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Commissioner of the Revenue

The Commissioner of the Revenue is an elected Constitutional Official chosen by the voters of Rappahannock County and serves a four-year term in office. The Commissioner is the Chief Assessing Officer of local government. (The current commissioner, Mary Graham, was sworn in on March 5, 2019, to finish the term of her predecessor. Her term ends December 31, 2019.)

The Office is tasked with assessing real and tangible personal property accurately, with uniformity and fairness. We strive to provide efficient and effective tax services through diligent and careful maintenance of tax programs and records. Contact us at 540-675-5370, or fax 540-675-5371.

The Commissioner’s Services are:

  • To assess all Rappahannock County real property taxes.
  • To discover and equitably assess all personal property such as cars, motorcycles, trailers and boats.
  • To administer Meals and Lodging tax registration.
  • To administer the Land Use program.
  • To administer tax relief for the elderly and disabled.
  • To administer tax relief for disabled veterans and surviving spouses.
  • To provide protection of confidential taxpayer information.
  • To provide taxpayer assistance with State income tax returns.

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Deadlines and Important Dates

January 1-July 1 - Submit Application for Tax Relief (elderly and disabled)
Persons 65 or older or permanently and totally disabled with annual household income not more than $32,000 and assets not more than $250,000 who own and occupy a home in Rappahannock County may be eligible for exemption of real estate taxes on their dwelling parcel. Annual application is required between January 1 and July 1. Please call 540-675-5370. Click here for more information

January 20 - DUE - Quarter 4 Meals & Lodging returns

Mar 1 - Personal Property Returns (the Blue Forms) are mailed to taxpayers
The Blue Forms are mailed to taxpayers in late February. If you have not received a blue form in the mail by mid-March, please call our office at 540-675-5370.

April 20 - DUE - Quarter 1 Meals & Lodging returns

May 1 - DUE - Personal Property filing - Return your Blue Forms!
Filing is required in order to efficiently and accurately assess personal property. 10% late filing penalty is applied to returns filed after the due date. 10% is added to the total tax before tax relief. Taxes are due Dec. 5.

May 1 - DUE - Virginia State Income Tax return
If you file your State Income tax through our office, mail it to Commissioner of Revenue, PO BOX 115, Washington, VA 22747 and make the check out to the Treasurer of Rappahannock.

July 1 - DUE - Application for Tax Relief (elderly and disabled)

July 1 - DUE - High Mileage annual documentation

July 20 - DUE - Quarter 2 Meals & Lodging returns

August 15 - Land Use Revalidation forms mailed to landowners in program
If you have not received your revalidation form by mid-September, please call us at 540-675-5370.

August 15-November 1 - Applications for Land Use program accepted
Please click here for some general information about the program.

October 20 - DUE - Quarter 3 Meals & Lodging returns

November 1 - DUE - Applications for Land Use program

December 5 - DUE - Land Use Revalidation
Land Use documents are due. Please call us if you have any questions 540-675-5370.

December 5 - DUE - Taxes: Personal Property and Real Estate
Payment goes to the Treasurer. You may pay:

  • in person at the Treasurer’s Office (274 Gay Street, Washington, VA)
  • online
  • by mail (Treasurer, PO BOX 37, Washington, VA 22747) or
  • over the phone (540-675-5360)

Acceptable forms of payment are cash, check, money order, cashier’s check, Visa, Master Card, American Express or Discover.


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Income Tax Filings

Estimated State Income Taxes

Estimated Taxes may be filed with the Commissioner of the Revenue. Checks must be made out to Treasurer, Rappahannock. The first payment of each year needs to be filed with the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office and each voucher thereafter will need to be paid at the Treasurer’s Office. Due dates are:

  • Voucher 1 - May 1
  • Voucher 2 - June 15
  • Voucher 3 - September 15
  • Voucher 4 - January 15

State Income Tax

Virginia Individual Income tax returns and payments should be filed with the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office on or before May 1st deadline. Checks must be made out to Treasurer, Rappahannock.

State Law requires that State Income taxes be paid on or before May 1st, after which a penalty of 6% monthly up to 30% per year plus interest must be added.

Any balance not paid by December 31st will be transmitted to the Department of Taxation in Richmond for collection.

VA TAX contact info: For individuals 804-367-8031; For businesses 804-367-8037; For inquiries about a refund 804-367-2486; For online resources www.tax.virginia.gov.


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Land Use Tax Deferral Program

As allowed under the Code of Virginia, Rappahannock County adopted an ordinance allowing taxpayers to apply for specially reduced assessments on certain real estate, depending on its use. The program was adopted in 1982 and is renewed every reassssment year.

The Commissioner of the Revenue Office oversees the land use program in accordance with Rappahannock Code, Article VII, Section 151-13 through 151-17.12, and State laws, the "Manual of the State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC)."

Of the four categories specified in the SLEAC Manual, Rappahannock adopted Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry. Each category has qualification and documentation requirements. See the SLEAC Manual for how many animals are needed to qualify and so forth.

One of the intents of land use is that the land is income producing and one the requirements is at least $1,000 of income reported each year (or a total of at least $3,000 for each three-year period).

Parcels that qualify by forestry, with a minimum of 20 acres of woods, must have a forest management plan drawn up by a forester and submited to our office. Click here for a list of foresters.

Application Requirements

Applications must be filed from August 15 to November 1 of the year immediately preceding the year of reduction. Applications can be filed between November 2 and November 15 with payment of a $100 late filing fee per parcel. First time applications require a $60 application fee, a $0.25/acre fee, and revalidation fees ($10-$60 per parcel depending on the year).

The owner/s should be the applicant.

Any parcel not in the prior year’s land use program will be considered “new.” Such a parcel may have been divided out of a parcel, may be newly purchased, or just never in land use before.

Each application should be accompanied by a copy of the prior year’s Schedule F, C, E or Form 4835 and any other documentation that can be provided to show that the property is currently in one of the qualifying uses.

Property that is in forestry should be accompanied by a forestry plan. For agriculture & horticulture, property must generate a crop for commercial use and you must provide a consecutive 5 year previous use history on the property.

Property must have the required number of acres per parcel for the type of use (see list below). Property must be available for inspection, by appointment, if necessary.

Prior year outstanding real estate taxes must be paid.

Please call us at 540-675-5370 with questions or for more information.

Acreage Requirements

The minimum acreage requirements are:

  • Agricultural land - 5 farmed acres that have been farmed for 5 years prior to the time you apply (or 6 acres if a dwelling resides on the property).
  • Horticultural land - 5 farmed acres that have been farmed for 5 years prior to the time you apply (or 6 acres if a dwelling resides on the property).
  • Forest land - 20 forested acres or 21 acres if a dwelling resides on the property.

Land Use Revalidation

Revalidation letters are mailed annually in mid-August to all currently enrolled in the land use program. They are due by December 5 with no fee or by December 15 with a late filing fee of $100 per parcel attached.

Assigned use must be valid for each year the land is in the program.

If the revalidation letter is not signed and submitted by the due date by the landowner, the parcel(s) will be taken out of land use and taxes will be based on fair market value for the following year. A new application will need to be submitted to get back in the program.

Land Use FAQs

IMPORTANT NOTE: Most answers to land use questions begin with "It depends..." Each situation needs individual review. While the FAQs below can offer some general information, please call the Commissioner of the Revenue office at 540-675-5370, to discuss the specifics of your situation.

What is a Rollback Tax?

Rollback tax is the difference between the tax levied and the tax that would have been levied based on the fair market value assessment of the real estate for that year. The Rollback Tax shall be equal to the sum of the deferred tax for each of the five most recent complete tax years plus simple interest. In addition, taxes for the current year shall be extended on the basis of fair market value, by means of a supplemental tax bill.

If I buy a piece of land that is in Land Use and change the use of it a year or so later, why do I have to pay the back taxes of the previous owner?

Land Use travels with the land and not the owner, so until you have owned the property for 6 years, you essentially acquire the taxes of the previous owner.

If I build a house on my land that is in Land Use, do I have a penalty to pay?

Yes. You will have to pay what is called a Rollback Tax on the acreage you clear to build your house. A house site is a minimum of 1 acre. The parcel must still meet the minimum acreage requirement for the program. If there are less than 5 farmed acres, the entire acreage will have a Rollback Tax.

If I sell my parcel of land, do I have to pay back taxes?

If you sell a parcel that will meet the requirements for the land use program, there will be no Rollback Tax.

If I sell my parcel and the buyer does not want to farm it any longer, who pays the taxes?

The party that changes the use of the property is responsible for the Rollback Taxes. So, if the buyer decides not to farm the property any longer, they would be responsible for paying the taxes.

What if I want out of the program - is there a way to avoid paying a Rollback Tax?

Yes. If you continue the use of the property (agriculture, horticulture or forestry) for five full years while paying full taxes, you will not have a Rollback Tax. You would need to do everything required to qualify for land use during that time including filing annual documentation with our office until the end of the five years.


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Meals & Lodging Tax

NOTICE: If you operate an Airbnb or other service in Rappahannock and rent out rooms of your house, you must register with Rappahannock and file lodging taxes.

Rappahannock County requires a 4% meals tax for purchases of food and/or beverages served (as part of a meal) in or from a restaurant or by a caterer; or rental fees for the occupancy of a room, together with food and/or beverages, at a bed-and-breakfast establishment for a fixed aggregate price.

The county also requires a 2% lodging tax on rentals of any room or camping space from hotels, motels, boardinghouses, bed-and-breakfast establishments, travel campgrounds and other facilities offering guest rooms rented out for continuous occupancy for fewer than 30 consecutive days. Exceptions include any hospital, medical clinic, convalescent home, nursing home or home for the aged; Rooms continuously occupied for 30 or more consecutive days; Rentals within the Town of Washington for so long as the town imposes its own transient occupancy tax.

See the Rappahannock code for more detailed information.

Registration: Businesses that offer these services must register with the Commissioner of the Revenue. Print and fill out the Registration Form and return it to be compliant.

Filing: Quarterly filing is required. Fill out the Meals & Lodging Return and return it with payment to the Treasurer. You must file every quarter - even if you have $0 in sales to avoid a penalty. Quarterly filing dates are January 20, April 20, July 20 and October 20.

A “Final” filing is required when you end the business.


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Personal Property

2019 Tax Rate: $4.45 of each $100 of assessed value ($4.25 tangible personal property, $0.20 fire & rescue).

Filing Deadline is May 1st. Tax is due Dec. 5th.

Rappahannock is not a “file by exception” county like many other counties. That means you must file your personal property with our office by May 1st of each year to avoid a late filing penalty.

Rappahannock County is a non-prorating locality, our assessments are subject to tax as of January 1st per each calendar year. (This information is based on lists we obtain from the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.)

Personal property is defined as automobiles, trucks, manufactured homes, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, boats, trailers, and aircraft. Personal Property Taxes are assessed by the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office, payments are collected by the Treasurer’s Office.

ATTENTION: If you have disposed (sold, traded, gifted or salvaged) of any titled items with the DMV, you need to report it to the Division of Motor in Virginia at (804)497-7100. Or use DMV Online Services.

If you have disposed (sold, traded, gifted or salvaged) of a watercraft, you need to report it to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries at (804)367-1011, (804)367-1000 or at www.dgif.virginia.gov.


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Real Estate

2019 Tax Rate: $0.73 of each $100 of assessed value ($0.67 real estate, $0.06 fire & rescue).

Real Estate tax bills go out in the fall and are due Dec. 5th. Payments are submitted to the Treasurer’s Office. The Treasurer may be contacted at (540)675-5360.

The Commissioner of the Revenue is responsible for maintaining Real Estate ownership and assessment information, as well as the administration of Land Use Assessment.

Reassessments are done on all properties in the county periodically - usually every six years. The next reassessment is scheduled to take place in 2021 and will take effect January 1, 2022. The process is done by an outside appraisal service hired by the Board of Supervisors.


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Local Taxes and Tax Rates for 2019

Real Estate Tax: $0.73 of each $100 of assessed value ($0.67 real estate, $0.06 fire & rescue)

Personal Property Tax: $4.45 of each $100 of assessed value ($4.25 tangible personal property, $0.20 fire & rescue).

Lodging Tax (transient occupancy): 2% of the charge for the occupancy of any room or space for rent. County tax does not apply in the Town of Washington.

Meals Tax: 4% on prepared foods and beverage that are part of a meal. County tax does not apply in the Town of Washington. Meals Tax must be collected by every business that sells prepared foods. Registration forms must be submitted to the Commissioner of Revenue and payments must be made to the Treasurer’s Office.


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Tax Relief

65 or Older and Handicapped Individuals

Applicants for Tax Relief for the Elderly must be 65 years or older on December 31st of the year immediately preceding the taxable year. Handicapped applicants under 65 must include affidavits by two (2) medical doctors who are either licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth or are military officers on active duty who practice medicine with the United States Armed Forces, to the effect that the person(s) are permanently and totally disabled as defined in Section 58.13127; however, a certification pursuant to 42 U.S.C 423 (d) by the Social Security Administration so long as the person(s) remains eligible for social security benefits shall be deemed to satisfy.

To qualify, the applicant must meet these criteria:

  • Total combined household income is not more than $32,000 (2019) during the immediately preceding calendar year. This includes all income sources of the owner(s) of the dwelling and other occupants living in the dwelling. The first $1000 of income is excluded on occupants other than the owner/co-owner/spouse.
  • They own the property and it is their sole dwelling.
  • No more than $250,000 in assets (not including the fair market value of the dwelling and up to five acres of land upon which the dwelling is situated).

If you meet the criteria above, please call the Commissioner of the Revenue Office at 540-675-5370 to set up an appointment to apply. Applications are accepted from January 1 to July 1. Individuals must apply every year.

Tax Relief for Disabled Veterans

Pursuant to Article X Section 6-A of the Constitution of Virginia exemption partial or complete from taxation of the Real property of any Veteran having a 100% service-connected permanent and total disability.

Applications must be filed with Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office. Those applying for the exemption should bring the following with them to the Commissioner’s Office when making application:

  • Approved letter of disability issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, showing 100% permanent and total service-connected disability;
  • Photo identification(s);
  • Proof of residence occupancy (such as a utility bill); and
  • Social Security card per applicant.

Surviving spouses applying for the exemption should bring the following with them to the Commissioner’s Office when making application:

  • Death certificate to confirm date of death is on or after January 1, 2011;
  • A certified certificate of marriage from the appropriate State office of records;
  • Proof of residence occupancy (such as a utility bill); and
  • Social Security card.