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Understanding the Assessor's Office

The Assessor's Office plays a crucial role in determining the value of real and personal property for tax purposes. As directed by the West Virginia Constitution, the Assessor and her deputies work diligently to assess...


The Assessor's Office plays a crucial role in determining the value of real and personal property for tax purposes. As directed by the West Virginia Constitution, the Assessor and her deputies work diligently to assess every property within the county boundaries. This article delves into the responsibilities and processes of the Assessor's Office, shedding light on the intricate workings of the property tax system.

Assessing Property Value

The primary duty of the Assessor is to discover, list, and assign a fair market value to all real and personal property on an annual basis. This valuation process follows a fiscal year format, starting on July 1st and ending on June 30th of the following year. It's important to note that the Assessor does not determine property taxes directly. Instead, your assessed value, determined by the Assessor, is multiplied by a tax rate (usually 60% of market value) set by various governing bodies such as the legislature, county commission, and municipalities.

The Role of the Assessor's Office


The Assessor's Office acts as a vital link between property valuation and tax collection. Once the Assessor establishes property values, the levying bodies, including county school boards and county commissions, determine the levy rates applied to these values. The resulting taxes help fund essential services provided by different entities. It's worth mentioning that the levy rates can fluctuate based on the funding requirements of each levying body, but they must abide by constitutional provisions.

Understanding the Property Tax Process

The property tax process encompasses three key components:

  1. Assessor: The Assessor determines the fair market value of all real and personal property and communicates it to the levying bodies.
  2. Levying Bodies: These entities, such as the legislature, board of education, town and city councils, parks and recreation departments, libraries, and mass transit, contribute to the total levy rate assigned to property values.
  3. Sheriff: The Sheriff plays a crucial role in collecting tax payments, except for dog taxes, and distributing the collected funds to each levying body according to the determined levy.

It's important to note that a significant portion of property taxes, about seventy-two percent, is allocated to support the public school system. The remaining funds are distributed among the county, municipalities, towns, and the state of West Virginia.

Assessing Personal Property

The Personal Property Division of the Kanawha County Assessor's Office evaluates the value of tangible personal property. This category includes various items such as cars, motorcycles, boats, trailers, utility vehicles, construction equipment, and even show animals like horses and dogs. The assessment is based on current appraisal guides provided by recognized authorities and directed by the Tax Commissioner. The assessed value is typically 60% of the determined appraised value.

Reporting Property Ownership

According to WV Code Chapter 11-3-2, all residents are required to file a report of their real and personal property on July 1st each year. The Assessor's Office assists in this process by providing pre-printed reports with instructions on how to fill them out and a self-addressed envelope for convenience. If you haven't received a form, please contact the office for assistance.

Appraisers and Fair Assessment

Assessors Office

To ensure fair and accurate property evaluation, the Kanawha County Assessor's Office has a team of skilled appraisers. These appraisers undergo regular training and hold certifications from the West Virginia State Tax Department. Every three years, they revisit property owners to ensure proper evaluation. It's important to cooperate with the appraisers and address any questions they may have to avoid valuation discrepancies.

Understanding Property Classification

Property in West Virginia is classified into four categories based on the Tax Limitation Amendment of 1932:

  • Class I: No longer taxable.
  • Class II: Includes owner-occupied residential properties, farms, and agricultural land.
  • Class III: Encompasses real and personal property outside municipalities, excluding Classes I and II.
  • Class IV: Refers to real and personal property within municipalities, excluding Classes I and II.

The maximum levy rate for each class is defined by law and helps determine the amount of taxes owed.

Exploring Kanawha County Districts

Kanawha County is divided into distinct districts, each with its own characteristics and property values. The map below provides an overview of these districts:


Understanding the Assessor's Office and its role in determining property values and taxes is essential for homeowners and property owners in Kanawha County. By adhering to the guidelines outlined by the Assessor's Office, taxpayers can ensure a fair and accurate assessment of their property. If you have any questions or need further clarification, don't hesitate to reach out to the Kanawha County Assessor's Office for assistance.