Virginia Property Taxes
Overview of Virginia Property Taxes
Property taxes in the state of Virginia are entirely used to fund local government operations. They are administered by local taxing authorities that include school districts, cities, counties, and municipalities. The state and its local governments collect $73.8 billion in total revenue every year, with $13.9 billion, or 18.9% of total revenue, coming from property taxes. Virginia is not a high tax state, but home values are high, and homeowners end up paying annual property taxes that are on par with the national average. The average Virginia home is worth $306,110. Homeowners pay 0.84% of their home value or $8.44 for every $1,000 in home value in Virginia property taxes every year.
Your Virginia property tax bill is based on your home's assessed value, which is determined by local assessors in two to six-year cycles depending on your property's location. The Virginia Tax Code requires that properties be assessed at 100% of their market value for purposes of taxation. Subsequently, a wrong assessment can result in overpaying your taxes. It is therefore important to carefully scrutinize your Assessment Notice. The state allows you to appeal property taxes if you have reasons to disagree with the assessor's valuation of your property. However, the appeal only disputes the assessment, not the Virginia property tax rates, which are set by the taxing authorities.
Virginia property tax rates are expressed per $100 of assessed value. To calculate the property tax you owe, multiply the assessed value by the tax rate. If, for instance, your home has an assessed value of $306,110 and the tax rate in your county is 1.5 per $100 of assessed value, your Virginia property tax bill will add up to [$306,110/100 x 1.5] = $4,591.65. Property tax rates vary across the different counties/taxing jurisdictions across the state.
If you are planning to buy a home in Virginia and want to understand how much your property tax bill could potentially cost, check out our Virginia Property Tax Tool to see what your bill would be.
Virginia Property Tax Due Dates
Homeowners in Virginia receive their property tax bills approximately 30 days before the payment due date. The bills are sent to your last known address. It is your responsibility to notify the Commissioner of Revenue about any change of address. Additionally, failure to receive a tax bill does not relieve you of the responsibility to pay your Virginia property taxes in time.
But when are property taxes due in Virginia? Property taxes are due semiannually in June/July and December. Specific due dates depend on the taxing jurisdiction. In the City of Norfolk, for instance, property taxes are due by June 5th. In Fairfax County, that date falls on July 28th. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, it is pushed to the next business day. The first installment covers the period starting from January 1st to June 30th, while the second one covers the July 1st to December 31st period. Homeowners receive their Annual Notice of Real Estate Assessment Change by the end of February and have until May 1st to appeal the assessment to the Department of Tax Administration.
Failure to comply with the Virginia property tax due dates result in a penalty of 10% or $10.00, whichever is greater. The penalties start accruing on the first day after the due date. Additionally, unpaid Virginia property taxes accrue interest on the first day of each month at a rate of 8% per year. In most counties, Virginia property taxes become delinquent on December 31st of the second year since the due date. In case of delinquency, the local taxing authority can initiate a court procedure seeking permission to sell your home to recover the unpaid taxes. Unless you provide sufficient evidence defending your cause of late payment, you can permanently lose your home through a public auction.
Virginia Property Tax Exemptions
Apart from the option to appeal property taxes, the state of Virginia offers several exemptions to ease the property tax burden on qualified homeowners. The most common are senior and homestead exemptions. The exemptions can significantly reduce your Virginia property tax bill. However, even if you qualify for the exemptions, you are still subject to Virginia's property tax due dates.
Virginia Homestead Exemption
In the state of Virginia, the homestead exemption protects a portion of your home equity against bankruptcy. Under the exemption, you can exempt up to $5,000 of your home from creditors or $10,000 if you are 65 years and older. An extra $500 exemption is granted for the dependents of an eligible homeowner. Under the provisions of this exemption, you can also exempt up to $25,000 in value for a home used as a primary residence. However, this exemption does not affect the accrual of Virginia property taxes.
Virginia Senior Citizens Exemption
Under the senior exemption, senior residents are exempted from Virginia property taxes on their principal dwelling and up to three acres. However, additional home structures can be taxed, for example, pools, barns, and sheds. To be eligible, homeowners must be at least 65 years old and meet certain income limit requirements.
Other Virginia property tax exemptions include the disabled veterans/surviving spouse exemption. This exemption exempts disabled veterans or their surviving, unmarried spouses from property taxes on the principal residence. The veteran's injuries have to be permanent and 100% service-connected, as certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans who are not 100% disabled but receive VA benefits for total lack of employability also qualify for this exemption.
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Virginia
If you have reasons to believe your home is incorrectly assessed, you can appeal and potentially lower the amount of Virginia property taxes you owe the state. You can first raise your issues with the local assessor's office in an informal hearing. The assessor can make adjustments or deny them depending on the evidence provided. If you disagree with the assessor, you can file your appeal with the Board of Equalization. Note that you are still required to pay your property taxes pending a decision on your appeal. As per the Code of Virginia, decisions by the BOE can be appealed to the Virginia Circuit Court.
The process of filing an assessment appeal varies across Virginia, though it generally follows the same steps from county to county:
- Obtain your assessment
- Determine if you are overassessed
- Complete forms needed to appeal
- File property tax appeal
- Prepare for hearing
- Attend hearing
- Appeal the decision
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Fairfax County
For a better demonstration of how to appeal your property taxes in Virginia, the following is a breakdown of the appeal process in Fairfax County, the most populous county in Virginia.
Obtain your assessment
If you own property in Fairfax County, you can obtain your assessment details from your Notice of Assessment Change. Alternatively, you can visit Fairfax County's Assessment Department.
Determine if you are over-assessed
To successfully appeal your property taxes, you need to prove that the assessor overvalued your home. This includes finding comparable sales of similar property within your property's assessment neighborhood. You can use TaxProper's search tool or Fairfax County's search tool.
Complete forms needed to appeal
The forms needed to appeal your property assessment can be obtained from Fairfax County's official website.
File property tax appeal
To ensure everyone's safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, homeowners in Fairfax County are advised to file their applications using the Fairfax County Board of Equalization's website. The appeal must be filed by June 1st. If the filing deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or County Holiday, it is pushed to the following business day.
Prepare for hearing
The burden of proof lies with the taxpayer seeking to dispute their assessment. Therefore, a successful appeal must be accompanied by facts and evidence supporting your reasons for disagreeing with the assessment. This can include maps, photographs of the property, comparable sales, and other evidence showing that items affecting your property's value are incorrect.
The Board of Equalization requires you to attend the appeal hearing as you may be required to provide more information and answer questions regarding your property. Failure to attend can lead to your case being dismissed.
Appeal the decision
As a last resort, decisions made by the Board of Equalization can be appealed to the Virginia Circuit Court. Note that you will be bound by the rules of the Circuit Court when filing your petition.
Property Tax Information for Virginia Counties
The table below provides county-level information about how property taxes work in each Virginia county.
Want to learn more? Click the county links to learn more about a specific Virginia county.
|County||Average Home Value||Average Tax Bill||Bill per $1,000|
|Charles City County||$192,284||$1,181||$6.10|
|Isle of Wight County||$257,351||$1,626||$6.30|
|James City County||$368,245||$2,605||$7.10|
|King and Queen County||$249,547||$1,136||$4.60|
|King George County||$301,998||$1,612||$5.30|
|King William County||$247,260||$1,790||$7.20|
|New Kent County||$258,595||$1,941||$7.50|
|Prince Edward County||$177,573||$929||$5.20|
|Prince George County||$239,775||$1,616||$6.70|
|Prince William County||$336,072||$3,522||$10.50|
|Buena Vista city||$129,063||$1,212||$9.40|
|Colonial Heights city||$176,488||$1,846||$10.50|
|Falls Church city||$727,739||$7,572||$10.40|
|Manassas Park city||$228,709||$3,234||$14.10|
|Newport News city||$210,535||$2,214||$10.50|
|Virginia Beach city||$313,132||$2,598||$8.30|