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In accordance with Title 58.1 Chapter 36 of the Virginia Code real property as delineated in the statute are exempt from taxation by classification or designation. The state code tax exemptions are based on specific "uses" and this office ensures those "uses" are being adhered to prior to granting an exemption. The term exempt by classification refers to real property used by a specific group such as a church, to be exempt by designation a governing body must specify the property owner by name. Property owned by a specific group is not automatically exempt based on ownership name, but that the owner is "using" the property for the exempt purpose of the organization. In order to receive the exemption a letter and/or application is required and in certain cases approval by the Board of Supervisors.
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The Commissioner of the Revenue is the Real Property Tax Administrator for the County as such we:
The current tax rate for real estate is 0.62¢ per $100. The Board of Supervisors sets this rate annually.
The purpose of the program is to preserve land where real property is specifically devoted to agriculture, forestry and horticultural uses. The program is designed to defer the fair market value and in its place assign a special assessment based strictly on use value versus market value. Market Value represents the highest and best use of real property where Special Assessments for Land Preservation represent limited uses which benefit all citizens.
When real property changes from its limited use to the highest and best use, the difference in value or deferment in value assigned through special assessment is taxed for the current and five previous tax years. For example, when parcels change from Forestry or Farm use to residential developments.
Tax Relief programs have qualifications that are either listed in the Code of Virginia, Title 58.1 or the County Code of Middlesex. This office is the administrator for the programs; however, the qualifications and policies that determine whether and individual qualifies are codified in the State and County Codes.