EXEMPTIONS - TAX PROGRAMS
EXEMPTIONS BY CLASSIFICATION AND DESIGNATION
Certain real estate owned by religious, educational, and charitable organizations may be exempt from taxation. Real property exemptions are authorized by the Constitution of Virginia, Code of Virginia § 58.1-3600-3651. Exemptions fall into two categories. Exemption by "Classification" relates to property used for such “classified” uses as schools, houses of worship, or volunteer fire departments: Exemptions by "Classification" are administratively processed by the Real Estate Assessor’s Office. All requests for exemption by classification should be made by making application with the Real Estate Assessor’s Office.
Exemptions by "Designation" relate to property used for purposes, and by organizations, not specifically "classified" in the Constitution of Virginia or Code of Virginia. Exemptions by "Designation" must be approved by the Board of Supervisors. All requests for exemption by designation should be made by making application with the Real Estate Assessor’s Office.
LAND USE PROGRAM – AGRICULTURAL, HORTICULTURAL, FORESTRY & OPEN SPACE
The Land Use Assessment Program is provided for in the Code of Virginia § 58.1-3230-43 and allows localities to offer a program of special assessments for agricultural, horticultural and forest lands, as well as open space. Properties that qualify for this program are assessed on the value of the land for their production rather than a higher fair market value. The purpose of the program is to encourage the continuation of farming and forestry, as well as to preserve open space. Various criteria, qualifying conditions and restrictions exist for acceptance and continuation in the program. Discontinuation in the program may result in paying the deferred taxes up to five years back. Please see the Land Use Criteria and Program Guidelines.
Initial applications must be filed by May 1 and annual revalidation applications must be filed by November 4 for the following July 1. Revalidation Applications may be filed with a late fee until January 3. Once every six years property owners must submit documentation to support their application, as well as a revalidation fee.
More information on land use assessments can be found in the SLEAC Manual (2020) of the State Land Evaluation Advisory Council and the Virginia Cooperative Extension’s "Citizen's Guide to the Use Value Taxation Program in Virginia”.
CONSERVATION, OPEN SPACE AND PRESERVATION EASEMENTS
The placement of a conservation, open space or preservation easement on a property may reduce the real estate tax liability as a result of the diminution of the assessed value. Information on conservation easements and preservation easements is available from organizations such as the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, Nature Conservancy and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Division of Historic Resources.