Information About the Assessor's Office
The Assessor and his deputies are directed by West Virginia Constitution, Article X, Section I, to determine the fair market value of all real and personal property annually. The assessment date for all property is July 1 of each year. This means that all assessments are to be based upon conditions as of July 1, with regard to ownership, taxability, use, etc. The property taxes are for a calendar year but are based on the facts as of July 1, of the previous year.
The Assessor does not set your property tax. Your tax bill is calculated by multiplying the tax (levy) rate to the property's assessed value, which is normally 60% of market value. The assessor determines your assessed value, and the board of education, the county commission, municipalities and other levying bodies use these values to determine their respective levy rate. Levy rate information may be obtained in the Assessor's office or from this page on our site.
TYPES AND CLASSES OF PROPERTY
There are two major types or categories of property that are assessable for property taxation purposes. These are real property and personal property. Real property generally includes land and things attached to land, such as buildings etc. Personal property generally includes things not fixed to land such as vehicles, animals, tools, equipment, etc. Mobile homes or buildings on land owned by a person other than the owner of the mobile home or building are considered personal property by the assessor's office in accordance with the State guidelines.
Real or personal property may be owned by individuals, corporations, partnerships or many other entities. All property must be classified into four classes for tax purposes.
Class I property is currently exempt from property taxation and was, prior to exemption, taxed at the lowest levy rate. Class I property includes certain types of intangible personal property and farm personal property. Real estate may not be classed in the Class 1 property tax classification.
Class II property Includes all land owned, used, and occupied by the owner thereof, exclusively for residential purposes including houses and mobile homes on land not owned by the owner of the home, and also includes all farm land. Class II property is taxed at double the rate that was applicable to Class I property prior to exemption.
All other property, exclusive of Class I and Class II property, is either Class III or Class IV property. Such property is Class IV if it is located inside of an incorporated municipality, and it is Class III property if is located outside of an incorporated municipality. Hancock County Municipalities are Chester, New Cumberland, and Weirton (Part of Weirton is in Brooke County). Class III and Class IV property is taxed at double the rate of Class II property with Class IV property also being subject to the prevailing municipal levy rate.
For those persons who have been or will be a resident of the State of West Virginia for two or more consecutive years prior to the tax year for which the exemption is sought, and who are 65 years of age or older or who are certified as being totally and permanently disabled; an exemption of $20,000 from the assessed value of the homestead is available. At the present levy rate this may result in a reduction of property taxes of approximately $270 for the property in the county and approximately $320 for property in Chester, New Cumberland, or Weirton. Persons applying for the homestead exemption must make application for the exemption, between July 1 and December 1, in the Office of the Assessor. If you are 64 years of age or older on or before the July 1st, assessment date, you should apply for the homestead exemption in order for you to receive the exemption on the next years taxes.
FARM USE VALUATION
Farm land eligible for farm valuation is appraised based upon the fair rental value of the land and not fair market. This method typically produces a reduced value for farm land. Persons applying for farm use valuation for the first time can do so at the Assessor's between July 1 and September 1. Taxpayers approved for farm use in the previous tax year will receive a form in the mail: in which case they must complete and return the form to the Assessor's office on or before September 1.
PERSONAL PROPERTY RETURNS
All Hancock County residents are required by law to report in writing all taxable property owned as of the first day of July each year. This report must be filed between July 1st and October 1st each year. Failure to file a report will result in difficulty renewing vehicle registrations and possible penalties.
The Assessor has your pre-printed assessment form mailed to you each assessment season, providing you had filed the previous year. If you do not receive a form in the mail, this indicates that you may not be up-to-date in filing your Personal Property Return and you should contact our office for assistance.
Business Personal Property
As a business owner in the State of West Virginia, your business property is subject to ad valorem taxes. Business personal property includes but is not limited to material items such as motor vehicles, furniture, fixtures, machinery and equipment, tools, dies, jigs, patterns, and stock in trade including inventories, supplies, materials in process, and other similar items. This tax is based on personal property owned by your business on July 1 of every year.
Business Personal Property Returns are due on or before October 1 each year. West Virginia Code requires that we estimate personal property tax assessments for all businesses that fail to file a return by October 1. Persons who fail to file or file late forfeit all rights of appeal and are subject to possible penalties.
The Assessor's Office is responsible for the sale of dog tags and kennel licenses, each dog over the age of six months is required to have an up to date tag which costs $3. Kennel licenses are available for people in the business of raising or boarding dogs. The fee for a kennel license is $10 and includes up to 5 tags. For each additional dog the regular fee applies. The licenses can be purchased at the office and some other locations. Please call the office for details (304) 564-3311 extension 293.