Mecklenburg County is mailing hundreds of thousands of updated property value notices to owners starting Wednesday, and people should be prepared to see a big jump in their assessments. The county has completed its revaluation of about 371,500 parcels in Charlotte, the county and the surrounding towns. It’s the first revaluation since 2011, when thousands of owners disputed their property values and Mecklenburg ended up issuing about $100 million worth of refunds. Owners don’t have to wait until they get a notice in the mail to see their updated values, however. Mecklenburg County will also post the new values online at https://property.spatialest.com/nc/mecklenburg/#/ starting Thursday. And those values are almost certain to be much higher. The total value of real estate in Mecklenburg increased 54 percent from 2011, the county assessor’s office said this month.
That includes a median increase of 43 percent for residential property and a whopping 77 percent for commercial property, a category that includes apartment buildings. Those increases don’t automatically mean that homeowners are going to see a giant jump in their tax bills, however. The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, Charlotte City Council and the governing boards of the six towns each set their own property tax rates, which they’ll do in the lead-up to finalizing their budgets this summer. Owners will then get their new tax bills in July. A little math helps show why rising values don’t necessarily mean a rising tax bill for everyone. Right now, the county’s tax rate is 0.8232 per $100 of value. So, a $200,000 house has $1,646 property tax bill from Mecklenburg County. If that house doubles in value to $400,000 and the county keeps the same tax rate, the tax bill would also double, to $3,292. But rates aren’t likely to stay the same. In the scenario above, the county could cut the property tax rate in half and still collect $1,646 in taxes from the $400,000 house. That would be the revenue-neutral rate, which local governments are required to publish for citizens to see.
There are some caveats, however. Owners whose property value rises more than the median amount are more likely to see a tax bill increase. Also, because commercial values rose faster than residential values, commercial properties will make up a bigger slice of the county’s property tax pie (right now it’s about 35 percent commercial, 65 percent residential).
That means commercial property tax increases could spare owners from as big a tax hike, since they’ll likely be shouldering more of the burden. Mecklenburg has gone eight years in between revaluations — the longest it’s allowed to under state law — and local officials plan to shorten the cycle so property value changes aren’t so drastic the next time around. In the future, the county plans to revalue properties every four years, placing the next revaluation in 2023. Property owners who disagree with their new values can request an informal appeal within 30 days online at www.meckreval.com, or file a formal appeal with the Board of Equalization and Review by May 20.