• Albemarle County Land Use Tax Update
  • October 5, 2009 | Author: Lori H. Schweller
  • Law Firm: LeClairRyan - Charlottesville Office
  • Revalidation Update
    As of the September 1, 2009 deadline, the Albemarle County assessor's office had received revalidation forms for 85% of the parcels in the land use tax program. Landowners still have until December 5, 2009 to revalidate with a $125 late fee. Failure to submit a fully completed revalidation form will cause the property to be removed from the land use tax program and trigger the assessment of roll-back taxes. The Assessor's office will begin verification of reported qualifying uses in Spring 2010.

    Impact of Revalidation on Individual Landowners
    Revalidation essentially means a sworn statement by you that your property has been and is currently used for agricultural, horticultural, forest, or open space uses. If all or a portion of your property is no longer used for the qualifying uses on which the assessment is based, you will likely be subject to roll-back taxes. (A change to a different qualifying use will not incur roll-back taxes.) Roll-back taxes are calculated by subtracting the past five years' taxes based on land use assessment from the total taxes for those five years based on fair market value, plus 10% interest. Reassessments will be done after January 1, 2010. You should receive a notice of reassessment in late January or early February, 2010.

    New Applications for Land Use Taxation
    To qualify all or a portion of your property for a new or changed use, you need to file a new application for land use taxation by November 1, 2009 (by December 5, 2009 with a late fee). You may file a new application for land use taxation with an extension fee as late as 30 days after receipt of your reassessment notice. However, new applications based on open space uses are effectively due by December 31, 2009 since the underlying qualification will need to be in place by that date. That is, applications for adding your property to an agricultural/forestal district must be approved, and conservation easements and Open-Space Use Agreements with the County must be recorded in the land records, by December 31, 2009 to affect your 2010 tax assessments.

    Open-Space Use Agreement
    For land to qualify for land use taxation for open space in Albemarle County, the tax map parcel must be at least 20 acres and must be (a) in an agricultural-forestal district of state significance, (b) in a perpetual conservation easement held by a public body, or (c) subject to an Open-Space Use Agreement with the County. In the past, the County has not actively administered review of Open-Space Use Agreements, but has now made available a form and process for their administration by the real estate office. Agreements may be from four to ten years in duration. The entire Tax Map parcel, not just a portion, must be subject to the agreement. The agreement prohibits division or construction of any structures other than those strictly related to the qualifying use.

    Rules to be Evaluated
    After the fall cycle of land use application review, the Board of Supervisors plans to evaluate the program and determine which County regulations it would like to discuss for possible amendment.