Property taxes can differ widely depending on the variables involved in the calculation. Knowing the different metrics can alert you to the differences in how information is gathered, which sources are used and how reporting organizations apply this initial data. In West Virginia, property taxes are fairly low, and this is shown across most reporting organizations. Understanding your county and state property tax calculations and average tax rates can help you make an informed decision on which area of West Virginia best meets your financial goals of home ownership.

Average Property Taxes

There are essentially three measures of property taxes that apply to West Virginia home owners: the median property tax per home in the state, the percentage of income represented by the property taxes and the percentage of property value represented by the taxes. The first and third metrics are generally available, while the second metric is not widely available.

In West Virginia, property taxes are always expressed as cents per $100 of assessed value, and the state only assesses a property at 60% of its market value for taxes. This is the mill rate and is decided by each individual taxing authority within the state. A mill rate of 300 would equal 300 cents ($3) per every $100 of taxable value. This difference is evident in many states between a state’s mill rate and what many consumers understand as a tax rate percentage. In 2011, West Virginians paid the lowest amount in per capita property taxes at just $770. West Virginians paid just $495 on a median home value of $84,100. Expressed as a dollar figure, it is hard to compare to other states, counties or home values.

West Virginia has an effective tax rate based on owner-occupied homes and their median values as 0.58%.

Webster County has the lowest property taxes, with just $235 collected on the median home value, while Pocahontas County, at 0.30% and $313 property taxes paid, is the cheapest county. In all assessments of property tax in West Virginia, the state pays lower than the national average in property taxes. On the other end of the spectrum, McDowell County in the southern region of the state pays the highest property tax percentage rates at 0.70%, but the county's residents actually pay the lowest median taxes in the state that are actually collected. It is statistics such as these that are easily manipulated.

How West Virginia Compares to the National Average

The national average effective property tax rate was 1.14% as of 2010, but that figure has increased to 1.211% for 2016. In either case, West Virginians pay about half the national average in property taxes and ranks range from fifth to seventh cheapest for residential property taxes in either per capita or median taxes paid metrics.

How West Virginia's Tax Compares to Its Neighboring States

West Virginia neighbors five other states: Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. The states' effective tax rates are Ohio at 1.553%, Pennsylvania at 1.506%, Maryland at 1.085%, Virginia at 0.797% and Kentucky at 0.837%. West Virginia is well-positioned among its neighboring states, as it has the lowest effective tax rate of them all. Virginia, Maryland and Kentucky do have tax rates lower than the national average.

As a home owner who must pay property taxes, you should consider looking at specific county rates, as these can differ by as much as 1 percent, which means the difference between being over or under the state or national average. This information is vital to making a home purchase decision that takes into account your overall budget for home ownership.

Arizona Property Tax Guide

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