The assessor and its deputies are directed by West Virginia Constitution, Article X, Section I, to determine the value of all real and personal property at fair market value for each tax year. The specific duties of the assessor are to discover, list, and value all Real and Personal property within the boundaries of the county on an annual basis. All valuation work must occur on a fiscal year basis commencing on the first day of July. On June 30th of the following year, the collection year ends and the books close.
Your assessor does not set your property tax. Your tax bill is determined by multiplying a tax rate against your assessed value (60% of market value). Remember that the assessor determines your assessed value, and the legislature (for the board of education), the county commission, and the municipalities determine the levy rate. Levy rate information is prepared for your convenience and may be obtained in the assessor’s office.
The position that the assessor’s office occupies in relation to the taxes collected is one of providing a value to each levying body. Once this is completed, the levying bodies, i.e. county school board, county commission, etc., approve their levies. It is at this point in the process that taxes are determined. Levy rates may rise or fall depending on the amount of funding that each levying body requires but are regulated by constitutional provisions.
The property tax process has three major components:
- Assessor – establishes a fair market value for all real and personal property and communicates it to the levying bodies.
- Levying Bodies – i.e. West Virginia Legislature, Board of Education, Elizabeth Town Council, and the Wirt County Commission all provide the components that make up the total levy rate applied to the values.
- Sheriff – mails all statements, collects all money except for dog taxes, and disperses to each levying body its portion of the total levy.
65 percent of all property taxes collected go to support the public school system. The remainder of the taxes collected are shared by the County, Towns and State of West Virginia.