[Adopted 2-11-1980 as Ch. 11, Art. III, of the 1980 Code; amended in its entirety 9-20-2016]
For the purpose of this article, the following special classifications of real estate are established and defined:
- REAL ESTATE DEVOTED TO AGRICULTURAL USE
- Real estate when devoted to the bona fide production for sale of plants and animals useful to man under uniform standards prescribed by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services or when devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation pursuant to a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the federal government.
- REAL ESTATE DEVOTED TO FOREST USE
- Land when devoted to tree growth in such quantity and so spaced and maintained as to constitute a forest area under standards prescribed by the State Forester pursuant to the authority set out in § 58.1-3240 of the Code of Virginia, including the standing timber and trees thereon.
- REAL ESTATE DEVOTED TO HORTICULTURAL USE
- Real estate when devoted to the bona fide production for the sale of fruits of all kinds, including grapes, nuts and berries, vegetables or nursery and floral products, under uniform standards prescribed by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or when devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation pursuant to a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the federal government.
- REAL ESTATE DEVOTED TO OPEN SPACE USE
- Real estate when so used as or preserved for park or recreational purposes, conservation of land or other natural resources, floodways, historic or scenic purposes or assisting in the shaping of the character, direction and timing of community development, under uniform standards prescribed by the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation pursuant to the authority set out in § 58.1-3240 of the Code of Virginia and this article.
Prior to the assessment of any parcel of real estate, the Commissioner of Revenue shall:
Determine that the real estate meets the criteria set forth in § 105-4 of this article and the standards prescribed thereunder to qualify for one of the classifications set forth therein, and he may request an opinion from the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the State Forester or the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services; and
Determine further that real estate devoted to agricultural or horticultural use consists of a minimum of five acres, forest use consists of a minimum of 20 acres, and open space use consists of a minimum of five acres; and
Determine further that real estate devoted to open space use meets the requirements of Virginia Code § 58.1-3233.3, as amended, from time to time.
Property owners meeting the criteria set forth in §§ 105-4 and 105-5B and C of this article must submit an application for taxation on the basis of a use assessment to the Commissioner of Revenue on or before November 1 of the year preceding the tax year for which such special taxation is sought. The County may permit applications to be filed within no more than 60 days after the filing deadline specified herein, upon the payment of a late filing fee as described below. Such application shall be on forms provided by the Commissioner of Revenue and shall include such additional schedules, photographs and drawings as may be required by the Commissioner of Revenue. An individual who is the owner of an undivided interest in a real estate parcel may apply on behalf of himself and the other owners of such parcel upon submitting an affidavit that such other owners are minors or cannot be located. Any such real estate which is the subject of the application herein submitted shall be valued according to the criteria set forth in § 105-7A of this article.
A new application for taxation on the basis of a use assessment shall be submitted whenever the use, acreage or ownership of such land previously approved changes, except when a change in acreage occurs solely as a result of a conveyance necessitated by governmental action or condemnation of a portion of any land previously approved for taxation on the basis of use assessment; provided, however, that should there be a transfer of currently approved and qualifying real estate during the months of November or December, said property shall continue to qualify for special taxation on the basis of a use assessment regardless of the change of ownership; however, the new owner must submit a new application to the Commissioner of Revenue by November 1 of the following year in order for the use assessment to continue thereafter. There will be no requirement for annual revalidation unless requested to do so, in writing, by the Commissioner of Revenue.
A fee of $20, plus $0.20 per acre or a fraction thereof, shall be required for each initial application for parcels in common ownership. For purposes of this section, all parcels do not have to be contiguous.
A fee of $20 shall be required for each new application for land previously approved for special use assessment, said new application being required because of change of use, acreage or ownership.
A fee of $20 shall be required for each revalidation application.
A late fee of $25 shall be assessed for each application filed after the deadline.
Continuation of valuation, assessment and taxation under this article shall depend on continuance of the real estate in the use for which classification is granted and compliance with the other requirements of this article and not upon continuance in the same owner of title to the land.
Each owner of real estate having made initial application under Article III, § 105-4 et seq., for the classification, assessment and taxation of such property on the basis of its use shall submit an application to the Commissioner of the Revenue for revalidation on or before the date on which the last installment of property tax prior to the effective date of the assessment is due and on or before November 1 of every sixth year thereafter; and, in addition, the Commissioner of Revenue on each revalidation date shall collect the same fee as provided in Subsection C, Application fees, of § 105-6, from each owner of real estate who filed an initial application at least six years prior to each such revalidation date.
If on April 1 of any year the taxes for any prior year on any parcel of real property which has a special assessment as provided for in this article are delinquent, the County Treasurer shall forthwith send notice of that fact and the general provisions of this section to the property owner by first-class mail. If, after the notice has been sent, such delinquent taxes remain unpaid on June 1, the Treasurer shall notify the Commissioner of Revenue who shall remove such parcel from the land use program. Such removal shall become effective for the current tax year.
In valuing real estate for purposes of taxation by the County, pursuant to this article, the Commissioner of Revenue or duly appointed assessor shall consider only those indicia of value which such real estate has for agricultural, horticultural, forest or open space use, and real estate taxes for such jurisdiction shall be extended upon the value so determined. In addition to use of his personal knowledge, judgment and experience as to the value of real estate in agricultural, horticultural, forest or open space use, he shall, in arriving at the value of such land, consider available evidence of agricultural, horticultural, forest or open space capability and the recommendations of value of such real estate as made by the State Land Evaluation Advisory Committee.
In determining the total area of real estate actively devoted to agricultural, horticultural, forest or open space use, there shall be included the area of all real estate under barns, sheds, silos, cribs, greenhouses, public recreation facilities and like structures, lakes, dams, ponds, streams, irrigation ditches and like facilities; but real estate under, and such additional real estate as may be actually used in connection with, the farmhouse or home or any other structure not related to such special use shall be excluded in determining such total area.
All structures which are located on real estate in agricultural, horticultural, forest or open space use and the farmhouse or home or any other structure not related to such special use and the real estate on which the farmhouse or home or such other structure is located, together with the additional real estate, used in connection therewith, shall be valued, assessed and taxed by the same standards, methods and procedures as other taxable structures and other real estate in the locality.
In addition, such real estate in agricultural, horticultural, forest or open space use shall be evaluated on the basis of fair market value as applied to other real estate in the taxing jurisdiction, and land book records shall be maintained to show both the use value and the fair market value of such real estate.
The use value and fair market value of any qualifying property shall be placed on the land book before delivery to the Treasurer, and the tax for the next succeeding tax year shall be extended from the use value.
When real estate qualifies for assessment and taxation on the basis of use under this article and the use or acreage by which it qualified changes to a nonqualifying use, it shall be subject to additional taxes, hereinafter referred to as "rollback taxes," in an amount equal to the amount, if any, by which the taxes paid or payable on the basis of the valuation, assessment and taxation under this article were exceeded by the taxes that would have been paid or payable on the basis of the valuation, assessment or taxation of other real estate in this County in the year of the change and in each of the five years immediately preceding the year of the change, plus simple interest on such rollback taxes at the same interest rate applicable to delinquent taxes in this locality. If in the tax year in which the change of use or acreage occurs the real estate was not valued, assessed and taxed under this article, the real estate shall be subject to rollback taxes for such of the five years immediately preceding in which the real estate was valued, assessed and taxed under this article.
In determining rollback taxes chargeable on real estate which was changed in use or acreage, the Treasurer shall extend the real estate tax rates for the current and next preceding five years, or such lesser number of years as the property may have been taxed on its use value, upon the difference between the value determined under § 105-7D and the use value determined under § 105-7A for each such year.
Liability to the rollback taxes shall attach when a change in use or acreage occurs, but not when a change in ownership of the title takes place if the new owner continues the real estate in the use for which it is classified under the conditions prescribed in this article.
The owner of any real estate liable for rollback taxes shall, within 60 days following a change in use or acreage, report such change to the Commissioner of Revenue on forms provided by the Commissioner of Revenue. The Commissioner shall forthwith determine and assess the rollback tax, which shall be assessed against and paid by the owner of the property at the time the change in use or acreage which no longer qualifies occurs and shall be paid to the Treasurer within 30 days of the assessment.
Separation or split-off of lots, pieces or parcels of land from the real estate which is being valued, assessed and taxed under this article, either by conveyance or other action of the owner of such real estate, shall subject the real estate so separated to liability for the rollback taxes applicable thereto, but shall not impair the right of each subdivided parcel of such real estate to qualify for such valuation, assessment and taxation in any and all future years, provided that it meets the minimum acreage requirements and such other conditions of this article as may be applicable, nor shall it impair the right of the remaining real estate to continuance of such valuation, assessment and taxation without liability for rollback taxes, provided that it meets the minimum acreage requirements and other applicable conditions of this article.
Where contiguous real estate in agricultural, horticultural, forest or open space use in one ownership is located in more than one taxing locality, compliance with the minimum acreage or gross sales requirements shall be determined on the basis of the total area of such real estate and not the area which is located in this taxing locality.
The taking of real estate which is being valued, assessed and taxed pursuant to this article by right to eminent domain shall not subject the real estate so taken to the rollback taxes herein imposed.
Any owner failing to report within 60 days following such change in use or acreage of real estate and/or failing to pay within 30 days of assessment shall be liable for an additional penalty equal to 10% of the rollback tax, which penalty shall be collected as part of the tax. In addition to such penalty, there is hereby imposed interest on the rollback tax at the same rate as that imposed on delinquent taxes in this County.
Any person making a material misstatement of fact in any such application shall be liable for all taxes, in such amounts and at such times as if such property had been assessed on the basis of fair market value as applied to other real estate in the taxing jurisdiction, together with interest and penalties thereon, and if such material misstatement was made with the intent to defraud the locality, he shall be further assessed with an additional penalty of 100% of such unpaid taxes.
Material misstatement of fact.
The provisions of Title 58.1 of the Code of Virginia applicable to local levies and real estate assessment and taxation shall be applicable to assessments and taxation hereunder mutatis mutandis, including, without limitation, provisions relating to tax levies and the correction of erroneous assessments, and for such other purposes the rollback taxes shall be considered to be deferred real estate taxes.
Any incorporated town in Page County, having heretofore adopted a land use plan or hereafter following the adoption of a land use plan, may, by appropriate action, permit real estate within boundaries to be covered by terms and provisions of this article.