Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 58.1. Taxation
Chapter 32. Real Property Tax
11/27/2020

Article 2. Exemptions for Elderly and Handicapped.

§ 58.1-3210. Exemption or deferral of taxes on property of certain elderly and handicapped persons.

A. The governing body of any county, city or town may, by ordinance, provide for the exemption from, deferral of, or a combination program of exemptions from and deferrals of taxation of real estate and manufactured homes as defined in § 36-85.3, or any portion thereof, and upon such conditions and in such amount as the ordinance may prescribe. Such real estate shall be owned by, and be occupied as the sole dwelling of anyone at least 65 years of age or if provided in the ordinance, anyone found to be permanently and totally disabled as defined in § 58.1-3217. Such ordinance may provide for the exemption from or deferral of that portion of the tax which represents the increase in tax liability since the year such taxpayer reached the age of 65 or became disabled, or the year such ordinance became effective, whichever is later. A dwelling jointly held by married individuals, with no other joint owners, may qualify if either spouse is 65 or over or is permanently and totally disabled, and the proration of the exemption or deferral under § 58.1-3211.1 shall not apply for such dwelling.

B. For purposes of this section, "eligible person" means a person who is at least age 65 or, if provided in the ordinance pursuant to subsection A, permanently and totally disabled. Under subsection A, real property owned and occupied as the sole dwelling of an eligible person includes real property (i) held by the eligible person alone or in conjunction with his spouse as tenant or tenants for life or joint lives, (ii) held in a revocable inter vivos trust over which the eligible person or the eligible person and his spouse hold the power of revocation, or (iii) held in an irrevocable trust under which an eligible person alone or in conjunction with his spouse possesses a life estate or an estate for joint lives or enjoys a continuing right of use or support. The term "eligible person" does not include any interest held under a leasehold or term of years.

C. For purposes of this article, any reference to:

"Dwelling" shall include an improvement to real estate exempt pursuant to this article and the land upon which such improvement is situated so long as the improvement is used principally for other than a business purpose and is used to house or cover any motor vehicle classified pursuant to subdivisions A 3 through 10 of § 58.1-3503; household goods classified pursuant to subdivision A 14 of § 58.1-3503; or household goods exempted from personal property tax pursuant to § 58.1-3504.

"Real estate" shall include manufactured homes.

Code 1950, § 58-760.1; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 169; 1972, cc. 315, 616; 1973, c. 496; 1974, c. 427; 1976, c. 543; 1977, cc. 48, 453, 456; 1978, cc. 774, 776, 777, 780, 788, 790; 1979, cc. 543, 544, 545, 563; 1980, cc. 656, 666, 673; 1981, c. 434; 1982, cc. 123, 457; 1984, cc. 267, 675; 1993, c. 911; 2007, c. 357; 2014, c. 767; 2019, cc. 736, 737; 2020, c. 900.

§ 58.1-3211. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2011, cc. 438 and 496, cl. 4, effective March 24, 2011, and applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2011.

§ 58.1-3211.1. Prorated tax exemption or deferral of tax.

A. The governing body of the county, city, or town may, by ordinance, also provide for an exemption from or deferral of (or combination program thereof) real estate taxes for dwellings jointly held by two or more individuals not all of whom are at least age 65 or (if provided in the ordinance) permanently and totally disabled, provided that the dwelling is occupied as the sole dwelling by all such joint owners.

The tax exemption or deferral for the dwelling that otherwise would have been provided under the local ordinance shall be prorated by multiplying the amount of the exemption or deferral by a fraction that has as a numerator the percentage of ownership interest in the dwelling held by all such joint owners who are at least age 65 or (if provided in the ordinance) permanently and totally disabled, and as a denominator, 100 percent. As a condition of eligibility for such tax exemption or deferral, the joint owners of the dwelling shall be required to furnish to the relevant local officer sufficient evidence of each joint owner's ownership interest in the dwelling.

B. For purposes of this subsection, "eligible person" means a person who is at least age 65 or, if provided in the ordinance pursuant to subsection A, permanently and totally disabled. For purposes of the tax exemption pursuant to subsection A, real property that is a dwelling jointly held by two or more individuals includes real property (i) held by an eligible person in conjunction with one or more other people as tenant or tenants for life or joint lives, (ii) held in a revocable inter vivos trust over which an eligible person with one or more other people hold the power of revocation, or (iii) held in an irrevocable trust under which an eligible person in conjunction with one or more other people possesses a life estate or an estate for joint lives or enjoys a continuing right of use or support. The term "eligible person" does not include any interest held under a leasehold or term of years.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to dwellings jointly held by married individuals, with no other joint owners.

D. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted or construed to provide for an exemption from or deferral of tax for any dwelling jointly held by nonindividuals.

2007, c. 357; 2008, cc. 298, 695; 2011, cc. 438, 496; 2014, c. 767; 2020, c. 900.

§ 58.1-3212. Local restrictions and exemptions.

Pursuant to Article X, Section 6 (b) of the Constitution of Virginia, the General Assembly hereby authorizes the governing body of a county, city or town to establish by ordinance net financial worth or annual income limitations as a condition of eligibility for any exemption or deferral of tax allowed pursuant to this article. If the governing body establishes an annual income limitation, the computation of annual income shall be based on adding together the income received during the preceding calendar year, without regard to whether a tax return is actually filed, by (i) owners of the dwelling who use it as their principal residence, (ii) owners' relatives who live in the dwelling, except for those relatives living in the dwelling and providing bona fide caregiving services to the owner whether such relatives are compensated or not, and (iii) at the option of each locality, nonrelatives of the owner who live in the dwelling except for bona fide tenants or bona fide caregivers of the owner, whether compensated or not. A locality may provide in its ordinance that, for the purpose of the computation of annual income, if an individual described in clause (ii) and (iii) is permanently and totally disabled, any disability income received by such person shall not be included. If the governing body establishes a net financial worth limitation, net financial worth shall be based on adding together the net financial worth, including the present value of equitable interests, as of December 31 of the immediately preceding calendar year, of the owners, and of the spouse of any owner, of the dwelling.

Nothing in this section shall be construed or interpreted as to preclude or prohibit the governing body of a county, city or town from excluding certain sources of income, or a portion of the same, for purposes of its annual income limitation or excluding certain assets, or a portion of the same, for purposes of its net financial worth limitation.

Any county, city, or town that pursuant to this article provides for the exemption from, deferral of, or a combination program of exemptions from and deferrals of real property taxes may exempt or defer the real property taxes of the qualifying dwelling and the land, not exceeding ten acres, upon which it is situated.

No local ordinance shall require that a citizen reside in the jurisdiction for a designated period of time as a condition for qualifying for any real estate tax exemption or deferral program established pursuant to § 58.1-3210.

Code 1950, § 58-760.1; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 169; 1972, cc. 315, 616; 1973, c. 496; 1974, c. 427; 1976, c. 543; 1977, cc. 48, 453, 456; 1978, cc. 774, 776, 777, 780, 788, 790; 1979, cc. 543, 544, 545, 563; 1980, cc. 656, 666, 673; 1981, c. 434; 1982, cc. 123, 457; 1984, cc. 267, 675; 1989, c. 568; 2011, cc. 438, 496; 2012, c. 299; 2014, c. 767; 2019, c. 16.

§ 58.1-3213. Application for exemption.

A. The person claiming such exemption shall file annually with the commissioner of the revenue of the county, city or town assessing officer or such other officer as may be designated by the governing body in which such dwelling lies, on forms to be supplied by the county, city or town concerned, an affidavit or written statement setting forth (i) the names of the related persons occupying such real estate and (ii) that the total combined net worth including equitable interests and the combined income from all sources, of the persons specified in § 58.1-3212, does not exceed the limits, if any, prescribed in the local ordinance.

B. In lieu of the annual affidavit or written statement filing requirement, a county, city or town may prescribe by ordinance for the filing of the affidavit or written statement on a three-year cycle with an annual certification by the taxpayer that no information contained on the last preceding affidavit or written statement filed has changed to violate the limitations and conditions provided herein.

C. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections A, B, and E, any county, city or town may, by local ordinance, prescribe the content of the affidavit or written statement described in subsection A, subject to the requirements established in §§ 58.1-3210, 58.1-3211.1, and 58.1-3212, and the local ordinance; the frequency with which an affidavit, written statement or certification as described in subsection B of this section must be filed; and a procedure for late filing of affidavits or written statements.

D. If such person is under 65 years of age, such form shall have attached thereto a certification by the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Railroad Retirement Board, or if such person is not eligible for certification by any of these agencies, a sworn affidavit by two medical doctors who are either licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth or are military officers on active duty who practice medicine with the United States Armed Forces, to the effect that the person is permanently and totally disabled, as defined in § 58.1-3217; however, a certification pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423 (d) by the Social Security Administration so long as the person remains eligible for such social security benefits shall be deemed to satisfy such definition in § 58.1-3217. The affidavit of at least one of the doctors shall be based upon a physical examination of the person by such doctor. The affidavit of one of the doctors may be based upon medical information contained in the records of the Civil Service Commission which is relevant to the standards for determining permanent and total disability as defined in § 58.1-3217.

E. Such affidavit, written statement or certification shall be filed after January 1 of each year, but before April 1, or such later date as may be fixed by ordinance. Such ordinance may include a procedure for late filing by first-time applicants or for hardship cases.

F. The commissioner of the revenue or town assessing officer or another officer designated by the governing body of the county, city or town shall also make any other reasonably necessary inquiry of persons seeking such exemption, requiring answers under oath, to determine qualifications as specified herein, including qualification as permanently and totally disabled as defined in § 58.1-3217 and qualification for the exclusion of life insurance benefits paid upon the death of an owner of a dwelling, or as specified by county, city or town ordinance. The local governing body may, in addition, require the production of certified tax returns to establish the income or financial worth of any applicant for tax relief or deferral.

Code 1950, § 58-760.1; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 169; 1972, cc. 315, 616; 1973, c. 496; 1974, c. 427; 1976, c. 543; 1977, cc. 48, 453, 456; 1978, cc. 774, 776, 777,780, 788, 790; 1979, cc. 543, 544, 545, 563; 1980, cc. 656, 666, 673; 1981, c. 434; 1982, cc. 123, 457; 1984, cc. 267, 675; 1986, c. 214; 1988, c. 334; 1990, c. 158; 1991, c. 286; 1996, c. 480; 1997, c. 710; 2007, c. 357; 2011, cc. 438, 496.

§ 58.1-3213.1. Notice of local real estate tax exemption or deferral program for the elderly and handicapped.

The treasurer of any county, city or town shall enclose written notice, in each real estate tax bill, of the terms and conditions of any local real estate tax exemption or deferral program established in the jurisdiction pursuant to § 58.1-3210. The treasurer shall also employ any other reasonable means necessary to notify residents of the county, city or town about the terms and conditions of the real estate tax exemption or deferral program for elderly and handicapped residents of the county, city or town.

1989, c. 568.

§ 58.1-3214. Absence from residence.

The fact that persons who are otherwise qualified for tax exemption or deferral by an ordinance promulgated pursuant to this article are residing in hospitals, nursing homes, convalescent homes or other facilities for physical or mental health care for extended periods of time shall not be construed to mean that the real estate for which tax exemption or deferral is sought does not continue to be the sole dwelling of such persons during such extended periods of other residence so long as such real estate is not used by or leased to others for consideration.

Code 1950, § 58-760.1; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 169; 1972, cc. 315, 616; 1973, c. 496; 1974, c. 427; 1976, c. 543; 1977, cc. 48, 453, 456; 1978, cc. 774, 776, 777, 780, 788, 790; 1979, cc. 543, 544, 545, 563; 1980, cc. 656, 666, 673; 1981, c. 434; 1982, cc. 123, 457; 1984, cc. 267, 675; 2012, cc. 476, 507.

§ 58.1-3215. Effective date; change in circumstances.

A. An exemption or deferral enacted pursuant to § 58.1-3210 or 58.1-3211.1 may be granted for any year following the date that the qualifying individual occupying such dwelling and owning title or partial title thereto reaches the age of 65 years or for any year following the date the disability occurred. Changes in income, financial worth, ownership of property or other factors occurring during the taxable year for which an affidavit is filed and having the effect of exceeding or violating the limitations and conditions provided by county, city or town ordinance shall nullify any exemption or deferral for the remainder of the current taxable year and the taxable year immediately following. However, any locality may by ordinance provide a prorated exemption or deferral for the portion of the taxable year during which the taxpayer qualified for such exemption or deferral.

B. An ordinance enacted pursuant to this article may provide that a change in ownership to a spouse or a nonqualifying individual, when such change resulted solely from the death of the qualifying individual, or a sale of such property shall result in a prorated exemption or deferral for the then current taxable year. The proceeds of the sale which would result in the prorated exemption or deferral shall not be included in the computation of net worth or income as provided in subsection A. Such prorated portion shall be determined by multiplying the amount of the exemption or deferral by a fraction wherein the number of complete months of the year such property was properly eligible for such exemption or deferral is the numerator and the number 12 is the denominator.

C. An ordinance enacted pursuant to this article may provide that an individual who does not qualify for the exemption or deferral under this article based upon the previous year's income limitations and financial worth limitations, may nonetheless qualify for the current year by filing an affidavit that clearly shows a substantial change of circumstances, that was not volitional on the part of the individual to become eligible for the exemption or deferral, and will result in income and financial worth levels that are within the limitations of the ordinance. The ordinance may impose additional conditions and require other information under this subsection. The locality may prorate the exemption or deferral from the date the affidavit is submitted or any other date.

Any exemption or deferral under this subsection must be conditioned upon the individual filing another affidavit after the end of the year in which the exemption or deferral was granted, within a period of time specified by the locality, showing that the actual income and financial worth levels were within the limitations set by the ordinance. If the actual income and financial worth levels exceeded the limitations any exemption or deferral shall be nullified for the current taxable year and the taxable year immediately following.

Code 1950, § 58-760.1; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 169; 1972, cc. 315, 616; 1973, c. 496; 1974, c. 427; 1976, c. 543; 1977, cc. 48, 453, 456; 1978, cc. 774, 776, 777, 780, 788, 790; 1979, cc. 543, 544, 545, 563; 1980, cc. 656, 666, 673; 1981, c. 434; 1982, cc. 123, 457; 1984, cc. 267, 675; 1987, cc. 525, 534; 1989, c. 40; 2007, c. 357; 2008, c. 208; 2011, cc. 438, 496.

§ 58.1-3216. Deferral programs; taxes to be lien on property.

A. For purposes of this section:

"Nonqualified transfer" means a transfer in ownership of the real estate by gift or otherwise not for bona fide consideration, other than (i) a transfer by the qualified owner to a spouse, including without limitation a transfer creating a tenancy for life or joint lives; (ii) a transfer by the qualified owner or the qualified owner and his spouse to a revocable inter vivos trust over which the qualified owner, or the qualified owner and his spouse, hold the power of revocation; or (iii) a transfer to an irrevocable trust under which a qualified owner alone or in conjunction with his spouse possesses a life estate or an estate for joint lives, or enjoys a continuing right of use or support.

"Qualified owner" means the owner of the real property who qualifies for a tax deferral by county, city, or town ordinance.

B. In the event of a deferral of real estate taxes granted by ordinance, the accumulated amount of taxes deferred shall be paid to the county, city, or town concerned by the vendor, transferor, executor, or administrator: (i) upon the sale of the real estate; (ii) upon a nonqualified transfer of the real estate; or (iii) from the estate of the decedent within one year after the death of the last qualified owner thereof. Such deferred real estate taxes shall be paid without penalty, except that any ordinance establishing a combined program of exemptions and deferrals, or deferrals only, may provide for interest not to exceed eight percent per year on any amount so deferred, and such taxes and interest, if applicable, shall constitute a lien upon the said real estate as if it had been assessed without regard to the deferral permitted by this article. Any such lien shall, to the extent that it exceeds in the aggregate 10 percent of the price for which such real estate may be sold, be inferior to all other liens of record.

Code 1950, § 58-760.1; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 169; 1972, cc. 315, 616; 1973, c. 496; 1974, c. 427; 1976, c. 543; 1977, cc. 48, 453, 456; 1978, cc. 774, 776, 777, 780, 788, 790; 1979, cc. 543, 544, 545, 563; 1980, cc. 656, 666, 673; 1981, c. 434; 1982, cc. 123, 457; 1984, cc. 267, 675; 2018, c. 291.

§ 58.1-3217. Permanently and totally disabled defined.

For purposes of this article, the term "permanently and totally disabled" shall mean unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment or deformity which can be expected to result in death or can be expected to last for the duration of such person's life.

Code 1950, § 58-760.1; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 169; 1972, cc. 315, 616; 1973, c. 496; 1974, c. 427; 1976, c. 543; 1977, cc. 48, 453, 456; 1978, cc. 774, 776, 777, 780, 788, 790; 1979, cc. 543, 544, 545, 563; 1980, cc. 656, 666, 673; 1981, c. 434; 1982, cc. 123, 457; 1984, cc. 267, 675.

§ 58.1-3218. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2011, cc. 438 and 496, cl. 4, effective March 24, 2011, and applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2011.