Land Use Assessment Program

The Land Use Assessment Program provides for the deferral of real estate taxes on property that meets certain agricultural, horticultural, forestry, or open space criteria. Eligible land is valued and taxed based on its use versus being valued and taxed at fair market value. The deferred tax is the difference between the annual tax owed based on fair market value and the annual tax based on the use value. The deferral continues if the qualified use continues.

Initial applications and renewal applications (every 6 years) must be filed by November 1.

Please read the requirements on these webpages, then complete the Loudoun County Land Use Assessment Application, provide the supporting documentation and applicable fee by the due date.

Assistance is available either over the telephone or in our office. Please call 703-737-8557 to speak with a staff member in the Exemptions & Deferrals Division or email.

General Information

In 1971, the General Assembly enacted a law permitting localities to adopt a program of special assessment for agricultural, horticultural, forest and open space lands. These laws are contained in Sections 58.1-3229 through 58.1-3244 of the Code of Virginia.

Loudoun County adopted the Land Use Assessment Program in 1973. The program provides for the deferral of real estate taxes when a property meets qualifying standards for agricultural, horticultural, forestry or open spaces uses. Assessed values under the program are generally less than those estimated at fair market value. The requirements of the program are contained in Chapter 848 of the Codified Ordinances of Loudoun County.

The purposes of the program are:

  • To encourage the preservation and proper use of such real estate to assure a readily available source of agricultural, horticultural and forest products and of open spaces within the reach of concentrations of population
  • To conserve natural resources in forms, which will prevent erosion, and to protect adequate and safe water supplies
  • To promote proper land-use planning and the orderly development of real estate for the accommodation of an expanding population; and
  • To promote a balanced economy and ameliorate pressures which force conversion of such real estate to more intensive uses and which are attributable in part to the assessment of such real estate at values incompatible with its use and preservation for agricultural, horticultural, forest or open space purposes

While the Code of Virginia sets out the basic prerequisites for a landowner wishing to qualify for use-value assessments, it has assigned the responsibility for prescribing uniform standards for qualification to the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services (agricultural and horticultural lands), the State Forester (forest lands) and the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation (open space lands). Further, to aid localities in arriving at use-value assessments, the law has established the State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC). SLEAC is composed of these three departments plus the Virginia Tax Commissioner and the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences of Virginia Tech.

Additional Information