Commissioner-of-the-Revenue

Land use information

The Land Use Assessment Program provides for the deferral of real estate taxes on real estate that qualifies for agricultural, horticultural and forestry uses. Assessed values under the program are less than those estimated at fair market value. The program encourages the preservation of land to conserve and protect the County’s natural resources and promotes orderly land use planning and development.

Application requirements

Animal count
Applicant must furnish a count of the animals and the number of months they were located on the real estate for the previous year.

Leased property
If land is leased, a certification from the lessee is required; a form is furnished by the Commissioner of the Revenue.

Tenant houses
State law requires that house sites be excluded from Land Use Assessment and be assessed on a fair market basis. Therefore, all house sites have been assessed at fair market value. If you have any true tenant houses on your property you may furnish evidence for this house site acreage to be qualified for Land Use Assessment. Persons working only part-time on the farm cannot qualify the house as a tenant house.

Application
A separate application must be filed for each parcel on the land book.

Filing date
Applications are accepted from Oct. 1 through Nov. 1, except during a reassessment year when the deadline is extended to 30 days after the reassessment notice is mailed.

Fees
The application fee is $5 plus $0.25 for each acre entered in the program; checks should be made payable to the Treasurer, Montgomery County.

Revalidation
A revalidation form for each parcel is mailed in September. The completed form must be returned to the Commissioner of the Revenue's Office by Dec. 5. No revalidation form will be accepted after Dec. 5. Failure to renew an application will cause the property to be removed from the special assessment program.

Land use definitions

Agricultural
Devoted to the bona fide production of plants and animals for sale under uniform standards prescribed by the Commissioner of Agricultural and Consumer Services, or when devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation pursuant to a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the federal government. Requires five acres minimum in agricultural use.

Horticultural
Devoted to the bona fide production of fruits for sale, such as grapes, nuts and berries, vegetables, nursery and floral products under uniform standards prescribed by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or when devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation pursuant to a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the federal government. Requires five acres minimum in horticultural use.

Forest
When devoted to tree growth in such quantity and so spaced and maintained as to constitute a forest area under standards prescribed by the State Forester. Requires 20 acres minimum in forest use. A forest plan must be submitted.

Open space
Land does not qualify under the County Ordinance.

Roll back tax information

Change in use
Roll back tax applies when land changes from a qualifying use to a non-qualifying use.

Property owners required to report change in use of property
State law and county ordinance require that the Commissioner of the Revenue be notified within 60 days following changes in use. Please note that this includes building an additional house on the property, which is under the Land Use Assessment.

Failure to report change in use of property
On failure to report and pay roll back tax within 60 days following any change in use, the owner becomes liable for an additional penalty of 10 percent of the amount of the roll back tax and interest; interest will also be charged at half of one percent of the roll back taxes, interest and penalty for each month or fraction thereof.

Material misstatement
Any person making a material misstatement of fact in any application filed will be liable for all taxes on the basis of fair market value as applied to other real estate, plus interest and penalties, and will be further assessed with an additional penalty of 100 per centrum of unpaid taxes.

Change in acreage
Any change in the total acreage of real estate assessed in accordance with the Land Use Assessment Law requires the filing of a new application. It is of utmost importance that when a change in acreage occurs, it must be reported immediately to the Commissioner of the Revenue.

Failure to comply with any of the foregoing may cause the real estate in question to be removed from the special assessment program.

Standards for qualifications

Area
The minimum is five acres cleared land for agricultural and/or horticultural use and 20 acres for forest use.

History of production
The property must have a five year history of animal and/or crop production for sale. The Commissioner's Office reserves the right to request copies of tax returns to show five years of continuous farming prior to being approved for Land Use. Taxpayers wishing to participate in the Land Use Program will be asked to furnish their Federal 1040 income tax Schedule F for the past five years. If you do not file a Schedule F and wish to be in the Land Use Program, you will be required to submit documentation of a "bona fide" farm operation in another manner such as feed receipts, fertilizer receipts, receipts from a sale of livestock/crops, etc.

Qualifying crops are:

  • Forage crops
  • Commercial sod
  • Grains and feed crops
  • Tobacco, cotton and peanuts
  • Livestock
  • Bees and products
  • Commercial game
  • Trees or timber less than 20 acres so spread as to constitute a forest area and produced incidental to other farm operations
  • Fruits and nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Nursery products and floral products

Crop production
The field crop production must be primarily for commercial uses and the average crop yield per acre on each crop grown on the real estate during the immediate three years previous, must be equal to at least one-third of the county average for the past three years.

Animal units
There must be a minimum of 12 animal unit months of commercial livestock or poultry per five acres of open land in the previous year. An animal unit is 1 cow, 5 sheep, 5 goats, 5 swine, 100 chickens, 66 turkeys and 100 other fowl. Horses can qualify the land only if they are being used for a breeding or boarding business, riding academies, sale of manure, and training. Horses maintained exclusively for recreational purposes do not qualify the land.

Example:

  • 1 cow or 5 sheep or 100 chickens per 5 acres for 12 months
  • 2 cows or 10 sheep or 200 chickens per 5 acres for 6 months
  • 3 cows or 15 sheep or 300 chickens per 5 acres for 4 months
  • 4 cows or 20 sheep or 400 chickens per 5 acres for 3 months

Certification
To qualify for agricultural or horticultural use, all owners must certify that the real estate is used in a planned program of soil management and soil conservation practices intended to reduce or prevent soil erosion, maintain soil nutrients and control brush, woody growth and noxious weeds on row crops, hay and pasture.


Contact
Montgomery County
Government Center
755 Roanoke St. Ste. 1A
Christiansburg, VA 24073

Phone: (540) 382-5710
Fax: (540) 381-6838
email | directions

Hours: Mon.-Fri.,
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.