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Could you explain Eagle Point Golf Course’s property tax assessment?

Tim Buckland

Q. Could you explain how Eagle Point Golf Course’s property tax assessment is so low? County records indicate they paid $6.9 million for the land in 1998 and sold it for $8 million in 2016 from LLC to the club. But on county tax records they list land at $4 million. As a comparison Echo Farms golf course land value is also $4 million. Is the building of the golf course (supposedly one of the best in country) not considered in their taxes? Why are they not taxed at full value like all taxpayers in New Hanover County?

A. The thing about tax assessments is that purchase prices are merely one factor assessors use to determine tax value. This is why your neighbor may have sold his house for $200,000, but the tax assessment is still $180,000.

We reached out to county tax administrator Allison Snell for some answers to these questions.

“You are correct in your determination that the purchase price is our guide for setting the market value; however, we must take all factors into consideration when valuing property,” she said.

For one thing, the 2015 sale wasn’t really a sale, she said, because it was really more of a transfer.

“This transfer was not an arm’s length transaction. This disqualifies this ‘sale’ as the property did not sit on the open market and the grantor and grantee are inter-related parties,” she said.

Also, you may not have gotten all of the values — there is more assessed than just land. Snell said the total appraised tax value of Eagle Point is $13.7 million and the tax value of Echo Farms is $6.25 million.

“You will note that there is a significant difference between the two courses. There are outbuildings, club houses, etc. that also play a factor in the total value of a golf course as well as the different amenities offered,” Snell said.

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