Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 58.1. Taxation
9/27/2020

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.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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