Skip to content

About Our Program

What is Land-Use Value Assessment?

In 1974, Virginia passed legislation to enable localities to provide tax relief to land owners in order to preserve rural lands with the explicit purpose that the public would benefit from its preservation.

Virginia law allows for eligible open space, forested, and agricultural land to be taxed based on the land’s value in use (“use-value”) as opposed to the land’s market value.

Qualified land is assessed at its value in agricultural and horticultural use in a total of 88 counties and cities in Virginia that have adopted local use-value ordinances, and in several other localities without use value taxation ordinances with agricultural districts.

Who We Are

In order to help Commissioners of Revenue in the process of determining reasonable use-values, the Virginia State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC) contracts with personnel in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech to develop use-value assessment estimates of land in agricultural and horticultural uses.

Each year, we calculate these estimates and provide them to SLEAC. Once approved, these are the recommended use-value estimates for Commissioners and assessors throughout Virginia to use in their programs.