Enrollment period open for Southampton County Real Estate Tax Relief Program

Published 8:46 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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The enrollment period is now open for the Southampton County Real Estate Tax Relief Program, according to county Commissioner of the Revenue Amy B. Carr.

She noted that in order to qualify for this program, county residents must be 65 or older or permanently and totally disabled; their gross income must be less than $40,300.99; and their net financial worth — excluding their residence — cannot exceed $168,501.00. People must own and live in the residence for which they are requesting relief. 

Applications can be obtained from the Southampton County Commissioner of Revenue office, which is located at 26022 Administration Center Drive in Courtland.

Carr stated that if someone is eligible for this program and needs additional information, she asks them to call 757-653-3030, extension 3309.  

The deadline to apply for the program is March 1.

Carr said the county usually highlights the enrollment period for this tax relief in The Tidewater News, but it had not done so for “the two years that we were closed for COVID.”

“We do just want to make (the program) available, make sure that people know about it so that they can take advantage of it, because we want to help as many people as we can,” she said.

She noted that the county also advertises the program when tax bills go out.

“We put an insert in with the bills saying that it will be available from January to March 1,” she said.

The program was in effect for many years as a tax deferral.

“In 2008, it was changed to tax relief, meaning that the relieved taxes did not have to be paid back upon transfer of property or death as they did when it was a deferral,” she said. “We had less than five people in the program at that time. We currently have about 150 people that take advantage of the relief program.”

She said the amount of relief varies from 25% to 100%, depending upon the income of the applicant, with a cap of a $1,000 exemption.

In September, county residents experienced a reduction in the personal property tax relief rate in light of increasing market values. Carr agreed that while there are challenges with personal property taxes, the county’s Real Estate Tax Relief Program could at least help ease the burden in another area.