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 uses as schools, houses of worship, or volunteer fire departments: Exemptions by "Classification" are administratively processed by the City Assessor’s Office. All requests for Exemption by Classification should be made by making application with the City 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 City Council: There is currently a moratorium on exemptions by "Designation" in effect.
Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program – Encouraging Rehabilitation
The City Assessor’s Office administers a program to encourage both homeowners and businesses to rehabilitate their properties and in return not pay full taxes on those improvements for a period of five years. The program is authorized by the Code of Virginia § 58.1-3220 & § 58.1-3221. The program criteria varies slightly between residential and commercial properties, as well as between certain areas of the City: Please see the an application for the current criteria. The exemption commences July 1st of the tax year immediately following completion of rehabilitation. The exemption is calculated at 100 percent of the rehabilitation credit for five years. An application must be filed prior to any renovations being started. Application fees are $125 for residential properties and $250 for commercial properties.
Land Use Program – Agricultural, Horticultural & Forest Land
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. Properties that qualify for this program are assessed on the value of the land for their production rather than fair market value. The purpose of the program is to encourage the continuation of farming and forestry. Various criteria, qualifying conditions and restrictions exist for acceptance and continuation in the program.
Initial applications ($25 application fee) and annual revalidation applications must be filed by May 1 for July 1. Late initial applications and late revalidation applications may be filed from May 2 through June 30 with a $50.00 late application fee.
The placement of a conservation easement 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.