Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 58.1. Taxation
Chapter 32. Real Property Tax
11/28/2020

Article 11. Tax to Constitute Lien.

§ 58.1-3340. Lien on real estate for taxes and levies assessed thereon; responsibility of purchaser or trustee at sale; lien on rents.

There shall be a lien on real estate for the payment of taxes and levies assessed thereon prior to any other lien or encumbrance. The lien shall continue to be such prior lien until actual payment shall have been made to the proper officer of the taxing authority. The purchaser at a sale, or trustee in the event of a foreclosure sale, shall cause the proceeds to be applied to the payment of all taxes and levies assessed on real estate. In the case of the purchase of a portion of a tract of land, the purchaser shall cause the proceeds to be applied to the payment of taxes and levies assessed on the entire tract, prorated in accordance with the relationship that the purchase price bears to the most recent assessed value of the entire tract. If the cost per acre of the purchased parcel is less than the assessed value per acre of the entire tract, or if, in the reasonable opinion of the local commissioner of the revenue or other assessing officer, the purchase price is less than the fair market value of the purchased parcel, the local commissioner of the revenue or other assessing officer may require that an appraisal, prepared by a state-certified or state-licensed appraiser, of the purchased parcel be provided, and in such event the proration shall be made in accordance with the relationship that the greater of (i) the appraised value of the purchased parcel or (ii) the purchase price bears to the most recent assessed value of the entire tract. In the event a proration is necessary, the purchaser's portion of such tract of land shall be relieved of such lien to the extent the proceeds exceed the purchaser's pro rata share of taxes. It shall be the responsibility of the treasurer or other proper officer of the taxing authority to cause the release of the lien. The seller's liability for taxes and levies shall be effectively prorated contractually. The words "taxes" and "levies" as used in this section include the penalties and interest accruing on such taxes and levies in pursuance of law. The lien imposed hereby shall, in addition to existing remedies for the collection of taxes and levies, be enforceable by suit in equity under the provisions of Article 4 (§ 58.1-3965 et seq.) of Chapter 39.

There shall be a further lien upon the rents of such real estate whether the same be in money or in kind, for taxes of the current year.

Code 1950, §§ 58-762, 58-1023; 1973, c. 467; 1979, c. 12; 1984, c. 675; 1994, c. 386; 1995, c. 143; 2010, c. 417.

§ 58.1-3341. Liens for taxes delinquent twenty years or more released; lands purchased by Commonwealth; pending suits.

No lien upon real estate for taxes and levies due and payable to the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof which has been, or shall hereafter become, delinquent for twenty or more years shall be enforced in any proceeding at law or in equity and such lien shall be deemed to have expired and to be barred and cancelled after such time. For purposes of this section, taxes deferred pursuant to an ordinance enacted in conformity with Article 2 (§ 58.1-3210 et seq.) or Article 2.1 (§ 58.1-3219 et seq.) of Chapter 32 of this title shall not be considered "delinquent" during the pendency of any period of deferral, and the lien upon real property for taxes and levies shall remain valid for twenty years plus any period of deferral afforded pursuant to such ordinance.

The right, title and interest of the Commonwealth in and to all real estate sold for taxes and levies which have been, or hereafter become, delinquent for twenty or more years, when such real estate has been purchased by the Commonwealth and not resold, is hereby unconditionally released unto and vested by operation of law in the person or persons who owned the real estate at the time the Commonwealth so acquired title or persons claiming, or to claim, by, through or under them.

No clerk shall make a tax deed conveying to any person any real estate sold for delinquent taxes or levies which have been, or hereafter become, delinquent for twenty or more years.

Code 1950, § 58-767; 1962, c. 93; 1984, c. 675; 1994, c. 209.

§ 58.1-3342. Assessment upon owner's death; liability of personalty for tax.

When an owner dies intestate, the commissioner of the revenue may ascertain who are the heirs of the intestate and charge the land to such heirs or he may charge the land to the decedent's estate until a transfer thereof. When the owner has devised the land, the commissioner may charge the same to such person as may be beneficially entitled thereto under the will. If, under the will, the land is to be sold, it shall continue charged to the decedent's estate until a transfer thereof and, while it continues so charged to the estate, the personal property shall be liable for the tax on all property so charged and subject to distress or other lawful process for the recovery of the same. Any assets in the hands of the personal representatives of the decedent shall be likewise liable therefor.

Code 1950, § 58-771; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3343. Effect of lien on certain real estate jointly owned.

The lien on real estate owned by more than one person as tenants in common, joint tenants or otherwise for the payment of all prior, present and subsequent taxes and levies or assessments thereof, including any tax, levy, or assessment authorized under § 58.1-3712, 58.1-3713, 58.1-3713.4, or 58.1-3741, shall not be impaired if such real estate was or is assessed in the name of one of such owners with the notation "and another," or "and others," or "and wife," or "and husband," or "and spouse," or the appropriate abbreviations of such words, or their legal equivalents, so as to indicate that the real estate was or is owned by more than one person.

Code 1950, § 58-770; 1984, c. 675; 2001, c. 462; 2013, cc. 305, 618; 2020, c. 900.

§ 58.1-3344. Taxes a lien on fee simple estate, not merely on interest of owner.

In any city, county, district or town:

1. Taxes assessed against real estate subject to taxes shall be a lien on the property and the name of the person listed as owner shall be for convenience in the collection of the taxes. The lien for taxes shall not be limited to the interest of the person assessed but shall be on the entire fee simple estate. There shall be no lien when for any year the same property is assessed to more than one person and all taxes assessed against the property in one of the names have been paid for that year.

2. When taxes are assessed against land in the name of a life tenant or other person owning less than the fee or owing no interest, the land may be sold under § 58.1-3965 et seq. for delinquent taxes provided the owner of record or his heirs be made parties to the proceeding for sale.

Code 1950, § 58-1024; 1958, c. 602; 1972, cc. 10, 592; 1973, c. 467; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3345. Tax liens on timber in certain counties.

In any county in this Commonwealth which adjoins three cities lying wholly within this Commonwealth, one of which cities has a population of 190,000 or more, taxes and levies assessed against the land of a life tenant shall be a lien upon any matured timber growing upon such land, and in any suit brought for the purpose of enforcing such lien the court may decree a sale of such timber. The term "matured timber," as used in this section, shall mean any timber which may be selectively cut without damage to the estate of the remainder, and the certificate of the State Forester that timber is matured shall be accepted as prima facie evidence of that fact.

Code 1950, § 58-768.1; 1984, c. 675.