Chapter 3.15
REAL ESTATE TAX EXEMPTION FOR ELDERLY AND DISABLED PERSONS*

Sections:

3.15.010    Definitions.

3.15.020    Authorized.

3.15.030    General eligibility requirements.

3.15.040    Inquiries by commissioner.

3.15.050    Claimant’s affidavit and certificate of disability – Commissioner’s certification.

3.15.060    Amount of exemption.

3.15.070    Changes affecting exemption.

3.15.080    Forfeiture of exemption for failure to pay taxes.

3.15.090    False claims.

3.15.100    Provision for late filing.

*State law reference – Authority of city to provide for the exemption provided for in this chapter, Code of Virginia, § 58.1-3210.

3.15.010 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section, unless another meaning shall clearly appear from the context:

“Affidavit” shall mean the real estate tax exemption affidavit provided for in this chapter.

“Dwelling” shall mean the sole residence of the person or persons claiming exemption under this chapter.

“Exemption” shall mean the percentage exemption from the real property tax imposed by the city allowable under the provisions of this chapter.

“Permanently and totally disabled” shall mean unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment or deformity which can be expected to result in death or can be expected to last for the duration of the person’s life.

“Taxable year” shall mean the calendar year, from January 1st through December 31st, for which real property tax is imposed or exemption is claimed. (Code 1964, § 10-72; Code 1985, § 12-92).

3.15.020 Authorized.

It is hereby declared to be the purpose of this chapter to provide real estate tax exemptions for qualified property owners who are not less than 65 years of age, or if under 65 years of age, are permanently and totally disabled, and who are otherwise eligible according to the terms of this chapter. Pursuant to the authority of Section 58.1-3210 of the Code of Virginia, the city council finds and declares that persons qualifying for exemption hereunder are bearing an extraordinary real estate tax burden in relation to their income and financial worth. (Code 1964, § 10-73; Code 1985, § 12-93).

3.15.030 General eligibility requirements.

Exemption pursuant to this chapter shall be granted to persons and for property complying with the following provisions:

(1) The title to the property for which exemption is claimed is held or partially held by the person claiming such exemption, as of January 1st of the taxable year for which such exemption is claimed.

(2) The dwelling for which the exemption is claimed is occupied as the sole dwelling of such claimant.

(3) The head of household claiming such exemption is 65 years of age or older as of December 31st of the year immediately preceding the taxable year for which the exemption is claimed; or the head of household claiming such exemption is under 65 years of age and such person is permanently and totally disabled as of December 31st of the year immediately preceding the taxable year for which the exemption is claimed.

(4) The total combined income received from all sources during the preceding calendar year by (a) owners of the dwelling who use it as their principal residence, (b) owners’ relatives who live in the dwelling, and (c) nonrelatives of the owner who live in the dwelling except for bona fide tenants or bona fide paid caregivers of the owner, does not exceed the sum of $30,000; provided, however, that the first $2,500 of income of each relative, other than the spouse of the owner, who is living in such dwelling shall not be included in such total.

(5) The net combined financial worth, including equitable interests, as of December 31st of the immediately preceding calendar year, of the owner and of the spouse of the owner, excluding the value of the dwelling and the land, not exceeding one acre, upon which it is situated, does not exceed $62,500. (Ord. 2011-19; Ord. 2010-02; Ord. 2007-12; Ord. 2005-19. Code 1964, § 10-74; Ord. 2-24-83; Code 1985, § 12-94; Ord. 7-28-88; Ord. 4-12-90; Ord. 9-10-98).

3.15.040 Inquiries by commissioner.

The commissioner of revenue shall make such inquiry of persons seeking exemption under this chapter, requiring answers under oath, as may be reasonably necessary to determine qualifications for the exemption and may require the production of certified tax returns to establish the income or financial worth of any applicant. (Code 1964, § 10-75; Code 1985, § 12-95).

3.15.050 Claimant’s affidavit and certificate of disability – Commissioner’s certification.

(1) A person claiming an exemption under this chapter shall file annually with the commissioner of revenue, on forms supplied by the city, an affidavit setting forth the names of the related persons occupying such real estate and that the total combined net worth, including equitable interests, and the combined income from all sources, of the persons specified in SCC 3.15.040 does not exceed the limits prescribed in this chapter.

(2) If the person filing an affidavit under this section is under 65 years of age, the affidavit shall have attached thereto a certification by the social security administration, the veteran’s administration or the railroad retirement board, or if such person is not eligible for certification by any of these agencies, a sworn affidavit by two medical doctors licensed to practice medicine in the commonwealth, to the effect that such person is permanently and totally disabled, as defined in SCC 3.15.010. The affidavit of at least one of such doctors shall be based upon a physical examination of such person by such doctor. The affidavit of one of such doctors may be based upon medical information contained in the records of the civil service commission which is relevant to the standards for determining permanent and total disability as so defined.

(3) The affidavit required by this section shall be filed after February 1st of each year, but before May 1st.

(4) The commissioner of revenue, after audit and investigation of affidavits submitted under this section, shall certify and submit a list of the persons and property qualifying for exemption and the amount thereof to the city assessor’s office, the chief finance officer and the city treasurer, who shall forthwith deduct the amounts of such exemptions from the real estate tax chargeable for the taxable year to such persons and property. (Code 1964, § 10-75; Code 1985, § 12-96).

3.15.060 Amount of exemption.

The amount of the exemption granted by this chapter is as follows:

SCHEDULE OF RELIEF

Single Property Owner or Property Owner and Spouse

Net Combined Financial Worth

Gross Combined Income

$0 $25,000

$25,001 $31,250

$31,251 $37,500

$37,501 $43,750

$43,751 $50,000

$50,001 $56,250

$56,251 $62,500

$0 – $18,000

100%

90%

80%

70%

60%

50%

45%

$18,001 – $21,000

85%

75%

65%

55%

50%

45%

40%

$21,001 – $24,000

70%

60%

55%

50%

45%

40%

35%

$24,001 – $27,000

50%

45%

40%

35%

30%

25%

20%

$27,001 – $30,000

35%

30%

25%

20%

15%

10%

5%

(Ord. 2007-12; Ord. 2005-19. Code 1964, § 10-76; Ord. 2-24-83; Code 1985, § 12-97; Ord. 2-27-86; Ord. 4-12-90; Ord. 9-10-98).

3.15.070 Changes affecting exemption.

Changes in respect to income, financial worth, ownership of property, or other factors, occurring during the taxable year for which an affidavit is filed under this chapter, and having the effect of violating or exceeding limitations and conditions of this chapter, shall nullify any exemption for the balance of the then current taxable year measured from the date such nullifying change occurred, and for the taxable year immediately following; provided, however, that no change in income or financial worth which does not have the effect of violating the maximum limitations of this chapter shall operate to increase or decrease the percentage of exemption previously determined by the commissioner of revenue pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. (Code 1964, § 10-77; Code 1985, § 12-98; Ord. 4-12-90).

3.15.080 Forfeiture of exemption for failure to pay taxes.

Failure to pay the difference between the exemption under this chapter and the full amount of taxes levied on the property for which the exemption is granted by the deadline established for payment of real estate taxes shall constitute a forfeiture of the exemption. (Code 1964, § 10-78; Code 1985, § 12-99).

3.15.090 False claims.

Any person falsely claiming an exemption under this chapter shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. (Code 1964, § 10-79; Code 1985, § 12-100).

Cross reference – Penalty for Class 3 misdemeanor, SCC 1.05.100.

3.15.100 Provision for late filing.

(1) The commissioner of revenue, notwithstanding the provisions of SCC 3.15.050(3) hereof, may grant an exception to the dates of filing of the affidavit required by SCC 3.15.050(3) to allow a later filing within the calendar year concerned for first-time applicants.

(2) Where a person has previously qualified for the exemption provided in this chapter, but has failed to file the affidavit necessary to qualify for any subsequent year within the time required by SCC 3.15.050 hereof, the commissioner, upon a showing of undue hardship, may or not, in the absolute discretion of the commissioner, grant an exception to the date of filing required by SCC 3.15.050(3). If such late filing is permitted by the commissioner, it shall be limited to the particular year the late filing request is made and for the immediately preceding tax year and no other. If the commissioner grants the exception and allows the late filing, the grant of the exception to late filing is conditioned upon any delinquent taxes plus penalty and interest attributable to said property being paid by the property owner within 10 days of the grant of exception. If the property owner fails to do so, the exception for late filing shall be deemed rescinded without further action. In such case where the delinquent taxes are paid within the time set forth above, the taxes for the year of the application for late filing and for the immediately preceding year, and no other, shall be credited with the exemption for purposes of measuring the taxes due, penalty and interest. (Code 1985, § 12-101; Ord. 7-28-88; Ord. 11-10-94).