Tax assessor’s office re-determining property values

Published 1:26 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The revaluation of Beaufort County is in full swing, and appraisers are putting eyes on every property in the county.

The revaluation is the work of the Beaufort County Tax Assessor’s Office, and it’s how the county determines how much a property is worth, as well as how much property taxes are owed each year on a property.

Preparation for the revaluation began in April; as of last week, appraisers had visited 77 percent of the properties in the county, according to Bill Putney, project supervisor with Pearson’s Appraisal Service. Pearson’s is contracted by the county to amass all the data, study the real estate market and determine market value.

“We do field work; go out and look at properties with maps; look at houses and see if any changes have been made—piers, porches,” Putney said.

State law requires that property be revaluated at 100-percent market value every eight years. The process also requires that property be reappraised to make sure there is uniformity in property values: so that like properties within a certain jurisdiction, such as a neighborhood, have like values.

“For the record, revaluing of property is not intended to raise revenues: instead, its purpose is to value all properties by the same standard at the same point in time,” a Beaufort County Tax Assessor’s Office brochure reads.

Beaufort County’s last revaluation went into effect in 2010, meaning appraisals were based on 2009 property sales. At the time, the local real estate market was at a high, and was just starting to feel the results of the 2008 downtown in the economy. Since, property generally has been selling below the 2010 reappraisal numbers, according to Putney.

“As a whole, the county in 8 to 12 percent above what they sell for, so they’re overvalued,” Putney said. “But that’s not every house.”

The 2018 revaluation won’t necessarily mean a decreased appraisal value, and property tax, even though some Beaufort County properties are overvalued, said Beaufort County Tax Assessor Bobby Parker. Since a revaluation is based on the year before it is put in place, it won’t be made clear how the revaluation will affect individual property taxes until the latter part of 2017.

Parker said farmland and the average residence could stay the same, and there may be a dip in waterfront property, but until 2017, his office won’t know for sure.

Parker said people often have questions about revaluation, and his office is always will to answer them. In the past, representatives from the county tax office have addressed civic organizations, and Parker is offering the same service with the 2018 revaluaton in process.

“We’re glad to share the information with anybody who’d like to give us a call and we’ll arrange a time,” Parker said.

Once the revaluation goes into effect, property owners have three opportunities to appeal any change in property value.

“The first is the informal appeals process,” Putney said. “Our people will meet with them, then they’ll get a notice if it’s changed.”

If not, a property owner can appeal with the county Board of Equalization. A third, and final, option would be to appeal at the state level, with the Property Tax Commission.

The revaluation will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. Parker said notices would be sent out that month. For more information about the property revaluation, call the Beaufort County Assessor’s Office at 252-946-2511.