North Carolina Property Owners - New Property Valuations are out. How do I contest my valuation?


Did you recently receive a real property revaluation notice? If you live in one of 21 counties [1] across the state, the answer is yes! These counties revalued all of their commercial and residential property for ad valorem tax purposes in 2024. The proposed increases or decreases in tax rates vary by county, but for example, in Wake County, property values increased by 53% for residential and 45% for commercial properties.  

These property values will remain in effect for between 4 and 8 years, depending on your county’s revaluation schedule. While some counties, like Wake, conduct a revaluation every four years, others can wait up to 8 years. This is important because your tax valuation will be locked in until the county’s next revaluation if you do not appeal within the prescribed timeframe.   

Typically, counties send revaluation notices within the first few weeks of January. The revaluations are sometimes incorrect, and you must understand the process of contesting the revaluation of your property.  

First, you should review the notice of revaluation to ensure it’s accurate and that the revaluation reflects the fair market value of the particular property. The fair market value is the most probable price a property would be exchanged for in a competitive and open market. Revaluation values are determined by comparing what similar properties are selling for, replacement costs, and the potential income or highest and best use of the specific property. Frequently, land that’s undergone improvements, such as adding utility infrastructure, can see a big jump in value. But there may be other factors the county appraisers have failed to account for that could mitigate those increases.  

If the county’s revaluation of your property does not reflect fair market value, you should initiate the informal appeal process by contacting County Assessor staff. The informal appeals process in counties across the state typically occurs between February and March. The sooner you file your informal appeal, the better your chance of a successful outcome.  During this meeting, you can point out errors, provide comparables, or explain factors the County Assessor failed to consider in assessing your property. Often, the informal appeals process can provide the best opportunity for taxpayers to get a reduction in the assessed value.   

Returning to our Wake County example, the Assessor’s Office reported that during the 2020 revaluation cycle, there were 17,500 requests for informal reviews and approximately 6,500 formal property tax appeals. Of the appeals, roughly 60% resulted in an assessment decrease.   

If the County Assessor’s office doesn’t revise your assessment during an informal review, you can formally appeal to the County Board of Equalization and Review (Board of E&R). This board is a special county board appointed to handle property tax appeals from taxpayers. This level of the appeal is more formal, with the taxpayer being allotted a specific amount of time to present their case and the county having time to present its side. The Board of E&R may choose to decide the appeal immediately or delay its decision and deliberate further.  

Requests for a hearing before the Board of E&R must be made in writing or by appearance before the Board of E&R’s published date of adjournment. A failure to make an appeal request for hearing before the Board of E&R will result in a dismissal of the appeal request. The result of a dismissal is that the taxpayer’s property tax rate will remain at the county’s revaluation assessment until the next assessment.

In filing both informal and formal appeals to local Boards of Equalization and Review, having legal representation is beneficial because attorneys have often developed relationships with county assessors and are aware of statutory and administrative nuances in the law. In addition, obtaining legal representation helps the taxpayer avoid the many pitfalls in the appeals process.

Finally, if the county’s assessment is affirmed at the Board of E&R, you then may appeal to the North Carolina Property Tax Commission (Commission). The Commission is similar to a trial court, and like any trial court, it is required to follow the North Carolina Rules of Evidence. When a taxpayer appeals, the taxpayer has the burden of proof. Taxpayers may present their own cases before the commission but are encouraged to hire an attorney. After the Commission, a taxpayer may appeal a decision to the state court of appeals and state supreme court, but those bodies may choose not to hear the case as the grounds for appeal are more limited.  

The Maynard Nexsen team is experienced in representing property owners in valuation appeals, so please reach out to our team if you need support during your county’s revaluation process.

[1] Counties engaging in revaluation processes in 2024 are Cabarrus, Carteret, Caswell, Duplin, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Hyde, Madison, Nash, Perquimans, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Rockingham, Sampson, Vance, Wake, Wilson, Yancey 

About Maynard Nexsen

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