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Office of the Real Estate Assessor

Below you will find:



   

 
Assessment Process

General Reassessment

By law, a general reassessment is conducted annually in the City of Norfolk with assessments effective as of July 1. Annual reassessments keep pace with changes in the market. During a reassessment, all property values are examined and adjustments are made where necessary. A general reassessment is the periodic revaluation of all real property within a jurisdiction for the purpose of establishing market value, as well as ensuring uniformity among property types and an equitable distribution of the tax burden to all property owners.

Virginia state law requires city real estate assessment valuations to be 100 percent of estimated fair market value. ‘Fair market value’ refers to the price a property would bring when it is offered for sale by one who desires-but is not obliged-to sell it, and is bought by one who desires-but is under no necessity of having it. Fair market value is reflected in arms-length, open market transactions, which are referred to as ‘valid sales’.

In order to determine the fair market value of all properties, only valid sales are used in determining assessment values; the following sales are filtered out because they do not reflect fair market value:

  • Forced sales (i.e. due to foreclosure, divorce, bankruptcy)
  • Sales after foreclosure
  • Sales between friends or family members
  • New construction
  • Short sales
  • Click hyperlink for a detailed listing of Sales That May be Disqualified


Once a recorded sale becomes part of the Assessor’s database, an appraiser will visit the property to make sure the current information is correct, take a photograph and talk to the owner. If the owner is not home, a sales verification questionnaire is left for the owner to complete. The database is then updated with the new information. Valid sales recorded in the calendar year prior to the assessment effective date are used in determining the assessed value of a property. For example, sales that occurred in calendar year 2014 were used to establish the assessments effective July 1, 2015.

Using advanced mathematical and statistical procedures, price estimates and adjustments are then created based on a wide variety of property characteristics (such as size of the building, additions, location, condition, etc.). These estimates and adjustments are then used to calculate the respective fair market value of each property.

All assessment values throughout the city are rigorously tested and monitored, and any adjustments are made accordingly. We are a member jurisdiction of the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) which helps us add layers of quality control with the latest and greatest in assessment practices and valuation techniques. We are held to strict compliance levels with respect to assessment accuracy, which helps us ensure fairness and equitability across valuations. 
 
Supplemental Assessment

The value of a property can change during the course of the year for a number of reasons, such as demolition, fire, catastrophic damages, new construction (additions) and new improvements (buildings). The City of Norfolk has an established system of quarterly payments for real estate taxes beginning on July 1.  Annual assessment notifications will be mailed out the first week of March. Supplemental assessments are authorized by the Code of Virginia §58.1-3291. The quarters are listed below.
 

First Quarter - July / August / September

Assessments effective July 1


Second Quarter - October / November / December

Assessments effective October 1


Third Quarter - January / February / March

Assessments effective January 1


Fourth Quarter - April / May / June

Assessments effective April 1


Property tax bills are collected and handled by the Norfolk City Treasurer.

Generally speaking, improvements increasing the market value of a property will also increase the assessed value. Based on the date of completion, the value added to the existing assessment will be effective the first day of the next quarter. As an example, if an addition is added to a dwelling and the date of completion is determined to be September 3, the increased assessment will be effective October 1. This is also true for demolitions. The first day of the next quarter after demolition, the assessed value of the demolished building is removed.

The supplemental assessment represents a pro rata portion of the value being added for the remaining months of the current tax billing year. A Supplemental Assessment Notice will inform the property owners of the additional amount being added to the improvement value since the current assessment valuation for July 1. Property owners may appeal a supplemental assessment at any time during the year; however, it is suggested that it be done as soon as possible after receipt of the notice.

Partial Assessment

Partial assessments represent the value of an unfinished new improvement, new addition, alteration, or renovation on the July 1 date of assessment valuation. Partial assessments are authorized by the Code of Virginia §58.1-3291. Property owners are notified of the addition of a partial assessment with a notice of assessment change as part of the general reassessment process.
   
Dates and Deadlines
 
  • July 1 - Annual/First Quarter Assessments effective
  • October 1 - Second Quarter Assessments effective
  • January 1 - Third Quarter Assessments effective
  • First week of March - Assessment Notices mailed out (for new values effective July 1st)
  • April 1 - Fourth Quarter Assessments effective
  • May 8 - Deadline to file appeal with assessor's office (for new values effective July 1st)
  • Last business day of May - Deadline to file appeal with board of review (for new values effective July 1st)
 
Appeal Process

Informal Appeals

If you disagree with the assessed value as stated on your July 1, 2015 reassessment notice, you may request a property review to begin an informal appeal with this office by calling (757) 823-1343. A request for Board of Review Application is available for completion. Click on the link to download the application. Please fill out, print and return the application to the mailing address provided. If you are not satisfied with the results of an informal appeal, a formal appeal may be initiated.

Formal Appeals

The board of review of real estate assessments is made up of circuit court appointed, real estate-knowledgeable property owners, and serve to hear appeals on behalf of the city of Norfolk. 

Norfolk City Code, Sec. 24-195 - Relief from Assessments

Any person aggrieved by any assessment made by the assessor appointed under this article may appeal such assessment. In order to appeal the assessment for the current tax year, such appeal shall be filed with the assessor on or before May 8 of such tax year and or with the board of review of real estate assessments on or before the last business day in May of any year. Appeals filed subsequent to the dates set forth in this section may be heard by the assessor at any time, but not by the board of review until the following year. Any person, or the city, aggrieved by any assessment made by the assessor or by the board of review of real estate assessments may apply for relief in the manner provided by section 58.1-3980, et seq., of the Code of Virginia.

In accordance with Section 58.1-3379.B of the Code of Virginia, “In all cases brought before the board, there shall be a presumption that the valuation determined by the assessor is correct. The burden of proof on appeal to the board shall be on the taxpayer to rebut the presumption and show by a preponderance of the evidence that the property in question is valued at more than its fair market value or that the assessment is not uniform in its application and that it was not arrived at in accordance with generally accepted appraisal practices, procedures, rules, and standards as prescribed by nationally recognized professional appraisal organizations such as the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) and applicable Virginia law relating to valuation of property.”

Additional Information
   
The valuation of a property may only be discussed with the property owner or a duly authorized agent for the owner. In cases of a representative of the owner requesting an informal or formal appeal, an original signed Letter of Authorization granted by the property owner is required. The letter must specify the assessment year for which the authorization is granted.

Pertaining to appeals for commercial properties, the original Letter of Authorization must be on the owner's letterhead. The name and title of the person signing the authorization must be printed and the authorizing signature must be notarized.  An original appeal packet and five complete copies must be submitted prior to 5pm EDT on May 29, 2015 or postmarked no later than May 31, 2015.

In order to comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), appraisals not specifically intended for the purpose of appealing assessment values cannot be accepted by the Assessor’s staff or the Board of Review. Appraisals submitted for assessment appeal must now include the following:

  • The “Purpose of the Assignment” must be stated as “developing market value for the appeal of ad valorem taxation value.”  
  • The “Intended User” must state “The City of Norfolk Real Estate Assessor.”


What to Expect at Your Formal Board of Review Hearing

  • Appointments with the Board of Review are scheduled 15 to 20 minutes apart.

  • Appellants are given five (5) minutes to present evidence showing that the proposed assessment does not represent fair market value or is not assessed uniformly and equitably with comparable properties.

  • Such evidence should include information such as photos, surveys, repair estimates and any other documents that support the reason for the appeal.

  • At the conclusion of the appellant’s presentation, the Board will ask to hear evidence from the Assessor’s staff in support of the proposed assessment. Copies of any documents presented to the Board will be available to the appellant upon request.

  • The Board will then ask questions of both the appellant and Assessor’s staff in order to clarify any issues. 

  • In most cases, the Board will then deliberate and provide a ruling immediately. For some cases; however, the Board may postpone its decision until a later date. They may ask for additional documents from either side, it may be necessary for them to conduct a field visit or they may wait until all appeals on similar properties have been heard. 

  • Once the Board has concluded all scheduled appeal hearings and made their final rulings, decision letters will be mailed to the appellants on forms approved by the State Department of Taxation.

Glossary of Terms

  • Ad Valorem - A tax levied in proportion to the value of the thing(s) being taxed. Exclusive of exemptions, use-value assessment provisions, and the like, the property tax is an ad valorem tax.*
  • Appellant - One who applies for a change of the assessed value of a property.
  • Fair Market Value - The most probable price a property would bring after a reasonable time on the open market - at the time of the valuation - when it is offered for sale by one who desires - but is not obliged - to sell it, and is bought by one who desires - but is under no necessity of having it (i.e. an arm's length transaction), and both the buyer and seller are aware of the property's current and potential use.
  • Grantor - One who voluntarily conveys property, whether by sale, gift, lease, or otherwise.*
  • Grantee - One who acquires property by voluntary conveyance.*
  • Improvement - Any erected structure - such as a home, garage, or outbuilding - on real property.

        * As defined by the IAAO 2015 glossary

Examples of Sales That May be Disqualified

  • Same Surname – (Jones to Jones; or father to daughter, Cox to Mary Cox Smith).
  • Sale between friends or family members.
  • Deed of Gift.
  • Forced Sale – foreclosure, divorce, bankruptcy, or special commissioner.
  • Sale after foreclosure.
  • Short Sale.
  • Sale between government or private tax exempt entity.
  • Sale of undivided interest.  (May include business interest).
  • Partial Conveyance – part of the property is conveyed creating a new parcel.
  • Sale between co-tenants.
  • Deed of Trust.
  • Cemetery Lots.
  • Deeds of Exchange.  

  • Auction Sale.