Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 58.1. Taxation
Chapter 36. Tax Exempt Property
1/15/2021

Chapter 36. Tax Exempt Property.

Article 1. Exemptions Generally.

§ 58.1-3600. Definitions.

As used in this chapter the word "taxation" shall not be construed to include assessments for local improvements as provided for in Article 2 (§ 15.2-2404 et seq.) of Chapter 24 of Title 15.2, Article 2 (§ 15.2-2404 et seq.) of Chapter 24 of Title 15.2 or the charter of any city or town.

Code 1950, § 58-12.1; 1964, c. 470; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3601. Property becomes taxable immediately upon sale by tax-exempt owner.

Any property exempt from taxation pursuant to this chapter which is subsequently sold to a person not having tax-exempt status shall immediately become subject to taxation and be assessed therefor. The tax levied for the current year shall be prorated for the remainder of the tax year.

Code 1950, § 58-16.1; 1964, c. 178; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3602. Exemptions not applicable to associations, etc., paying death, etc., benefits.

Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to exempt from taxation the property of any person, firm, association or corporation who shall, expressly or impliedly, directly or indirectly, contract or promise to pay a sum of money or other benefit, on account of death, sickness or accident, to any of its members or other person.

Code 1950, § 58-13; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3603. Exemptions not applicable when building is source of revenue.

A. Whenever any building or land, or part thereof, exempt from taxation pursuant to this chapter and not belonging to the Commonwealth is a source of revenue or profit, whether by lease or otherwise, all of such buildings and land shall be liable to taxation as other land and buildings in the same county, city or town. When a part but not all of any such building or land, however, is a source of revenue or profit, and the remainder of such building or land is used by any organization exempted from taxation pursuant to this chapter for its purposes, only such portion as is a source of profit or revenue shall be liable for taxation.

B. In assessing any building and the land it occupies pursuant to subsection A, the assessing officer shall only assess for taxation that portion of the property as is a source of profit or revenue and the tax shall be computed on the basis of the ratio of the space as is a source of profit or revenue to the entire property. When any such property is leased for portions of a year the tax shall be computed on the basis of the average use of such property for the preceding year.

C. In determining whether any building or land, or part thereof, is a source of revenue or profit, rent from the lease of the property applied to reduce indebtedness against the property by payment of the principal of an outstanding bond or note held by a political subdivision of the Commonwealth shall not constitute revenue or profit, provided that the property is leased to a lessee who is exempt from taxation pursuant to § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is used by such lessee exclusively for charitable purposes.

Code 1950, §§ 58-14, 58-16; 1950, p. 659; 1984, c. 675; 1996, c. 534.

§ 58.1-3604. Tax exemption information.

A. The appropriate county, city or town assessing officer shall make and maintain an inventory and assessment of all tax-exempt real property and all such property immune from real estate taxation within his county, city or town, excluding streets, highways and other roadways. Such official shall identify such property by a general site description indicating the owner thereof and report such information on the land book along with an assessment of the fair market value of such property, the total assessed valuation for each type of exemption and a computation of total tax which would be due if such property were not exempt. A total of such assessed valuations and a computation of the percentage such exempt and immune property represents in relation to all property assessed within the county, city or town shall be published annually by such local assessing officer and a copy thereof shall be filed with the Department of Taxation on forms prescribed by the Department. All costs incurred pursuant to this section shall be borne by the county, city or town.

B. The appropriate county, city or town assessing officer shall also cause to be published, on an annual basis, at the same time and in the same publication, or in the same manner, as notice of the local real estate tax rates is published or otherwise posted, a statement indicating the aggregate assessed value of all real property exempted from taxation under §§ 58.1-3607 and 58.1-3608, and Articles 3, 4 and 5 of Chapter 36 of this title, and the total reduction in tax revenues resulting from such exemptions.

Code 1950, § 58-14.1; 1975, c. 612; 1976, c. 486; 1984, c. 675; 1989, c. 38.

§ 58.1-3605. Triennial application for exemption; removal by local governing body.

The governing body of any county, city or town, after giving sixty days' written notice, may require by local ordinance any entity, except the Commonwealth, any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or the United States, which owns real and personal property exempt pursuant to this chapter to file triennially an application with the appropriate assessing officer as a requirement for retention of the exempt status of the property. Such application shall show the ownership and usage of such property and shall be filed within the next sixty days preceding the tax year for which such exemption, or the retention thereof, is sought.

The local governing body may submit to the General Assembly a list of those organizations whose property is designated as tax exempt under § 58.1-3650.1 et seq. which the local governing body wants to remove from its exempt property list. Legislation including such a list must be introduced no later than the first calendar day of any session of the General Assembly unless requested by the Governor.

Code 1950, § 58-14.2; 1975, c. 613; 1984, c. 675; 1995, c. 346.

§ 58.1-3605.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2016, c. 305, cl. 2.

Article 2. Property Exempted by Classification or Designation.

§ 58.1-3606. Property exempt from taxation by classification.

A. Pursuant to the authority granted in Article X, Section 6 (a)(6) of the Constitution of Virginia to exempt property from taxation by classification, the following classes of real and personal property shall be exempt from taxation:

1. Property owned directly or indirectly by the Commonwealth, or any political subdivision thereof.

2. Real property and personal property owned by churches or religious bodies, including (i) an incorporated church or religious body and (ii) a corporation mentioned in § 57-16.1, and exclusively occupied or used for religious worship or for the residence of the minister of any church or religious body, and such additional adjacent land reasonably necessary for the convenient use of any such property. Real property exclusively used for religious worship shall also include the following: (a) property used for outdoor worship activities; (b) property used for ancillary and accessory purposes as allowed under the local zoning ordinance, the dominant purpose of which is to support or augment the principal religious worship use; and (c) property used as required by federal, state, or local law.

3. Nonprofit private or public burying grounds or cemeteries.

4. Property owned by public libraries, law libraries of local bar associations when the same are used or available for use by a state court or courts or the judge or judges thereof, medical libraries of local medical associations when the same are used or available for use by state health officials, incorporated colleges or other institutions of learning not conducted for profit. This paragraph shall apply only to property primarily used for literary, scientific or educational purposes or purposes incidental thereto and shall not apply to industrial schools which sell their products to other than their own employees or students.

5. Property belonging to and actually and exclusively occupied and used by the Young Men's Christian Associations and similar religious associations, including religious mission boards and associations, orphan or other asylums, reformatories, hospitals and nunneries, conducted not for profit but exclusively as charities (which shall include hospitals operated by nonstock corporations not organized or conducted for profit but which may charge persons able to pay in whole or in part for their care and treatment).

6. Parks or playgrounds held by trustees for the perpetual use of the general public.

7. Buildings with the land they actually occupy, and the furniture and furnishings therein belonging to any benevolent or charitable organization and used by it exclusively for lodge purposes or meeting rooms, together with such additional adjacent land as may be necessary for the convenient use of the buildings for such purposes.

8. Property of any nonprofit corporation organized to establish and maintain a museum.

B. Property, belonging in one of the classes listed in subsection A of this section, which was exempt from taxation on July 1, 1971, shall continue to be exempt from taxation under the rules of statutory construction applicable to exempt property prior to such date.

Code 1950, § 58-12; 1950, p. 61; 1952, c. 50; 1954, c. 65; 1956, c. 478; 1956, Ex. Sess., c. 16; 1958, c. 361; 1960, c. 396; 1962, c. 129; 1964, c. 198; 1966, c. 582; 1968, cc. 37, 807; 1969, Ex. Sess., c. 9; 1970, cc. 83, 562; 1972, c. 667; 1973, c. 438; 1974, c. 469; 1984, c. 675; 1985, c. 495; 2004, c. 492; 2005, c. 928; 2014, cc. 555, 615.

§ 58.1-3606.1. Property indirectly owned by government.

Property indirectly owned by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof or by the United States shall include, but not be limited to, a leasehold interest or other right pursuant to a concession, as defined in § 33.2-1800, in a transportation facility and real property acquired or constructed for the development and/or operation of the qualifying transportation facility when (i) the qualifying transportation facility is owned, or title to it is held, by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof or by the United States and is being developed and/or operated pursuant to a concession under the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 (§ 33.2-1800 et seq.) or similar federal law and (ii) the property or leasehold interest is required to be dedicated to the Commonwealth, its political subdivision, or the United States upon the termination of the concession.

2006, c. 922.

§ 58.1-3607. Property exempt from taxation by designation.

A. Pursuant to the authority granted in Article X, Section 6 (a) (6) of the Constitution of Virginia to exempt property from taxation by designation, and notwithstanding the provisions of § 58.1-3651, the real and personal property of the following organizations, corporations and associations shall be exempt from taxation:

1. Property of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, the Association for the Preservation of Petersburg Antiquities, Historic Richmond Foundation, the Confederate Memorial Literary Society, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union, the Virginia Historical Society, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Incorporated, the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation, Incorporated, the Stonewall Jackson Memorial, Incorporated, George Washington's Fredericksburg Foundation, Home Demonstration Clubs, 4-H Clubs, the Future Farmers of America, Incorporated, the posts of the American Legion, posts of United Spanish War Veterans, branches of the Fleet Reserve Association, posts of Veterans of Foreign Wars, posts of the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of World War I, USA, Incorporated, the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia, the Manassas Battlefield Confederate Park, Incorporated, the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Incorporated, the Virginia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the General Organization of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia, Incorporated, the Lynchburg Fine Arts Centers, Incorporated, Norfolk Historic Foundation, National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States, Historic Alexandria Foundation, and the Lynchburg Historical Foundation.

2. Property of Colonial Williamsburg, Incorporated, used for museum, historical, municipal, benevolent or charitable purposes, as long as such corporation continues to be organized and operated not for profit.

3. Property owned by the Virginia Home (previously Virginia Home for Incurables), incorporated by Chapter 533 of the Acts of Assembly of 1893-4, approved March 1, 1894.

4. The property owned by the Waterford Foundation, Incorporated, so long as it continues to be a nonprofit corporation to encourage and assist in restoration work in Waterford and to stimulate the revival of local arts and crafts.

5. Property of Historic Fredericksburg, Incorporated, and of the Clarke County Historical Association, used by such organizations for historical, benevolent or charitable purposes, as long as such corporation continues to be organized and operated not for profit.

6. Property of the Westmoreland Davis Foundation, Inc., so long as it continues to be a nonprofit corporation.

7. Property owned by the Women's Home Incorporated, in Arlington County and used for the rehabilitation of women with substance abuse, so long as it continues to be operated not for profit.

B. Property designated to be exempt from taxation in subsection A which was exempt on July 1, 1971, shall continue to be exempt under the rules of statutory construction applicable to exempt property prior to such date.

Code 1950, § 58-12; 1950, p. 61; 1952, c. 50; 1954, c. 65; 1956, c. 478; 1956, Ex. Sess., c. 16; 1958, c. 361; 1960, c. 396; 1962, c. 129; 1964, c. 198; 1966, c. 582; 1968, cc. 37, 807; 1969, Ex. Sess., c. 9; 1970, cc. 83, 562; 1972, c. 667; 1973, c. 438; 1974, c. 469; 1984, c. 675; 1985, c. 495; 1998, c. 172; 2000, c. 7; 2005, c. 716; 2011, c. 851.

§ 58.1-3608. Exempt organization's use of property owned by another.

Any real or personal property, the legal title to which is held by any person, firm or corporation, subject to the sole use and occupancy of an organization or society exempted by the provisions of subdivision 1 of § 58.1-3607 is hereby exempt from taxation provided such organization or society has not agreed to surrender its interest in the property.

Code 1950, § 58-12; 1950, p. 61; 1952, c. 50; 1954, c. 65; 1956, c. 478; 1956, Ex. Sess., c. 16; 1958, c. 361; 1960, c. 396; 1962, c. 129; 1964, c. 198; 1966, c. 582; 1968, cc. 37, 807; 1969, Ex. Sess., c. 9; 1970, cc. 83, 562; 1972, c. 667; 1973, c. 438; 1974, c. 469; 1984, c. 675.

Article 3. Property Exempted by Classification on and After July 1, 1971.

§ 58.1-3609. Post-1971 property exempt from taxation by classification.

A. The real and personal property of an organization classified in §§ 58.1-3610 through 58.1-3621 and used by such organization for a religious, charitable, patriotic, historical, benevolent, cultural, or public park and playground purpose as set forth in Article X, Section 6 (a) (6) of the Constitution of Virginia, the particular purpose for which such organization is classified being specifically set forth within each section, shall be exempt from taxation, so long as such organization is operated not for profit and the property so exempt is used in accordance with the purpose for which the organization is classified. The real and personal property of an organization classified in § 58.1-3622 and used by such organization for charitable and benevolent purposes as set forth in Article X, Section 6 (a) (6) of the Constitution of Virginia shall be exempt from taxation so long as the local governing body in which the property is located passes a resolution approving such exemption and the organization satisfies the other requirements in this subsection.

B. Exemptions of property from taxation under this article shall be strictly construed in accordance with Article X, Section 6 (f) of the Constitution of Virginia.

1984, c. 675; 1989, c. 400; 2000, c. 441.

§ 58.1-3610. Volunteer fire departments and volunteer emergency medical services agencies.

Volunteer fire departments and volunteer emergency medical services agencies that operate exclusively for the benefit of the general public without charge are hereby classified as charitable organizations.

Code 1950, § 58-12.2; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 187; 1984, c. 675; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 58.1-3611. Certain boys and girls clubs.

Boys clubs affiliated with the Boys Clubs of America, Inc., and girls clubs affiliated with the Girls Club of America, Inc., are hereby classified as charitable organizations.

Code 1950, § 58-12.3; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 232; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3612. Auxiliaries of the Veterans of World War I.

Auxiliaries of the Veterans of World War I, USA, Incorporated, are hereby classified as patriotic, historical and benevolent organizations.

Code 1950, § 58-12.5; 1972, c. 667; 1973, c. 438; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3613. Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are hereby classified as charitable organizations.

Code 1950, § 58-12.9; 1973, c. 438; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3614. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America.

The Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the United States of America, and their subsidiaries are hereby classified as charitable and benevolent organizations.

Code 1950, § 58-12.20; 1974, c. 469; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3615. Home Demonstration Clubs, 4-H Clubs and Future Farmers of America, Inc.

The Home Demonstration Clubs, 4-H Clubs, and the Future Farmers of America, Incorporated, are hereby classified as patriotic and benevolent organizations.

Code 1950, § 58-12.21; 1974, c. 469; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3616. American National Red Cross.

The American National Red Cross and local chapters thereof are hereby classified as charitable organizations.

Code 1950, § 58-12.22; 1974, c. 469; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3617. Churches and religious bodies.

Any church, religious association or religious denomination operated exclusively on a nonprofit basis for charitable, religious or educational purposes is hereby classified as a religious and charitable organization. Notwithstanding § 58.1-3609, only property of such association or denomination used exclusively for charitable, religious or educational purposes shall be so exempt from taxation.

Motor vehicles owned or leased by churches and used predominantly for church purposes, are hereby classified as property used by its owner for religious purposes.

For purposes of this section, property of a church, religious association or religious denomination, or religious body owned or leased in the name of an incorporated church or religious body or corporation mentioned in § 57-16.1, a duly designated ecclesiastical officer, or a trustee of an unincorporated church or religious body shall be deemed to be owned by such church, association or denomination or religious body.

Code 1950, §§ 58-12.24, 58-12.86; 1974, c. 469; 1978, c. 216; 1984, c. 675; 1987, c. 533; 2000, c. 329; 2005, c. 928.

§ 58.1-3618. College alumni associations and foundations.

Incorporated alumni associations operated exclusively on a nonprofit basis for the benefit of colleges or other institutions of learning located in Virginia, and incorporated charitable foundations conducted not for profit, the total income from which is used exclusively for literary, scientific or educational purposes, are hereby classified as charitable and cultural organizations.

Code 1950, § 58-12.25; 1974, c. 469; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3619. The State Future Farmers of America, Future Homemakers of America and Future Business Leaders of America.

A. The Future Farmers of America, the Future Homemakers of America, and local affiliates or subsidiaries thereof, located throughout the Commonwealth, are hereby classified as benevolent organizations.

The tax exemption provided in this subsection shall be limited to the J. R. Thomas Camp, located in Chesterfield County and owned by the Future Farmers of America, the Future Homemakers of America and the local affiliates or subsidiaries thereof.

B. The Future Business Leaders of America, the Future Homemakers of America, and local affiliates or subsidiaries thereof, located throughout the Commonwealth, are hereby classified as benevolent organizations.

Except as otherwise may be provided by this article, the tax exemption provided herein shall be limited to property owned by either the Future Business Leaders of America or the Future Homemakers of America which is located in Fairfax County.

Code 1950, § 58-12.93; 1978, c. 821; 1984, c. 675; 1993, c. 559.

§ 58.1-3620. Properties inundated by water.

The governing body of any county, city or town may provide for the special assessment and valuation for purposes of taxation of all real property within its jurisdiction which is encumbered by a recorded perpetual easement permitting the inundation of such property by water.

Code 1950, § 58-12.79; 1977, c. 479; 1978, c. 848; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3621. Farm club associations.

Incorporated associations operated for the purpose of sponsoring and operating a county fair for the display of agricultural products, the display and grading of farm animals and the enjoyment of the general public in Virginia are hereby classified as charitable associations.

1989, c. 400.

§ 58.1-3622. Habitat for Humanity and local affiliates or subsidiaries thereof.

Habitat for Humanity and local affiliates or subsidiaries thereof are hereby classified as charitable and benevolent organizations.

2000, c. 441.

Article 4. Property Exempted by Designation on and After July 1, 1971.

§ 58.1-3650. Post-1971 property exempt from taxation by designation.

A. The real and personal property of an organization designated by a section within this article and used by such organization exclusively for a religious, charitable, patriotic, historical, benevolent, cultural or public park and playground purpose as set forth in Article X, Section 6 (a) (6) of the Constitution of Virginia, the particular purpose for which such organization is classified being specifically set forth within each section, shall be exempt from taxation so long as such organization is operated not for profit and the property so exempt is used in accordance with the purpose for which the organization is classified. In addition, such exemption may be revoked in accordance with the provisions of § 58.1-3605.

B. Exemptions of property from taxation under this article shall be strictly construed in accordance with the provisions of Article X, Section 6 (f) of the Constitution of Virginia.

1984, c. 675; 1995, c. 346.

§ 58.1-3650.1. Not Set Out.

Not set out.

Article 4.1. Property Exempted by Local Classification or Designation on or After January 1, 2003.

§ 58.1-3651. Property exempt from taxation by classification or designation by ordinance adopted by local governing body on or after January 1, 2003.

A. Pursuant to subsection 6 (a)(6) of Article X of the Constitution of Virginia, on and after January 1, 2003, any county, city, or town may by designation or classification exempt from real or personal property taxes, or both, by ordinance adopted by the local governing body, the real or personal property, or both, owned by a nonprofit organization, including a single member limited liability company whose sole member is a nonprofit organization, that uses such property for religious, charitable, patriotic, historical, benevolent, cultural, or public park and playground purposes. The ordinance shall state the specific use on which the exemption is based, and continuance of the exemption shall be contingent on the continued use of the property in accordance with the purpose for which the organization is classified or designated. No exemption shall be provided to any organization that has any rule, regulation, policy, or practice that unlawfully discriminates on the basis of religious conviction, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.

B. Any ordinance exempting property by designation pursuant to subsection A shall be adopted only after holding a public hearing with respect thereto, at which citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard. The local governing body shall publish notice of the hearing once in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, city, or town where the real property is located. The notice shall include the assessed value of the real and tangible personal property for which an exemption is requested as well as the property taxes assessed against such property. The public hearing shall not be held until at least five days after the notice is published in the newspaper. The local governing body shall collect the cost of publication from the organization requesting the property tax exemption. Before adopting any such ordinance the governing body shall consider the following questions:

1. Whether the organization is exempt from taxation pursuant to § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954;

2. Whether a current annual alcoholic beverage license for serving alcoholic beverages has been issued by the Board of Directors of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority to such organization, for use on such property;

3. Whether any director, officer, or employee of the organization is paid compensation in excess of a reasonable allowance for salaries or other compensation for personal services which such director, officer, or employee actually renders;

4. Whether any part of the net earnings of such organization inures to the benefit of any individual, and whether any significant portion of the service provided by such organization is generated by funds received from donations, contributions, or local, state or federal grants. As used in this subsection, donations shall include the providing of personal services or the contribution of in-kind or other material services;

5. Whether the organization provides services for the common good of the public;

6. Whether a substantial part of the activities of the organization involves carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation and whether the organization participates in, or intervenes in, any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office;

7. The revenue impact to the locality and its taxpayers of exempting the property; and

8. Any other criteria, facts and circumstances that the governing body deems pertinent to the adoption of such ordinance.

C. Any ordinance exempting property by classification pursuant to subsection A shall be adopted only after holding a public hearing with respect thereto, at which citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard. The local governing body shall publish notice of the hearing once in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, city, or town. The public hearing shall not be held until at least five days after the notice is published in the newspaper.

D. Exemptions of property from taxation under this article shall be strictly construed in accordance with Article X, Section 6 (f) of the Constitution of Virginia.

E. Nothing in this section or in any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall affect the validity of either a classification exemption or a designation exemption granted by the General Assembly prior to January 1, 2003, pursuant to Article 2 (§ 58.1-3606 et seq.), 3 (§ 58.1-3609 et seq.) or 4 (§ 58.1-3650 et seq.) of this chapter. An exemption granted pursuant to Article 4 (§ 58.1-3650 et seq.) of this chapter may be revoked in accordance with the provisions of § 58.1-3605.

2003, c. 1032; 2004, c. 557; 2015, cc. 38, 730; 2018, c. 29; 2020, c. 1137.

§ 58.1-3652. Exempt organization's use of property owned by another.

Any county, city, or town may exempt any real or personal property, the legal title to which is held by any person, firm, or corporation, subject to the sole use or occupancy by a nonprofit entity exempt from federal income taxation under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, provided such nonprofit entity (i) has not agreed to surrender its interest in the property and (ii) uses such property solely to (a) exhibit or display Warbirds to the general public or otherwise use Warbirds for educational purposes, including such flights as are necessary for testing, maintaining, or preparing such aircraft for safe operation, or (b) demonstrate the performance of Warbirds at airshows and flight demonstrations of Warbirds, including such flights as are necessary for testing, maintaining, or preparing such aircraft for safe operation.

For purposes of this section, "Warbirds" means airplanes that were manufactured prior to 1955 and intended for military use.

2014, cc. 60, 185.

Article 5. Other Exempt Property.

§ 58.1-3660. Certified pollution control equipment and facilities.

A. Certified pollution control equipment and facilities, as defined herein, are hereby declared to be a separate class of property and shall constitute a classification for local taxation separate from other such classification of real or personal property and such property. Certified pollution control equipment and facilities shall be exempt from state and local taxation pursuant to Article X, Section 6 (d) of the Constitution of Virginia.

B. As used in this section:

"Certified pollution control equipment and facilities" means any property, including real or personal property, equipment, facilities, or devices, used primarily for the purpose of abating or preventing pollution of the atmosphere or waters of the Commonwealth and which the state certifying authority having jurisdiction with respect to such property has certified to the Department of Taxation as having been constructed, reconstructed, erected, or acquired in conformity with the state program or requirements for abatement or control of water or atmospheric pollution or contamination, except that in the case of equipment, facilities, devices, or other property intended for use by any political subdivision in conjunction with the operation of its water, wastewater, stormwater, or solid waste management facilities or systems, including property that may be financed pursuant to Chapter 22 (§ 62.1-224 et seq.) of Title 62.1, the state certifying authority having jurisdiction with respect to such property shall, upon the request of the political subdivision, make such certification prospectively for property to be constructed, reconstructed, erected, or acquired for such purposes. Such property shall include, but is not limited to, any equipment used to grind, chip, or mulch trees, tree stumps, underbrush, and other vegetative cover for reuse as mulch, compost, landfill gas, synthetic or natural gas recovered from waste or other fuel, and equipment used in collecting, processing, and distributing, or generating electricity from, landfill gas or synthetic or natural gas recovered from waste, whether or not such property has been certified to the Department of Taxation by a state certifying authority. Such property shall also include solar energy equipment, facilities, or devices owned or operated by a business that collect, generate, transfer, or store thermal or electric energy whether or not such property has been certified to the Department of Taxation by a state certifying authority. All such property as described in this definition shall not include the land on which such equipment or facilities are located.

"State certifying authority" means the State Water Control Board or the Virginia Department of Health, for water pollution; the State Air Pollution Control Board, for air pollution; the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, for solar energy projects and for coal, oil, and gas production, including gas, natural gas, and coalbed methane gas; and the Virginia Waste Management Board, for waste disposal facilities, natural gas recovered from waste facilities, and landfill gas production facilities, and shall include any interstate agency authorized to act in place of a certifying authority of the Commonwealth.

C. For solar photovoltaic (electric energy) systems, this exemption applies only to (i) projects equaling 20 megawatts or less, as measured in alternating current (AC) generation capacity, for which an initial interconnection request form has been filed with an electric utility or a regional transmission organization on or before December 31, 2018; (ii) projects equaling 20 megawatts or less, as measured in alternating current (AC) generation capacity, that serve any of the public institutions of higher education listed in § 23.1-100 or any private college as defined in § 23.1-105; (iii) 80 percent of the assessed value of projects for which an initial interconnection request form has been filed with an electric utility or a regional transmission organization (a) between January 1, 2015, and June 30, 2018, for projects greater than 20 megawatts or (b) on or after July 1, 2018, for projects greater than 20 megawatts and less than 150 megawatts, as measured in alternating current (AC) generation capacity, and that are first in service on or after January 1, 2017; (iv) projects equaling five megawatts or less, as measured in alternating current (AC) generation capacity, for which an initial interconnection request form has been filed with an electric utility or a regional transmission organization on or after January 1, 2019; and (v) 80 percent of the assessed value of all other projects equaling more than five megawatts and less than 150 megawatts, as measured in alternating current (AC) generation capacity for which an initial interconnection request form has been filed with an electric utility or a regional transmission organization on or after January 1, 2019.

D. The exemption for solar photovoltaic (electric energy) projects greater than five megawatts, as measured in alternating current (AC) generation capacity, shall not apply to any such project unless an application has been filed with the locality for the project before July 1, 2030, regardless of whether a locality assesses a revenue share on such project pursuant to the provisions of § 58.1-2636. If a locality adopts an energy revenue share ordinance under § 58.1-2636, the exemption for solar photovoltaic (electric energy) projects greater than five megawatts, as measured in alternating current (AC) generation capacity, shall be 100 percent of the assessed value. If a locality does not adopt an energy revenue share ordinance under § 58.1-2636, the exemption for solar photovoltaic (electric energy) projects greater than five megawatts, as measured in alternating current (AC) generation capacity, for which an initial interconnection request form has been filed with an electric utility or a regional transmission organization, shall be 80 percent of the assessed value when an application has been filed with the locality prior to July 1, 2030. For purposes of this subsection, "application has been filed with the locality" means an applicant has filed an application for a zoning confirmation from the locality for a by-right use or an application for land use approval under the locality's zoning ordinance to include an application for a conditional use permit, special use permit, special exception, or other application as set out in the locality's zoning ordinance.

E. For pollution control equipment and facilities certified by the Virginia Department of Health, this exemption applies only to onsite sewage systems that serve 10 or more households, use nitrogen-reducing processes and technology, and are constructed, wholly or partially, with public funds.

F. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, for any solar photovoltaic project described in clauses (iii) and (v) of subsection C for which an initial interconnection request form has been filed with an electric utility or a regional transmission organization on or after January 1, 2019, the amount of the exemption shall be as follows: 80 percent of the assessed value in the first five years in service after commencement of commercial operation, 70 percent of the assessed value in the second five years in service, and 60 percent of the assessed value for all remaining years in service.

Code 1950, § 58-16.3; 1972, c. 694; 1984, c. 675; 1995, c. 229; 2003, c. 859; 2006, cc. 375, 939; 2009, c. 671; 2014, cc. 259, 737; 2016, cc. 346, 518; 2018, c. 849; 2019, c. 441; 2020, cc. 65, 252, 1028, 1029, 1224, 1270.

§ 58.1-3660.1. Certified stormwater management developments and property.

A. Certified stormwater management developments and property, as defined herein, are hereby declared to be a separate class of property and shall constitute a classification for local taxation separate from other such classifications of real property. The governing body of any county, city or town may, by ordinance, exempt or partially exempt such property from local taxation.

B. As used in this section, "certified stormwater management developments and property" means any real estate improvements constructed from permeable material, such as, but not limited to, roads, parking lots, patios, and driveways, which are otherwise constructed of impermeable materials, and which the Department of Environmental Quality has certified to be designed, constructed, or reconstructed for the primary purpose of abating or preventing pollution of the atmosphere or waters of the Commonwealth by minimizing stormwater runoff. Permeable material shall be used for at least 70 percent of the surface areas that would otherwise be covered by impermeable materials.

1996, cc. 581, 595; 2009, c. 350; 2013, cc. 756, 793.

§ 58.1-3661. Certified solar energy equipment, facilities, or devices and certified recycling equipment, facilities, or devices.

A. Certified solar energy equipment, facilities, or devices and certified recycling equipment, facilities, or devices, as defined herein, are hereby declared to be a separate class of property and shall constitute a classification for local taxation separate from other classifications of real or personal property. The governing body of any county, city or town may, by ordinance, exempt or partially exempt such property from local taxation in the manner provided by subsection D.

B. As used in this section:

"Certified recycling equipment, facilities, or devices" means machinery and equipment which is certified by the Department of Environmental Quality as integral to the recycling process and for use primarily for the purpose of abating or preventing pollution of the atmosphere or waters of the Commonwealth, and used in manufacturing facilities or plant units which manufacture, process, compound, or produce for sale recyclable items of tangible personal property at fixed locations in the Commonwealth.

"Certified solar energy equipment, facilities, or devices" means any property, including real or personal property, equipment, facilities, or devices, excluding any portion of such property that is exempt under § 58.1-3660, certified by the local certifying authority to be designed and used primarily for the purpose of collecting, generating, transferring, or storing thermal or electric energy.

"Local certifying authority" means the local building departments or the Department of Environmental Quality. The State Board of Housing and Community Development shall promulgate regulations setting forth criteria for certifiable solar energy equipment. The Department of Environmental Quality shall promulgate regulations establishing criteria for recycling equipment, facilities, or devices.

C. Any person residing in a county, city or town which has adopted an ordinance pursuant to subsection A may proceed to have solar energy equipment, facilities, or devices certified as exempt, wholly or partially, from taxation by applying to the local building department. If, after examination of such equipment, facility, or device, the local building department determines that the unit primarily performs any of the functions set forth in subsection B and conforms to the requirements set by regulations of the Board of Housing and Community Development, such department shall approve and certify such application. The local department shall forthwith transmit to the local assessing officer those applications properly approved and certified by the local building department as meeting all requirements qualifying such equipment, facility, or device for exemption from taxation. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the local building department may appeal such decision to the local board of building code appeals, which may affirm or reverse such decision.

D. Upon receipt of the certificate from the local building department or the Department of Environmental Quality, the local assessing officer shall, if such local ordinance is in effect, proceed to determine the value of such qualifying solar energy equipment, facilities, or devices or certified recycling equipment, facilities, or devices. The exemption provided by this section shall be determined by applying the local tax rate to the value of such equipment, facilities, or devices and subtracting such amount, wholly or partially, either (i) from the total real property tax due on the real property to which such equipment, facilities, or devices are attached or (ii) if such equipment, facilities, or devices are taxable as machinery and tools under § 58.1-3507, from the total machinery and tools tax due on such equipment, facilities, or devices, at the election of the taxpayer. This exemption shall be effective beginning in the next succeeding tax year and shall be permitted for a term of not less than five years; however, if the taxpayer installs equipment, facilities, or devices and obtains certification for such equipment, facilities, or devices within one year of installation, the locality may provide by ordinance that the exemption shall be effective as of the date of installation, and if the taxpayer has paid any taxes on such equipment, facilities, or devices, the locality shall reimburse the taxpayer for any such taxes paid. In the event the locality assesses real estate pursuant to § 58.1-3292, the exemption shall be first effective when such real estate is first assessed, but not prior to the date of such application for exemption.

E. It shall be presumed for purposes of the administration of ordinances pursuant to this section, and for no other purposes, that the value of such qualifying solar energy equipment, facilities, and devices is not less than the normal cost of purchasing and installing such equipment, facilities, and devices.

Code 1950, § 58-16.4; 1977, c. 561; 1984, c. 675; 1988, c. 253; 1990, c. 690; 1998, c. 606; 2014, cc. 259, 737; 2016, c. 346; 2020, c. 633.

§ 58.1-3662. Generating and cogenerating equipment used for energy conversion.

Generating equipment installed after December 31, 1974, for the purpose of converting from oil or natural gas to coal or to wood, wood bark, wood residue, or to any other alternate energy source for manufacturing, and any cogenerating equipment installed since such date for use in manufacturing, are hereby declared to be a separate class of property and shall constitute a classification for local taxation separate from other classifications of tangible personal property. The governing body of any county, city or town may, by ordinance, exempt or partially exempt such property from local taxation, and such ordinance shall become effective on January 1 of the year following the year of adoption.

Code 1950, § 58-16.5; 1980, c. 675; 1982, c. 58; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3663. Partial taxation by one political subdivision of utility property owned by another.

A. In the event any land or buildings constituting any portion of any water system or other public utility owned directly or indirectly by any political subdivision of the Commonwealth is legally assessable for taxation by any political subdivision other than the owner of such public utility, such property located without the limits of such owner shall be assessed only for the portion of fair market value thereof in the proportion that the gross revenues of the utility derived from consumers outside of the limits of the owner bears to the gross revenues derived from the whole utility. Such proportion for each year shall be based on the gross revenues of the year next preceding. The commissioner of revenue shall each year so extend the assessment on his books.

B. The owner of such utility shall annually on or before April 1 report, to the commissioner of the revenue of the county in which any of such property is located, the gross revenues of the utility derived from consumers outside of the limits of the owner as well as the gross revenues derived from the whole utility. The books of the owner shall at all reasonable times be open to the inspection of the commissioner of the revenue of any such county for the ascertainment of such proportion of the revenues.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any land or buildings acquired by any such political subdivision by condemnation, purchase or otherwise for any such public utility unless the same is actually used and necessary for such public utility.

Code 1950, § 58-19; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-3664. Environmental restoration sites.

Environmental restoration sites, as defined herein, are hereby declared to be a separate class of property and shall constitute a classification for local taxation separate from other such classification of real property. The governing body of any county, city or town may, by ordinance, exempt or partially exempt such property from local taxation annually for a period not in excess of five years.

"Environmental restoration site" means real estate which contains or did contain environmental contamination from the release of hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, solid waste or petroleum, the restoration of which would abate or prevent pollution to the atmosphere or waters of the Commonwealth and which (i) is subject to voluntary remediation pursuant to § 10.1-1232 and (ii) receives a certificate of continued eligibility from the Virginia Waste Management Board during each year which it qualifies for the tax treatment described in this section.

1997, c. 849.

§ 58.1-3665. Partial exemption for erosion control improvements.

A. Real estate that has been improved through the placement of rock or concrete breakwaters, bulkheads, gabions, revetments, or similar structural improvements installed to control erosion, and is used primarily for the purpose of abating or preventing pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth, is hereby declared to be a separate class of property and shall constitute a classification for local taxation separate from other classifications of real property. The governing body of any county, city or town may, by ordinance, provide for the partial exemption from local taxation of such real estate, subject to such conditions and restrictions as the ordinance may prescribe. The governing body of a county, city or town may establish criteria for determining whether real estate qualifies for the partial exemption authorized by this section.

B. The partial exemption authorized by this section shall not exceed (i) all or a portion of the increase in the assessed value of the real property resulting from the placement of the structural improvements described in subsection A, as determined by the commissioner of revenue or other local assessing officer, or (ii) fifty percent of the cost of such improvements, as determined by the governing body of the county, city or town. Any exemption (i) may commence upon completion of the improvements or on January 1 of the year following such completion and (ii) shall run with the real estate for a period not to exceed fifteen years. The governing body of the county, city or town may provide that the amount or percentage of an exemption shall decrease in annual steps over the entire fifteen-year exemption period or a portion thereof.

C. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the commissioner of revenue or other local assessing officer to list upon the land book any reduced value due to the exemption provided pursuant to subsection B.

D. The governing body of any county, city or town is authorized to assess a fee, not to exceed fifty dollars, for processing an application requesting the exemption authorized by this section. No property shall be eligible for such exemption unless any appropriate permits have been obtained and the commissioner of the revenue or other assessing officer has verified that the improvements described on the application have been completed.

1998, c. 272.

§ 58.1-3666. Wetlands and riparian buffers; living shorelines.

Wetlands, as defined herein, that are subject to a perpetual easement permitting inundation by water, and riparian buffers, as defined herein, that are subject to a perpetual easement permitting inundation by water, are hereby declared to be a separate class of property and shall constitute a classification for local taxation separate from other classifications of real property. The governing body of any county, city or town may, by ordinance, exempt or partially exempt such property from local taxation. In addition, any living shoreline project approved by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission or the applicable local wetlands board and not prohibited by local ordinance that satisfies the definition of a living shoreline consistent with § 28.2-104.1 shall qualify for full exemption from such taxation by local governments.

"Riparian buffer" means an area of trees, shrubs or other vegetation, subject to a perpetual easement permitting inundation by water, that is (i) at least thirty-five feet in width, (ii) adjacent to a body of water, and (iii) managed to maintain the integrity of stream channels and shorelines and reduce the effects of upland sources of pollution by trapping, filtering, and converting sediments, nutrients, and other chemicals.

"Wetlands" means an area that is inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency or duration sufficient to support, and that under normal conditions does support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, and that is subject to a perpetual easement permitting inundation by water.

1998, c. 516; 2016, c. 610.

§ 58.1-3667. Effective date of property tax exemption for certified property.

Except as otherwise explicitly provided under this article, as to any real or personal property, machinery, equipment, facilities, devices, or real estate improvements required to be certified by a state or local certifying authority for tax exemption under this article, once the required certification is made such property shall be deemed exempt as of the date the property is placed in service. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted or construed as extending any limitations period under law for applying for correction of an assessment or otherwise appealing an assessment.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to § 58.1-3664.

2016, c. 35.