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Big break for taxpayers: Mecklenburg reduced property values by $1 billion so far

Charlotte residents receive revaluations

Mecklenburg County owners received their new tax values for the first time in eight years with notices being mailed on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. The median increase for residential property was 43% with commercial property at 77%.
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Mecklenburg County owners received their new tax values for the first time in eight years with notices being mailed on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. The median increase for residential property was 43% with commercial property at 77%.

There’s good news for property owners looking to lower their tax bills after the latest revaluation: the county has reduced more than $1 billion in property values through the appeals process.

The deadline to file a formal appeal for the 2019 property revaluation is Monday.

As of mid-last week, the county assessor’s office had processed 6,235 residential revaluation appeals, reducing just under $193 million in value. Just under 1,600 commercial appeals have been processed, reducing $914 million in value.

In January, the county mailed revaluation notices to hundreds of thousands of property owners in Charlotte, the county and nearby towns. Since then, the Observer has reported that the highest increases were seen in areas near uptown dealing with the impacts of gentrification. The median increase for residential property values was 43%, and the median increase for commercial property was 77%.

But the majority of property owners who have appealed have been able to get their value lowered. Around 65% of residential and 63% of commercial appeals were successful in getting a reduction.

Both the county and city have released their proposed budgets, although elected officials still have to vote on them. The county has said that the taxes on 65% of residential properties would increase under its proposal. Taxes on more than 70% of commercial properties— typically businesses — would be higher.

Still, the appeals process provides an opportunity for property owners to reduce those taxes, if they feel the value was inaccurate.

‘An imperfect science’

County assessor Ken Joyner said thousands more appeals are in the works — as of last Friday, his office had received around 25,000 appeals.

Still, Joyner said that’s not unusual given the number of properties in the county. Typically, counties receive appeals on around 10% to 12% of properties, and his office is currently seeing a rate of around 6.8%.

“We’ve said from the beginning that we’re going to have errors,” Joyner said. “And this is that opportunity to correct those errors.”

The average residential property that saw a decrease through the process was valued at $466,725 before appeals. The average commercial property was valued at $4.5 million.

The last revaluation, in 2011, was troubled. The county angered thousands of property owners after mistakenly over-valuing properties. Mecklenburg ultimately issued around $100 million in refunds.

The process has greatly improved since then, said Larry Shaheen, Jr., an attorney with Carolina Revaluation Services. He said in 2011, the county wasn’t lowering many values.

The appeals process was created because mass appraisal was an imperfect science,” he said.

Property owners can file an appeal with the Board of Equalization and Review until May 20. Appeal forms are available at www.meckreval.com.

Danielle Chemtob covers economic growth and development for the Observer. She’s a 2018 graduate of the journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill and a California transplant.
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