Over 800 IW homeowners contesting tax valuations

Published 3:40 pm Friday, June 9, 2023

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Isle of Wight County’s recent property reassessment, which saw single-family home values rise 34% on average since 2019, has spurred a similar surge in the number of homeowners contesting their new real estate tax valuations.

State law requires counties reassess real estate values every four years. Daleville-based Wampler Eanes, a firm Isle of Wight has used for its passed seven reassessments, completed the year-long process in April.

The county mailed the new assessments to residents on May 5, giving them until May 26 to request an administrative review. According to Gerald Gwaltney, the county’s commissioner of the revenue, roughly 800 residents did so by the deadline.

The number reflects at least a 33% increase over the 500 to 600 appeals Isle of Wight saw in 2019, when value of single-family homes rose by 5% on average.

Another six residents, as of June 1, had appealed to the county’s Board of Equalization, which will meet July 1 through June 30, 2024.

To appeal to the Board of Equalization, residents can visit 17090 Monument Circle, Suite 113, starting July 1, or submit an application in writing to reassessment@isleofwightus.net or by mail to P.O. Box 114, Isle of Wight, VA 23397. Homeowners can also fax their application to 757-356-9731.

A third option available to taxpayers July 1 of this year through June 30, 2027, is petitioning Isle of Wight County Circuit Court for review.

In each method, the burden is on the taxpayer to prove that an assessment is erroneous, ideally by researching sales of neighborhood homes of a similar age and size.

Wampler conducted what is known as a “mass appraisal,” where assessors don’t look at each individual home to decide its value but rather recent sales that have occurred in 181 defined “neighborhoods” within the county. Gwaltney explained at a May 17 citizens group meeting that the Gatling Pointe development, for example, is divided by Battery Park Road into Gatling Pointe North and Gatling Pointe South. Gatling Pointe North’s homes are older and include some waterfront properties. As such, the two halves of the same development are considered different neighborhoods for assessment purposes.