The Board of Supervisors finds that the preservation of real estate devoted to agricultural and horticultural uses within the County 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 provisions of the Code of Virginia, Article 4 of Chapter 32 of Title 58.1 (§ 58.1-3230 et seq.), and of this article.
The owner of any real estate devoted to agricultural or horticultural use meeting the criteria set forth in §§ 58.1-3230 and 58.1-3233(2), Code of Virginia, may on or before November 1 of any year make an application to the Commissioner of the Revenue for the classification, assessment and taxation of such property for the next succeeding year on the basis of its use, under the procedures set forth in § 58.1-3234, Code of Virginia. 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 schedules, photographs and drawings as may be required by the Commissioner of the Revenue. Applications shall be filed annually, on or before November 1 of each year, if special assessment is desired to be continued. However, upon the payment of a late filing fee at the rate of $0.25 per acre on the total acreage, with a minimum charge of $25, an owner may file an application within no more than 60 days after the filing deadline specified herein.
In any year in which a general reassessment is being made, a property owner may submit the application provided for in this section by November 1 or within 30 days of the mailing of his notice of increase in assessment, whichever is later.
A separate application shall be filed under this section for each parcel on the land book. An application shall also be submitted whenever the use or acreage of land previously approved changes.
An application fee at the rate of $0.15 per acre on the total acreage, with a minimum fee of $15 per individual owner, shall be paid to the Treasurer of the County for each application filed under this section. Upon the payment of such application fee, together with the payment of a late filing fee to the Treasurer, at the rate of $0.25 per acre on the total acreage, with a minimum charge of $25, an owner may file a late application within no more than 60 days after the filing deadline specified in this section.
Any previously approved application filed under § 3.7-47 shall be revalidated annually. The owner shall, on or before December 5 of each year, file a request for revalidation of his application on forms provided by the Commissioner of the Revenue. There shall be a revalidation fee at the rate of $0.15 per acre on the total acreage, with a minimum fee of $15 per individual owner, which fee shall be charged for revalidation for the 2015 tax year and at six-year intervals thereafter, and which shall be paid to the Treasurer of the County. However, upon the payment of a late filing fee to the Treasurer, at the rate of $0.25 per acre on the total acreage, with a minimum charge of $25, an owner may file a late revalidation request after December 5 but prior to December 31. For the years in which a revalidation fee is due, this late filing fee shall be in addition to the revalidation fee.
Promptly upon receipt of any application under this article, the Commissioner of the Revenue shall determine whether the subject property meets the criteria for use value assessment and taxation under this article, subject to the provisions of §§ 58.1-3230 and 58.1-3233, Code of Virginia. If the Commissioner of the Revenue determines that the subject property does not meet such criteria, the Commissioner shall determine the value of such property for its qualifying use as well as its fair market value.
Minimum acreage requirements.
Real estate devoted to agricultural or horticultural use shall consist of a minimum of five acres.
The foregoing requirements for minimum acreage shall be determined by adding together the total area of contiguous real estate excluding recorded subdivision lots titled in the same ownership. For purposes of this section, properties separated only by a public right-of-way are considered contiguous.
If the Commissioner of the Revenue determines that the property does meet such criteria, he/she shall determine the value of such property for its qualifying use, as well as its fair market value. If the Commissioner of the Revenue determines that the property does not meet such criteria, he/she shall deny the application and notify the applicant of the denial in writing.
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. Upon the refusal of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services 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 the Circuit Court of Appomattox County. 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 article.
The use value and fair market value of any property qualifying under this article shall be placed on the land book before delivery to the County Treasurer, and the tax for the next succeeding tax year shall be extended from the use value.
There is hereby imposed a roll-back tax and interest thereon, in such amounts as may be determined under § 58.1-3237, Code of Virginia, with the rate of interest the same as that for delinquent taxes, upon any property as to which the use changes to a nonqualifying use under this article.
The owner of any real estate liable for roll-back taxes shall report to the Commissioner of the Revenue, on forms to be prescribed, any change in the use of such property to a nonqualifying use and shall pay the roll-back tax then due. On failure to report and pay within 60 days following such change in use, such owner shall be liable for an additional penalty equal to 10% of the amount of the roll-back tax and interest, which penalty shall be collected as a part of the tax. In addition such penalty, there is hereby imposed interest of 1/2% of the amount of the roll-back tax, interest and penalty, for each month or fraction thereof during which the failure continues.
Any person making a material misstatement of fact in any application filed pursuant to this article 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 County, 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 of 100% of such unpaid taxes.
The provisions of Title 58.1, Code of Virginia, applicable to local levies and real estate assessment and taxation shall be applicable to assessments and taxation under this article mutatis mutandis, including, without limitation, provisions relating to delinquency, 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.