IN THE MATTER OF: N.C. Property Tax Commission
APPEAL OF LEE E. KNOTT, JR. No. 02 PTC 389
from the decision of the
Beaufort County Board of
Equalization and Review
concerning real property
taxation for tax year 2002.
William P. Mayo, for Beaufort County.
Lee E. Knott, Jr., (taxpayer), appeals from a decision of the North Carolina Property Tax Commission (Commission) confirming the Beaufort County Board of Equalization and Review's valuation of his properties. For the reasons discussed herein, we affirm the Commission's decision.
Taxpayer owns three vacant parcels of property located in Beaufort County. Two lots are described as Lots 26 and 27 Duncan Moore (Lots 26 and 27) and a third as Lot E.H. Jefferson (Lot E). The lots front approximately 160 feet on Broad Creek and contain approximately 26,735 square feet, although Lot E is a smalltriangular shaped lot identified as Reserved for Landing and is only 60 x 40 feet, with 25 feet fronting on Broad Creek. In January 2002, Beaufort County (County) conducted a county-wide tax reappraisal and assessed the subject properties as follows: Lot 26 $63,806.00, Lot 27 $67,650.00, and Lot E $3,600.00, totaling $135,056.00. Taxpayer filed an appeal with the Beaufort County Board of Equalization and Review (Board) challenging the County's market value assessments of all three properties. The Board affirmed the County's assessments. From that decision, taxpayer appealed to the North Carolina Property Tax Commission (Commission). He contended the subject property had been appraised in excess of the true values due to the review of comparable sales information. By order entered 24 May 2005, the Commission affirmed the County's appraisal. Taxpayer appeals.
In his sole argument, taxpayer contends the Commission erred in determining that the values assigned by the County when it reappraised the properties did not substantially exceed their true value. We disagree.
Our review of a final order of the Commission is governed by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 105-345.2, and as such we apply the whole record test. In re Appeal of Parsons, 123 N.C. App. 32, 38, 472 S.E.2d 182, 186-87 (1996) (citing In re McElwee, 304 N.C. 68, 283 S.E.2d 115 (1981)). In applying this test, we review the findings of fact and conclusions of law to determine if, in view of the entire record, they are supported 'by competent, material and substantial evidence[;]' if so, they are binding. Id. at 39-40,472 S.E.2d at 187. The whole record test does not permit this Court to weigh the evidence presented to the administrative agency and substitute the agency's evaluation of the evidence with our own, even if the evidence is conflicting. Id. at 39, 472 S.E.2d at 187. However, this Court will determine all questions of law de novo. Id. at 38-39, 472 S.E.2d at 187.
Ad valorem tax assessments are presumed to be correct. Id. at 39, 472 S.E.2d at 187. There is a presumption in favor of the the correctness of tax assessments, the good faith of tax assessors and the validity of their actions[.] Id. The taxpayer bears the burden of showing the assessment was erroneous. Id. He or she may rebut the presumption of the correctness of the assessment by producing competent, material, and substantial evidence, which tends to establish (1) Either the county tax supervisor used an arbitrary method of valuation; or (2) the county tax supervisor used an illegal method of evaluation; AND (3) the assessment substantially exceeded the true value in money of the property. Id. (emphasis in original).
On appeal, taxpayer does not assert that the county tax supervisor used an arbitrary or illegal method of valuation. Rather, he only challenges that the assessment substantially exceeded the true value in money of the properties. Taxpayer's failure to argue either of the two tests enunciated in above, i.e., either that the county employed an arbitrary or an illegal method of valuation, necessarily ends our inquiry into the matter as he has failed to carry his burden of proof. Regardless, after carefulreview of the record, we hold that taxpayer also failed to demonstrate by competent, material, and substantial evidence that the County's assessment substantially exceeded the true value in money of his properties. There was conflicting evidence in the record regarding the value of the properties. Where the evidence is conflicting, we are not permitted to substitute our judgment for that of the agency. Id. This argument is without merit.
Judge ELMORE and JACKSON concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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