Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 58.1. Taxation
Chapter 32. Real Property Tax
12/1/2020

Article 10. Public Disclosure/Access to Records.

§ 58.1-3330. Notice of change in assessment.

A. Whenever in any county, city or town there is a reassessment of real estate, or any change in the assessed value of any real estate, notice shall be given by mail directly to each property owner, as shown by the land books of the county, city or town whose assessment has been changed. Such notice shall be sent by postpaid mail at least fifteen days prior to the date of a hearing to protest such change to the address of the property owner as shown on such land books. The governing body of the county, city or town shall require the officer of such county, city or town charged with the assessment of real estate to send such notices or it shall provide funds or services to the persons making such reassessment so that such persons can send such notices.

B. Every notice shall, among other matters, show the magisterial or other district, if any, in which the real estate is located, the amount and the new and immediately prior two tax years' final assessed values of land, and the new and immediately prior two tax years' final assessed values of improvements. It shall further set out the time and place at which persons may appear before the officers making such reassessment or change and present objections thereto. The notice shall also inform each property owner of the right to view and make copies of records maintained by the local assessment office pursuant to §§ 58.1-3331 and 58.1-3332, and inform each property owner that the records available and the procedure for accessing them are set out in §§ 58.1-3331 and 58.1-3332. In counties that have elected by ordinance to prepare land and personal property books in alphabetical order as authorized by § 58.1-3301 B, such notice may omit reference to districts, as provided herein.

The following requirements shall apply to any notice of change in assessment other than one in which the change arises solely from the construction or addition of new improvements to the real estate. If the tax rate that will apply to the new assessed value has been established, then the notice shall set out such rate. In addition, whether or not the tax rate applicable to the new assessed value has been established, the notice shall set out the tax rates for the immediately prior two tax years, the total amount of the new tax levy, based on the current tax rate at the time the notices are prepared, and the amounts of the total tax levies for the immediately prior two tax years, based on the final tax rates for those tax years multiplied by the final assessed values of land and improvements for those tax years, and the percentage changes in the new tax levy from the tax levies in the immediately prior two tax years.

If the tax rate that will apply to the new assessed value has not been established, then the notice shall set out the time and place of the next meeting of the local governing body at which public testimony will be accepted on any real estate tax rate changes. If this meeting will be more than 60 days from the date of the reassessment notice, then instead of the date of the meeting, the notice shall include information on when the date of the meeting will be set and where it will be publicized.

C. Any person other than the owner who receives such reassessment notice, shall transmit the notice to such owner, at his last known address, immediately on receipt thereof, and shall be liable to such owner in an action at law for liquidated damages in the amount of twenty-five dollars, in the event of a failure to so transmit the notice. Mailing such notice to the last known address of the property owner shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of this section.

D. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, if the address of the taxpayer as shown on the tax record is in care of a lender, the lender shall upon request furnish the county, city or town a list of such property owners, together with their current addresses as they appear on the books of the lender, or the parties may by agreement permit the lender to forward such notices to the property owner, with the cost of postage to be paid by the county, city or town.

Code 1950, § 58-792.01; 1973, c. 210; 1974, c. 179; 1975, c. 614; 1977, c. 594; 1984, c. 675; 2006, cc. 255, 509; 2007, cc. 344, 353; 2014, cc. 71, 802; 2015, cc. 151, 157.

§ 58.1-3331. Public disclosure of certain assessment records.

A. All property appraisal cards or sheets within the custody of a county, city or town assessing officer, except those cards or sheets containing information made confidential by § 58.1-3, shall be open for inspection, after the notice of reassessment is mailed as provided in § 58.1-3330, the normal office hours of such official by any taxpayer, or his duly authorized representative, desiring to review such cards or sheets.

B. Any taxpayer, or his duly authorized representative, whose real property has been assessed for taxation shall, upon request, be allowed to examine the working papers used by any such assessing official in arriving at the appraised and assessed value of such person's land and any improvements thereon.

C. Upon request of any taxpayer or his duly authorized representative, the assessing officer of the governing body shall make available information regarding the methodology employed in the calculation of a property's assessed value to include the capitalization rate used to determine the property's value, a list of comparable properties or sales figures considered in the valuation, and any other market surveys, formulas, matrices, or other factors considered in determining the value of the property. Upon request of a taxpayer, or his duly authorized representative, whose property has been assessed for taxation, the assessing officer shall provide a written explanation or justification for an increase in the property's assessed value. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require disclosure of information that is prohibited from disclosure pursuant to §§ 58.1-3 and 58.1-3294.

D. The assessing officer of the governing body may fix and promulgate a limited period within normal office hours when such records shall be available for inspection and copying, but such period of time may not be less than four hours per day on Monday through Friday, except on such days when the office is otherwise closed.

E. Notwithstanding any special or general laws to the contrary, in any appeal of the assessment of residential property filed by a taxpayer as an owner of real property containing less than four residential units (i) to the board of equalization pursuant to § 58.1-3379, or (ii) to circuit court pursuant to § 58.1-3984, the assessing officer shall send the taxpayer a written notice provided for in this subsection. Such notice shall be on the first page of such notice and be in bold type no smaller than fourteen points and mailed to, or posted at, the last known address of the taxpayer as shown on the current real estate tax assessment books or current real estate tax assessment records. Notice under this subsection shall satisfy the notice requirements of this section. In an appeal before the board of equalization, such written notice may be contained in the written notice of the hearing date before the board. For all applicable assessments on or after January 1, 2012, such written notice shall: (a) be given at least 45 days prior to the hearing of the taxpayer's appeal; (b) include a statement informing the taxpayer of his rights under this section to review and obtain copies of all of the assessment records pertaining to the assessing officer's determination of fair market value of such real property; and (c) advise the taxpayer of his right to request that the assessor make a physical examination of the subject property.

F. If, within at least five days prior to any action by a court under § 58.1-3984 or by a board of equalization under § 58.1-3379, the assessing officer fails to disclose or make available for inspection any information required to be disclosed or made available for inspection and copying under this section, then the assessing official and the applicable local government shall not be allowed to introduce such information or use it in any other manner in any such appeal.

Code 1950, § 58-792.02; 1975, c. 615; 1979, c. 577; 1980, c. 124; 1983, c. 161; 1984, c. 675; 2010, c. 552; 2011, cc. 184, 232; 2015, c. 244.

§ 58.1-3332. Property appraisal cards or sheets.

Each county, city or town assessing officer shall maintain current property appraisal cards or sheets for all parcels of real estate assessed and assessable by him. Any such assessing officer who maintains such property appraisal cards or sheets shall include thereon the appraised value of the property and improvements, if any, and the calculations and methodology used in determining the assessed value of such property and improvements.

Code 1950, § 58-817.1; 1975, c. 618; 1983, c. 161; 1984, c. 675.