5 On Your Side

Hoping to ease sticker shock, Wake County increasing frequency of property tax assessments

Posted April 13, 2016 7:04 p.m. EDT

— A big change is coming for Wake County home owners - more frequent tax assessments.

Until now, notices reflecting home values in the county, whether up or down, arrived in mailboxes every eight years.

According to Marcus Kinrade, Wake County's Revenue Director, the change will hopefully ease the sticker shock for homeowners.

"What we have seen is with a smaller value change it would tend to be better accepted by property owners and they would be less inclined to appeal," he said.

In 2012, many homeowners questioned and appealed higher than expected assessments. Charles Simmons, of Apex, complained to 5 On Your Side when his newly built home was assessed for $65 thousand more than he has recently paid for it.

"I thought well, I don't think I could sell it for this because nothing in the neighborhood is going for anywhere near this," Simmons said.

The value was based on the last assessment in 2008. The next one was set for later this year, with no plans to change the frequency.

"The question at that point was, why don't we do a more frequent re-appraisal," Kinrade said.

Kinrade ultimately pushed for, and Wake County recently approved, the change to make it every four years. He says the increased frequency will more accurately reflect market conditions and help reduce the shock for county residents who have seen significant tax rate increases.

"So, if the assessed tax values are in line with the market and not out of whack based on extended times, I think everyone benefits because it's more fair," Kinrade said.

He hopes that also means fewer appeals.

Earlier this year, Apex saw the largest tax rate increases averaging seven percent. Rates in Raleigh stayed flat, and rates in Wake Forest, Wendell and Zebulon dropped.

Wake County has switched to an online appeal process to help cut down on paperwork and speed up responses.