Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of conducting real estate assessments?

The purpose of real estate assessments is to fairly distribute the necessary tax burden among all property owners based on the market value of their property. Real estate is assessed so that the costs associated with our schools, fire and police protection and other City services can be allocated to property owners in proportion to the market value of their individual properties.

Aren't real estate assessments a veiled way for the City to raise taxes?

No. State statutes require all jurisdictions to assess real estate at market value and requires jurisdictions with a population of over 30,000 to reassess at least every two years. City code requires annual assessments.

Does the Assessor raise real estate assessments to fund the public/private partnerships the City has entered into, such as the Town Center and 31st Street projects?

No. Assessments are based on the market value of property and are made independent of any resource requirements the City may have. However, the City has decided to engage in investment partnerships as a strategic approach to lessening the City's dependence on real estate taxes to pay for basic city services.

How do other Hampton Roads cities conduct their real estate assessments?

As required by State statute the assessments are based upon market value. All cities in Hampton Roads reassess annually except Poquoson, which is biannual.

I'm not sure how assessments are actually determined. How is the final assessment computed?

Residential property is appraised by comparing the residents property to recent sale prices of similar properties that have sold near them. Variables such as age, size, quality, condition, location and amenities are important factors given consideration.

Isn't there a formula that is used to compute my real estate tax obligation?

Yes. The amount of tax you pay is determined by the tax rate applied to your assessed value. The tax rate is set by City Council and is determined by the amount of revenue needed to provide the many services offered to our citizens. 

Detailed tax rate information is available at Tax Rates

Does the City have a program to assist senior citizens and disabled persons on their property taxes?

Yes. City Council has adopted a program to assist qualifying individuals on both real estate and personal property taxes. We encourage qualifying senior citizens and disabled persons to take advantage of our tax exemption programs. To qualify individuals must meet income and net worth limitations. Information regarding the program can be obtained by calling 385-4385.

Exemption programs are also in place for energy efficient buildings, historic properties and for disabled veterans.