The Office of the Morgan County Assessor is charged with appraising the value of all real and personal property owned by individuals and companies within Morgan County. The appraised value is used to calculate the property taxes assessed on each parcel of property.
Real property includes land and all fixtures on the land. Personal property includes all valuable property other than real property, the most notable of which are motor vehicles. Other examples of personal property include equipment, boats, trailers, farm animals and even dogs. Dogs are taxed $3.00 each.
Once the Assessor sets the appraised value of each piece of taxable property, he calculates the Levy Rate. The Levy Rate is obtained from the several taxing authorities in the County, that is, the Morgan County Commission, the Morgan County Board of Education, and the Town of Bath.
The Assessor uses the Levy Rate to calculate the amount of taxes assessed to each property owner by multiplying the Levy Rate by the Assessed Value, and the product is the amount of taxes owed for that piece of property.
Each year, the Assessor compiles all of the Assessed Values and Tax Assessments for every piece of real and personal property in Morgan County, arranged by magisterial district, in a document called the Land Book and the Personal Property Book. Copies of these two books are forwarded to the Sheriff and the County Clerk.
The Sheriff uses the information in the Land Book and the Personal Property Book to prepare tax statements, sometimes called tax tickets, to mail to every taxpayer in Morgan County. The Sheriff also uses these books, as well as computers and other methods, to maintain records of all taxes paid to the County. The Sheriff collects the taxes as assessed by the Assessor.
The Office Deputies in the Assessor's Office not only meet the public and provide information, they also maintain the records of the Assessor, including preparing the Land Book and Personal Property Book each year.
Every time that the title to property changes, such as when someone sells a house, the Office Deputies obtain information about the sale to be used to prepare the books for the next tax year. These employees also attempt to correct any clerical errors that may exist in the Assessor's various records. For example, if you purchase a parcel of land and do not receive a tax statement the following July for the new parcel of land, you should report this to the Assessor and the staff will correct this error.
Likewise, if you sell property, you should report that fact to the Assessor so that you will not be assessed a tax on that property the following year. The same principle applies to personal property. If you buy a car or sell a car, the Assessor needs to know this information.
Each year, from July to October, pursuant to Chapter 11 of the West Virginia Code, the Assessor collects new information from every taxpayer on the personal property owned by every taxpayer. The Assessor mails a Morgan County Personal Property Assessment Report to every known taxpayer in July of each year. It is the taxpayer's responsibility to return this form to the Assessor prior to the first day of October, so that the Assessor can make correct and proper assessments for the following year. Use this form to report all of the motor vehicles and other personal property that you own, buy or sell.
Excerpts From State Code
The following duties are hereby imposed upon every assessor of this state:
- He shall annually complete a sales ratio analysis in a manner prescribed by the state tax commissioner.
- He shall present to the tax commissioner a list of real property transfers of the prior assessment year by December first annually.
- He shall on or before December first of each year supply a list of new construction and improvements exceeding one thousand dollars of the previous assessment year on forms prescribed by the state tax commissioner.
- He shall on or before December first of each year supply a list of new businesses added to the assessment rolls and businesses that have discontinued operations in the previous assessment year and been removed from the assessment rolls.
- He shall provide assistance to the tax commissioner to disseminate information with respect to the taxation, classification and valuation of nonutility and public utility property to the end that all property shall be more equally and uniformly assessed throughout the state.
- He shall annually assist the tax commissioner in determining the current use of such real property in his county as the tax commissioner may require to accomplish a uniform appraisal and assessment of real property.
The duties hereinbefore listed must be substantially completed by the assessor no later than the first day of November of each year, and each assessor shall certify to the tax commissioner that he has substantially completed such duties in accordance with requirements of the tax commissioner. If at this time there has been substantial completion of the above duties to the satisfaction of the tax commissioner, the tax commissioner shall, but no later than the fifteenth day of November of each year, certify to the county commission that the assessor has substantially performed these duties, and is entitled to the remuneration provided for in section six-b of this article.
§7-7-6d. Collection of head tax on dogs; duties of assessor and sheriff; registration of dogs; disposition of head tax; taxes on dogs not collected by assessor.
It shall be the duty of the county assessor and his deputies of each county within the state, at the time they are making assessment of the personal property within such county, to assess and collect a head tax of one dollar on each male or spayed female dog and of two dollars on each unspayed female dog; and in addition to the above, the assessor and his deputies shall have the further duty of collecting any such head tax on dogs as may be levied by the ordinances of each and every municipality within the county. In the event that the owner, keeper, or person having in his possession or allowing to remain on any premises under his control any dog above the age of six months, shall refuse or fail to pay such tax, when the same is assessed or within fifteen days thereafter, to the assessor or deputy assessor, then such assessor or deputy assessor shall certify such tax to the county dog warden; if there be no county dog warden he shall certify such tax to the county sheriff, who shall take charge of the dog for which the tax is delinquent and impound the same for a period of fifteen days, for which service he shall be allowed a fee of one dollar and fifty cents to be charged against such delinquent taxpayer in addition to the taxes herein provided for. In case the tax and impounding charge herein provided for shall not have been paid within the period of fifteen days, then the sheriff may sell the impounded dog and deduct the impounding charge and the delinquent tax from the amount received therefore, and return the balance, if any, to the delinquent taxpayer. Should the sheriff fail to sell the dog so impounded within the time specified herein, he shall kill such dog and dispose of its body.