Exemptions by Classification and Designation
Certain real estate owned by religious, educational, and charitable organizations may be exempt from taxation. Real property exemptions are authorized by the Constitution of Virginia, Code of Virginia § 58.1-3600-3651. Exemptions fall into two categories. Exemption by "Classification" relates to property used for such uses as schools, houses of worship, or volunteer fire departments: Exemptions by "Classification" are administratively processed by the City Assessor’s Office. All requests for Exemption by Classification should be made by making application with the City Assessor’s Office.
Exemptions by "Designation" relate to property used for purposes, and by organizations, not specifically "classified" in the Constitution of Virginia or Code of Virginia. Exemptions by "Designation" must be approved by the City Council: There is currently a moratorium on exemptions by "Designation" in effect.
Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program – Encouraging Rehabilitation
The City Assessor’s Office administers a program to encourage both homeowners and businesses to rehabilitate their properties and in return not pay full taxes on those improvements for a period of five years. The program is authorized by the Code of Virginia § 58.1-3220 & § 58.1-3221. The program criteria varies slightly between residential and commercial properties, as well as between certain areas of the City: Please see the an application for the current criteria. The exemption commences July 1st of the tax year immediately following completion of rehabilitation. The exemption is calculated at 100 percent of the rehabilitation credit for five years. An application must be filed prior to any renovations being started. Application fees are $125 for residential properties and $250 for commercial properties.
Land Use Program – Agricultural, Horticultural & Forest Land
The Land Use Assessment Program is provided for in the Code of Virginia § 58.1-3230-43 and allows localities to offer a program of special assessments for agricultural, horticultural and forest lands. Properties that qualify for this program are assessed on the value of the land for their production rather than fair market value. The purpose of the program is to encourage the continuation of farming and forestry. Various criteria, qualifying conditions and restrictions exist for acceptance and continuation in the program.
Initial applications ($500 application fee) and annual revalidation applications must be filed by May 1 for July 1. A revailidation application fee of $500 is charged once every six years. Late initial applications and late revalidation applications may be filed from May 2 through June 30 with a $550.00 late application fee.
Damage Tax Abatement
In accordance with the Code of Virginia § 58.1-3222 property owners may be eligible for a real estate tax adjustment if they have been unable to use their home or a building for more than 30 days due to damage by a fortuitous happening beyond the control of the owner. The adjustment is based on the time period the building is unfit for use or occupancy. To qualify, property owners must meet all of the following criteria:
- The destruction or damage to the building decreases its assessed value by $500 or more.
- The damage causes the building to be unfit for use or occupancy for 30 days or more.
The owner of the property files a Real Estate Tax Abatement Application within 6 months from the date of the damage.
All requests for real estate tax abatements should be made by filing a Real Estate Damage Tax Abatement Application. Submission of the application to the City Assessor’s Office will be followed by an initial inspection by the City of Petersburg Code Compliance to determine if the building is unfit for use and habitation. It is the responsibility of the property owner to notify the City Assessor’s Office when the building has been made fit for use and habitation again.
If the application is approved after the follow-up inspection, an adjusted tax bill will be computed according to the ratio which the portion of the year the building was fit for use, occupancy and enjoyment bears to the entire year. The bill will be adjusted by the Treasurer.
The placement of a conservation easement or preservation easement on a property may reduce the real estate tax liability as a result of the diminution of the assessed value. Information on conservation easements and preservation easements is available from organizations such as the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, Nature Conservancy and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Division of Historic Resources.