Article 16.

County Listing, Appraisal, and Assessing Officials.

§ 105-294.  County assessor.

(a)        Appointment. - Persons occupying the position of county assessor on July 1, 1983, shall continue in office until the first Monday in July, 1983. At its first regular meeting in July, 1983, and every two years or four years thereafter, as appropriate, the board of county commissioners of each county shall appoint a county assessor to serve a term of not less than two nor more than four years; provided, however, that no person shall be eligible for initial appointment to a term of more than two years unless such person is deemed to be qualified as provided in subsection (b) of this section or has been certified by the Department of Revenue as provided in subsection (c) of this section. The board of commissioners may remove the assessor from office during his term for good cause after giving him notice in writing and an opportunity to appear and be heard at a public session of the board. Whenever a vacancy occurs in this office, the board of county commissioners shall appoint a qualified person to serve as county assessor for the period of the unexpired term.

(b)        Persons who held the position of assessor on July 1, 1971, and continue to hold the position, and persons who have been certified for appointment as assessor by the Department of Revenue between July 1, 1971, and July 1, 1983, are deemed to be qualified to serve as county assessor. Any other person selected to serve as county assessor must meet the following requirements:

(1)        Be at least 21 years of age as of the date of appointment;

(2)        Hold a high school diploma or certificate of equivalency, or in the alternative, have five years employment experience in a vocation which is reasonably related to the duties of a county assessor;

(3)        Within two years of the date of appointment, achieve a passing score in courses of instruction approved by the Department of Revenue covering the following topics:

a.         The laws of North Carolina governing the listing, appraisal, and assessment of property for taxation;

b.         The theory and practice of estimating the fair market value of real property for ad valorem tax purposes;

c.         The theory and practice of estimating the fair market value of personal property for ad valorem tax purposes; and

d.         Property assessment administration.

(4)        Upon completion of the required four courses, achieve a passing grade in a comprehensive examination in property tax administration conducted by the Department of Revenue.

(c)        Certification. - Persons meeting all of the requirements of this section shall be certified by the Department of Revenue. From the date of appointment until the date of certification, persons appointed to serve as county assessor are deemed to be serving in an acting capacity. Any person who fails to qualify within two years after the date of initial appointment shall not be eligible for reappointment until all of the requirements have been met.

(d)        In order to retain the position of county assessor, every person serving as county assessor, including those persons deemed to be qualified under the provisions of this act, shall, in each period of 24 months, attend at least 30 hours of instruction in the appraisal or assessment of property as provided in regulations of the Department of Revenue.

(e)        The compensation and expenses of the county assessor shall be determined by the board of county commissioners.

(f)         Alternative to separate office of county assessor. - Pursuant to Act [Article] VI, Section 9 of the North Carolina Constitution, the office of county assessor is hereby declared to be an office that may be held concurrently with any other appointive or elective office except that of member of the board of county commissioners. (1939, c. 310, ss. 400, 401; 1953, c. 970, ss. 1, 2; 1971, c. 806, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 193; 1983, c. 813, s. 2; 1987, c. 45, ss. 1, 2; 1997-23, s. 5.)

 

§ 105-295.  Oath of office for assessor.

The assessor, as the holder of an appointed office, shall take the oath required by Article VI, § 7 of the North Carolina Constitution with the following phrase added to it: "that I will not allow my actions as assessor to be influenced by personal or political friendships or obligations,". The oath must be filed with the clerk of the board of county commissioners. (1939, c. 310, s. 402; 1971, c. 806, s. 1; 1987, c. 45, s. 1; 1991, c. 110, s. 4; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1007, s. 21.)

 

§ 105-296.  Powers and duties of assessor.

(a)        The county assessor shall have general charge of the listing, appraisal, and assessment of all property in the county in accordance with the provisions of law. He shall perform the duties imposed upon him by law, and he shall have and exercise all powers reasonably necessary in the performance of his duties not inconsistent with the Constitution or the laws of this State.

(b)        Within budgeted appropriations, he shall employ listers, appraisers, and clerical assistants necessary to carry out the listing, appraisal, assessing, and billing functions required by law. The assessor may allocate responsibility among such employees by territory, by subject matter, or on any other reasonable basis. Each person employed by the assessor as a real property appraiser or personal property appraiser shall during the first year of employment and at least every other year thereafter attend a course of instruction in his area of work. At the end of the first year of their employment, such persons shall also achieve a passing score on a comprehensive examination in property tax administration conducted by the Department of Revenue.

(c)        At least 10 days before the date as of which property is to be listed, the assessor shall advertise in a newspaper having general circulation in the county and post in at least five public places in each township in the county a notice containing all of the items listed in this subsection. If the listing period is extended in any county by the board of county commissioners, the assessor shall advertise in the newspaper in which the original notice was published and post in the same places a notice of the extension and of the times during which and the place or places at which lists will be accepted during the extended period. The items that must be included in the notice are:

(1)        The date as of which property is to be listed.

(2)        The date on which listing will begin.

(3)        The date on which listing will end.

(4)        The times between the date mentioned in subdivision (c)(2), above, and the date mentioned in subdivision (c)(3), above, during which lists will be accepted.

(5)        The place or places at which lists will be accepted at the times established under subdivision (c)(4), above.

(6)        A statement that all persons who, on the date as of which property is to be listed, own property subject to taxation must list such property within the period set forth in the notice and that any person who fails to do so will be subject to the penalties prescribed by law.

(7)        If the county has provided for electronic listing of personal property under G.S. 105-310.1, a statement that the county allows electronic listing of personal property and the timetable and procedures for electronic listing.

(d)        through (f) Repealed by Session Laws 1987, c. 43, s. 2.

(g)        He shall have power to subpoena any person for examination under oath and to subpoena documents whenever he has reasonable grounds for the belief that such person has knowledge or that such documents contain information that is pertinent to the discovery or valuation of any property subject to taxation in the county or that is necessary for compliance with the requirements as to what the tax list shall contain. The subpoena shall be signed by the chairman of the board of equalization and review if that board is in session; otherwise, it shall be signed by the chairman of the board of county commissioners. It shall be served by an officer qualified to serve subpoenas. Any person who shall wilfully fail or refuse to appear, produce subpoenaed documents, or testify concerning the subject of the inquiry shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(h)        Only after the abstract has been carefully reviewed can the assessor require any person operating a business enterprise in the county to submit a detailed inventory, statement of assets and liabilities, or other similar information pertinent to the discovery or appraisal of property taxable in the county. Inventories, statements of assets and liabilities, or other information secured by the assessor under the terms of this subsection, but not expressly required by this Subchapter to be shown on the abstract itself, shall not be open to public inspection but shall be made available, upon request, to representatives of the Department of Revenue or of the Division of Employment Security (DES) of the Department of Commerce. Any assessor or other official or employee disclosing information so obtained, except as may be necessary in listing or appraising property in the performance of official duties, or in the administrative or judicial proceedings relating to listing, appraising, or other official duties, shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and punishable only by a fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00).

(i)         Prior to the first meeting of the board of equalization and review, the assessor may, for good cause, change the appraisal of any property subject to assessment for the current year. Written notice of a change in assessment shall be given to the taxpayer at his last known address prior to the first meeting of the board of equalization and review.

(j)         The assessor must annually review at least one eighth of the parcels in the county classified for taxation at present-use value to verify that these parcels qualify for the classification. By this method, the assessor must review the eligibility of all parcels classified for taxation at present-use value in an eight-year period. The period of the review process is based on the average of the preceding three years' data. The assessor may request assistance from the Farm Service Agency, the Cooperative Extension Service, the North Carolina Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or other similar organizations.

The assessor may require the owner of classified property to submit any information, including sound management plans for forestland, needed by the assessor to verify that the property continues to qualify for present-use value taxation. The owner has 60 days from the date a written request for the information is made to submit the information to the assessor. If the assessor determines the owner failed to make the information requested available in the time required without good cause, the property loses its present-use value classification and the property's deferred taxes become due and payable as provided in G.S. 105-277.4(c). If the property loses its present-use value classification for failure to provide the requested information, the assessor must reinstate the property's present-use value classification when the owner submits the requested information within 60 days after the disqualification unless the information discloses that the property no longer qualifies for present-use value classification. When a property's present-use value classification is reinstated, it is reinstated retroactive to the date the classification was revoked and any deferred taxes that were paid as a result of the revocation must be refunded to the property owner. The owner may appeal the final decision of the assessor to the county board of equalization and review as provided in G.S. 105-277.4(b1).

In determining whether property is operating under a sound management program, the assessor must consider any weather conditions or other acts of nature that prevent the growing or harvesting of crops or the realization of income from cattle, swine, or poultry operations. The assessor must also allow the property owner to submit additional information before making this determination.

(k)        He shall furnish information to the Department of Revenue as required by the Department to conduct studies in accordance with G.S. 105-289(h).

(l)         The assessor shall annually review at least one-eighth of the parcels in the county exempted or excluded from taxation to verify that these parcels qualify for the exemption or exclusion. By this method, the assessor shall review the eligibility of all parcels exempted or excluded from taxation in an eight-year period. The assessor may require the owner of exempt or excluded property to make available for inspection any information reasonably needed by the assessor to verify that the property continues to qualify for the exemption or exclusion. The owner has 60 days from the date a written request for the information is made to submit the information to the assessor. If the assessor determines that the owner failed to make the information requested available in the time required without good cause, then the property loses its exemption or exclusion. If the property loses its exemption or exclusion for failure to provide the requested information, the assessor must reinstate the property's exemption or exclusion when the owner makes the requested information available within 60 days after the disqualification unless the information discloses that the property is no longer eligible for the exemption or exclusion.

(m)       The assessor shall annually review the transportation corridor official maps and amendments to them filed with the register of deeds pursuant to Article 2E of Chapter 136 of the General Statutes. The assessor must indicate on all tax maps maintained by the county or city that portion of the properties embraced within a transportation corridor and must note any variance granted for the property for such period as the designation remains in effect. The assessor must tax the property within a transportation corridor as required under G.S. 105-277.9.  (1939, c. 310, ss. 403, 404; 1953, c. 970, s. 3; 1955, c. 1012, s. 1; 1957, c. 202; 1959, c. 740, s. 3; 1963, c. 302; 1971, c. 806, s. 1; 1973, c. 560; 1983, c. 813, s. 3; 1985, c. 518, s. 2; 1987, c. 43, s. 2; c. 45, ss. 1, 2; c. 830, s. 84(b); 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1044, s. 13; 1991, c. 34, s. 2; c. 77, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, ss. 715, 716; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2001-139, ss. 3-5; 2002-184, s. 6; 2005-313, s. 7; 2005-386, s. 1.4; 2011-145, s. 13.25(pp); 2011-238, s. 2; 2011-401, s. 5.1; 2013-155, s. 8.)

 

§ 105-297.  Assistant assessor.

The board of county commissioners may, upon the recommendation of the assessor, appoint one or more assistant assessors. The board may delegate to assistant assessors appointed under this section responsibility for the appraisal of real  property, the listing and appraisal of business property, or such other duties as the board deems advisable. Pursuant to Article VI, Sec. 9, of the North Carolina Constitution, the office of assistant assessor is hereby declared to be an office that may be held concurrently with any other appointive office. (1939, c. 310, s. 409; 1955, c. 866; 1963, c. 625; 1967, cc. 59, 293; 1971, c. 802, s. 11; c. 806, s. 1; 1987, c. 45, s. 1.)

 

§ 105-298:  Repealed by Session Laws 1987, c.  43, s. 3.

 

§ 105-299.  (Effective until July 1, 2013 - see notes) Employment of experts.

The board of county commissioners may employ appraisal firms, mapping firms or other persons or firms having expertise in one or more of the duties of the assessor to assist the assessor in the performance of these duties. The county may also assign to county agencies, or contract with State or federal agencies for, any duties involved with the approval or auditing of use-value accounts. The county may make available to these persons any information it has that will facilitate the performance of a contract entered into pursuant to this section. Persons receiving this information are subject to the provisions of G.S. 105-289(e) and G.S. 105-259 regarding the use and disclosure of information provided to them by the county. Any person employed by an appraisal firm whose duties include the appraisal of property for the county must be required to demonstrate that he or she is qualified to carry out these duties by achieving a passing grade on a comprehensive examination in the appraisal of property administered by the Department of Revenue. In the employment of these firms, primary consideration must be given to the firms registered with the Department of Revenue pursuant to G.S. 105-289(i). A copy of the specifications to be submitted to potential bidders and a copy of the proposed contract may be sent by the board to the Department of Revenue for review before the invitation or acceptance of any bids. Contracts for the employment of these firms or persons are contracts for personal services and are not subject to the provisions of Article 8, Chapter 143, of the General Statutes.  (1939, c. 310, s. 408; 1971, c. 806, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 193; 1975, c. 508, s. 2; 1983, c. 813, s. 4; 1985, c. 601, s. 2; 1989, c. 79; 2002-184, s. 7; 2003-416, s. 9.)

 

§ 105-299.  (Effective July 1, 2013 until July 1, 2015 - see notes) Employment of experts.

The board of county commissioners may employ appraisal firms, mapping firms or other persons or firms having expertise in one or more of the duties of the assessor to assist the assessor in the performance of these duties. The county may also assign to county agencies, or contract with State or federal agencies for, any duties involved with the approval or auditing of use-value accounts. The county may make available to these persons any information it has that will facilitate the performance of a contract entered into pursuant to this section. Persons receiving this information are subject to the provisions of G.S. 105-289(e) and G.S. 105-259 regarding the use and disclosure of information provided to them by the county. Any person employed by an appraisal firm whose duties include the appraisal of property for the county must be required to demonstrate that he or she is qualified to carry out these duties by achieving a passing grade on a comprehensive examination in the appraisal of property administered by the Department of Revenue. In the employment of these firms, primary consideration must be given to the firms registered with the Department of Revenue pursuant to G.S. 105-289(i). A copy of the specifications to be submitted to potential bidders and a copy of the proposed contract may be sent by the board to the Department of Revenue for review before the invitation or acceptance of any bids. Contracts for the employment of these firms or persons are contracts for personal services and are not subject to the provisions of Article 8, Chapter 143, of the General Statutes. If the board of county commissioners employs any person or firm to assist the assessor in the performance of the assessor's duties, the person or firm may not be compensated, in whole or in part, on a contingent fee basis or any other similar method that may impair the assessor's independence or the perception of the assessor's independence by the public.  (1939, c. 310, s. 408; 1971, c. 806, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 193; 1975, c. 508, s. 2; 1983, c. 813, s. 4; 1985, c. 601, s. 2; 1989, c. 79; 2002-184, s. 7; 2003-416, s. 9; 2012-152, s. 2; 2012-194, s. 61.5(b).)

 

§ 105-299.  (Effective July 1, 2015 - see notes) Employment of experts.

The board of county commissioners may employ appraisal firms, mapping firms or other persons or firms having expertise in one or more of the duties of the assessor to assist the assessor in the performance of these duties. The county may also assign to county agencies, or contract with State or federal agencies for, any duties involved with the approval or auditing of use-value accounts. The county may make available to these persons any information it has that will facilitate the performance of a contract entered into pursuant to this section. Persons receiving this information are subject to the provisions of G.S. 105-289(e) and G.S. 105-259 regarding the use and disclosure of information provided to them by the county. Any person employed by an appraisal firm whose duties include the appraisal of property for the county must be required to demonstrate that he or she is qualified to carry out these duties by achieving a passing grade on a comprehensive examination in the appraisal of property administered by the Department of Revenue. In the employment of these firms, primary consideration must be given to the firms registered with the Department of Revenue pursuant to G.S. 105-289(i). A copy of the specifications to be submitted to potential bidders and a copy of the proposed contract may be sent by the board to the Department of Revenue for review before the invitation or acceptance of any bids. Contracts for the employment of these firms or persons are contracts for personal services and are not subject to the provisions of Article 8, Chapter 143, of the General Statutes.  (1939, c. 310, s. 408; 1971, c. 806, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 193; 1975, c. 508, s. 2; 1983, c. 813, s. 4; 1985, c. 601, s. 2; 1989, c. 79; 2002-184, s. 7; 2003-416, s. 9; 2012-152, s. 2; 2012-194, s. 61.5(b).)

 

§ 105-300.  Tax commission.

In all counties having a tax commission or comparable agency, the commission or agency shall, except for levying taxes, perform all the duties required by this Subchapter to be performed by the board of equalization and review and the board of county commissioners. All expenses incurred by the tax commission or agency or its appointees in accordance with this Subchapter shall be paid by the county. Pursuant to Article VI, Sec. 9, of the North Carolina Constitution, the office of member of a tax commission or comparable agency is hereby declared to be an office that may not be held concurrently with any other elective or appointive office. (1939, c. 310, s. 410; 1971, c. 806, s. 1.)