Current Land Use Assessment Rates are as follows (effective January 1, 2015):
 

Agricultural Use

$1,400 per acre

Horticultural Use

$1,400 per acre

Forest Use

$800 per acre

Open Space

$1,400 per acre


If you are interested in applying for the Land Use Program, complete the Application for Taxation on the Basis of a Land Use Assessment and return it to the Richmond County Commissioner of Revenue's Office. The application must be received at least sixty (60) days preceding the tax year for which such taxation is sought (November 1st).  There is an application fee of $25 per parcel for the first four parcels and $15 per parcel for any additional parcels over four.  For any parcel that has Agricultural Use land and is being considered for the Program, the application must be accompanied by a current USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) aerial map.  For other questions regarding the Land Use Program, you may contact the Richmond County Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office.

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ORDINANCE FOR SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS

FOR AGRICULTURAL, HORTICULTURAL, FOREST AND OPEN SPACE REAL ESTATE

Be it ordained by the County of Richmond, Virginia:

            Section 1. The County of Richmond, Virginia finds that the preservation of real estate devoted to agricultural, horticultural, forest and open space uses within its boundaries is in the public interest and, having heretofore adopted a land-use plan, hereby ordains that such real estate shall be taxed in accordance with the provision of Article 4 of Chapter 32 of Title 58.1(Section 58.1-3229 et seq.) of the Code of Virginia and this ordinance.

            Section 2. (a) The owner of any real estate meeting the criteria set forth in Sections 58.1-3230 and 58.1-3233 of the Code of Virginia may, at least 60 days preceding the tax year for which such taxation is sought, apply to the Commissioner of the Revenue for the classification, assessment and taxation of its use, under the procedures set forth in Section 58.1-3236 of the Code of Virginia. (In any year in which a general reassessment is being made such application may be submitted until 30 days have elapsed after the notice of increase in assessment is mailed.) Such application shall be on forms provided by the State Department of Taxation and supplied by the Commissioner of the Revenue and shall include such additional schedules, photographs, and drawings as may be required by the Commissioner of the Revenue. An individual who is the owner of an undivided interest in a 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. An application shall be submitted whenever the use or acreage 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. An application fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) shall accompany each application. In cases where an applicant is requesting special assessment for four (4) or more parcels, the application fee shall be $25 per parcel for the first four parcels and $15 per parcel for any additional parcels over four.

            (b) A separate application shall be filed for each parcel on the land book; however, separately recorded parcels, which are contiguous are allowed to file one application for the contiguous parcels, provided they are under the same deeded ownership.  The Commissioner of the Revenue shall allow a qualifying parcel (both acreage and use) to also enroll “other” qualifying use(s) even if the acreage requirement is not met for the “other” use(s).

            (c) Applications may be filed within no more than sixty days after the filing deadline specified in subparagraph (a), upon the payment of a late filing fee, which shall be double the normal application fee.

            (d) No application for assessment based on use shall be accepted or approved if at the time the application is filed the tax on the land affected is delinquent; provided, however, upon payment of all delinquent taxes, interest and penalties relating to such parcel, the application shall be treated in accordance with the provisions of this section.

            (e) Such property owner must revalidate annually with the Commissioner of the Revenue any application previously approved, a revalidation fee of $10.00 shall accompany each application for revalidation every sixth year. Late filing of a revalidation form must be made on or before the effective date of the assessment and accompanied with a late filing fee of $20.00.  Failure to revalidate annually, prior to the effective date of the assessment, will result in lands being removed from the program for that year.  New application will be required for re-enrollment.

            Section 3. Promptly upon receipt of any application, the Commissioner of the Revenue shall determine: (i) whether the subject property meets the criteria for taxation hereunder; (ii) that real estate devoted to agricultural or horticultural use consists of a minimum of five (5) acres, forest use consists of a minimum of twenty (20) acres and open space use consists of minimum of twenty (20) acres; and (iii) that real estate devoted to open-space use is (a) within an agricultural, forestal, or agricultural and forestal district entered into pursuant to Chapter 43 (§ 15.2-4300 et seq.) of Title 15.2, or (b) subject to a recorded perpetual easement that is held by a public body, and promotes the open-space use classification, as defined in Section 58.1-3230, or (c) subject to a recorded commitment entered into by the landowners with the local governing body not to change the use to a non-qualifying use for a time period stated in the commitment of 10 years.  Such commitment shall be subject to uniform standards prescribed by the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Such commitment shall run with the land for the applicable period, and may be terminated in the manner provided in Section 15.2-4314 for withdrawal of land from an agricultural, a forestal or an agricultural and forestal district.  If the Commissioner of the Revenue determines that the subject property does meet such criteria, she shall determine the value of such property for its qualifying use, as well as its fair market value.

           In determining whether the subject property meets the criteria for “agricultural use” or “horticultural use: the Commissioner of the Revenue may request an opinion from the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services; in determining whether the subject property meets the criteria for “forest use” he may request an opinion from the State Forester; and in determining whether the subject property meets the criteria for “open space use” he may request an opinion from the Director of Conservation and Historic Resources. Upon the refusal of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, State Forester, or the Director of the Department of Conservation and Historic Resources to issue an opinion, or in the event of an unfavorable opinion which does not comport with standards set forth by the respective director, the party aggrieved may seek relief from any court of record wherein the real estate in question is located. If the court finds in his favor it may issue an order, which shall serve in lieu of an opinion for the purposes of this ordinance.

            Section 4. 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. Continuation of valuation, assessment and taxation based upon land use shall depend on continuance of the real estate in a qualifying use, continued payment of taxes as required in Section 58.1-3235 and compliance with the other requirements of Article 1.1 of Chapter 15 of Title 58.1 of the Code of Virginia and this ordinance, and not upon continuance in the same owner of title to the land.

            Section 5. If on April one of any year the taxes for any prior year on any parcel of real property that has a special assessment as provided for in this ordinance are delinquent, the county treasurer shall send notice of that fact and the general provisions of Section 58.1-3235 of the Code of Virginia to the property owner by first-class mail. If after sending such notice, such delinquent taxes remain unpaid on June one, the treasurer shall notify the appropriate Commissioner of the Revenue who shall remove such parcel from the land use program. Such removal shall become effective for the current tax year.

            Section 6. When real estate that has been taxed according to special assessment changes to a non-qualifying use there is hereby imposed a roll-back tax, and interest thereon, in such amounts as may be determined under Virginia Code Section 58.1-3237.

            Section 7. (a) The owner of any real estate liable for roll-back taxes shall, within sixty days following a change in use of such property to a nonqualifying use, report such change to the Commissioner of the Revenue or other assessing officer on such forms as may be prescribed. The Commissioner shall determine and assess the roll-back tax, which shall be assessed against and paid by the owner of the property at the time the change in use which no longer qualifies occurs and shall be paid to the treasurer within 30 days of the assessment. Any person failing to report properly any change in use of property for which an application for use value taxation had been filed within 60 days following such change shall be liable for all such taxes, in such amounts and at such times as if he had complied herewith and assessments had been properly made. Further, upon failure to report within 60 days following such change in use and/or failure to pay within 30 days of assessment, such owner shall be liable for an additional penalty equal to ten per centum of the amount of the roll-back tax and interest, which penalty shall be collected as a part of the tax. In addition to such penalty for failure to make the required report, there is hereby imposed interest of one-half per centum of the amount of the roll-back tax, interest and penalty, for each month or fraction thereof during which the failure continues.

            (b) Any person making material misstatement of fact in any application filed pursuant hereto 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. If such material misstatement was made with the intent to defraud the county,  he shall be further assessed with an additional penalty on one hundred per centum of such unpaid taxes.

            Section 8. 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 mutates mutantis including without limitation, provisions relating to tax liens and the correction of erroneous assessments, and for such purposes the roll-back taxes shall be considered to be deferred real estate taxes.

            Section 9. This ordinance shall be effective for all tax years beginning on and after January 1, 1991.

            Adopted by unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors for Richmond County, Virginia following an advertised public hearing on May 10, 1990.

            Amended by unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors for Richmond County, Virginia following an advertised public hearing on April 14, 2011.

            Amended by unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors for Richmond County, Virginia following an advertised public hearing on April 13, 2017.

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