Wake County Moves to a 4 Year Revaluation Cycle

The Machinery Act [the statutes that govern property tax matters in North Carolina] requires that counties revalue their real property at least every 8 years. Some counties do it more often, typically on a 4 year cycle. Counties must balance their desire for uniformity, which suggests more frequent revaluations because not all property appreciates or depreciates at the same rate, versus the substantial cost of undertaking a revaluation.

In my opinion, especially the larger, more economically prosperous counties should revalue on at least a 4 year cycle. In good times, values in such counties go up rapidly from year to year. Waiting 8 years between revaluations can result in substantial increases in values, which in turn result in a significant hue and a cry from taxpayers when the revaluation finally occurs. This view is apparently not shared by many in county government, since most of the large counties including Mecklenburg, Wake, Durham, and, until recently, Guilford, have all been on 8 year revaluation cycles. Only my home county of Forsyth has operated on a 4 year cycle. Guilford recently moved to a 5 year cycle.

Maybe the view is changing. As reflected in a recent article in the Raleigh newspaper, the Wake county commissioners have decided to move to a 4 year revaluation cycle from their traditional 8 year cycle. While the article addresses much political bickering about the intent of the change, I believe it is a good one that will do a better good of insuring that everyone pays their fair share of property taxes over time.

Image by unknown authur from a 9th-century computistic manuscript made in St. Emmeram's Abbey. Public Domain.

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John A. Cocklereece, Jr.

John Cocklereece concentrates his practice on property tax appeals, business law, tax controversies, and estate planning and administration.
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