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Frequently Asked Questions about the Real Estate Tax

How are the assessments on each parcel determined?
Every four years, a general reassessment is conducted in accordance with Section 58.1-3252 of the Code of Virginia. An appraisal firm is contracted to reappraise every parcel at its fair market value, which is based upon a sales study completed by the appraisal company. These assessments are effective for four years unless a change is made such as boundary adjustments, division of property, change in zoning, court orders, and new construction.

Why can't we use the appraisal of a private appraisal company when requested by the taxpayer?
The Attorney General's office opined that values adopted by the Board of Assessors who oversees the reassessment cannot be changed until the next reassessment without changes being made in the size of the property, new construction or rezoning.

How can a higher assessment be placed on property that sold for less?
Assessments are based upon a sales study conducted during the most recent reassessment. Even though the market may change, the assessment remains the same until the next reassessment if there are no changes in acreage, zoning or new construction.

When is the next general reassessment?
The last general reassessment was conducted during 2013 and became effective January 1, 2014. The next one will be conducted during 2016 and 2017 to become effective January 1, 2018. Click here to go the Reassessment Department web page.

What is the process for challenging an assessment made during reassessment?
When the reassessing of each parcel has been completed, the Board of Assessors holds hearings. At the completion of their hearings, a Board of Equalization is established to review any complaints. Once the Board of Equalization has completed its duties, the only option is to petition the Circuit Count in accordance with Section 58.1-3984 of the Code of Virginia. The Fauquier County Court system does not have any forms or written guidelines for this process.

Where are the maps of all the parcels in Fauquier County located?
The maps may be viewed online or at The Real Estate Division of the Commissioner of the Revenue office, 10 Hotel Street, Warrenton.

Is there a program for the elderly and disabled?
Yes, there is a program. See Real Estate Tax Relief Program.

Will the taxes exempted under this program have to be repaid at any time?
No. The taxes exempted on your dwelling and up to five acres are completely exonerated for as long as you apply and qualify for the program.

What is the land use program and what are the qualifications?
Land use is a program that defers taxes on property that is farmed for agriculture or horticulture purposes, kept in forest or is in an open space program. See Use Value Assessment Program. The taxes are deferred upon property on which the owner makes application and that meets the qualifications of the program.

What are rollback taxes?
Changes in use, rezoning to a more intense use (Title Sec. 58.1-3237) and the split off or subdivision of lots (Title Sec. 58.1-3241) can trigger rollback taxes. When rollback is issued, the taxes owed are based on the difference between land use value and fair market value for the current year, as well as the previous five tax years. Rollback taxes will equal the deferred tax, plus simple interest; currently at 10% per year.

Date Last Modified: 11/16/2015


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