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The Virginia Code ensures every property owner the right to appeal their assessment. The City of Lynchburg performs a general re-assessment of real estate property every two years. Assessment notices are mailed to property owners, whose assessment has changed, in odd years (i.e. 2011, 2013, 2015). On even years, notices are mailed to property owners whose assessments have changed due to new construction, rezoning, demolition, fire loss, etc. Property owners have the right to appeal immediately following a reassessment.
There are three types of appeals:
The first type of appeal is an administrative (in-house) review of assessments which are conducted by the Lynchburg City Assessor's Office by request. This can be done by requesting a review of assessment from the Assessor's Office by telephone, in person, or by letter.
The second type of unresolved appeal is a judicial review held by the Board of Equalization. The Board of Equalization is composed of three individuals who must reside and own real property in the City of Lynchburg; they are appointed each general re-assessment year by the Circuit Court. An Application for the Review of Assessment by the Board can be requested from the Assessor's Office by telephone, in person, or by letter. The application, along with any required documentation and letter of authorization (if applicable), must be received in the Assessor's Office on or before the Board of Equalization filing deadline stipulated on the Assessment Notices.
In all cases brought before the Board of Equalization, the valuation determined by the Assessor is presumed to be correct. The taxpayer bears the burden of proving that the property is valued at more than its fair market value, or that the value is not equalized with similar properties.
The third type of appeal is to apply to the Circuit Court for an adjusted assessed value. The decision to petition the court rests solely with the property owner and is not a recourse required by the City or the City Assessor's Office. Although not required, it is suggested the property owner obtain the services of an attorney.