Making sense of Buncombe County’s property tax reappraisals

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If you own property in Buncombe County, you’ve likely gotten a property tax reappraisal notice in the mail. And if you’re like me, you’re concerned about what may seem like a sizable increase (mine went up by nearly $44,000). Let’s dig in + see what we can find out. 

Property tax assessments are professional estimations of a residential or commercial real estate’s market value (a.k.a., the most probable price a property would normally sell for) which local governments use to calculate the amount of property tax you will owe annually. NC law (NC General Statute 105-286) dictates that counties reappraise all real property (e.g., buildings, structures, land + improvements). 

So why are property taxes being reassessed during a global pandemic? NC law also allows counties to reappraise more frequently than every eight years, and County Commissioners voted to reappraise property every four years because values can fluctuate a lot in four years. This can create significant inequity, particularly in rapidly growing counties like Buncombe. Seeing as how the last reappraisal took place in 2017, the time for reappraisal is now. 

Remember how I told you my property tax appraisal went up by over $40K? The news that kept me from surgically attaching a paper bag to my face to breathe is this: assessments are one thing and tax rates + taxes are another. Just because an assessment goes up by a certain percentage does not mean the tax you owe will go up by that same percentage. A property’s tax bill is calculated by multiplying the tax value by the tax rate. The result is that some tax bills will increase, others will decrease + some will stay about the same. 

Tax rates are based on the budget, which the Board of County Commissioners will set come June. Bills will go out in Aug. and be due in Sept. (or no later than Jan. 5, 2022). I’ve also been told that Buncombe County’s tax rates have historically gone down in the same year as a revaluation. 

If you’re unsure about your property’s assessment, you can find it here. Protip: if your address doesn’t yield results, there are other options. I found mine by searching my name. Concerned about what you find? You can appeal within 30 days of the date of the Notice of Reappraisal. The final day to file an appeal will be some time in April 2021 (the exact date has yet to be determined). 

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