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Originally published: 2013-12-31 15:31:19
Last modified: 2013-12-31 15:37:22

Property notices face delays

by Anna Oakes

Watauga County property owners were scheduled to receive notices of their new tax valuations Jan. 1, but software issues have delayed the mailings, Watauga County Tax Administrator Larry Warren said Monday.

"We do hope to get those mailed out sometime this month," Warren said.

The county's last property tax revaluation took place eight years ago, in 2006. The county historically conducted revaluations every four years, but opted to extend the cycle to eight years, the longest term permitted by law. The Watauga County Tax Office this year was tasked with appraising approximately 48,000 parcels in preparation for the Jan. 1, 2014, effective date.

In October, Warren told the Watauga Democrat that values have tended to increase in areas such as Boone and Foscoe, with decreases in Beech Mountain and Blowing Rock. Those trends have held up with the completion of the revaluation, Warren said Monday.

"Blowing Rock didn't go down nearly as much as we thought it would," he said. "I can say that I am pleased with what I'm seeing." Warren said he could release more specific numbers later this month.
The valuation notices will include instructions on how to appeal if property owners disagree with the assessments.

Informal appeals can be made with the tax office, Warren said, to be followed by a review by the Equalization and Review Board, which is the Watauga County Board of Commissioners.

If property owners are not satisfied with the board's decision, they may further appeal to the N.C. Department of Revenue's Property Tax Commission, he said.

"They can appeal anytime between January and the end of April," Warren noted.

Property bills will be mailed in August 2014 and are due Sept. 1, but taxpayers have until Jan. 5 of the following year to pay without interest or penalty.