FAQs About the Revaluation Process
The Revaluation Process
Q: What is revaluation?
A: Revaluation is a process where all property (land and buildings) within a taxing jurisdiction is revalued, so that the assessment represents the current market value as of an effect date. The City of Lynchburg revalues every two years which is required by the Code of Virginia §58.1-3250. 2023 is a revaluation year.
Q: How are properties valued?
A: All property (residential, commercial, industrial, multi-family) is visited and on a regular cycle (every five years) to ensure the accuracy of characteristics on record for the property.
- Compare similar property sales (Comparable Sales Approach)
- Consider improvements or changes that have been made to the property.
- Consider market rents, operating expenses and market rates of return on income producing properties. (Income Approach)
- Develop the cost to replace the sticks and bricks (replacement cost) less depreciation plus land value. (Cost Approach)
Q: Why does the State Code require a revaluation on a regular basis?
A: Property taxes are based on property values. Property values change based on the dynamics of market activity (sales) and the overall condition/maintenance of each individual property. Without periodic revaluations, some property owners would pay more than their fair share of property tax while others would pay less. Revaluations reset property tax values to their current market value so that the property tax burden is spread fairly among all taxpayers according to their current values.
Q: What is Market Value?
A: It is best described as the most typical price expressed in terms of dollars that a property would bring if exposed for sale to the open market in an arm’s length transaction between a willing buyer and seller; where both are knowledgeable about the potential uses, and neither party is under any duress to sell or buy. The assessor’s office verifies each sale to ensure it represents market value.
Q: How does revaluation affect my taxes?
A: Revaluation and taxation are separate. Revaluation determines the market value. The Lynchburg City Council determines tax rates during the annual budget process in late spring. The value of your property combined with the tax rate determines your property tax bill. The effective date of the valuation is July 1st which coincides with the City’s fiscal year.
Q: Who assesses my property? How are they trained?
The City of Lynchburg has a full-time staff that values all real estate in the City. Staff is trained in mass appraisal techniques. The Virginia Association of Assessing Officers, VA Department of Taxation and International Association of Assessing Officers hold regular training sessions throughout the year that staff attend to stay up to date on valuation techniques.
Property Information and Values
Q: When will I get my Notice of 2023 Real Estate Assessed Value?
A: It will be mailed to property owners around February 27th 2023. Values will also be available on-line here. The deadline for Administrative Reviews is March 31st.
Q: How can I find my property information?
A: Look up your real property data here. Enter your parcel number, your full name or the address printed on your Notice of Real Estate Assessed Value. When the result appears, select your property to review the information we have on file. If you notice any of this information is incorrect, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 434-455-3830.
Q: What do I do if I feel like my property value is too high or too low?
A: If you feel that your property value is too high or too low, now is the time to communicate with the City of Lynchburg Assessor’s Office. Contact the office by filing an Administrative Review Request Form either by mail or electronically at https://www.lynchburgva.gov/forms. Our mailing address is noted on the form that will be included in your assessment notice.
Q: Why isn’t the "Deferred Amount" for land use or real estate rehab credits noted on the Notice of 2023 Real Estate Assessed Value?
A: The Code of Virginia mandates the layout of the notice, but no provision was made to show deferral amounts. The "Deferred Amount" can be found for your property on Parcel Viewer.
Q: What if my house was still under construction on July 1, 2023?
A: Your property value will be adjusted based on what was completed as of July 1, 2023. This method also applies to new additions to existing buildings, outbuildings and detached structures. All improvements started after July 1, 2023 will be valued using the same method.
Q: Can property values change before the next revaluation?
A: Yes, the assessed value could change if new construction, additions or a zoning change occurs. When this happens, market value is adjusted using the rates developed for the most recent year. For example, if a house is built in 2024 on a lot that was vacant in 2023, the new house and lot will be appraised using 2023 market valuation method.
Q: How can my property value change when I haven’t done anything to my property?
A: The market is dynamic with costs and values changing based on this activity. For example, if the cost of new construction is going up dramatically, it may affect the value of your property due to the law of substitution. This means that buyers compare the cost of a new home and looking at an older home like yours; which has a similar size and function, they may be willing to pay more for it in comparison to higher cost of the new home.
Q: Why do some properties increase more in value than others?
A: Again, the buyer is looking at the laws of substitution, as noted in previous question and the preferences of buyers change over time. The aqua green bath went out of style, so unless you updated your home to current market tastes, your home will bring less in todays market. Also, much of the variation in prices is due to property maintenance. Buyers will pay more for homes that have been properly maintained; than those needed work due to deferred maintenance.
Informal Review and Formal Appeals Processes
Q: How do I know if I should file an appeal?
A: Once you receive your Notice of 2023 Real Estate Assessed Value, you have several options if you disagree with your value:
- Administrative Review: An Administrative Review allows you and an appraiser to review the property record and supporting information together. If an error is found, it can be corrected without having to go to a Formal Appeal. Informal reviews are encouraged, and the form is included in your notice to file. The deadline for Administrative Reviews is March 31st. The appraiser will need to do a physical inspection of the interior to better understand the condition of your home and how it compares to those properties that sold in your neighborhood.
- Board of Equalization Appeal: If you believe your 2023 Notice of Real Estate Assessed Value is not a reasonable estimate of what your property could sell for on July 1, 2023, you have the right to file a Formal Appeal. If you're considering requesting an Administrative Review or filing a BOE Appeal, visit our 2023 Reassessment page to verify the information we have on file for your property and to review sales information for similar properties. Deadline for BOE Appeal is June 30th.
Q: What are valid reasons to request an Administrative Review?
A: Your request for review is not a basis to lodge a complaint about higher taxes. Tax Rates are set by Lynchburg City Council. Questions about tax rates may be directed to City Council and/or your Ward representative.
A: There are (3) three reasons the Assessor’s Office can address regarding incorrect assessed values:
- There are factual errors on your property record card. Examples could include finished square footage, bath counts or lot size error et al.
- Your property is valued for more than market value. You can provide examples of specific properties that sold that indicate your property is above market value.
- Your property value is correct, but it is valued for more than similar properties or not equalized with similar properties. You can provide comparable properties to show this inequity.
Q: How do I request an Administrative Review?
A: Request an Informal Review online, in-person, by mailing the form, or by calling 434-455-3830 to request a form for Administrative Review.
Q: How do I file a Board of Equalization Appeal?
A: After you receive your Notice of 2023 Real Estate Assessed Value, you can forgo the Administrative Review process, and file a Formal Appeal on a paper form to the Board of Equalization.
Q: What happens after I submit my appeal?
A: Your appeal will be sent to the Board of Equalization (BOE). The deadline is June 30th, 2023. The BOE typically starts hearing cases in July. The BOE dates and times for hearings will be published in Lynchburg News & Advance Legal Section. After your appeal is heard by the BOE, you will receive written notification of your property value in the mail. If you disagree with the BOE's decision, you may file a case with the Lynchburg Circuit Court. The Clerk of Court can assist you with questions regarding filing.
Q: How long does Administrative Reviews take?
A: Informal reviews could take anywhere from 30-120 days and largely depend on how many Reviews are filed in a given neighborhood. If there are multiple reviews in a particular neighborhood, then the process may take longer.
Q: Do I need to attend my appeal hearing?
A: You can appear in person before the Board of Equalization(BOE), but it is not required. If you are unable to attend on the date and time set, your case will still be heard. The BOE will review all submitted documentation regarding your case and mail you a decision.
Q: Do I need to hire a lawyer to appeal my Real Estate Assessed Value?
A: You are not required to have a lawyer when filing an Informal Review or Formal Appeal. You can file both for free.
Q: Will my tax bill change?
A: Property tax bills are calculated by multiplying the Market Value by the tax rate. Lynchburg City Council will determine tax rates during their annual budget processes in late spring.
Q: When will I get my property tax bill and when are my property taxes due?
A: Property tax bills are mailed to property owners quarterly. The 1st installment will be due in November for the 1st quarter (July, August, September). Property taxes are due each quarter. Billings & Collections will send out bills each quarter.
Q: I received a letter claiming my property taxes are going up and that I could save money by hiring a law firm to assist with my appeal.
A: There is no cost to file a review or appeal. It is misleading for a business to claim there is a cost to appeal. Any fee charged by a third party goes to that business. Tax rates for the City of Lynchburg are not determined until May before the final budget is adopted. Whether an individual property owner’s property taxes are going up, down, or remaining the same is not known until tax rates are set.
Property Tax Exemptions
Q: How do I know if I qualify for property tax exemptions?
A: Exemptions have a range of eligibility requirements. To find out if you qualify for the Elderly or Disabled Veteran Real Estate Tax Exemptions please visit the Commissioner of The Revenue Office or web site. If you have any questions regarding exemptions, please call us at 434-455-3870.