The Virginia Code ensures every property owner has the right to appeal their assessment. The City of Lynchburg performs a general reassessment of real estate property every two years. Assessment notices are mailed to property owners, whose assessment has changed, in odd years (i.e. 2017, 2019, 2021). 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 an Informal Review online, in person, by mailing the form, or by calling 434-455-3830 to request a form for an Administrative Review.
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 reassessment 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.
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.
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.
Board of Equalization Letters of Authorization
In order for any party other than the owner on record to request property information, or to file a Request for Review or Appeal of Assessment, the owner on record for the property must first submit a Letter of Authorization.
- Letters of authorization must be printed on the property owner's letterhead.
- The signature must belong to the property owner and the name of the person signing must be printed below the signature.
- If the person signing the letter is not the owner from our records, the signer must identify their position and/or relationship to the owner of the record and provide documentation identifying the person as an owner or an officer of the corporation that holds the title.
- The signature of an officer from a management firm, or the use of an Agent Authorization Form, is insufficient.
- If an owner has more than one property for which he is authorizing an agent to act on his behalf, all properties being represented must be identified by map-block-lot number and street address.
- The tax year for which the authorization is being granted must be specifically stated. The date on which the letter is written being present on the letter is not sufficient. Authorization is not assumed to exist in perpetuity. (E.g., "Authorization is granted to ABC Tax Representatives for the tax year YYYY")
- Letters of authorization must be notarized.