Real Estate Tax

Real Estate taxes are assessed as of January first each year by the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office and billed semi-annually and are due on June 20 and December 5. If the due date falls on a weekend, then the payment will be due on the following Monday.

The tax rate for 2023 is $0.83 per $100 of assessed value.

EXAMPLE: A property valued at $100,000 would pay $830.00 in yearly taxes. This amount would be divided into two semi-annual payments of $415.00 each, due on June 20 and December 5.  


  • A late payment penalty of 10 percent will be charged the day AFTER the due date plus interest of 10% per annum is charged daily beginning the day AFTER the penalty is assessed.
  • Failure to receive a tax bill will not relieve you of the penalty and interest applied to all delinquent tax bills.
  • If your mortgage company requests your tax bill, the bill will be forwarded for payment.
  • Payment Plans Available: Arrangements may be made through the Treasurer's Office to set a payment plan for delinquent real estate and personal property taxes before delinquent collection actions are started.

Payment Plans

Arrangements may be made through the Treasurer's Office to set a payment plan for delinquent real estate and personal property taxes before delinquent collection actions are started.

Note: Late payments DO NOT relieve the taxpayer of penalty, accrued interest and collection fees, NOR do payments stop the DMV Registration Withholding process. All taxes due must be paid in full before the next DMV registration date.

Tax Relief

Winchester provides a tax relief program for the elderly or permanently disabled based on income and net worth.

Applications must be filed by April 1st of each year, and only applies to Real Estate taxes.

Tax Exemption Information

For Applicants

  1. The Code of Virginia sets out that exemption is the exception and that exemptions are to be strictly construed. If there is any doubt, the doubt must be resolved against the party claiming the exemption. The applicant has the burden of proving that the property meets the qualifications for the exemption.
  2. The Commissioner of the Revenue requests the application data in accordance with Article X, Section 6 of the Constitution of Virginia and Chapter 36 of the Code of Virginia 58.1 Title Taxation.
  3. Submitting this application for Real Property Tax Exemption does not release the owner from the responsibility of timely payment of real estate taxes prior to official approval.
  4. The applicant must submit a separate application for each parcel that is to be considered for tax exemption.
  5. Property owned by an entity seeking exemption is not automatically exempt from taxation based solely on the fact that the entity owns the property. Only that property which is actively and exclusively used for charitable, religious or educational purposes shall qualify for real property exemption. When qualifying uses are limited to a portion of a parcel, only that portion being actively and exclusively used for qualifying purposes will be granted exemption.
  6. The applicant is responsible for reporting the detailed uses of the property in accordance with the Code of Virginia as well as the amount of land that is attributable to each specified use.
  7. The Commissioner of the Revenue may conduct one or more field inspections as a part of the application process. Should there be vacant land (no structures) but use has been claimed by the organization, physical evidence of the stated use and the amount of area for the designated use will be verified.
  8. When the applicant is planning to build a structure that may qualify for exemption once in use, the project must meet the following minimum criteria prior to beginning the application process:
    • Obtain an approved site plan
    • Obtain Building Permit(s)
    • Begin the actual site work (grading)
    • Provide project timeline
  9. In the case of new construction or renovation that will qualify for exemption, the exemption will be processed when the organization commences qualifying use of the property.
  10. The application must be fully completed and notarized in order to be considered by the City of Winchester.
  11. For requests of exemption by designation:
    • Note important filing deadlines specified on the application
    • Include a check or money order, as specified on the application
    • The Commissioner of the Revenue will review the application and make a recommendation and/or comments as appropriate
      • For requests for exemption by designation, the City Council will review the application first at a Council work session, then at a City Council meeting for first reading, then at a second City Council meeting for discussion and subsequent vote.
      • All City Council work sessions and meetings are open to the public, and applicants are encouraged to attend.
      • The City of Winchester posts each meeting’s agenda in advance on the City Council Agenda Portal.

Derelict Property Abatement Application Information

  1. Meet with Zoning Representative to verify that property qualifies for derelict status.
  2. File the application with the Commissioner of the Revenue, Rouss City Hall. The application will expire two (2) years from the date it is submitted. In order to qualify for tax exemption, the applicant must submit a completed application and complete the initial assessment PRIOR to commencing work on the project.
  3. Upon receipt of the application, the property will be inspected by Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue to determine the initial assessed value. This base value is the value determined by the Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue after an inspection of the structure prior to commencement of rehabilitation. The base value will generally coincide with the assessed value effective the year application is made. An increased assessment due to change in value (e.g. reassessment) will not affect the amount of exemption.
  4. Obtain all applicable City permits prior to commencing work and maintain compliance with all City regulations and requirements throughout the project.
  5. For abatement by demolition: The abatement of taxes for demolition shall not apply if the structure demolished is a registered Virginia landmark or determined by the Department of Historic Resources to contribute to the significance of a registered historic district.
    • Provide copies of estimated demolition cost at time of application.
    • Provide copies of actual demolition cost after demolition is completed.
  6. Upon completion of the abatement work (or at any time prior to 30 days before the expiration of the application) the owner may submit a written request to the Commissioner of the Revenue to inspect the property to determine if the resulting property qualifies for the derelict abatement exemption.
  7. If the property does not meet the requirements for exemption by the expiration date of the application, the request for an exemption will be denied. A new application may be filed and a new base value established. (Note: The new base value will include all of the value increased during the previous application.)
  8. If the property qualifies for tax exemption, the partial exemption shall run with the land. The owner, during each of the ten (10) years of the exemption, shall receive a real estate tax credit certificate for such exemption from the Commissioner of the Revenue. The exemption commences on January 1st following completion and approval and is transferrable with property ownership.
  9. For additional information, please contact the Commissioner of the Revenue.

Real Estate Reassessment Information

Appeal of Assessment

The City of Winchester performs biennial reassessments and equalization of all real property located within the City to determine the full and fair market value as of January 1 of each odd-numbered year. This is done in accordance with the City Code to distribute taxes equitably among all taxpayers at a real estate tax rate set by City Council.

The formula to calculate your taxes is as follows: (Property Assessment/100) x (Tax Rate) = Annual Taxes 

Tax Rate is $0.93 per $100
Property Assessment is $100,000
($100,000/100) x $.93 = $930 Annual Taxes


Reassessment Process

The Finance Department is the city department responsible for directing all real property reassessments at 100% of market value every two years. City Council believes that the use of an independent contractor is the most effective and efficient way to ensure that reassessments are conducted thoroughly and uniformly. The City’s Real Estate Administrator will manage and oversee the work of the independent contractor who shall be certified with the Virginia Department of Taxation to perform reassessments.

Notices of Reassessment are mailed by January 1st of each reassessment year. City Council sets the tax rate in April as part of the City budget process and real estate tax bills are mailed in early May.

Market Value

Market value is defined as the amount a typical, well-informed purchaser would be willing to pay for a property. The seller and buyer must be unrelated, the seller must be willing, but not under pressure to sell, and the buyer must be willing, but not under any obligation to buy. The property must be on the market for a reasonable length of time, the payment must be in cash or its equivalent, and the financing must be typical for that type of property. If all of these conditions are present, a market value, arm’s-length sale exists.

Reassessment Appeal Process

Any property owner may make inquiries regarding biennial reassessment to the Real Estate Administrator or appeal to the Board of Equalization if the reassessment (a) does not reflect current market value, (b) is not uniform with similar properties, or (c) is based on inaccurate property details.  As required, the City’s reassessment is an estimate of fair market value as of January 1 of each odd-numbered year, based on sales for the previous calendar year.  In order to appeal, please return a completed Real Estate Appeal of Assessment form to the Finance Department, Real Estate Administrator. 

Appeal options:

  1. Contact the Real Estate Administrator: This is the recommended first step with basic questions or to schedule an in-house review. However, this is not a legal requirement prior to filing an appeal of assessment.
  2. Board of Equalization (BOE): The BOE is an independent panel of citizens, appointed by the Circuit Court of the City of Winchester to hear complaints of inequalities wherein the property owners allege a lack of uniformity in assessment, errors in acreage or complaints that real property is assessed at more than its fair market value. The BOE will schedule appeals up until February 15 of the year the new values go into effect. The BOE will address only those appeals with a properly completed appeals form filed by the stated deadline. The BOE will provide the property owner with its decision by mail within thirty (30) days.
  3. Circuit Court: At any time, a property owner may appeal a real estate assessment directly to the Circuit Court, in accordance with limits set by Virginia State Code. Upon appeal to the Circuit Court, the burden of proof is solely with the property owner. You will be required to provide evidence to the Court that substantiates your contention that the assessed value of your property is inequitable based on fair market value, the assessed value of comparable properties, or factual discrepancies with the City’s records. You will also be required to pay all associated court costs.  Once the Circuit Court issues its decision, all parties are obligated to adhere to its findings and the appeal process ends.

Real Estate Tax Relief and Exemptions

The City of Winchester has several programs for real estate tax relief and exemption.  Please contact the office of the Commissioner of the Revenue for more information or the determine eligibility and filing requirements for each program.  Some of these forms are also available on the City’s website:

  1. Local real estate tax exemption or deferral for the elderly and disabled
  2. Local real estate tax exemption for qualifying disabled veterans
  3. Exemptions for substantially rehabilitated residential, commercial and industrial property
  4. Exemptions for abated derelict property conditions
  5. Property exempt from taxation by designation and classification
  6. Exemptions for Enterprise Zone property