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Introduced Version House Bill 2429 History

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hb2429 intr
H. B. 2429


(By Delegates Spencer, Palumbo, Webster and Amores)
[Introduced February 16, 2005; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]




A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §11-3-32, relating to providing relief from property taxes when real property is damaged or destroyed in a disaster, which results in a declaration of same from either the Governor or the President of the United States.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §11-3-32, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. ASSESSMENTS GENERALLY.
§11-3-32. Reassessment of property following a natural disaster.
(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Eligible county" means a county that meets both of the following requirements:
(A) Has been proclaimed by the Governor of West Virginia or the President of the United States to be in a disaster area;
(B) Has adopted an ordinance providing property tax relief for disaster victims.
(2) "Eligible property" means real and personal property, including any new construction that was completed or any change in ownership that occurred prior to the date of the disaster that meets both of the following requirements:
(A) Is located in an eligible county;
(B) Has sustained substantial disaster damage and the disaster resulted in the issuance of a disaster area proclamation by the Governor of the State or the President of the United States.
"Eligible property" does not include any real or personal property, whether or not it otherwise qualifies as eligible property, if that real property or personal property was purchased or otherwise acquired by a claimant for relief under this section after the last date on which the disaster occurred.
(3) "Property tax deferral claim" means a claim filed by the owner of eligible property in conjunction with, or in addition to, the filing of an application for reassessment of that property pursuant to this section, that enables the owner to defer payment of the next installment of taxes on property for the current fiscal year.
(4) "Substantial disaster damage," as to property located in a county declared to be a disaster area by the Governor or the President, means damage to the property of at least twenty percent of its fair market value immediately preceding the disaster causing the damage.
(b) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the county commission may, by ordinance, provide that every owner of any taxable property, or any person liable for the taxes thereon, whose property was damaged or destroyed without his or her fault by a major misfortune or calamity, in an area or region subsequently proclaimed by the Governor or President to be in a disaster area, may apply for reassessment of that property as provided herein. To be eligible for reassessment the damage or destruction to the property shall have been caused by a major misfortune or calamity, in an area or region subsequently proclaimed by the Governor or President, to be in a disaster area, if that property was damaged or destroyed by the major misfortune or calamity that caused the Governor or President to proclaim the area or region to be in a disaster area. As used in this paragraph, "damage" includes a diminution in the value of property as a result of restricted access to the property where that restricted access was caused by the major misfortune or calamity.
The application for reassessment may be filed within the time specified in the ordinance or within sixty days of the misfortune or calamity, whichever is later, by delivering to the assessor a written application requesting reassessment showing the condition and value, if any, of the property immediately after the damage or destruction, and the dollar amount of the damage. The application shall be executed under penalty of perjury and if executed outside the State of West Virginia, verified by affidavit.
The ordinance may specify a period of time within which the ordinance shall be effective, and, if no period of time is specified, it shall remain in effect until repealed.
Upon receiving a proper application, the assessor shall appraise the property and determine separately the appraised value of land, improvements and personal property immediately before and after the damage or destruction. If the sum of the appraised values of the land, improvements and personal property before the damage or destruction, exceeds the sum of the values after the damage or destruction, exceeds the sum of the values after the damage by five thousand dollars or more, the assessor shall also separately determine the percentage reductions in value of land, improvements and personal property due to the damage or destruction. Upon making the determination, the assessor shall reduce the values appearing on the assessment roll by the percentages of damage or destruction computed pursuant to this subsection and the taxes due on the property shall be adjusted as provided in this section. However, the amount of the reduction shall not exceed the actual loss.
The assessor shall notify the applicant in writing of the amount of the proposed reassessment. The notice shall state that the applicant may appeal the proposed reassessment to the county commission within thirty days of the date of mailing the notice.
If an appeal is requested within the thirty-day period, the county commission shall hear and decide the matter the same as if they were sitting as board of equalization and review pursuant to section twenty-four, article three of chapter eleven. The decision of the county commission regarding the damaged value of the property may be appealed in the same fashion as is provided for appeals from the county commission in section twenty-five of this article.
If no application is made and the assessor determines that within the preceding thirty days a property has suffered damage caused by misfortune or calamity that may qualify the property owner for relief under an ordinance adopted under this section, the assessor may provide the last known owner of the property with an application for reassessment. The property owner shall file the completed application within thirty days of the date of mailing on notification by the assessor. Upon receipt of a properly completed, timely filed application, the property shall be reassessed in the same manner as required in subsection (b) of this section.
The tax rate fixed for property on the books on which the property so reassessed appeared at the time of the misfortune or calamity, shall be applied to the amount of the reassessment as determined in accordance with this section and the taxpayer shall be liable for: (1) A prorated portion of the taxes that would have been due on the property for the current tax year had the misfortune or calamity not occurred, to be determined on the basis of the number of months in the current tax year prior to the misfortune or calamity; plus (2) a prorating of the tax due on the property as reassessed in its damaged or destroyed condition, to be determined on the basis of the number of months in the tax year after the damage or destruction, including the month in which the damage was incurred. If the damage or destruction occurred after the first day of July and before the thirty-first day of December, the reassessment shall be utilized to determine the tax liability for the next tax year as if that were the value of the property on the first day of July assessment date. Any tax paid in excess of the total tax due shall be refunded to the taxpayer pursuant to section twenty-seven of this article or by order of the county commission without the necessity of a claim being filed pursuant to section twenty-seven of this article.
On the first day of July assessment date following completion of the repair, restoration or reconstruction, the assessor shall enroll the new taxable value of the property as of that assessment date.
(c) Any owner of eligible property who files a claim for reassessment on or before the next property tax installment payment date, pursuant to this section or whose property is otherwise reassessed pursuant to this section, may apply to the county sheriff to defer payment of that installment of property taxes for the current tax year with respect to that property, which are due.
If a timely claim for deferral is filed, the payment shall be deferred without penalty or interest until the assessor has reassessed the property and a corrected bill prepared pursuant to this section has been sent to the property owner. Taxes deferred pursuant to this section are due thirty days after receipt by the owner of the corrected tax bill and if unpaid thereafter are due and owing as provided in article one, chapter eleven-a of this code and shall be subject to the penalty and interest provided by law.
(d) If, following reassessment pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the assessor determines that an owner who applied and was granted a deferral of property taxes did not file the claim in good faith, the owner shall be assessed a delinquency penalty for the nonpayment of the deferred taxes.
(e) The Tax Commissioner shall propose legislative rules in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code designed to implement the provisions of this section.




NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide relief from property taxes for property damaged or destroyed in a disaster, which results in a declaration of such from either the Governor or the federal government, i.e., the President of the United States.

This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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