following month.

Land and building assessed separately.

New building must be complete before assessed on real books. (Materials in same, until completion, may be assessed on personal property books).

Land in more than one county:

  • 1,000 acres or less to be assessed in county where greater part of value lies.
  • More than 1,000 acres assessed in county in which any part is located.

Owners of contiguous tracts of land in same district may, upon petition and order of county commission, have tracts consolidated.

Segregation of a tract or lot permissible upon order of County Commission for purposes of classification.

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§ 11-3-2a.

Notice of increased assessment required exceptions to notice.

(a) If the assessor determines the assessed valuation of any item of real property is more than ten percent greater than the valuation assessed for that item in the last tax year, the increase is one thousand dollars or more and the increase is entered in the property books as provided in section nineteen of this article, the assessor shall give notice of the increase to the person assessed or the person controlling the property as provided in section two of this article. The notice shall be given at least fifteen days prior to the first meeting in February at which the county commission meets as the board of equalization and review for that tax year and advise the person assessed or the person controlling the property of his or her right to appear and seek an adjustment in the assessment. (Emphasis added)

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§ 11-5-1 et. seq.

What personal property is taxable:
  • All personal property belonging to persons residing in this State.
  • All personal property in the State.
  • Personal property belonging to persons residing in this State permanently located in another state and by laws of other state subject to taxation and actually taxed not required to be taxed.
Personal property to be listed in district where located on July 1st (chattels real where land located). Intangibles to be listed in tax district where owner resides. Household furniture not required to be listed. Mobile homes occupied for residential purposes by owner on land not owned by owner of mobile home is Class II property.
Freeport Amendment:
  • Tangible personal property moving in interstate commerce through or over the State or, tangible personal property consigned from a point of origin outside the State, to a warehouse within the State, for a destination outside the State shall not have acquired sites in West Virginia.
  • Not applicable if business activity results in a new or different product or one of different utility or,
  • Not applicable to inventories of natural resources.
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§ 11-6-1 et. seq.

Required that Board of Public Works is to assess property of public services businesses.

Public Service Businesses:

  • Airlines (regional), bridge, bus, electric, gas, railroad, telephone, pipeline, carline, water & sewer, and underground gas storage.
  • Non-operating real estate of Public Service Businesses is to be assessed by the county assessor.

Assessment Sequence:

  • Return filed with Tax Department due each May 1st covering the calendar year next preceding the return due date.
  • Notice of tentative assessments provided Board of Public Works and taxpayer on or before September 15th.
  • Board sets date, time and place for a hearing on tentative assessments.
  • State Auditor distributes value to counties and municipalities and notifies county clerk of assessment distributions.
  • State Auditor applies local levy rates to distributed values and determines tax bill to mail by 15th of July.
  • 1st half of taxes due September 1st and 2nd half due March1st as with county administered taxes.
  • Appeal to valuation is to Circuit Court in county wherein the greater part of value is located.
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§ 11-6B-1 et. seq.

Exempts the 1st $20,000 of assessed value of a homestead used and occupied by owner exclusively for residential purposes when:

  1. Owner is sixty-five (65) years of age or older or,
  2. Owner is certified as being permanently and totally disabled.

Provided the owner has been or will be a resident of the State for two (2) consecutive calendar years preceding the tax year to which the exemption relates.

Definitions:

  • Owner - a person who is in possession of the homestead whether in fee or for life.
  • Sixty-five (65) years of age or older - a person who attains the age of sixty-five (65) on or before June 30th following the July 1st assessment date.
  • Permanently and totally disabled - a person who is unable to engage in any substantially gainful activity because of a medically determined physical or mental condition expected to result in death or lasting for no less than a period of twelve (12) months.
  • Used and occupied exclusively for residential purposes - property is used as an abode, dwelling or habitat for more than six (6) consecutive months of the calendar year prior to the date of application by the owner (December 1st).
  • Resident of this State - an individual who is domiciled in this State for more than six (6) months of the calendar year.

Process:

  • Claim filed on or before December 1st.
  • Assessor reviews claim and if denied must, no later than January 1st, provide in writing reasons for denial along with a form for filing an appeal with the County Commission.
  • Claimant may appeal to County Commission within thirty (30) days of receipt of written notice.
  • Commission must rule as soon as practicable after receipt of appeal, but in no event later than the 28th day of February.
  • County Commission decision appeal able to Circuit Court.
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§ 11A-1-1 et. seq.

Lien attached to property on July 1st assessment date. Taxes may be paid in two installments.
  • 1st installment payable on September 1st and becomes delinquent on October 1st.
  • 2nd installment due on March 1st and becomes delinquent on April 1st.
Taxes are to be billed and collected by sheriff and collection shall commence on July 15th.
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§11-3-9. Property exempt from taxation.

(a) All property, real and personal, described in this subsection, and to the extent herein limited, is exempt from taxation:
  1. Property belonging to the United States, other than property permitted by the United States to be taxed under state law;
  2. Property belonging exclusively to the state;
  3. Property belonging exclusively to any county, district, city, village or town in this state and used for public purposes;
  4. Property located in this state belonging to any city, town, village, county or any other political subdivision of another state and used for public purposes;
  5. Property used exclusively for divine worship;
  6. Parsonages and the household goods and furniture pertaining thereto;
  7. Mortgages, bonds and other evidence of indebtedness in the hands of bona fide owners and holders hereafter issued and sold by churches and religious societies for the purposes of securing money to be used in the erection of church buildings used exclusively for divine worship or for the purpose of paying indebtedness thereon;
  8. Cemeteries;
  9. Property belonging to, or held in trust for, colleges, seminaries, academies and free schools, if used for educational, literary or scientific purposes, including books, apparatus, annuities and furniture;
  10. Property belonging to, or held in trust for, colleges or universities located in West Virginia, or any public or private nonprofit foundation or corporation which receives contributions exclusively for such college or university, if the property or dividends, interest, rents or royalties derived there from are used or devoted to educational purposes of such college or university;
  11. Public and family libraries;
  12. ) Property used for charitable purposes and not held or leased out for profit;
  13. Property used for the public purposes of distributing water or natural gas or providing sewer service by a duly chartered nonprofit corporation when such property is not held, leased out or used for profit;
  14. Property used for area economic development purposes by nonprofit corporations when such property is not leased out for profit;
  15. All real estate not exceeding one acre in extent, and the buildings thereon, used exclusively by any college or university society as a literary hall, or as a dormitory or clubroom, if not used with a view to profit, including, but not limited to, property owned by a fraternity or sorority organization affiliated with a university or college, or property owned by a nonprofit housing corporation or similar entity on behalf of a fraternity or sorority organization affiliated with a university or college, when the property is used as residential accommodations or as a dormitory for members of the organization;
  16. All property belonging to benevolent associations not conducted for private profit;
  17. Property belonging to any public institution for the education of the deaf, dumb or blind or any hospital not held or leased out for profit;
  18. Houses of refuge and mental health facility or orphanage;
  19. Homes for children or for the aged, friendless or infirm not conducted for private profit;
  20. Fire engines and implements for extinguishing fires, and property used exclusively for the safekeeping thereof, and for the meeting of fire companies;
  21. All property on hand to be used in the subsistence of livestock on hand at the commencement of the assessment year;
  22. Household goods to the value of two hundred dollars, whether or not held or used for profit;
  23. Bank deposits and money;
  24. Household goods, which for purposes of this section means only personal property and household goods commonly found within the house and items used to care for the house and its surrounding property, when not held or used for profit;
  25. (25) Personal effects, which for purposes of this section means only articles and items of personal property commonly worn on or about the human body, or carried by a person and normally thought to be associated with the person when not held or used for profit;
  26. Dead victuals laid away for family use;
  27. All property belonging to the state, any county, district, city, village, town or other political subdivision, or any state college or university which is subject to a lease purchase agreement and which provides that, during the term of the lease purchase agreement, title to the leased property rests in the lessee so long as lessee is not in default or shall not have terminated the lease as to the property;
  28. Personal property, including vehicles that qualify for a farm use exemption certificate pursuant to section two, article three, chapter seventeen-a of this code and livestock, employed exclusively in agriculture, as defined in article ten, section one of the West Virginia Constitution: Provided, That this exemption shall only apply in the case of such personal property used on a farm or farming operation that annually produces for sale agricultural products, as defined in rules of the Tax Commissioner; and
  29. Any other property or security exempted by any other provision of law.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection(a) of this section, no property is exempt from taxation which has been purchased or procured for the purpose of evading taxation whether temporarily holding the same over the first day of the assessment year or otherwise.

(c) Real property which is exempt from taxation by subsection (a) of this section shall be entered upon the assessor's books, together with the true and actual value thereof, but no taxes may be levied upon the property or extended upon the assessor's books.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, this section does not exempt from taxation any property owned by, or held in trust for, educational, literary, scientific, religious or other charitable corporations or organizations, including any public or private nonprofit foundation or corporation existing for the support of any college or university located in West Virginia, unless such property, or the dividends, interest, rents or royalties derived therefrom, is used primarily and immediately for the purposes of the corporations or organizations.

(e) The Tax Commissioner shall, by issuance of rules, provide each assessor with guidelines to ensure uniform assessment practices statewide to effect the intent of this section.

(f) Inasmuch as there is litigation pending regarding application of this section to property held by fraternities and sororities, amendments to this section enacted in the year one thousand nine hundred ninety-eight shall apply to all cases and controversies pending on the date of such enactment.

(g) The amendment to subdivision (27), subsection (a) of this section, passed during the two thousand five regular session of the Legislature, shall apply to all applicable lease purchase agreements in existence upon the effective date of the amendment.

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§11-3-24. Review and equalization by county commission.

The county commission shall annually, not later than the first day of February, meet for the purpose of reviewing and equalizing the assessment made by the assessor. It shall not adjourn for longer than three days at a time until this work is completed, and shall not remain in session for a longer period than twenty-eight days and shall not adjourn sine die before the fifteenth day of February. At the first meeting, the assessor shall submit the property books for the current year, which shall be complete in every particular, except that the levies shall not be extended. The assessor and his assistants shall attend and render every assistance possible in connection with the value of property assessed by them. The commission shall proceed to examine and review the property books, and shall add on the books the names of persons, the value of personal property and the description and value of real estate liable to assessment which was omitted by the assessor. They shall correct all errors in the names of persons, in the description and valuation of property, and they shall cause to be done whatever else may be necessary to make the valuation comply with the provisions of this chapter. But in no case shall any question of classification or taxability be considered or reviewed.

If the commission determine that any property or interest is assessed at more or less than its true and actual value, it shall fix it at the true and actual value. But no assessment shall be increased without giving the property owner at least five days' notice, in writing, and signed by the president of the commission, of the intention to make the increase. Service upon the property owner shall be sufficient, or upon his agent or attorney in person, or if sent by registered mail to such property owner, his agent, or attorney, at the last known place of abode. If he be not found and have no known place of abode, then notice shall be given by publication thereof as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the county. The date of the publication shall be at least five days prior to the increase. When it is desired to increase the entire valuation in any one district by a general increase, notice shall be given by publication thereof as a Class II-O legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the county. The date of the last publication shall be at least five days prior to the increase in valuation. When an increase is made, the same valuation shall not again be changed unless notice is again given as heretofore provided. The clerk of the county commission shall publish notice of the time, place and general purpose of the meeting as a Class II legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the county involved. The expense of publication shall be paid out of the county treasury.

If any person fails to apply for relief at this meeting, he shall have waived his right to ask for correction in his assessment list for the current year, and shall not thereafter be permitted to question the correctness of his list as finally fixed by the county commission, except on appeal to the circuit court. After the county commission completes the review and equalization of the property books, a majority of the commission shall sign a statement that it is the completed assessment of the county for the year; then the property books shall be delivered to the assessor and the levies extended as provided by law.

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11-3-24a. Protest to assessor; appeal to circuit court.

At any time after property is returned for taxation and up to and including the time the property books are before the county court for equalization and review, any taxpayer may apply to the assessor for information regarding the classification and taxability of his property. In case the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the classification of property assessed to him or believes that such property is exempt or otherwise not subject to taxation, he shall file his objections in writing with the assessor. The assessor shall decide the question by either sustaining the protest and making proper corrections, or by stating, in writing if requested, the reasons for his refusal. The assessor may, and if the taxpayer requests, the assessor shall, certify the question to the state tax commissioner in a statement sworn to by both parties, or if the parties are unable to agree, in separate sworn statements, giving a full description of the property and any other information which the tax commissioner may require.


The tax commissioner shall, as soon as possible on receipt of the question, but in no case later than February twenty-eighth of the assessment year, instruct the assessor as to how the property shall be treated. The instructions issued and forwarded by mail to the assessor shall be binding upon him, but either the assessor or the taxpayer may apply to the circuit court of the county for the review of the question of classification and taxability in the same fashion as is provided for appeals from the county court in section twenty-five of this article. The tax commissioner shall prescribe forms on which the aforesaid questions shall be certified and he shall have the authority to pursue any inquiry and procure any information which may be necessary for the disposition of the issue.

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§7-7-6d. Collection of head tax on dogs; duties of assessor and sheriff; registration of dogs; disposition of head tax; taxes on dogs not collected by assessor.

It shall be the duty of the county assessor and his deputies of each county within the state, at the time they are making assessment of the personal property within such county, to assess and collect a head tax of one dollar on each male or spayed female dog and of two dollars on each unspayed female dog; and in addition to the above, the assessor and his deputies shall have the further duty of collecting any such head tax on dogs as may be levied by the ordinances of each and every municipality within the county. In the event that the owner, keeper, or person having in his possession or allowing to remain on any premises under his control any dog above the age of six months, shall refuse or fail to pay such tax, when the same is assessed or within fifteen days thereafter, to the assessor or deputy assessor, then such assessor or deputy assessor shall certify such tax to the county dog warden; if there be no county dog warden he shall certify such tax to the county sheriff, who shall take charge of the dog for which the tax is delinquent and impound the same for a period of fifteen days, for which service he shall be allowed a fee of one dollar and fifty cents to be charged against such delinquent taxpayer in addition to the taxes herein provided for. In case the tax and impounding charge herein provided for shall not have been paid within the period of fifteen days, then the sheriff may sell the impounded dog and deduct the impounding charge and the delinquent tax from the amount received therefor, and return the balance, if any, to the delinquent taxpayer. Should the sheriff fail to sell the dog so impounded within the time specified herein, he shall kill such dog and dispose of its body.


At the same time as the head tax is assessed, the assessor and his deputies shall, on the forms prescribed under section four, article twenty, chapter nineteen of this code, take down the age, sex, color, character of hair (long or short) and breed (if known) and the name and address of the owner, keeper or harborer thereof. When the head tax, and extra charges, if any, are paid, the officer to whom payment is made shall issue a certificate of registration and a registration tag for such dog.
In addition to the assessment and registration above provided for, whenever a dog either is acquired or becomes six months of age after the assessment of the personal property of the owner, keeper or harborer thereof, the said owner, keeper or harborer of said dog shall, within ten days after the acquisition or maturation, register the said dog with the assessor, and pay the head tax thereon unless the prior owner, keeper or harborer paid the head tax.


All certificates of registration and registration tags issued pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be issued for the fiscal year and shall be valid from the date on which issued until the thirtieth day of June of that fiscal year, or until reissued by the assessor or his deputy in the regular performance of his duties, but in no case shall previous registration tags be valid after September thirtieth of the next ensuing fiscal year.


The assessor collecting the head tax on dogs shall be allowed a commission of ten percent upon all such taxes collected by him and shall turn in to the county treasurer ninety percent of such taxes so collected, as are levied by this section; and the assessor shall turn over to the treasurer or other proper officer of each and every municipality within the county ninety percent of such taxes levied by the ordinances of such municipality. All such dog taxes, except those belonging to municipalities, shall be accredited to the dog and kennel fund provided for in section ten, article twenty, chapter nineteen of this code. Such dog taxes as are collected for and turned over to municipalities shall be deposited by the proper officer of such municipality to such fund and shall be expended in such manner as the law of such municipality may provide. All taxes on dogs not collected by the assessor shall be collected by the regular tax collecting officer of the county and placed to the credit of the dog and kennel fund.

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