City of Charlottesville Assessment Appeal Process
Each year, all property owners, or their duly-authorized agent, may appeal our valuation of their property by requesting a review of their assessment. Under state law, neither financial impact nor the rate of value change is, by itself, sufficient grounds for appeal. As required, the City's assessment is an estimate of fair market value as of January 1 each year, based on property sales for the previous calendar year. We welcome appeals based on issues of factual discrepancies in property description or features, demonstrable issues of uniformity of value within a neighborhood, or fair market value.
The first step in this process is to file an Assessment Appeal Application, requesting an assessor review. Assessment Appeal Application forms are available on the City Assessor's website, in Room 320 of City Hall, or at any of the City's local libraries. After filling out this form, you may initiate your request by mailing your request to City Assessor, City Hall - Rm. 320, PO Box 911, Charlottesville VA 22902. You may also stop by Room 320 in City Hall to drop off the request in person.
Your appeal for a review of your assessment must be filed after January 30th and delivered to our office by one of the above means on or before February 28, 2017. Appeals should be made in writing, including the City's Assessment Appeal Application, a Letter of Authorization if the appeal is being made by an owner's agent, and any other supporting documentation that is appropriate. This documentation must include the reasoning behind the appeal and evidence that the most recent assessment (1) exceeds true market value, (2) is substantially inequitable to similar properties within your neighborhood, or (3) is not equitable based on factual discrepancies within our records, such as difference in square footage, difference in acreage, or improvement condition.
After your appeal application has been received, the assessor who valued your property will meet with you to review your property's assessed value. This meeting may include a visit to your property for a physical inspection. Following this, the assessor will determine what change, if any, is appropriate. Notice of his decision will be provided to you within 30 days by mail. If you agree with the assessor's decision, you will not need to take any further action. However, if you disagree with the assessor's decision, you may proceed to the next step in the appeal process.
The second step, if required, is to request a review of the property's assessed value by the Board of Equalization (BOE). The BOE is an independent panel of citizens, appointed to mediate when the property owner does not agree with the assessor's decision in the first part of the appeals process. BOE hearings are scheduled within 30 days after the City Assessor's Office receives a request for further review from the property owner. The property owner's appeal application is provided to the BOE with any written evidence that demonstrates that the property's value is inconsistent with similar properties, is assessed above or below fair market value, or is inconsistent with the physical features of the property.
Following their hearing and review of the appeal packet, the BOE will provide the property owner with their decision by mail within 30 days. At this point, any property owner who disagrees with the BOE decision regarding the assessed value of their property has the right to escalate their appeal to the Circuit Court.
The third and last step, if necessary, is to take your assessment appeal to the Circuit Court. At this point, the burden of proof falls entirely on the property owner. You will be required to provide evidence to the Court that substantiates your contention that the assessed value of your property is inequitable based on fair market value, the assessed value of comparable properties, or factual discrepancies with the City Assessor's records. You will also be required to pay all associated court costs. Once the Circuit Court issues its decision, all parties are obligated to adhere to its findings and the appeal process ends.