TITLE 9

Counties

County Taxes

CHAPTER 81. LIMITATIONS UPON TAXING POWER

Subchapter I. General Provisions


(a) All real property situated in this State shall be liable to taxation and assessment for public purposes by the county in which the property is located, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

(b) Real property all of which shall be taxed at the same rate, shall consist of the following:

(1) Land;

(2) Buildings;

(3) Improvements; and

(4) Special betterments.

(c) Improvements shall mean annexations to land other than buildings which increase the market value of the land when used for general purposes permitted by law, or annexations to buildings which increase the market value of the buildings when used for general purposes permitted by law.

(d) The taxation and assessment of lands, buildings and improvements shall exclude the value of any annexation and other addition to lands other than buildings and the value of any annexation and other addition to buildings or improvements, to the extent its use is limited primarily to a particular trade, business, occupation, profession, industry or similarly restricted activity. Such annexation or other addition may be taxed and assessed as a special betterment, if included in the enumeration in subsection (e) of this section.

(e) Special betterments, whether or not also considered to be improvements, shall include and be limited to the following:

(1) Bridges, wharves or piers;

(2) Mains, pipes and tanks, used for conducting steam, heat, water, oil or gas, not used in a manufacturing, assembling, processing or refining operation;

(3) Railroad sidings, roads, walkways and parking areas;

(4) Fences and yard lighting;

(5) Storage tanks;

(6) Sewer systems including piping, separators, septic tanks and waste treatment systems; water systems, including cooling and drinking water lines, both above and below ground;

(7) Poles, towers, wires and cable, for distribution of electrical energy either above or below ground, not used in a manufacturing, assembling, processing or refining operation;

(8) Poles, wires, cable and conduit for distribution of telephone communication services either above or below ground; provided, however, that in no event shall the amount of tax imposed on communications providers that were paying tax on such property as of June 30, 2015, exceed the amount actually paid by such provider to each political subdivision in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015;

(9) Fire protection systems, including all facilities which are components of the fire protection systems;

(10) Racetracks, stadiums and airports;

(11) Bank vaults and bank teller windows; and

(12) Outdoor motion picture theaters.

(f) The taxation and assessment of lands, buildings and improvements shall exclude the value of any lands, buildings, and improvements upon which are situated, or which are in active use as, compost bins, manure sheds, or other nutrient storage, disposal, or management structures or facilities pursuant to a nutrient management plan required pursuant to Chapter 22 of Title 3. In order to receive an exemption pursuant to this subsection, the taxpayer must notify the county of the existence of the qualifying land, buildings, or improvements and request the exemption.

Code 1852, §§ 184-189, 1372-1381; 14 Del. Laws, c. 111; 14 Del. Laws, c. 357; 15 Del. Laws, c. 16; 15 Del. Laws, c. 424; 16 Del. Laws, c. 4; 16 Del. Laws, c. 125; 16 Del. Laws, c. 308, § 1; 16 Del. Laws, c. 552; 17 Del. Laws, c. 204, § 3; 17 Del. Laws, c. 207, § 101; 17 Del. Laws, c. 207, Schedule A; 17 Del. Laws, c. 425, § 1; 17 Del. Laws, c. 495, § 9; 17 Del. Laws, c. 599, § 1; 18 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 1; 18 Del. Laws, c. 241; 18 Del. Laws, c. 465, § 1; 18 Del. Laws, c. 546, § 1; 19 Del. Laws, c. 124; 19 Del. Laws, c. 734, § 3; 21 Del. Laws, c. 1; 21 Del. Laws, c. 239, § 2; 22 Del. Laws, c. 139; 22 Del. Laws, c. 366; 22 Del. Laws, c. 367; 22 Del. Laws, c. 368; 22 Del. Laws, c. 369; 22 Del. Laws, c. 411; 23 Del. Laws, c. 46; 23 Del. Laws, c. 47; 23 Del. Laws, c. 92, §§ 1, 14; 25 Del. Laws, c. 36; 25 Del. Laws, c. 37; 25 Del. Laws, c. 38; 25 Del. Laws, c. 39; 25 Del. Laws, c. 40; 26 Del. Laws, c. 37; 27 Del. Laws, c. 56; 27 Del. Laws, c. 101; Code 1915, § 1098; Code 1935, § 1258; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8101; 60 Del. Laws, c. 194, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 417, § 1; 80 Del. Laws, c. 140, § 1.;

(a) Notwithstanding any statute to the contrary, the county government of each county shall have the power by ordinance to impose and collect a tax, to be paid by the transferor or transferee as determined by the county, upon the transfer of real property within the unincorporated areas of the county; provided however, that any realty transfer tax which is imposed by any county government shall not be greater than 1 1/2 percent of the value of the real property as represented by the document transferring the property; and further provided, that the county government shall by ordinance exempt from such taxation first time home buyers. Any revenues from a tax upon the transfer of real property derived from an ordinance hereinafter adopted by the government of Kent County pursuant to the provisions of this section shall first be dedicated for and applied to Kent County's cost component of the Statewide Paramedic Funding Program as is more particularly set forth in § 9814 of Title 16.

(b) The provisions of §§ 5401 and 5403 of Title 30 shall apply with respect to any realty transfer tax imposed by a county government pursuant to the authority granted in this section.

(c) Any funds realized by a county pursuant to this section shall be segregated from the county's general fund and the funds, and all interest thereon, shall be expended solely for the capital and operating costs of public safety services, economic development programs, public works services, capital projects and improvements, infrastructure projects and improvements, and debt reduction.

67 Del. Laws, c. 415, § 3; 71 Del. Laws, c. 349, §§ 13, 14.;

No county or other political subdivision of the State shall levy, assess or collect any tax upon personal property, whether tangible or intangible.

42 Del. Laws, c. 109, § 1; 42 Del. Laws, c. 110, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8102; 60 Del. Laws, c. 194, § 2; 67 Del. Laws, c. 415, § 3.;

Notwithstanding any statute to the contrary, the Sussex County government shall have the power by ordinance to impose and collect a tax, to be paid by the applicant, upon the application for a permit for the placement of a mobile home within the unincorporated areas of the county; provided, however, that any tax upon the placement of a mobile home shall not be greater than 1 percent of the value of the mobile home as represented by the permit application; and further provided, that nothing herein shall limit or otherwise affect the power of the county to impose and collect by ordinance fees for placement permits for mobile homes; and further provided, that the county government shall by ordinance exempt from taxation mobile homes owned by those organizations contained in §§ 8105 and 8106 of this title; and further provided, that the county government shall by ordinance exempt from taxation mobile homes which are not subject to taxation pursuant to § 8363 of this title. The funds realized by the county pursuant to this tax shall be segregated from the county's general fund and the funds, and all interest thereon, shall be expended solely for the benefit of the county's independent libraries. The government of Sussex County may adopt by ordinance or ordinances to provide for the effective administration and regulation of any taxes adopted pursuant to the authority conferred by this section.

70 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 1.;

Property belonging to this State, or the United States, or any county of this State, or owned by any municipality of this State and held for public use, or any church or religious society, and not held by way of investment, or any college or school and used for educational or school purposes, except as otherwise provided, shall not be liable to taxation and assessment for public purposes by any county or other political subdivision of this State. Nothing in this section shall be construed to apply to ditch taxes, sewer taxes and/or utility fees. Corporations created for charitable purposes and not held by way of investment that are in existence on July 14, 1988, together with existing and future charitable affiliates of such corporations that are also not held by way of investment, shall not be liable to taxation and assessment for public purposes by any county, municipality or other political subdivision of this State.

Code 1915, § 1098; Code 1935, § 1258; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8103; 51 Del. Laws, c. 323; 64 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 385, §§ 1, 2; 67 Del. Laws, c. 415, § 3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 1.;

(a) No real property owned and used by the organizations listed below or for the purposes stated below, except that which is held by way of investment, shall be liable to taxation and assessment for public purposes by any county or other political subdivision of this State.

Delaware Historical Society.

New Castle Historical Society.

All incorporated relief associations for volunteer firefighters (limit, $25,000 per association).

Nonsectarian Young Women's Christian Associations.

Nonsectarian Young Men's Christian Associations.

Salvation Army.

Burial lots and cemeteries.

Children's Home, Inc.

Layton Home for Aged Colored Persons, Incorporated.

Sunday Breakfast Mission.

The Family Society.

Woods Haven School for Girls.

Ferris Industrial School.

Florence Crittenton Home.

All incorporated homes of refuge for reformed women (limit, $25,000 per home).

Charitable homes for incurables (limit, $15,000 per home).

Day nurseries or homes for babies owned by any corporation or association maintained by charity (limit, $50,000 per nursery or home).

Charitable incorporated homes or associations for deaconesses (limit, $10,000 per home).

Delaware Commission for the Blind.

Charitable incorporated settlement houses.

Soldiers' rest rooms.

Incorporated college fraternities (limit, $10,000 per fraternity).

Wilmington Institute Free Library.

Public parks in and near Wilmington.

American Legion Posts.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts.

Delaware Anti-Tuberculosis Society.

Delmar Lions Club.

Polish Army Veterans of Delaware, Post 48, Inc.

Lions Club of Smyrna.

Pencader 4-H Club Center, Inc.

Wilmington Drama League, Inc.

Council of Churches of Wilmington and New Castle County, Inc.

New Temple Corporation.

Edgemoor Terrace Civic Association, Incorporated.

Hyde Park Civic Association, Inc.

Brookland Terrace Civic Club.

Manor Community Center, Inc.

Collins Park Community and Civic Association, Inc.

Veteran Employees Association, Delaware Division, Pennsylvania Railroad.

Pencader Grange # 60 P. of H., Inc.

Taylor's Bridge Community Center, Incorporated.

Blackbird Community Center, Inc.

Oakhill Community Center, Inc.

The Brookside Community, Inc.

Women's Civic Club of Richardson Park.

Hillside Civic Association.

The Klair Estates Civic Association, Inc.

The Castle Hills Civic Association.

Westview Maintenance Corporation.

Suburban Century Club.

Sussex Chapter of Delaware Humane Association.

Imperial Drive Civic Association.

Fruitland Grange, No. 16, Camden, Delaware.

Windy Hill Civic Association.

Perth Community and Civic Association, Inc.

Women's Club of Claymont.

Swanwyck Estates Civic Association.

The Eastern Shore Fox Hunters' Association.

Delaware Society for Crippled Children and Adults, Inc.

Yorklyn Parent-Teacher Association, Inc.

Wycliffe Civic Association, Inc.

Blue Rock Community Club.

Civic Association of Belvedere and Vicinity.

Lamborn Library Association.

Lutheran Senior Services, Inc.

University Drama Group, Inc.

Central Grange # 61.

Penn Acres Swim Club, Inc.

Viola-Canterbury-Felton Ruritan Club.

Lewes Senior Citizens Center, Incorporated.

Cannon Grange No. 65 P. of H.

Broadcreek Grange No. 59 P. of H.

Midland Grange No. 27 P. of H.

B'nai B'rith Lodge 470.

Jefferson Farms Swim Club, Inc.

Disabled American Veterans, Inc.

House of Pride, Inc.

Ministry of Caring, Inc.

Sacred Heart Housing, Inc.

The Greater Dover Foundation.

Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County.

Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity.

Sussex County Habitat for Humanity.

Friends of the Capitol Theater, Inc.

Serenity Place, Inc.

Any land bank formed under Chapter 47 of Title 31.

(b) No real property which has been required by New Castle County to be set aside for public parkland or public open space during the zoning or subdivision process shall be liable to taxation and assessment for public purposes by the county or other political subdivision of the State or county. Any outstanding penalty or interest incurred as a result of unpaid taxes on said property shall be forgiven.

(c)(1) All community-owned and community-maintained swimming pools within New Castle County shall not be liable for taxation and assessment for public purposes by any county or other political subdivision of this State. "Community-owned'' and "community-maintained'' shall consist of any civic organizations as defined in § 8110 of this title which is the owner of parkland as defined in § 8110 of this title.

(2) Any amounts previously taxed and assessed against a community-owned and community-maintained swimming pool, heretofore not collected by the county or other political subdivision of this State, are hereby declared null and void.

(d) All community-owned and community maintained swimming pools within Kent County shall not be liable for taxation and assessment for public purposes by any county or other political subdivision of this State. "Community-owned'' and "community-maintained'' shall consist of any civic organization as defined in § 8110 of this title which is the owner of parkland as defined in § 8110 of this title.

Code 1852, §§ 184-189, 1372-1381; 11 Del. Laws, c. 376, § 5; 14 Del. Laws, c. 111; 14 Del. Laws, c. 357; 15 Del. Laws, c. 16; 15 Del. Laws, c. 424; 16 Del. Laws, c. 4; 16 Del. Laws, c. 125; 16 Del. Laws, c. 308, § 1; 16 Del. Laws, c. 552; 17 Del. Laws, c. 204, § 3; 17 Del. Laws, c. 207, §§ 80, 101; 17 Del. Laws, c. 207, Schedule A; 17 Del. Laws, c. 425, § 1; 17 Del. Laws, c. 495, § 9; 17 Del. Laws, c. 599, § 1; 18 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 1; 18 Del. Laws, c. 241; 18 Del. Laws, c. 465, § 1; 18 Del. Laws, c. 546, § 1; 19 Del. Laws, c. 124; 19 Del. Laws, c. 734, § 3; 21 Del. Laws, c. 1; 21 Del. Laws, c. 239, § 2; 22 Del. Laws, c. 139; 22 Del. Laws, c. 366; 22 Del. Laws, c. 367; 22 Del. Laws, c. 368; 22 Del. Laws, c. 369; 22 Del. Laws, c. 411; 23 Del. Laws, c. 46; 23 Del. Laws, c. 47; 23 Del. Laws, c. 92, §§ 1, 14; 23 Del. Laws, c. 159; 25 Del. Laws, c. 36; 25 Del. Laws, c. 37; 25 Del. Laws, c. 38; 25 Del. Laws, c. 39; 25 Del. Laws, c. 40; 26 Del. Laws, c. 37; 27 Del. Laws, c. 56; 27 Del. Laws, c. 101; Code 1915, §§ 1098, 1098A, 2257, 2271; 28 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 1; 29 Del. Laws, c. 71, § 1; 30 Del. Laws, c. 76, § 1; 30 Del. Laws, c. 152, § 1; 32 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 1; 38 Del. Laws, c. 72; 38 Del. Laws, c. 73; Code 1935, §§ 1258, 2582, 2596; 41 Del. Laws, c. 119, § 1; 43 Del. Laws, c. 113, § 1; 43 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 44 Del. Laws, c. 89, § 1; 47 Del. Laws, c. 80, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8105; 49 Del. Laws, c. 61; 50 Del. Laws, c. 448, §§ 1, 2; 51 Del. Laws, c. 17; 51 Del. Laws, c. 109; 51 Del. Laws, c. 131; 51 Del. Laws, c. 317; 52 Del. Laws, c. 30; 52 Del. Laws, c. 31; 52 Del. Laws, c. 61; 52 Del. Laws, c. 66; 52 Del. Laws, c. 73; 52 Del. Laws, c. 119; 52 Del. Laws, c. 123; 52 Del. Laws, c. 228; 52 Del. Laws, c. 243; 52 Del. Laws, c. 257; 52 Del. Laws, c. 258; 53 Del. Laws, c. 73; 53 Del. Laws, c. 163; 53 Del. Laws, c. 190; 53 Del. Laws, c. 225; 53 Del. Laws, c. 226; 53 Del. Laws, c. 257; 54 Del. Laws, c. 25; 54 Del. Laws, c. 159; 55 Del. Laws, c. 148; 55 Del. Laws, c. 249; 55 Del. Laws, c. 251; 56 Del. Laws, c. 238; 57 Del. Laws, c. 27; 57 Del. Laws, c. 61; 57 Del. Laws, c. 119; 57 Del. Laws, c. 355; 57 Del. Laws, c. 406; 57 Del. Laws, c. 562; 57 Del. Laws, c. 563; 57 Del. Laws, c. 697; 57 Del. Laws, c. 715; 58 Del. Laws, c. 68; 64 Del. Laws, c. 432, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 248, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 415, § 3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 125, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 128, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 243, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 123, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 5, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 333, § 1; 80 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 2.;

(a) In New Castle County, no exemption from taxation for property owned by a religious, educational, or charitable agency or for a specific organization listed in this subchapter shall be allowed except on written application therefor, on a form prescribed and provided by the New Castle County Land Use Department.

(b) The owner shall file an application for exemption under this subchapter with the Assessment Division of New Castle County by March 1 of the fiscal year immediately preceding the fiscal year for which the exemption is sought.

(c) If an owner acquires property after March 1, the owner shall apply for exemption within 30 days of its acquisition of the property.

(d) No application shall be required of governmental entities entitled to exemption under this subchapter.

78 Del. Laws, c. 144, § 1.;

(a) For a period of 15 years from the beginning of operation, motion picture studios and plants which shall be established in this State on or after July 1, 1937, including all lands, buildings and chattels, whether owned by a person, firm or corporation, utilized in connection therewith, and all raw materials going into the finished products of such studios and plants, as well as the finished products or films, shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxation.

(b) The exemption authorized in this section shall not apply to real estate owned by such motion picture studios and plants except the real estate occupied as the location required to house such motion picture studios and plants and other buildings incidental to the operation of such studios and plants together with such lands as may be required for housing officers and employees, and for warehouses, laboratories, cutting rooms, projection rooms, storage, trackage, shipping facilities, sets and locations.

Code 1935, § 1258; 41 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8106; 67 Del. Laws, c. 415, § 3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 1.;

(a) All the real estate of railroad corporations within this State, excepting such real estate of such corporations as shall be included within the limits of the rights-of-way or roadbeds of their respective lines of railroads, shall be subject to taxation and assessment for county and municipal purposes in the same manner as other like property of individuals is subject thereto for like purposes, any provisions of any existing law or laws to the contrary notwithstanding.

(b) Any building erected in whole or in part within the limits of any such right-of-way or roadbed shall not, by reason of the exception made in this section, be exempted from assessment and taxation, although the land, upon which such building shall be wholly or in part located, is by this section expressly exempted therefrom.

Code 1852, §§ 184-189, 1372-1381; 14 Del. Laws, c. 111; 14 Del. Laws, c. 357; 15 Del. Laws, c. 16; 15 Del. Laws, c. 424; 16 Del. Laws, c. 4; 16 Del. Laws, c. 125; 16 Del. Laws, c. 308, § 1; 16 Del. Laws, c. 552; 17 Del. Laws, c. 204, § 3; 17 Del. Laws, c. 207, § 101; 17 Del. Laws, c. 207, Schedule A; 17 Del. Laws, c. 425, § 1; 17 Del. Laws, c. 495, § 9; 17 Del. Laws, c. 599, § 1; 18 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 1; 18 Del. Laws, c. 241; 18 Del. Laws, c. 465, § 1; 18 Del. Laws, c. 546, § 1; 19 Del. Laws, c. 124; 19 Del. Laws, c. 734, § 3; 21 Del. Laws, c. 1; 21 Del. Laws, c. 239, § 2; 22 Del. Laws, c. 139; 22 Del. Laws, c. 366; 22 Del. Laws, c. 367; 22 Del. Laws, c. 368; 22 Del. Laws, c. 369; 22 Del. Laws, c. 411; 23 Del. Laws, c. 46; 23 Del. Laws, c. 47; 23 Del. Laws, c. 92, §§ 1, 14; 25 Del. Laws, c. 36; 25 Del. Laws, c. 37; 25 Del. Laws, c. 38; 25 Del. Laws, c. 39; 25 Del. Laws, c. 40; 26 Del. Laws, c. 37; 27 Del. Laws, c. 56; 27 Del. Laws, c. 101; Code 1915, § 1098; Code 1935, § 1258; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8108; 70 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 1.;

Any county, municipality or other political subdivision of this State, by resolution or ordinance duly passed and approved, may exempt from taxation and assessment for public purposes for a period up to 20 years, any structure above or under the ground which may hereafter be constructed and located within the county, municipality or other political subdivisions of this State and used by the public for the parking of automobiles off the street or highway. The exemption shall be limited to that portion of the structure exclusively used for or devoted to the parking of automobiles and vehicles of that nature.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8109; 57 Del. Laws, c. 744; 65 Del. Laws, c. 132, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 1.;

(a) As used in this section:

(1) The term "civic organization'' shall be defined as any nonprofit organization that is the owner of parkland, as defined herein, provided that:

a. The organization is not organized for profit or is qualified as an exempt organization under § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 [26 U.S.C. § 501(c)], as amended;

b. No part of the net earnings of the organization inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual; and

c. Upon liquidation or dissolution of the organization, or abandonment by the organization, none of the assets of the organization nor benefits from its property will inure to the benefit of any person or organization except a community chest, fund, foundation, government, governmental agency, civic organization, maintenance corporation or other nonprofit organization.

(2) The term "parkland'' shall be defined as real property, including improvements erected thereon and fixtures attached thereto, used primarily for recreational purposes and dedicated as parkland, public open space, private open space or other public use on a recorded subdivision plan, or through valid and binding restrictive covenants, provided that:

a. The property is not used by the civic organization or by any other person so as to benefit any officer, trustee, director, shareholder, member, employee, contributor or bondholder of the organization or operator or any other person through the distribution of profits or the payment of excessive compensation;

b. The property is used for recreational purposes; and

c. The use of the property is open, without charge, to the public, or to members of the civic organization, or to the residents of the neighborhood, or to residents of the community or to residents of the subdivision in which the property is located, regardless of sex, race, creed, color or national origin.

(b) No parkland owned by a civic organization shall be liable to taxation and assessment for public purposes by any county or other political subdivision of the State or county.

(c) Any taxes heretofore levied by any county or other political subdivision of the State or county on any such parkland owned, at the time of said levy, by a civic organization are voidable and the counties and political subdivisions of the State shall remove said taxes from their records upon receipt of an application filed by the organization establishing its entitlement under this section.

(d) This section shall not affect any taxes levied on any such property at any time prior to its acquisition by the civic organization, and such taxes, and any penalty that may accrue thereon, shall remain a lien against the property in accordance with the provisions of this title.

66 Del. Laws, c. 420, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 1.;

(a) When real property in Kent County that is not exempt from taxes is transferred to an entity which is eligible for tax exemption pursuant to § 8105 or § 8106 of this title, tax is due and owing for the property for the tax year in which the transfer takes place, but only for the portion of the year, on a prorated basis, during which the property was owned by the nonexempt transferor. Proration is permitted only if the property is approved for exemption by the Kent County exemption application process. Proration pursuant to this section is permitted, notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 8313 and 8601 of this title.

(b) A proration under subsection (a) of this section is determined by dividing the total amount of property tax for the tax year in question by 365 and by multiplying the resulting number by the number of days in the tax year that the nonexempt transferor owned the property.

(c) If real property is transferred to an exempt transferee by a nonexempt transferor and the nonexempt transferor paid the taxes due for the property for the tax year of the transfer prior to the transfer, the nonexempt transferor may apply for a refund based on a proration pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section of the taxes paid which are designated as county taxes, but not of the taxes paid which are designated as school taxes. If the refund application is approved, the county shall refund the proper amount to the nonexempt transferor.

75 Del. Laws, c. 21, § 1.;