To qualify for open space, the use must be consistent with the land use plan of the county. In general, the real estate must be subject to a perpetual conservation, historic or open space agreement held by a public body; be part of an agricultural or forestry district approved by the local government; or meet the requirements for a recorded open space commitment with the governing body.
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Under the county’s Land Use Assessment ordinance, an application must be submitted to the Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue. Original applications must be received at least 60 days prior to the tax year for which such special assessment is sought (November 1). A separate application is required for each parcel. All real estate taxes must be current before an application can be accepted. Those wishing for a parcel to qualify under the Open Space classification must have an Open Space Agreement.
The State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC) publishes the Standards for Classification as required by the Code of Virginia Section 58.1-3236. These standards set forth the general and specific requirements to qualify a property for Land Use Assessment.
The Land Use Assessment Program has four classifications: agricultural, forestry, horticultural or open space uses.
To qualify, the property must be at least 5 qualifying acres, and devoted to the bona fide production for commercial sale of plants or animals, or plant or animal products useful to man. Generally accepted products include livestock, dairy, poultry, and crops. Proof of commercial production demonstrating gross sales income or value of products should be documented.
To qualify, the property must be a minimum of 20 qualifying acres and must meet the standards for productive or nonproductive forestland. The property owner must submit a Forest Management Plan prepared by a professional forester.
To qualify, the property must be at least 5 qualifying acres, and devoted to the bona fide production for commercial sale of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and ornamental products. Horticultural crops shall be primarily for commercial uses and proof of commercial production demonstrating gross sales income or value of products should be documented.
The property must be 5 qualifying acres, be listed as an historic property on the National Register of Historic places; and be subject to a perpetual scenic, historic or open space easement or a 7-10 (seven to ten) year recorded commitment with the county.
The property must be 5 qualifying acres: be contiguous to a scenic byway with at least 300 feet of frontage or a scenic river; or be adjacent to a public property listed in the approved State Comprehensive Outdoors Recreation Plan (also known as the Virginia Outdoors Plan) and be subject to a perpetual open space easement or a 7-10 (seven to ten) year recorded open space commitment with the County.
The property must have at least 20 qualifying acres and be located in a rural area as defined by the county’s General Plan. The property must also be subject to a minimum 10-year open space commitment with the county.
A permanent or perpetual open space easement protects the land in perpetuity and transfer with the land upon sale. The property must have a minimum of 5 acres. Please note a property that is subject to a recorded perpetual conservation, historic or open space easement must be held by a public body or land trust.
Land excluded from Land Use Assessment and assessed at fair market value includes the area under houses, yards, personal gardens, driveways/roadways to houses, unused fields and any structure not related to the qualifying use. Land under tenant houses, occupied as part of compensation by full time employees in the farming operation should not be included in this declaration.It is the property owner(s) responsibility to report any change to a non-qualifying use of a property, including ineligible land, to the local assessing official within 60 days of such change. This change will result in roll back taxes being assessed on the portion of the land that is declared as ineligible.
Loudoun County Ordinances require the renewal of each parcel enrolled in the Land Use Assessment Program every sixth year with payment of the appropriate fee and submission of supporting documentation to validate the Land Use Assessment Program use and production. While the county attempts to mail renewal forms to every property owner of record enrolled in the program, it is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner to ensure the appropriate renewal of any property in the program. Please Note: Applications and Renewals will not be accepted after December 5 for the following tax year.
Renewal forms are mailed the first week of September and are due, without penalty, by November 1. The filing fee is $125.00 per parcel plus an additional $1.00 per acre. Renewal forms are accepted from the regular deadline November 2 through December 5 with a $300.00 late fee per parcel in addition to normal filing fees noted above. *If November 1 or December 5 falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be extended to the next business day.
Examples of acceptable documentation for production qualifying are:
The property owner is responsible for providing documentation on the use of the property at the time of renewal. Incomplete applications/renewals will not be accepted and could result in the property being removed from land use assessment and roll back taxes being assessed.
*If a landowner does not have any of the above documentation, please contact the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office and speak with one of the Tax Exemptions and Deferral Specialists.
Roll-back taxes are assessed based on the difference between the land use assessment and fair market value for the 5 years prior to a change (with some exceptions) plus interest at a rate of five-sixths (5/6) of one percent per month. The current year taxes will be based on fair market value. Changing to a non-qualifying use, rezoning to a more intensive use and the split off or subdivision of lots may trigger roll-back taxes. (See the Code of Virginia Section 58.1-3237)
Owners of parcels with a recorded Open Space or Sliding Scale Agreement are liable for roll-back taxes equivalent to the term of the recorded respective Open Space or Sliding Scale Agreement.
Yes, you may sell the property enrolled in the program. If the new owners will be continuing the approved classification then the seller should provide the necessary proof of production for the years since the last renewal. That documentation can be provided to the purchaser or the Exemptions & Deferrals Division of the Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue. If the new owners will NOT be continuing the approved classification the change must be reported to the Exemptions & Deferrals Division within sixty days following the change and a request an estimate of roll-back taxes should be completed. The liability for the roll-back taxes is based on when the change to a non-qualifying use is effective.
Loudoun County Ordinance requires roll-back taxes to be assessed on lots split from a previously approved property that do not meet the minimum acreage and use requirements for the qualifying purpose or use as set forth in the Code of Virginia. A new application may be filed with the Commissioner of the Revenue for any such lot that meets the minimum acreage and use requirements for the qualifying purpose or use as set forth in the Code of Virginia.
Timing Out is an option in which a parcel was enrolled in the Land Use Assessment Program, is no longer enrolled, but still continuing its qualifying use. The parcel timing out will pay taxes based on the fair market assessed value for a period of 5 years. At the conclusion of those 5 years, the property owner will not be subject to roll-back taxes. Please be advised that a potential roll-back tax liability exists for a period of 5 years from the date the property was unenrolled in the program. It is imperative that you understand that a failure to continue a qualifying use will result in the assessment of roll-back taxes on the property.
If on June 1 of any year taxes for a prior year on any parcel of real property enrolled in the Land Use Assessment Program are delinquent on real property taxes, the Treasurer shall notify the Commissioner of the Revenue who shall remove such parcel from the Land Use Assessment Program.
Any interested landowner can obtain an application for the creation of or addition to an Agricultural or Forestal District from the Loudoun County Department of Planning and Zoning at 703-777-0246.
Yes, you may file an appeal for your Use Value assessment with the Board of Equalization (BOE) by June 1 for the current tax year. Members of the BOE are appointed by the Board of Supervisors and are independent from the Commissioner of the Revenue. You may contact the Board’s Administrative Assistant at 703-777-0289. The State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC) annually adopts use rates taking into account the estimated income production of several soil types suitable for agricultural, horticultural or forest uses. These rates are then provided to tax assessment offices for their use in administering Land Use Assessment Programs.
The State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC) determines the use value estimates of eligible land in Loudoun County’s Land Use Assessment Program. For tax year 2023, SLEAC estimates the value of land used for can expect an increase over the previous year as follows:
This increase in land use value may reduce the taxable value of real property participating in the Land Use Assessment Program.