WVC 11 -
CHAPTER 11. TAXATION.
ARTICLE 5. ASSESSMENT OF PERSONAL PROPERTY.
§11-5-1. What personal property taxable.
All personal property belonging to persons residing in this
state, whether such property be in or out of the state, and all
personal property in the state, though owned by persons residing
out of the state, shall be entered in the personal property book,
and be subject to equal and uniform taxation, except as classified
in section four, article eight of this chapter, unless especially
exempted by law; but personal property of all classes, except as
hereinbefore provided, belonging to the residents of this state,
which is actually and permanently located in another state, and by
the laws of such other state is subject to taxation and is actually
taxed in such other state, shall not be entered on the personal
property book, or be taxed in this state. But the shares of
capital stock owned by residents of this state in corporations
actually located in other states, and whose property is taxed by
the laws of such other state, shall not be required to be listed
for taxation. Any person who at any time before the assessment
year transfers by loan, deposit or gift, any notes, bonds, bills
and accounts receivable, stocks and other intangible personal
property, which are subject to taxation to anyone, who does not
return a list of taxation as of the day on which the assessment
year commences including such property, transfers, loans, deposits
or gifts, if made with intention of evading taxation, shall be
deemed and treated as illegal and fraudulent and the assessor shall
assess such property for taxation to the party who makes such transfers, loans, deposits or gifts as aforesaid.
§11-5-2. Personal property books.
In his personal property books the assessor shall enter the
names and post-office addresses of the owners of personal property
alphabetically arranged by districts, showing separately the values
(1) All tangible personal property employed exclusively in
agriculture including horticulture and grazing;
(2) All products of agriculture (including livestock) while
owned by the producer;
(3) All notes, bonds, bills and accounts receivable, stocks
and any other intangible personal property;
(4) The total of one, two and three;
(5) All other tangible personal property.
The tax commissioner may prescribe such itemization and
further information as he deems necessary. The assessor shall make
the same number of copies and extend the levies in the same way as
he does with the landbook.
WVC 11 - 5 - 3
The words "personal property," as used in this chapter
includes all fixtures attached to land, if not included in the
valuation of such land entered in the proper landbook; all things
of value, moveable and tangible, which are the subjects of
ownership; all chattels real and personal; all notes, bonds, and
accounts receivable, stocks and all other intangible property.
"Agriculture" means the cultivation of the soil, including the
planting and harvesting of crops and the breeding and management of
"Horticulture" means plant production of every character
"Grazing" means the use of land for pasturage.
"Products of agriculture" means those things the existence of
which follows directly from the activity of agriculture,
horticulture or grazing, including dairy, poultry, bee and any
other similar products, whether in the natural form or processed as
an incident to the marketing of the raw material.
"Producer" means the person who is actually engaged in the
agriculture, horticulture and grazing which gives existence and
fruition to products of agriculture as distinguished from the
broker or middleman.
"Tax year" means the calendar year following the July first
assessment day or, in the case of a public service business
assessed pursuant to article six of this chapter, the calendar year beginning on the January first assessment day.
"While owned by the producer" means while title is in the
producer as above defined.
"Employed exclusively" means that the preponderant and the
sole gainful use is for the designated purpose.
§11-5-4. In what district personalty assessed.
Every person required by law to list personal property for
taxation shall list the tangible personal property in the tax
district wherein it is on the first day of the assessment year, and
chattels real in the tax district wherein the land to which they
relate is located; and he shall list for taxation in the tax
district in which he resides the notes, bonds, bills, and accounts
receivable, stocks and other intangible personal property subject
to taxation belonging to himself or under his charge or control,
whether the same, or the evidence thereof be in or out of the
state; but capital, and intangible property (except real estate and
chattels real) employed in any trade or business (other than
agriculture) belonging to a company whether it is incorporated or
not, or to an individual, shall be assessed for taxation in the tax
district wherein the principal office for the transaction of the
financial concerns pertaining to such trade or business is located;
or, if there be no such office, then in the district where the
operations are carried on. Goods and chattels and other tangible
personal property not exempt from taxation which may not be
assessed for taxation in the tax district where the same were on
the first day of the assessment year, but which have been removed
therefrom, shall be assessed in the tax district where the same
were on the first day of the assessment year; but the assessment
and payment of taxes in any county or district in any year shall
exonerate the owner of such property in any other county or district for such year: Provided,
That in cases of the assessment
of leasehold estates a sum equal to the valuations placed upon such
leasehold estates shall be deducted from the total value of the
estate, to the end that the valuation of such leasehold estate and
the remainder shall aggregate the true and actual value of the
§11-5-5. Valuation of credits and investments.
The value of any credit, if the solvency of the party liable
therefor be doubtful or if the claim be disputed, shall be
estimated at its probable worth; if it be payable in anything but
money, its probable value in money, to be fixed by the assessor, is
to be listed; if a solvent credit bear interest which has not been
paid, the amount of principal and interest, calculated up to the
first day of the assessment year of the year for which the
assessment is made shall be listed; but if it do not bear interest,
and be not due, the interest for the time it has run from the first
day of the assessment until it be due and payable, may be deducted.
Investment, in notes, bonds, bills, stocks and other intangible
property, shall be rated by the assessor at their market price, or
if there be no known market price, then at their proper value,
according to the rule prescribed in this chapter.
§11-5-6. Property or stock of corporations.
When the property, stock or capital of any company, whether
incorporated or not, is assessed to such company, no person owning
any share, portion or interest therein, shall be required to list
the same or be assessed with the valuation thereof.
§11-5-7. Household furniture.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to
require any person to furnish, or the assessor to take, a list of
the several articles of such person's household and kitchen
furniture, except as required under the provisions of section two
of this article.
§11-5-8. Assessment of transients selling goods.
Any transient person desiring to offer or furnish for sale,
either by auction or otherwise, any goods or merchandise not
assessed for the purpose of taxation in any county in this state,
shall apply to the assessor of the county in which such goods or
merchandise is about to be offered or furnished for sale, and have
the value thereof ascertained and assessed with taxes, as like
property is valued and assessed, and shall, before selling any of
such goods or merchandise, pay to such assessor the taxes levied
for the current year. If at the time of such valuation and payment
of taxes the levies for the current year shall not have been
ascertained, the assessor shall assess such valuation according to
the rate of taxation levied for the previous assessment year, for
all purposes for which such goods or merchandise is liable to be
assessed for the current year, in the place where they are to be
offered or furnished for sale. If the amount thus ascertained and
paid is afterward ascertained to be in excess of the taxes levied
for the current year, he shall have such excess refunded to him.
The assessor shall at the time he so values such goods or
merchandise and collects the taxes thereon, if his personal
property book has not been completed and certified, enter such
valuation therein, under the appropriate heading in the name of the
owner of such goods or merchandise. If at the time of such
valuation and collection of taxes thereon such personal property
books shall have been completed and certified, he shall enter the same in the supplement to the copy of such book retained by him,
and in either event he shall furnish to the auditor, to the clerk
of the county court and to the municipality, if any, interested
therein, respectively, certificates of such valuation and of the
amount of taxes collected thereon by him. The auditor and such
clerk shall preserve such certificates in their respective offices,
and, if the entry of such valuation and assessment of taxes thereon
shall not have been made in the personal property book before
copies thereof have been certified, they shall also enter the
amount of such valuation so certified to them in the supplements to
their respective copies of such personal property book. The
assessor shall deliver to such person a receipt for the amount of
taxes paid by him, stating therein the character of the goods or
merchandise on which such taxes were paid, the value assessed
thereon, and the amount of taxes and the year for which the same
were paid. Such receipt shall be signed by the assessor and
attested by the clerk of the county court, and when so signed and
attested shall operate as a discharge to such person holding the
same for any further liability for taxes in any county of the state
on account of such goods or merchandise for that year; but it shall
not relieve him from all liability for taxes on account of goods or
merchandise which he has not reported to the assessor to be valued,
and on which he has not paid the taxes as herein provided. The
assessor shall report to the clerk of the county court all taxes
collected by him, under this and the preceding section, upon property assessed by him after he has completed and certified his
personal property book, and it shall be the duty of such clerk to
charge the same against him in the supplement to the personal
property book filed with such clerk. Any such person who shall
violate any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a
misdemeanor, and shall be fined not less than fifty nor more than
five hundred dollars. The assessor shall apportion the taxes
collected by him under the provisions of this section, and shall
account therefor to the county, district and municipality entitled
thereto, according to the rate levied for the current year for each
of them. Any assessor who shall fail to perform the duty required
of him by this section shall forfeit not less than twenty-five nor
more than one hundred dollars. If he shall fail to account for any
taxes collected by him under the provisions of this section he
shall be guilty of embezzlement, and shall, in addition to the
foregoing penalty, be punished therefor according to law.
§11-5-9. Ascertainment of property held under order of court.
The assessor shall ascertain from each person in his county,
who acts under the order of any court as receiver or commissioner,
the amount of all bonds, or other evidence of debt, under his
control, and the style of the suit in which such fund belongs.
§11-5-10. Entry of omitted personalty taxes.
If the assessor discovers that any taxes on personal property,
other than bank deposits and money, were omitted in any former
years, he shall proceed as provided in section five of article
three of this chapter.
§11-5-10a. Release of taxes, interest and charges, on bank
deposits and money not assessed prior to November
In view of the adoption of section one-a, amending article X
of the constitution of West Virginia, at the general election held
on the fourth day of November, one thousand nine hundred
fifty-eight, without any saving clause therein, and in order to
give effect to the mandate of the people of the state, it is the
intent and purpose of the Legislature to, and it hereby does,
release all ad valorem taxes, interest, and charges on bank
deposits and money unless an assessment therefor shall have been
made, as provided in article three of this chapter, prior to the
fourth day of November, one thousand nine hundred fifty-eight.
§11-5-11. Mobile homes used by the owner for residential purposes
and located on land not owned by the mobile
Mobile homes used and occupied by the owner thereof
exclusively for residential purposes and located on land not owned
by the owner of the mobile home shall be assessed on the personal
property books as Class II property.
WVC 11 - 5 - 12
§11-5-12. Mobile homes situate upon property owned by a person
other than owner of mobile home.
Mobile homes situated upon property owned by a person other
than the owner of the mobile home are classified as personal
property whether or not the mobile home is permanently affixed to
the real estate and, unless subject to assessment as Class II
property under section eleven of this article or section two,
article four of this chapter, are assessed as Class III or Class IV
personal property, as may be appropriate in the circumstances.
A mobile home permanently attached to the real estate of the
owner may not be classified as personal property if the owner has
filed a canceled certificate of title with the clerk of the county
commission and the clerk has recorded it in the same manner as
deeds are recorded and indexed.
§11-5-13. Exemption of inventory and warehouse goods.
(a) Tangible personal property which is moving in interstate
commerce through or over the territory of the state of West
Virginia, or which was consigned from a point of origin outside the
state to a warehouse, public or private, within the state for
storage in transit to a final destination outside the state,
whether specified when transportation begins or afterward, but in
any case specified timely for exempt status determination purposes,
shall not be deemed to have acquired a tax situs in West Virginia
for purposes of ad valorem taxation and shall be exempt from such
taxation, except as otherwise provided herein.
(b) Such property shall not be deprived of such exemption
because while in the warehouse the personal property is assembled,
bound, joined, processed, disassembled, divided, cut, broken in
bulk, relabeled, or repackaged for delivery out of state, unless
such activity results in a new or different product, article,
substance or commodity, or one of different utility.
(c) Personal property of inventories of natural resources
shall not be exempt from ad valorem taxation unless required by
paramount federal law.
(d) The exemption allowed herein shall be phased in over a
period of five consecutive assessment years, at the rate of one
fifth of the assessed value of the property per assessment year,
beginning the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred
§11-5-13a. Application of exemption to finished goods in
(a) This section is intended to clarify the intent of the
Legislature and the citizens in establishing the exemption from ad
valorem property taxation granted by section one-c, article ten of
the West Virginia constitution and section thirteen of this article
as it pertains to goods held in warehouse facilities in this state
awaiting shipment to a destination outside this state. This
section codifies policies applied by agencies and departments of
this state upon which persons have relied. It is the intent of the
Legislature that the provisions of this section are to be liberally
construed in favor of a person claiming exemption from tax pursuant
to section one-c, article ten of the West Virginia constitution,
this section and section thirteen of this article.
(b) Goods which have been moved to a warehouse or storage
facility, at which no substantial alteration takes place, to await
shipment to a destination outside this state are deemed to be
moving in interstate commerce over the territory of the state and
therefore are exempt from ad valorem property tax and do not have
a tax situs in West Virginia for purposes of ad valorem taxation.
(c) Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, personal
property of inventories of natural resources shall not be exempt
from ad valorem taxation unless required by federal law.
(d) This section is intended to be declarative of the law as
of the enactment hereof and shall be fully retroactive.
WVC 11 - 5 - 14
§11-5-14. Assessment of motor vehicles previously titled jointly
by married couples following final divorce order.
Beginning the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred
ninety-nine, upon the presentment to the assessor of a certified
copy of a final divorce order, entered under the provisions of
section fifteen, article two, chapter forty-eight of this code,
which grants the possession of a jointly titled motor vehicle to
one of the parties of the divorce, the assessor shall list and
assess that motor vehicle in the name of the person awarded
possession of the vehicle in the final divorce order. If two
jointly owned motor vehicles are involved in the divorce order and
the vehicles are awarded exclusively to be titled one in the name
of the husband and one in the name of the wife, the assessor shall
apportion the assessment of the taxes owed on the vehicles between
the husband and wife for the purposes of taxation on the vehicles
so that the husband or wife will be responsible for the payment of
taxes only on the vehicle awarded to him or her by the final
divorce order. The assessor shall file notice of the apportionment
with the county commission. Upon receipt of the notice, the county
commission shall order that the taxes on the vehicles be
apportioned in accordance with the apportionment set forth in the
notice. The clerk of the county commission shall certify a copy of
the order to the sheriff. Upon receipt of the order, the sheriff
shall accept payment of the amount of tax apportioned to the motor
vehicle awarded to the former spouse determined in the county commission's order, and the receipt issued by the sheriff for such
payment shall constitute payment in full of the taxes due for the
motor vehicle. No provision of this section may be construed to
relieve the former spouse from liability for payment of any tax
imposed on any other property of the former spouse.