Update: Mandated Land Use Value Assessment Bill on House Floor

February 12, 2018

HB 1204 (Hugo) is a problematic bill that would require that certain property be assessed based on use value in certain localities meeting specified population growth criteria.  The bill would require that real property of at least five acres that is devoted to open space be assessed based on the property’s land use value.  Although the legislation applies to a limited number of localities now, it sets a worrisome future precedent by requiring a locality to assess property as if it were part of a local program of use value taxation, regardless of whether the locality has adopted use value taxation.  Adopting use value taxation is a local option under current Code.  This bill would supersede that local authority and direct that certain property be afforded preferential tax treatment.

The bill was prompted by a dispute between two property owners and one locality.  The General Assembly has enacted a process for property owners to appeal assessments.  This bill would interpose the General Assembly in this existing process for resolution of disputes about the valuation of property.

VACo opposes this legislation and spoke against it in subcommittee; the House Finance Committee reported the bill on February 7 and the bill awaits action by the full House.

VACo Contact: Katie Boyle

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