Legislation introduced in Virginia seeks to level the playing field for property owners who take their tax appeals to circuit court.
Under Virginia law, the valuation by the assessor or as adjusted by the board of equalization is considered correct in circuit court proceedings. The burden of proof is on the taxpayer to show by a preponderance of evidence that the property is valued at more than its fair market value.
House Bill 910 and the identical Senate Bill 597 were pre-filed in mid-January. The bills give property owners the option to request a jury trial for appeals filed after July 1, 2016.
The legislation prohibits the use of non-standard scheduling orders that give more lenient timelines to the local government than the appellant.
HB 910 and SB 597 also protect taxpayers' confidential tax information by allowing for the release of pertinent data under a protective order, as is standard practice in other areas of law. The violation of the order is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.