While everyone in Loudoun County pays the same real estate tax rate, not everyone pays taxes on 100% of the value of their property. Some property owners apply to have their real estate taxes deferred under programs that set aside some of their tax exposure: categories such as Agricultural or Forestal District, Historic District, Permanent Open Space Easement, Land Use Assessment, Tax Relief for the Elderly or Disabled, or Affordable Dwelling Unit among them.
In 2011, Loudoun County assessed the fair market value of this vacant 145-acre property in Hamilton at $1,323,500. The tax bill that year was $66.43. This year, the same property was again assessed at fair market value at $1,323,500, but the tax bill at the current tax rate of $1.135 per $100 of value is $514.40. The property is protected with an open space easement. What changed?
Another home located on Market Street in Leesburg is assessed at $1,111,640 this year. The owners’ 2015 tax bill is $12,617.11, a multiple some 25x times what the landowners in Hamilton pay. As a Loudoun County taxpayer, do you think the value of developable vacant land in Hamilton is worth just 1/25 of the value of a house on Market Street in Leesburg for tax purposes?
This spread sheet breaks out total numbers for taxable and exempt properties. Countywide, there are 126,277 taxable properties and 1,245 that are exempt:
Election year is a good time to ask candidates for chairman of the Board of Supervisors how they feel about real estate taxes — these pay for public schools. To provide full day kindergarten in Loudoun County, the county needs much more tax revenue to pay for it. That contends with programs that reduce taxes for some classes of land, and some groups of property owners.
Before you vote on Nov. 3, ask Board of Supervisors Chairman candidates Tom Bellanca, Charlie King, Phyllis Randall, and incumbent Scott York how they feel about special tax programs. Ask for a breakout showing how many properties, in which magisterial districts, enjoy how much in reduced taxes. Ask what it costs Loudoun County.