(b) If any person, firm or corporation, including public service corporations, required by law to make return of property for taxation, whether the return is to be made to the assessor, the board of Public Works, or any other assessing officer or body, fails to return a true list of all property which should be assessed in this state, the person, firm or corporation, in addition to all other penalties provided by law, shall forfeit one percent of the value of the property not yet returned and not otherwise taxed in this state.
(c) A forfeiture as to all property aforesaid may be enforced for any default occurring in any year not exceeding five years immediately prior to the time the default is discovered.
(d) Each failure to make a true return as herein required constitutes a separate offense, and a forfeiture shall apply to each of them, but all forfeitures, to which the same person, firm or corporation is liable, shall be enforced in one proceeding against the person, firm or corporation, or against the estate of any deceased person, and may not exceed five percent of the value of the property not returned that is required to be returned for taxation by this chapter.
(e) Forfeitures shall be collected as provided in article two, chapter eleven-a of this code, the same as any tax liability, against the defaulting taxpayer, or in case of a decedent, against his or her personal representative. The sheriff shall apportion such fund among the state, county, district, school district and municipalities which would have been entitled to the taxes upon the property if it had been assessed, in proportion to the rates of taxation for each levying unit for the year in which the judgment was obtained bears to the sum of rates for all.
(f) When the list of property returned by the appraisers of the estate of any deceased person shows an amount greater than the last assessment list of real and tangible personal property of the deceased person next preceding the appraisal of his or her estate, it is prima facie evidence that the deceased person returned an imperfect list of his or her property: Provided, That any person liable for the tax, or his or her personal representative, may always be permitted to prove by competent evidence that the discrepancy between the assessment list and the appraisal of the estate is caused by a difference of valuation returned by the assessor and that made by the appraisers of the same property or by property acquired after assessment, or that any property enumerated in the appraisers' list had been otherwise listed for taxation, or that it was not liable for taxation.
(g) Any judgment recovered under this section is a lien, from the time of the service of the notice, upon all real estate and personal property of the defaulting taxpayer, owned at the time or subsequently acquired, in preference to any other lien.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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