Biennial Assessment of Real Estate

All real property in James City County is assessed biennially, on even numbered years, by the Real Estate Assessments Division, except the real property of operating railroads, interstate pipelines and public utilities, which are assessed by the State Corporation Commission.

The Virginia Supreme Court has provided the following definition of fair market value:

"The fair market value of a property is the price which it will bring when it is offered for sale by one who desires, but is not obliged to sell it, and is bought by one who is under no necessity of having it."

Virginia State law requires that assessments be at 100% of fair market value, equitable and uniform across the same class of property.

General Reassessment

Assessments are made by utilizing accepted professional real estate appraisal methods, techniques, and standards. The process of biennially reviewing assessment valuations as of January 1 on even numbered years, to become effective for billing as of July 1 (July 1 - June 30), is referred to as General Reassessment. The analysis of fair market sales provides the basis for whether property assessments are changed. Changes in commercial and industrial property assessments also utilizes income and expense data, and construction cost data. The request of income and expense data from owners of income-producing properties is authorized by the Virginia Code.

A "Notice of Assessment Change" is only mailed to those property owners whose assessments change: Requirements for notification are set forth in the Virginia Code. Typically "Notices of Assessment Change" are mailed by March 1. Property owners may appeal their assessment by departmental review in the 30 days following the date on the "Notice of Assessment Change." The deadline date is also printed on each notice.

General Reassessment Process for Residential Properties

Our mission is to fairly and equitably assess James City County real estate and provide accurate property information under the authority of the Constitution of Virginia, Code of Virginia, and James City County Code.

Mass Appraisal

Mass appraisal is defined by the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) as "the process of valuing a group of properties as of a given date, using standard methods, employing common data, and allowing for statistical testing."

This type of appraisal system is endorsed by the International Association of Assessing Officers, Virginia Association of Assessing Officers and the Virginia Department of Taxation.

Properties with a commonality based on land uses, types and age of buildings, and that share important locational characteristics, which may be defined by natural, man-made or political boundaries are grouped together in assessment areas.

Sales are then verified by staff and prepared for statistical analysis.

Sales Statistical Analysis

A number of statistical measures are then considered, such as Median Assessment Sales Ratio, Coefficient of Dispersion, Standard Deviation and Price Range Differential.

Final Analysis

After analysis, staff selects the best statistical proposal and certifies the values for January 1. Some commercial and industrial properties are assessed using the income and cost approaches.

Review Period and Appeal Deadlines

  • Property owners can request a departmental review for 30 days following the notice of change by contacting the Real Estate Assessments Division at 757-253-6650. The deadline date to request this review is printed on each notice.
  • If unsatisfied, property owners have another 30 days to appeal to the Board of Equalization, whose meeting is typically held in June/July. The deadline to appeal to the Board of Equalization is printed on each notice.

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