Ritchie County Assessor's Office


The assessment date for all property is July 1st of each year. That means that all assessments are to be based upon conditions as of July 1, with regard to ownership, taxability, condition, use, etc. The property taxes are for a calendar year and are based on the ownership etc. as of July 1 of the previous year. Taxes are calculated by multiplying the appropriate levy rate by the assessed value of the property which is, in most cases, 60% of the market or appraised value of a property with preferential valuation for certain real property such as managed timberland and farm land subject to farm use valuation and certain personal property such as Pollution Abatement Equipment, Specialized Manufacturing Production Property, Qualified Additional Property, and Special Aircraft Property.


There are two major types or categories of property that are assessable for property taxation purposes. These are real property and personal property. Real property generally includes land and things attached to land, such as buildings etc. Personal property generally includes things not fixed to land such as vehicles, animals, tools, equipment, etc. Mobile homes or buildings on land owned by a person other than the owner of the mobile home or building are considered personal property by the assessor's office in accordance with the State guidelines.

Real or personal property may be owned by individuals, corporations, partnerships or many other entities. All property must be classified into four classes for tax purposes.

Class I property is currently exempt from property taxation and was, prior to exemption, taxed at the lowest levy rate. Class I property includes certain types of intangible personal property and farm personal property. Real estate may not be classed in the Class 1 property tax Classification.

Class II property Includes all land owned, used, and occupied by the owner thereof, exclusively for residential purposes including houses and mobile homes on land not owned by the owner of the home, and also includes all farm land. Class II property is taxed at double the rate that was applicable to Class I property prior to exemption.

All other property, exclusive of Class I and Class II property, is either Class III or Class IV property. Such property is Class IV if it is located inside of an incorporated municipality , and it is Class III property if is located outside of an incorporated municipality. Ritchie County Municipalities are Auburn, Cairo, Ellenboro, Harrisville, Pwennsboro, and Pullman. Class III and Class IV property is taxed at double the rate of Class II property with Class IV property also being subject to the prevailing municipal levy rate.


To qualify for consolidation, tracts of land must be contiguous to one another. In addition, they must be in the same tax district, and they must be owned by the same exact party or parties; that Is they cannot have different names on the deed. If you have multiple tracts of land that you wish to consolidate, see the Assessor's Office for the necessary form and help in mailing application to the County Commission for a consolidation.


For those persons who have been or will be a resident of the State of West Virginia for two or more consecutive years prior to the tax year for which the exemption is sought, and who are 65 years of age or older or who are certified as being totally and permanently disabled; an exemption of $20,000 from the assessed value of the homestead is available. At the present levy rate this may result in a reduction of property taxes by about $175 for the property in the county and about $210 for property in the town of Wellsburg or Follansbee. Persons applying for the homestead exemption must make application for the exemption, between July 1 and December 1, in the Office of the Assessor. If you are 64 years of age or older on or before the July 1st, assessment date, you should apply for the homestead exemption in order for you to receive the exemption on the next years taxes.


For those persons farming their land and who have applied for and been approved for farm use valuation, a different system of valuation for the land Is used. Farm (and eligible for farm use valuation is appraised based upon the fair rental value of the land which may be as little as one tenth or less of the market value. Land owners wishing to apply for farm use valuation need to come by the Assessor's Office between July 1 and September 1, unless they receive a form In the mail; in which case they must complete and return the form to the assessor's office on or before September 1.


All individuals and incorporated businesses are required to file a property tax return between July 1 and October 1 each year, with the Assessor's Office. Unincorporated businesses have until November 1st to file the required property tax return. The return requires the taxpayer to provide a listing of all taxable personal property (as well as real property) that is owned on the July first assessment date. If you are currently in the property tax system you will receive a form to complete and return to the assessor's office. If you do not receive a form you should come by the Assessor's Office and pick up a form. The Assessor's Office will develop an estimated assessment for those individuals and businesses who fail to file a return. In addition if a taxpayer fails to timely file a property tax return, he, she, or it is subject to the imposition of a forfeiture of not (less than twenty-five dollars ($25) nor more than one-hundred dollars ($100) and shall have waived all rights under law for the correction of the resulting assessment.


The Assessor's Office is responsible for the sale of dog tags and kennel licenses, each dog over the age of six months is required to have an up to date tag which costs $3. Kennel licenses are available for people in the business of raising or boarding dogs. The fee for a kennel license is $10 and includes up to 5 tags. For each additional dog the regular fee applies.