Tax Exemption - Surviving Spouse of Armed Forces Member Killed in Action

On March 23, 2015, legislation was approved by the Virginia General Assembly providing for an exemption of real estate taxes for the surviving spouse of a member of the United States Armed Forces who was killed in action as determined by the United States Department of Defense. The legislation for the tax exemption became effective July 1, 2015 for surviving spouses of service members killed in action that have not remarried and own a single family residence which they occupy as their principal place of residence.

The beginning date of an exemption for a qualified applicant is determined from the date the member of the armed forces was killed in action and the date the surviving spouse acquired his/her principal residence. The beginning date of the exemption shall not be before July 1, 2015.

  • If the member of the armed forces was killed before July 1, 2015 and the surviving spouse owns a qualified residence and continues to occupy the residence, the tax exemption shall begin July 1, 2015.
  • If the member of the armed forces was killed in action on or after July 1, 2015 and the surviving spouse owns and occupies a qualified residence as of the date of death, the exemption shall begin as early as the date the member of the armed forces was killed in action.
  • If the surviving spouse acquires and occupies a qualified residence after the member of the armed forces was killed in action and after July 1, 2015, the exemption shall begin on the date of acquisition.
Dwellings (the home excluding the land) with assessed values that are not in excess of the City's average assessed value as of the most recently ended tax year for dwellings situated on property and zoned as single family residential, shall qualify for the exemption of real estate taxes. If the value of a dwelling exceeds the City's average assessed value, only that portion of the dwelling's value in excess of the City's average value shall be taxable and the portion of the dwelling's value that is not in excess of the City's average shall qualify. The exemption shall apply to the assessed value of the dwelling not in excess of the City's average assessed value and up to three acres upon which the dwelling is situated.

This exemption applies to real property (i) held by a qualified surviving spouse as a tenant for life, (ii) held in a revocable trust over which the surviving spouse holds the power of revocation, or (iii) held in an irrevocable trust under which the surviving spouse possesses a life estate. In the event the real property is jointly owned with another person who is ineligible, then the exemption shall be prorated.

A surviving spouse of a member of the United States Armed Forces killed in action shall qualify for the exemption so long as he/she has not remarried and continues to occupy the property as his/her principal place of residence. Before applying for the exemption, a surviving spouse must obtain a Report of Casualty (DD1300 Form) from the United States Department of Defense which verifies the deceased spouse was an active member of the United States Armed Forces and was killed in action (as determined by the U.S. Department of Defense).

Generally, applying for this exemption is a one-time process unless there is a change in the surviving spouse's principal place of residence. Additional documentation and/or information may be required to reaffirm an applicant's eligibility for continual exemption. An applicant must report any change in residency, ownership of the residence, marital status, and/or other information that relates to this exemption.

To apply for this exemption, review the eligibility requirements below, download and complete the application then apply in person to the Commissioner of the Revenue's Office.