This website is for the express purpose of providing Hanover County, VA residents with information they may need to determine if they should appeal their 2010 real estate tax assessment. This is NOT a Hanover County Goverement website. You can contact Hanover County Assessors office at (804)365-6029

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Today's Workshop Post-Poned

Dear Citizens,

Hanover County Libraries have closed today due to the snow storm. We will have a re-schedule workshop post just as soon as we get a date confirmed.

Thank you for your understanding. Please email if you have any questions or need assistance.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Board of Equalization APPEAL FORMS

Board of Equalization


Couple of things to know when you contact the assessors office:

1. The assessor will want to come to the property owner’s home and do an inspection and measure the property. The assessor will tell the property owner that their assessment could go up or down based on what the assessor finds. There is an obvious implied threat that their assessment could go up. And it is an attempt to distract the property owner from the real question of how the assessor’s department arrived at the assessed value. Just like real appraisers the assessor is suppose to use recent comparable sales in determining a value for the property – And that is the information the property owner needs to get. Once you know what data they are using it’s much easier to question the assessment with better data.

2. The second statement from the assessor will be along the lines of asking/demanding “you wouldn’t sell the property for less than the assessment would you?” Trying to get the property owner to agree and prove the assessor’s value. Again this is an attempt to misdirect the property owner from the real issue: what specific data did the assessor use to determine the value of the property?

Weather Advisory

There is a threat of inclement weather on Friday Evening and Saturday Morning. Please know, EVERY attempt will be made to continue with the workshop as planned. However, if the Library is closed we will have no choice but to reschedule. Please stay tuned to this blog for updates and confirmation of post-poning and rescheduling.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Practice of Spot Assessing in Hanover County

Hanover County proposed real estate assessments for 2010 are done and notices were mailed on Dec 31, 2009 to property owners whose assessments were changed. According to the county assessor’s office there were a approx 10,500 changes out of 45,030 parcels. You can check here to see if yours was changed. If your address is NOT on this list your assessment was not changed. On the surface this does not look that bad. The problem is that many Hanover County property owners are not aware of is the practice of “spot” assessing that has been practiced in the county since 1993.

Each year the Chief Assessor, John W. Nelms, Jr.,a Richmond resident, reassesses only a fraction of the county's total parcels. That is called "spot" assessing and is done with the blessing of the Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator. The county is divided into “neighborhoods”. Some "neighborhoods" are stand alones and some "neighborhoods" are three or four subdivisions grouped together like, for example, neighborhood "140700" consists of Forest lake Hills, Knollwood and Pearsons Corner subdivisions which are combined into one "neighborhood" with 305 parcels.

When only a portion of the county is reassessed, it leads to unfair taxation since the equalization process cannot work as it was intended to work and the "roll back" tax rate is watered down by those who did not get an increase. The "roll back" rate is the rate necessary to offset any increases when reassessments average more than one percent countywide. If only a portion of the county gets reassessed - say 25% - then their increases are effectively watered down when thrown in with the other 75% of the county who did not get an increase. The roll back rate as a result is much lower than it would be if 100% of the county received increases. The last time 100% of the county was reassessed was in 1992 and the roll back rate was in the 23 cent range. It's only been a couple of pennies most of the years since.

A recent article in the Richmond Times Dispatch shows the inconsistency with the numbers compared to the fair market value and the other localities.

While the Virginia Association of Realtors says the average sale price for a home in the area fell 11.7 percent in the third quarter of 2009 compared with the previous year, the early word from Richmond and Hanover County is of single-digit-percentage declines in assessed values.

Though a decline in property values will squeeze county and city governments -- for which real estate taxes are the largest block of revenue -- assessors say they haven't changed their methods. They still are looking at every part of their communities and revising assessments neighborhood by neighborhood to reflect recent sales.

As a result of the reassessments, Hanover's real estate tax base is down 1.5 percent, or $200 million from last year, mainly because of a $195 million decline in assessments on existing homes, assessor John W. Nelms said.

Richmond is looking at a decrease of 5 percent to 6 percent, or $1 billion, in its tax base, assessor James D. Hester said. He said the city is doing final reviews before it sends out its notices late this month.

At current tax rates, that translates to a $12 million loss in tax revenue for Richmond and a $1.6 million hit to Hanover -- or about 1.9 percent of Richmond's total revenue and 0.8 percent of Hanover's.

Is Hanover County recession proof?

This year the problem is for the property owners whose assessment have not been changed for a couple of years or whose assessment was increased in 2007, 2008, 2009. These are the property owners who are probably assessed too high and needed to consider an appeal to the Board of Equalization (BOE), yet they received no notice from Hanover County and are not aware that the time is NOW to start the process.

A group of Hanover County residents with the support of the Richmond Patriots, Hanover Chapter are working to get Hanover property owners educated on the process of “spot” assessing and why it is not fair. Please note: we are not against paying property taxes, we only want the process to be fair. There will be an informational workshop on how and why Hanover Property owners should consider appealing to the BOE. January 30th, 2010 at the Mechanicsville Library 10am – 12pm.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

3 Steps to Appeal RE Assessments

Step 1 - Informal Appeal - This review period is January 4 - 22nd, 2010
The first step in an appeal is an informal meeting or telephone call with an appraiser in the Assessor’s Office. Appeals are most often settled at the informal level. However, if you are not satisfied with the results of your informal review, you have more opportunities in the following steps.

You DO NOT need to have an informal appeal to file a formal appeal

Step 2 - Formal Appeal - The deadline for this is on March 15th.
The second step is to submit a formal appeal to the Hanover County Board of Equalization, as allowed for in Code of Virgina (COV 58.1-3350). Hanover County will not have the appeal form to the BOE on the website until January 22, 2010, when the informal review period is over.

The Board of Equalization is an independent three member board, as authorized by the Code of Virginia(COV 58.1-3378), appointed by the Circuit Court Judge and trained by the Virginia Department of Taxation. They have no connection to the Assessor’s Office, but may utilize the Assessor’s Office staff and information in reviewing appeals and setting up meetings.

Step 3 - Circuit Court
If the results of your formal appeal are not satisfactory to you, the third and final step would be to take your case to the Hanover County Circuit Court.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Assessment Review Period

This notice was posted to the county website today. There is a discrepancy with the date, as soon as it is corrected we will update.

Assessment Review Period Lasts Through Jan. 19

Jan. 6, 2010

All Hanover County property owners have through Friday, Jan. 22 to discuss their assessments with the Assessor’s Office. The number is 804-365-6029.

Following your discussion with the Assessor’s Office, your assessment will be evaluated. After this evaluation you will receive a letter advising you as to whether your assessment will be adjusted.

Property owners also have the right to appeal their assessments to the Board of Equalization, a three-member panel appointed by the Circuit Court Judge. Applications to the Board of Equalization must be received in the Assessor’s Office no later than March 15.

Assessment notices were mailed on Dec. 31. Values changed on approximately 10,500 parcels, with only 56 being increased. Of the 48 neighborhoods that experienced a changed value, values went down in 46 of them. Values decreased on both new and existing homes.

All Hanover County parcels are evaluated every year. Sales information is gathered from buyers, sellers and real estate professionals. Sales prices are compared to the assessed values to arrive at an assessment/sales ratio. A neighborhood is selected for reassessment when its assessment/sales ratio is significantly below or above 100%. Comparable sales information is used as a basis for the assessment of individual properties after the sales are carefully analyzed.

Hanover County offers tax relief programs landowners who have agricultural or forestal uses or keep it in open space, as well as for elderly or disabled citizens below specific income and net worth thresholds. For more information about these programs, call the Commissioner of Revenue at 804-365-6129.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 Proposed Assessment are now online

Hanover County residents should be receiving their proposed RE tax assessment for in the next couple of days. Chances are if your assessment changed it probably DID go down. Approximate 10,000 properties, were changed according to the Assessors Office. However, there are 44,000 parcel in Hanover and market value in Hanover is down, see our previous post. So, if your proposed assessment was NOT changed, chances are you are paying to much. Please consider making an informal appeal to the assessors office.

Step 1 - Informal Appeal
The first step in an appeal is an informal meeting or telephone call with an appraiser in the Assessor’s Office. Appeals are most often settled at the informal level. However, if you are not satisfied with the results of your informal review, you have more opportunities in the following steps.

The Assessment Review Period for will be from January 4 to January 22, 2010. You can call the assessor office at 804-365-6029

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hanover County Citizens Meeting

January 7th, 2010 ~ 7pm


Bass Pro Shop
Ashland, VA 23005

At this meeting we will be providing information about how and why you should consider appealing you Hanover County tax assessment, even if your assessment did not go up. Come and connect with other Hanover residents and learn about issues in the county. This is a meeting of citizens only.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 R.E. Assessment ~ Fact Check

On December 10th, Richmond Times Dispatch published this article, in which, Hanover County Assessor John Nelms reveals that property values are down. However, Mr. Nelms numbers don't add up.

Hanover County real estate has lost nearly $200 million in value since last year, supervisors learned yesterday from the county's chief assessor, John W. Nelms Jr.

The overall decrease of 1.5 percent in value represents a nearly $195 million decline in residential real estate and a $2.8 million decline in commercial real estate, Nelms said. Assessments were calculated based on sales through the end of October, he said. Values changed on about 10,500 parcels, most of them in the central to eastern part of the county between Ashland and Mechanicsville.

sold in the county also is down, from $347,400 in 2008 to $271,200 in the most recent report, he said. That figure doesn't necessarily indicate a decline in the value of any specific property, however.
The average price of homes sold is down from $347,400 in 2008 to $271,200" in 2009. That equals a 22% drop in value, not a 1.5% decrease.

Next week all Hanover County Property Owners will be receiving their Real Estate Assessment. Even if your assessment stayed the same, you need to consider appealling your assessment.

Here is an overview of Hanover County Real Estate Values from


Please join us on Thursday January 7th @ Bass Pro Shop in Ashland. We will have informed citizens explain why and how to appeal you RE tax assessment.