Land Use Assessment

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Land Use Assessment

In 1971, the Virginia General Assembly enacted a law permitting localities to adopt a program of special assessments for agricultural, horticultural, forest and open space lands (§58.1 - 3230 through §58.1 - 3244 of the Code of Virginia). The Land Use program was adopted by Augusta County in 1977.
 
MINIMUM ACREAGE & YIELD REQUIREMENTS:

  • AGRICULTURE - 5 acres excluding house site (1 acre) and devoted to hay, grain, crops, and/or pasture in qualifying production for sale. One (1) acre of cropland may qualify 1 acre. Pasture must have 1 head of the cattle family for 12 months per 5 acres or 2 for 6 months, etc.; 5 swine or 5 sheep per 5 acres for 12 months; 66 turkeys or 100 chickens per 5 acres for 12 months.
  • HORTICULTURE - 5 acres excluding house site (1 acre) and in qualifying production for sale of fruits, nuts, berries, vegetables, nursery and floral products.
  • FOREST - 20 acres excluding house site (1 acre) with a tree stand of forest density. Forestry Management Plan required. (Additional information available in the land use office) 
  • HORSES - Parcel must meet the same minimum acreage and animal unit requirements as agriculture. Horses owned and used for personal use do not qualify for land use taxation. They must be kept for commercial purposes.

TO QUALIFY A NEW PARCEL FOR LAND USE THE FOLLOWING IS REQUIRED:

  • Parcel must be zoned agricultural.
  • Parcel must be in qualifying production for sale for 5 consecutive prior years, producing an average income of $1,000 a year.
  • Parcel must meet the minimum acreage and yield requirements. 
  • New applications must be filed by November 1 in order to receive the land use benefit the following tax year.

TO CONTINUE TO QUALIFY FOR LAND USE TAXATION THE PARCEL MUST:

  • Remain in qualifying production for sale. 
  • Continue to meet the minimum acreage and yield requirements. 
  • Land owners must revalidate their information annually. Revalidations are accepted October 1 through December 5 each year. A late filing fee of 10% of the tax savings will be applied to revalidations received December 6 through December 31. No revalidations will be taken after the December 31 deadline.

QUALIFYING PRODUCTION FOR SALE REQUIRES VERIFIED INCOME OF $1,000 OR MORE. DOCUMENTED INCOME MUST BE SUBMITTED EACH YEAR WITH REVALIDATION. THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTATION IS ACCEPTABLE:

  • Schedule F for farm income or 1120S for an S Corporation
  • Schedule C for agricultural services provided.
  • Current year receipts from stock yard sales (make copy while check is attached), valid bill of sale from hay and/or crop sales.
  • For horses; Schedule F, Schedule C, boarding agreements and list of renters, copy of Business License.
    Note: If you farm property other than your own, total income must be enough to qualify all properties you farm. Example, if you farm 3 parcels plus your own, you must submit at least $4,000 each year.

ROLL BACK TAX: (§58.1 – 3236)

  • When real estate qualifying for land use taxation changes to a non-qualifying use or the zoning changes to a more intensive use at the request of the owner or his agent, it will be subject to a roll back tax
  • Examples of changes in use include but are not limited to:
    • Change in zoning
    • New dwelling 
    • Farming to non-farming 
    • No production for sale 
    • Changes in acreage (number of acres remaining or number of acres sold is below the minimum requirements) 
    •  Name change on contiguous parcel (number of acres remaining or number of acres sold is below the minimum requirements) 
    • The roll back taxes are assessed against that portion of real estate which no longer qualifies for land use taxation.
    • The roll back tax is assessed against, and must be paid by the owner of the property at the time the change in use occurs.
    • The roll back tax is equal to the difference between land use tax and the fair market value tax, for each of the five most recent complete tax years including simple interest. In addition, the taxes for the current year will be based on the fair market value which may be accomplished by means of a supplemental bill. The supplemental bill is based upon the difference between the land use tax and the fair market value tax.

DELINQUIENT TAXES:

  • If taxes on the parcel receiving assistance are delinquent Land Use taxation cannot be granted. (§58.1 – 3234) 
  •  If taxes become delinquent once a parcel is in the program and the delinquent taxes for prior years are not paid by June 1st of the current year, the property will be removed from the program and a supplemental bill created for current year taxes. (§58.1 – 3235)

MISSTATEMENT OF FACTS:

  • If it is discovered that false or misleading information is provided, the current application will be void and a roll back tax shall be levied. An additional penalty of 100% of the roll back total may be added. (§58.1 – 3236 and §58.1 – 3238)

COST:

  • An application fee of $12.00 for each parcel, plus .12 cents per acre is due when a new parcel enters the program or when an existing land use parcel has an acreage change. A revalidation fee of $12.00 for each parcel, plus .12 cents per acre is due on existing parcels every sixth year.

For further information, call 540-245-5647