Wednesday, June 3, 2009

If Your Albemarle Property Is Under Land Use, You May Need a Little Validation.

For the first time ever, Albemarle County land owners whose property is under the Land Use Assessment Program need to complete a "Revalidation Application" and undergo an inspection of their property to continue their land use status. The deadline for this is September 1st. Previously, verification of continued use only occurred when property changed hands for value.

Land Use is authorized by Virginia law and provides owners of property in Albemarle and other counties in Virginia with a significant reduction in their annual real estate taxes. Property used for agricultural, horticultural, viticultural, forestry, and open space purposes can be placed under the Program and taxes are abated for that portion of the property on which the use occurs. The downside of Land Use is what happens when the County takes away the status: "Roll Back" taxes, meaning those taxes which were abated while the property had the special status, become due for the previous five (5) years plus interest at 10% a year.

The reason for the County making this change in policy is obvious: under their current revenue strains, they are looking everywhere they can for additional revenue and figure they'll determine that some have been taking advantage of the system. But why has Albemarle decided at this time to breathe down the neck of Farmer Joe, who's just as strained?

Albemarle County has provided some Frequently Asked Questions about the revalidation process and is holding some information sessions at extended hours for public discussion beginning next week.

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