by Ken Zdrok, Esq.February 2, 2024

Understanding North Carolina Property Assessment Cycles and Appeal Process in 2024

North Carolina assesses most real property at the county level based on a multi-year “cycle, ” not annually. The counties place a value on all real property as of January 1, the start of the assessment year of the cycle adopted by that county. The value remains the same for every year of that cycle (though tax rates may change). Cycles vary in length between four and eight years. It’s imperative for taxpayers to challenge values they believe to be excessive in the first year of a cycle to achieve maximum tax savings.

Most counties permit taxpayers or their representatives to contact the county assessors informally and seek to resolve the difference without filing a formal appeal. If the value dispute cannot be negotiated informally, the taxpayer may appeal to the county’s Board of Equalization and Review. These boards typically commence operations around the first week of April. The county commissioners may comprise the board itself, or the county commissioners may designate appointees to handle the appeals. In either event, the board will hold an administrative hearing on all pending appeals and receive evidence from the assessor and the taxpayer. The taxpayer or representative should receive a written copy of the value decision.

Wake County is the largest North Carolina county starting an assessment cycle in 2024. It’s home to Raleigh, the state capital and the second most populous city. Although Wake County mailed out paper notices of reassessment on January 16, 2024, taxpayers can also look up their assessments here. The deadline for Wake County informal appeals is March 1, 2024. Carteret, Union, Pitt, Franklin, Vance, Rockingham, Yancey, Granville, and Hyde are other counties revaluing this year.

Wake County officials report a 53% increase in residential values from the prior cycle and a 45% increase in commercial property values. Regardless of the percentage increase, the taxpayers should independently develop the value of their properties using the three traditional approaches to value: the market approach, the cost approach, and the income approach.

A taxpayer not skilled in valuation can obtain an appraisal from a fee appraiser or engage a property tax consultant from our team. Typically, fee appraisers charge a flat fee and, in exchange, provide the client with an appraisal that contains an opinion of value. The taxpayer would then be responsible for presenting the appraisal to the assessor and the board. I lead McGuire Sponsel’s property tax services team, and we evaluate analysis using the three approaches.

This work product is not a formal “appraisal,” but is sufficient to achieve reductions in value. Additionally, our consultants file the appeal paperwork and present the evidence to the board while also attacking the assessor’s evidence at the hearing.

Contact McGuire Sponsel’s Property Tax Services team with any property assessment questions.

As Principal for McGuire Sponsel’s Property Tax practice, Ken Zdrok manages real property assessment review and appeals, personal property assessment review and appeals, pre-acquisition advising, and acquisition price allocation consulting.

Recent Resources