TITLE 9

Counties

County Taxes

CHAPTER 83. VALUATION AND ASSESSMENT OF PROPERTY

Subchapter I. General Provisions


(a) The procedure in Kent County shall be as provided in Chapter 41 of this title.

(b) The procedure in New Castle County shall be as provided in Chapter 13 of this title.

(c) The procedure in Sussex County shall be as provided in Chapter 70 of this title.

Code 1852, §§ 186, 188; 13 Del. Laws, c. 394; 16 Del. Laws, c. 322; 19 Del. Laws, c. 26, § 27; 19 Del. Laws, c. 562, § 11; 19 Del. Laws, c. 566, § 1; 20 Del. Laws, c. 389, § 1; 21 Del. Laws, c. 29, §§ 1, 2; 23 Del. Laws, c. 49, § 4; Code 1915, §§ 1107-1109A; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, §§ 9, 10; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, §§ 9-11; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, §§ 9, 10; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, §§ 1-3; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 16; 38 Del. Laws, c. 74, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 1263, 1264, 1266, 1301, 1302, 1319, 1320; 44 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8301; 49 Del. Laws, c. 382; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, §§ 22A, 22B; 56 Del. Laws, c. 103, § 10; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, §§ 21A, 21B; 78 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 4.;

(a) Each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall revise all valuations and assessments of assessable property in their counties, and lower or increase the assessments and valuations.

(b) Each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use may correct errors in assessment lists at any time.

(c) Revisions and corrections shall be subject to the notice requirements of this chapter when they result in an increased valuation.

24 Del. Laws, c. 57, §§ 1-6; 25 Del. Laws, c. 35; Code 1915, §§ 1109, 1109A, 1113, 1123, 1123A; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, §§ 10, 16; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 10; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, §§ 3, 6; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, §§ 14, 16; 36 Del. Laws, c. 121, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 1266, 1270, 1299, 1301, 1320, 1325; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8302; 60 Del. Laws, c. 468, § 5; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 91.;

(a) Each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall make a written statement of their assessments, showing the names of the owners or last owners or reputed owners, if known, arranged alphabetically, and at least 3 consecutive letters of the last names thereof, the value of the property and the amount of each owner's assessment. Each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall distinguish between improved land and unimproved land, and in Sussex County shall state whether such unimproved land is timberland, swamp or marsh, and the number of acres of each. The name on such statement will be regarded as an aid to identify such property, but a mistake in the name of the owner, last known owner or reputed owner, or the absence of name, shall not affect the validity of the assessment of any tax based thereon.

(b) In the case of Kent County, the statements required by this section shall be according to hundreds.

Code 1852, § 163; 13 Del. Laws, c. 3, § 1; 17 Del. Laws, c. 22, § 1; Code 1915, §§ 1130-1130B; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 21; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 22; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 21; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 8; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 10; 32 Del. Laws, c. 71, § 2; 33 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 1; 33 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 2; Code 1935, §§ 1277, 1296, 1331; 46 Del. Laws, c. 132, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8304; 51 Del. Laws, c. 350; 55 Del. Laws, c. 11; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 22C; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 21C; 60 Del. Laws, c. 468, § 6; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 91.;

(a) The respective county governing body may summon and compel the attendance of witnesses, examine such witnesses, and compel the production of such books and papers as are necessary, with respect to any assessable property. Each member of the respective county governing body may administer oaths or affirmations.

(b) Whoever fails, refuses or neglects to answer questions submitted by the respective county governing body or any member thereof, with respect to assessable property, or fails, neglects, or refuses to produce when required, such books and papers as are necessary with respect to assessable property, shall be fined not more than $100. Licensed real estate agents shall be privileged to refuse to answer any questions concerning the property of another of which such agent shall have the care, management or control, for sale or for rent, other than questions of ownership and location of such property.

Code 1915, §§ 1124A, 1124B; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 17; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 18; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 17; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 11; Code 1935, §§ 1271, 1297, 1326; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8305; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Repealed by 65 Del. Laws, c. 359, § 1, effective June 30, 1986.;

(a) All property subject to assessment shall be assessed at its true value in money.

(b) If any board of assessment, or any member thereof, knowingly and wilfully values or assesses any property upon any other standard than its true value in money, each of the members of the board participating therein shall be fined not more than $100.

Code 1852, § 170; Code 1915, §§ 1133-1133B; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 23; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 25; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 23; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 8; 32 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 3; Code 1935, §§ 1280, 1294, 1333; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8307.;

(a) It shall be lawful for the board of assessment to enter into an agreement with the proper authorities of any city, town or municipality to inspect and copy any assessment made for local purposes. If in the opinion of a majority of the Board such local assessment assesses all property at its true value in money, then the board may adopt such local assessment as the assessment for county purposes.

(b) In making the capitation assessments, the boards are authorized to examine the assessment lists of towns, cities and school districts, and the books of registered voters of the preceding election, in order that no person may be omitted from the assessment lists.

Code 1915, §§ 1125A, 1133B; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 18; 32 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 3; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 18; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 23; 32 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 3; 33 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 2; Code 1935, §§ 1280, 1308, 1319, 1327; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8308.;

Where land has been taken on ground rent, and afterwards deserted, so that the lessor cannot obtain the rent, the value of houses and lots shall be estimated without reference to the rent reserved.

Code 1852, § 162-A; Code 1915, § 1129; Code 1935, §§ 1276, 1311, 1330; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8309.;

If the board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use cannot discover the owner of any property, it shall nevertheless value the same, and state that the owner is unknown.

Code 1852, § 164; Code 1915, §§ 1131, 1131B; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 23; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 22; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 9; Code 1935, §§ 1278, 1295, 1332; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8310; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 22G; 60 Del. Laws, c. 468, § 7; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 91.;

(a) Each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall complete the assessment each year by the date herein specified and, except as provided otherwise in this section, shall make such assessment public in the manner specified below:

(1) New Castle County, by March 1; assessments open for inspection in the office of the Board;

(2) Kent County, by April 1; assessment for each hundred to remain open thereafter for inspection at the office of the Board;

(3) Sussex County, by February 15; assessments open for inspection in the office of the Board.

(b) In Sussex County in the year of an annual assessment it shall not be necessary for the county governing body to make and post a copy of the assessment, except as to persons or property in respect of which a change has been made in the assessment since the previous year.

12 Del. Laws, c. 539, § 2; 16 Del. Laws, c. 320, § 2; 20 Del. Laws, c. 390; 23 Del. Laws, c. 49, § 2; Code 1915, §§ 1112-1112B; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 12; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 13; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 12; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 4; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 19; 32 Del. Laws, c. 71, § 1; 33 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 2; Code 1935, §§ 1267, 1304, 1322; 44 Del. Laws, c. 90, § 1; 44 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 2; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8311; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 22G; 56 Del. Laws, c. 132; 57 Del. Laws, c. 39; 57 Del. Laws, c. 532; 60 Del. Laws, c. 468, § 8; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 91; 78 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 5.;

(a) The Board of Assessment for New Castle County or its representatives shall sit in its office, or some other public and convenient place in New Castle County, during each secular day from March 15 to April 30 of each year, to hear appeals and make additions, alterations or corrections to the assessment. Any person desiring to take an appeal shall prior to March 15 file written notice thereof with the Board on such forms as the Board may prescribe and make available upon request, setting forth the assessment or assessments appealed from, the name and address to which the Board shall mail notice of the time and place of hearing, and such other information as the Board may require. The Board shall notify each person who has filed an appeal of the time and place of hearing of said appeal by depositing such notice in the mail addressed to the person and address designated in the notice of appeal not later than the 5th day preceding the day designated in the notice of such hearing. Failure of the appealing party to appear at the time and place fixed by the Board shall constitute the abandonment of the appeal.

(b) The Board of Assessment Review for Kent County or its representatives shall sit in its offices during each secular day from April 1 through April 15, of each year to hear appeals and make additions, alterations or corrections to the assessment.

(c) The Board of Assessment for Sussex County or its representatives shall sit in its offices during each secular day from February 15 through March 1 of each year to hear appeals and make additions, alterations or corrections to the assessment.

24 Del. Laws, c. 57; Code 1915, §§ 1112A, 1112B, 1113; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 12; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 13; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 12; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 4; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 19; 33 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 1267, 1304, 1322; 44 Del. Laws, c. 90, § 1; 44 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 2; 46 Del. Laws, c. 303, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8312; 55 Del. Laws, c. 5, § 1; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 22C; 57 Del. Laws, c. 531; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 21E; 59 Del. Laws, c. 246, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 6.;

(a) Each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall publish notices of the places where the assessments may be inspected together with a notice of the time and place of the sittings to hear appeals and make additions or corrections in regard to the assessments. The notices published by each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall also state the time and place for filing written notices of appeal with each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use, as provided in § 8311(a) of this title. Such notice shall appear at least once a week for 2 weeks in at least 2 newspapers in the case of Kent and Sussex Counties and, in the case of New Castle County, in at least 2 newspapers, 1 of which is the newspaper with the highest general circulation published in New Castle County. Each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use may use such other means as will best bring such notice to the attention of the parties or taxables interested.

(b) Each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall sit and hear all appeals properly filed and shall permit the introduction of all relevant evidence, including the testimony of witnesses, presented by the appellant. Each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall make and keep a record of all evidence presented at such appeal proceedings. Each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall notify the appellant in writing, by registered mail, of its decision within 5 days of the date of its decision.

(c) Any person who, after properly filing an appeal before any board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use, feels aggrieved by the decision of such body may, within 30 days by postmark date after receiving notice of its decision, appeal therefrom to the Superior Court of the county in which such person resides. The decision of each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall be prima facie correct and the burden of proof shall be on the appellant to show that such body acted contrary to law, fraudulently, arbitrarily or capriciously. The appellant shall be heard on the record and proceedings of each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use which shall be certified to the Court by such body within 15 days after service on such body of a notice of appeal. The Court may permit the appellant or each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use to present any new or different evidence pertinent to the matter. The Court may affirm, reverse or modify the decision of such body and the decision of the Court shall be final. The Court at its discretion may also remand the matter to the board to clarify issues of fact or to make findings consistent with the Court's decision.

24 Del. Laws, c. 57; Code 1915, §§ 1112A, 1112B, 1113; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 12; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 13; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 12; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 4; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 19; Code 1935, §§ 1267, 1304, 1322; 44 Del. Laws, c. 90, § 1; 46 Del. Laws, c. 303, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8313; 50 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 1; 55 Del. Laws, c. 5, § 2; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 22G; 58 Del. Laws, c. 559, §§ 6, 7; 60 Del. Laws, c. 468, § 9; 67 Del. Laws, c. 209, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 167, § 2; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 91; 73 Del. Laws, c. 288, § 1.;

If any taxable fails or neglects to perfect his or her appeal to the Board of Assessment Review of New Castle County, Kent County or Sussex County he or she shall be liable for the tax for such year as shown by the assessment lists.

Code 1915, §§ 1112A, 1112B; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 12; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 13; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 12; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 4; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 19; Code 1935, §§ 1267, 1304, 1322; 44 Del. Laws, c. 90, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8314; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 22H; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, §§ 21F, 21G; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 142, §§ 7, 8.;

(a) After the closing of the hearings, the settlement of all appeals, and the adjustment of the assessment lists, each board of assessment shall ascertain the total of the assessed valuation of its county and certify the same to the county governing body as a basis on which the governing body may estimate and fix the tax rate. In New Castle County, Kent County or Sussex County the Board of Assessment Review shall certify the total of the assessed valuation to the county government through the Department of Finance.

(b) The certification in Kent County shall be by May 1.

Code 1915, §§ 1112A, 1112B; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 12; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 13; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 12; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 4; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 20; Code 1935, §§ 1267, 1305, 1322; 44 Del. Laws, c. 90, § 1; 45 Del. Laws, c. 125, § 2; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8315; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, §§ 22D, 22I; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 21H; 78 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 9.;

(a) Each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall, in each year, prepare and furnish duplicates of all assessments and alterations and corrections thereof by it in its books.

(b) Such duplicates shall be furnished in Kent County by June 1.

24 Del. Laws, c. 58; Code 1915, §§ 1123, 1123A; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 16; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 17; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 6; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 14; Code 1935, §§ 1270, 1299; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8316; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 22E; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 21J; 60 Del. Laws, c. 468, § 10; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 91.;

The county governing body shall have no jurisdiction over, or supervision over, the assessment lists, nor shall it have power to change, alter or amend the same. The county governing body shall make no allowance to any person or corporation for or on account of any error in the assessment lists, or excessive assessment, but the assessment lists, as they shall be certified by the board of assessment of the counties, shall be deemed to be correct by the county governing body and shall be considered by it as final and conclusive.

Code 1852, § 79; Code 1915, §§ 1063A, 1067; 28 Del. Laws, c. 76, § 12; 31 Del. Laws, c. 13, § 15; Code 1935, § 1232; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8317.;

The board of assessment, or any member thereof, may personally inspect each tract, or parcel of real estate, and shall report in writing to the board its or that board member's opinion as to its value. If it shall appear that any property as returned by the owner or as listed on the books is not sufficiently valued, the board of assessment shall give notice thereof to the owner or person making such return and valuation, and shall fix a day, not less than 10 days after the date of the notice, for a hearing and determination. The powers granted in this section may be exercised by the Department of Finance in Sussex County, the Department of Finance in Kent County and the Department of Land Use in New Castle County.

Code 1852, § 158; Code 1915, §§ 1124-1124B; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 17; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 18; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 17; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 23; Code 1935, §§ 1271, 1308, 1326; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8318; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 22K; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 21K; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 92; 78 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 10.;

If any taxable shall make complaint to a board of assessment that the real estate in any election or representative district, as compared with other such districts, is not assessed in a fair and equitable manner, the board, or some member thereof, shall visit personally the district, and inspect personally the properties, the assessment of which is complained of, thereby to equalize and make perfect the assessments.

Code 1915, § 1124A; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 17; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 17; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 23; 33 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 2; Code 1935, §§ 1308, 1326; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8319.;

(a) Each board of assessment may notify in writing any person who owns property liable to assessment, and every person having the care, management or control of real property liable to assessment, to deliver to the board within 30 days after such notice a particular account of the real property owned by him or her, and of property which is in his or her care, management or control, together with the correct name of such owner and his or her place of residence, with the parcels of real estate separated and identified and such other information as may be required by the board. Such return by the owner or agent in respect to real estate shall be made in the same manner in every year if required by the board. Accompanying such written notices shall be a form of schedule for the making of proper returns.

(b) Each board shall have full power and authority to compel any other or further return as occasion may require for the purpose of making additions, corrections or alterations to the assessment lists.

(c) Whoever fails to render an account, as required, within 10 days after the time limited for the making of his or her return, shall be fined not more than $100.

(d) The board may stay a prosecution for any violation of this section, upon the making and filing of a proper return and the payment of a sum of money not exceeding $10 for the use of the county by the person liable, to be fixed by the board, and the costs of prosecution, if any. A copy of this section shall accompany all written notices under this section.

(e) The forms and schedules for the return of taxable property, provided for herein, shall have appended thereto a form of certificate to be signed by the person making the return, or in case of a firm, association of persons, or corporation, by a member of such firm or association of persons, or by an officer of the corporation duly authorized so to act, that the return as made is a true, full and complete list of all real property liable to assessment and taxation and that the return fairly and truly describes the property and truly represents its true condition. The fact that an individual's name is signed on a certification attached to a corporate report shall be prima facie evidence that such individual is authorized to certify the report on behalf of the corporation; however, the official title or position of the individual signing the corporate report shall be designated.

(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to apply to a licensed real estate agent having the care, management or control of, for sale or for rent, property of another in respect to such property.

30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 13; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 5; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 21; 33 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 1; Code 1915, §§ 1113A, 1113B; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 13; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 14; Code 1935, §§ 1268, 1306, 1323; 41 Del. Laws, c. 117, § 1; 42 Del. Laws, c. 109, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8320; 51 Del. Laws, c. 100; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The Building Inspector of the City of Wilmington and the building inspector or other officer authorized by law to issue permits for new buildings or for repairs or additions to old buildings, in any other city or town of New Castle County, shall report to the Department of Land Use on blanks to be furnished by the Department, every permit issued by the inspector respectively, for the erection of a new building or buildings, or the repair, alteration or improvement of old buildings, specifying the estimated cost of the proposed new building, or the repair, alteration or improvement of the old building.

Code 1915, § 1128B; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 21; Code 1935, § 1274; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8321; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 22F; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 93.;

Whenever a board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall propose to alter or change any assessment by increasing the same, or make a new assessment other than a general or annual assessment, it shall, before such alteration, change or new assessment is made, give 10 days' notice in writing to the owner of the property affected thereby, and if such owner cannot be found within the county by reasonable inquiry, then to the person in possession of the property, or to the person in whose custody the same may be, or if it be land, and no one shall be in the apparent occupancy thereof, then such notice shall be posted on the land.

Code 1915, §§ 1109, 1109A; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 10; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 10; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 3; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 17; Code 1935, §§ 1266, 1303, 1321; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8322; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 22G; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 91.;

Each board of assessment or Department of Finance of Sussex County or Kent County or Department of Land Use of New Castle County shall take proceedings for the discovery of all unassessed real estate.

Code 1915, §§ 1109, 1109A; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 10; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 11; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 10; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 3; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 16; Code 1935, §§ 1266, 1301, 1320; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8323; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 22G; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 21L; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 94; 78 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 11.;

If any person making oath, affirmation or affidavit required under the provisions of this chapter swears or affirms falsely, that person shall be guilty of perjury.

16 Del. Laws, c. 320, § 8; Code 1915, §§ 1122-1122B; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 15; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 16; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 15; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 22; Code 1935, §§ 1269, 1307, 1324; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8324; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Any notice required to be given under the provisions of this chapter may be sent by mail, and when any such notice is sent, the day of the mailing thereof shall be deemed and taken to be the day of the giving of such notice.

Code 1915, §§ 1144A, 1144B; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 30; 29 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 34; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 30; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 15; Code 1935, §§ 1286, 1300, 1339; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8325.;

Each board of assessment shall ascertain and report to the county government the names of all persons liable to capitation tax, the report to the county government being made at the same time that the report of the total valuation and assessment is made. In New Castle County, the Department of Land Use shall ascertain and report to County Council the number of persons liable to capitation tax. In Sussex County and Kent County, the Department of Finance shall ascertain and report to the county government the number of persons liable to capitation tax.

Code 1915, § 1112A; 28 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 12; 30 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 12; 30 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 1; 31 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 20; Code 1935, §§ 1267, 1305, 1322; 44 Del. Laws, c. 90, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8326; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 22L; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 21M; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 95; 78 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 12.;

Whoever fails to comply with this chapter, shall, if no other penalty is prescribed, be fined $100, or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.

Code 1915, § 1130C; 30 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 8; Code 1935, § 1279; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 8327.;

In the construction of this chapter, the powers and duties assigned solely to boards of assessment shall not be applicable to New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County. All other provisions of this chapter from which New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County are not specifically excluded shall be applicable to New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8328; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 21N; 78 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 13.;

It is declared that it is in the public interest to:

(1) Encourage the preservation of farm land in order to maintain a readily available source of food and farm products close to the metropolitan areas of the State, to conserve the State's natural resources and to provide for the welfare and happiness of the inhabitants of the State;

(2) Prevent the forced conversion of farm land and forest land to more intensive uses as a result of economic pressures caused by the assessment thereof for purposes of property taxation at values incompatible with their preservation as such farm land and forest land; and

(3) That the necessity of the enactment of the provisions of this section is a matter of legislative determination.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8330; 56 Del. Laws, c. 373, § 1.;

For general property tax purposes including school tax purposes, the value of land which is actively devoted to agricultural, horticultural or forest use and which has been so devoted for at least the 2 successive years immediately preceding the tax year in issue, shall, on application of the owner, and approval thereof as provided in this section, be that value which such lands have for agricultural, horticultural or forest use; provided, that in the case of school taxes where such land is located in a public school district situated in 2 counties, the value of such land shall be that value arrived at by multiplying the value determined hereunder by the lower of the 2 general percentage rates of assessment in force in such counties for the tax year in issue.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8330A; 56 Del. Laws, c. 373, § 1; 59 Del. Laws, c. 313, § 1; 59 Del. Laws, c. 467, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 127, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 267, § 1.;

Land shall be deemed to be in agricultural use when devoted to the production for sale of plants and animals useful to man, including but not limited to: forages and sod crops; grains and feed crops; dairy animals and dairy products; poultry and poultry products; livestock, including beef cattle, sheep, swine, horses, ponies, mules or goats, including the breeding and grazing of any or all of such animals; bees and apiary products; fur animals; trees and forest products; or when devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation pursuant to a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the federal government.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8330B; 56 Del. Laws, c. 373, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Land shall be deemed to be in horticultural use when devoted to the production for sale of fruits of all kinds, including grapes, nuts and berries; vegetables; nursery, floral, ornamental and greenhouse products; or when devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation pursuant to a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the federal government.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8330C; 56 Del. Laws, c. 373, § 1.;

Land shall be deemed to be in forest use when devoted to tree growth in such quantity and so spaced and maintained as to constitute in the opinion of the State Forester a forest area.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8330D; 56 Del. Laws, c. 373, § 1.;

Land shall be deemed to be actively devoted to agricultural, horticultural or forestry use when:

(1) Not less than 10 acres are in such use, and the gross sales of agricultural, horticultural or forestry products produced thereon together with any agricultural program payments and sales of commodities received under government entitlement programs have averaged at least $1,000 per year within a 2-year period of time immediately preceding the tax year in issue, or there is clear evidence of anticipated yearly gross sales and such payments amounting to at least $1,000 per year, within a 2-year period of time; or

(2) Less than 10 acres are in such use and the gross sales of agricultural, horticultural or forestry products produced thereon together with any agricultural program payments and sales of commodities received under government entitlement programs shall have averaged at least $10,000 per year within a 2-year period of time immediately preceding the tax year in issue, or there is clear evidence of anticipated yearly gross sales and such payments amounting to at least $10,000 per year within a 2-year period of time. In computing such anticipated yearly gross sales for land under 10 acres in such use, the maximum amount computed from future sales of forestry products shall be not more than $2,000 annually.

In applying these criteria, and in determining whether the minimum acreage requirements are met, all contiguous parcels of land held by identical owners in identical proportions of ownership and in identical legal form of title, shall be considered as a single unit.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8331; 56 Del. Laws, c. 373, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 127, § 2; 64 Del. Laws, c. 267, § 2; 65 Del. Laws, c. 65, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 286, § 1.;

Land which is actively devoted to agricultural, horticultural or forest use shall be eligible for valuation, assessment and taxation as provided in this section when it meets the following qualifications:

(1) It has been so devoted for at least the 2 successive years immediately preceding the tax year for which valuation under this section is requested;

(2) The area of such land:

(a) Is not less than 10 acres in such use, and the gross sales of agricultural, horticultural or forestry products produced thereon together with any agricultural program payments and sales of commodities received under government entitlement programs have averaged at least $1,000 per year within a 2-year period of time immediately preceding the tax year in issue, or there is clear evidence of anticipated yearly gross sales and such payments amounting to at least $1,000 per year, within a 2-year period of time; or

(b) Is less than 10 acres in such use and the gross sales of agricultural, horticultural or forestry products produced thereon together with any agricultural program payments and sales of commodities received under government entitlement programs shall have averaged at least $10,000 per year within a 2-year period of time immediately preceding the tax year in issue, or there is clear evidence of anticipated yearly gross sales and such payments amounting to at least $10,000 per year within a 2-year period of time. In computing such anticipated yearly gross sales for land under 10 acres in such use, the maximum amount computed from future sales of forestry products shall not be more than $2,000 annually.

In applying these criteria, and in determining whether the minimum acreage requirements are met, all contiguous parcels of land held by identical owners in identical proportions of ownership and in identical legal form of title, shall be considered as a single unit.

(3) Application by the owner of such land for valuation under this section is submitted on or before February 1 of the year immediately preceding the tax year to the assessor of the taxing district in which such land is situated on the form prescribed by the State Farmland Evaluation Advisory Committee together with evidence in writing of the required sales, payments and anticipated sales and payments.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8331A; 56 Del. Laws, c. 373, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 127, §§ 3, 4; 64 Del. Laws, c. 267, § 3; 65 Del. Laws, c. 65, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 286, § 2.;

(a) The assessor in valuing land which qualifies as land actively devoted to agricultural, horticultural or forestry use under the tests prescribed by this section, and as to which the owner thereof has made timely application for valuation, assessment and taxation under this section for the tax year in issue, shall consider only those indicia of value of such land as established by the State Farmland Evaluation Advisory Committee.

(b) In determining the total area of land actively devoted to agricultural, horticultural or forest use there shall be included the area of all land under barns, sheds, silos, cribs, greenhouses and like structures, lakes, dams, ponds, streams, irrigation ditches and like facilities, but land under, and such additional land as may be actually used in connection with the farmhouse, shall be excluded in determining such total area.

(c) All structures which are located on land in agricultural, horticultural or forest use and the farmhouse and the land on which the farmhouse is located, together with the additional land used in connection therewith, shall be valued, assessed and taxed by the same standards, methods and procedures as other taxable structures and other land in the taxing district.

(d) When land in agricultural use and being valued, assessed and taxed under the provisions of this chapter, is applied to a use other than agriculture, it shall be subject to additional taxes, hereinafter referred to as roll-back taxes, in an amount equal to the difference, if any, between the taxes paid or payable on the basis of the valuation and the assessment authorized hereunder and the taxes that would have been paid or payable had the land been valued, assessed and taxed as other land in the taxing district, in the current tax year immediately preceding, in which the land was valued, assessed and taxed hereunder.

(1) If in the tax year in which a change in use of land occurs the land was not valued, assessed and taxed under this chapter, then such land shall be subject to roll-back taxes in the following manner. If the change of the use of land occurs prior to January 1, 1996, then such land shall be subject to roll-back taxes for the 5 tax years immediately preceding in which the land was valued, assessed and taxed hereunder. If the change in use of land occurs between January 1, 1996, and December 31, 1996, then such land shall be subject to roll-back taxes for the 6 tax years immediately preceding in which the land was valued, assessed and taxed hereunder. If the change in use of land occurs between January 1, 1997, and December 31, 1997, then such land shall be subject to roll-back taxes for the 7 tax years immediately preceding in which the land was valued, assessed and taxed hereunder. If the change in use of land occurs between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 1998, then such land will be subject to roll-back taxes for the 8 tax years immediately preceding in which the land was valued, assessed and taxed hereunder. If the change in use of land occurs between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 1999, then such land shall be subject to roll-back taxes for the 9 tax years immediately preceding in which the land was valued, assessed and taxed hereunder. If the change in use of land occurs on January 1, 2000, or thereafter, then such land shall be subject to roll-back taxes for the 10 tax years immediately preceding in which the land was valued, assessed and taxed hereunder.

(2) In determining the amounts of the roll-back taxes chargeable on land which has undergone a change in use, the assessor shall for each of the roll-back tax years involved, ascertain:

a. The full and fair value of such land under the valuation standard applicable to other land in the taxing district;

b. The amount of the additional assessment on the land for the particular tax year by deducting the amount of the actual assessment on the land for that year from the amount of the land assessment determined by the assessing authority; and

c. The amount of the roll-back tax for that tax year by multiplying the amount of the additional assessment determined under paragraph (d)(2)b. of this section by the general property tax rate of the taxing district applicable for that tax year.

(3) Roll-back taxes as provided herein shall become payable when the land is applied to a use other than agricultural, horticultural or forestry. The terms "applied to a use other than agriculture'' and "change in use'' for purposes of this subsection shall include any of the following:

a. The actual use of the land for an activity other than agricultural, horticultural or forestry;

b. The rezoning of the land to a nonagricultural category;

c. The approval of a site plan or issuance of a certificate of occupancy which allows for a nonagricultural usage; and

d. The loss of eligibility for valuation under §§ 8330-8337 of this title.

(4) Notwithstanding anything in this chapter to the contrary, whenever land in agricultural use is applied to a use other than agriculture, and such land is but a portion of a larger tract of land, the remainder of which continues in agricultural use, roll-back taxes as provided herein shall become payable only with respect to the portion of the land which is applied to a use other than agricultural, and the remainder of the land which continues in agricultural use shall remain eligible for valuation under §§ 8330-8337 of this title, provided the criteria for land use set forth under § 8333 of this title continue to be satisfied. The owner of the land which continues in agricultural use shall not be required to apply for eligibility for valuation, and the burden for establishing ineligibility shall rest with the assessing authority.

(5) Roll-back taxes hereunder shall be paid within 90 days of their due date, and payment thereafter shall include a penalty of 6 percent of the amount due for the first month thereafter, and 1 percent of the amount due for each consecutive month until payment is made. The amount due for roll-back tax shall become a lien on the land which was subject to a change in use or applied to a use other than agriculture as of the due date. The school tax component of the roll-back tax shall be paid to the respective school districts which established the tax rates applicable to the lands through a payment first to the appropriate county receiver of taxes, treasurer or director of finance, who collects school taxes. The balance of the roll-back tax shall, when collected by the appropriate county receiver of taxes, treasurer or director of finance, be paid to the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation; provided, however, that 7 1/2 percent of such balance shall be withheld and paid to the county as a charge for administration. For purposes of this paragraph, the due date shall be the earlier of the date following conversion under paragraph (d)(3) of this section which is established by the respective counties for annual taxes or the date indicated by the county in any special billing for roll-back taxes.

(6) When land in agricultural use and being valued, assessed and taxed under the provisions of this chapter, is acquired for public use by State agencies, whether by condemnation, gift or purchase, and is then applied to a use other than agriculture, that portion of the land which is applied to such other use shall be subject to a payment by the agency in lieu of roll-back taxes, to be paid to the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation. The amount of this payment in lieu shall be determined as if it were the roll-back tax chargeable under this section for the tax year in which the land was acquired by the agency, or the tax year in which the land is applied to such other use, whichever is greater, after first deducting the school tax component of the roll-back tax chargeable for that year. This payment shall be made directly by the agency to the Foundation, after obtaining the assessment information from the appropriate county receiver of taxes, treasurer or director of finance, and shall not be subject to any charge for administration by the county. In all other respects, the land so acquired for such public use shall not be assessed or charged for roll-back or other property taxes by any county, school district or other political subdivision.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8331B; 56 Del. Laws, c. 373, § 1; 59 Del. Laws, c. 80, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 127, §§ 6, 7; 68 Del. Laws, c. 371, §§ 1, 2; 69 Del. Laws, c. 241, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 42, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 90, § 1.;

(a) Eligibility of land for valuation, assessment and taxation under this section shall be determined for each tax year separately. Application shall be submitted by the owner to the assessor of the taxing district in which such land is situated on or before February 1 of the year immediately preceding the tax year for which such valuation, assessment and taxation are sought; provided however, that unless the eligibility of land under this section changes, those applications which have met the provisions to qualify under this chapter shall be automatically renewed without the owner having to apply annually. With respect to new applications, eligibility of the land for valuation, assessment and taxation under this section shall be conditioned upon advance execution by the landowner of a certification, in recordable form, as provided by the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation, which certification indicates that a roll-back tax is due and payable to the school districts and the Foundation under the provisions of § 8335(d) of this title at such time that the land is subjected to a change in use or applied to a use other than agricultural, horticultural or forestry, as such terms are defined, and that a failure to pay the roll-back tax when due results in the imposition of a lien on the land for nonpayment.

(b)(1) If the eligibility of land under this section changes the owner shall on or before February 1, of the following year in which the eligibility of the land changes, notify the assessing authority in the taxing district, in writing, of the change in land use.

(2) Any owner who fails to properly notify the assessing authority in the tax district of the change in land use shall be assessed a penalty for such failure in an amount of 20% of the rollback taxes recoverable against the property, which penalty shall be collected by the taxing district.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8331C; 56 Del. Laws, c. 373, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 105, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 127, § 5; 68 Del. Laws, c. 371, § 3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 287, § 1.;

(a) There is created a State Farmland Evaluation Advisory Committee, consisting of 3 members. One member shall be the Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences of the University of Delaware; 1 member shall be appointed by the Governor from a list of 3 eligible citizens, which list shall be supplied the Governor by the Executive Committee of the Delaware State Grange; and 1 member shall be appointed by the Governor from a list of 3 eligible citizens, which list shall be supplied the Governor by the Executive Committee of the Delaware Farm Bureau. No more than 2 members of the Committee shall be of the same political party. Each member shall be a citizen of this State and shall be appointed for a term of 3 years beginning on the 1st day of July in the year of appointment. Vacancies for any cause other than the expiration of term shall be filled by the Governor for the unexpired term.

(b) The Committee shall meet from time to time on the call of the Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and annually determine and publish a range of values for each of the several classifications of land in agricultural, horticultural or forest use in the various areas of the State. The primary objective of the Committee shall be the determination of the ranges in fair value of such land based upon its productive capabilities when devoted to agricultural, horticultural or forest uses. In making these annual determinations of value, the Committee shall consider available evidence of agricultural, horticultural or forest capability derived from the soil survey and such other evidence of value of land devoted exclusively to agricultural, horticultural or forest uses as it may in its judgment deem pertinent. On or before February 1 of each year, the Committee shall make these ranges of fair value available to the assessing authority in each of the taxing districts in which land in agricultural, horticultural and forest use is located. The Committee shall review at least every 2 years the formula, method or system being utilized to determine the ranges of fair values for agricultural, horticultural and forestry land and make such changes and revisions as are required to insure that the objectives of this section are met. The formula used by the Committee shall be based on not less than the preceding 20 years of land values.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8331D; 56 Del. Laws, c. 373, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 127, § 8; 70 Del. Laws, c. 586, § 1.;

In addition to the annual assessment provided for in §§ 1308 and 8301 of this title, each Board of Assessment of Kent and Sussex Counties and the Department of Land Use of New Castle County may, at its option, prepare quarterly supplemental assessment rolls for the purpose of:

(1) Adding property not included on the last assessment; or

(2) Increasing the assessed value of property which was included on the last assessment.

The supplemental assessment roll may be used to correct errors on the prior assessment rolls and to remove or modify any exemption from taxation applicable to property in the county.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8332; 56 Del. Laws, c. 457, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 96.;

(a) In New Castle County such supplemental assessment rolls shall be prepared quarterly during each fiscal year. The first such assessment roll shall be certified to the government of New Castle County on July 1 of each year, the second on October 1 of each year, the third on January 1 of each year and the fourth on April 1 of each year.

(b) In Kent County such supplemental assessment rolls shall be prepared quarterly in each fiscal year. The first such supplemental assessment roll shall be certified to the government of Kent County on June 1 of each year; the second on September 1 of each year; the third on December 1 of each year; and the fourth on March 1 of each year.

(c) In Sussex County such supplemental assessment rolls shall be prepared quarterly in each fiscal year. The first such supplemental assessment roll shall be certified to the government of Sussex County on May 1 of each year; the second on August 1 of each year; the third on November 1 of each year; and the fourth on February 1 of each year.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8333; 56 Del. Laws, c. 457, § 1.;

On the date of certification of a supplemental tax roll to the respective county government:

(1) The property owners listed thereon shall be liable to pay taxes equal to the assessed value of the property multiplied by the tax rates for the then current fiscal year applicable to the property, reduced by 25% where the property is listed on the second supplemental assessment roll; by 50% where the property is listed on the third supplemental assessment roll; and by 75% where the property is listed on the fourth supplemental assessment roll; and

(2) The amount of such tax shall be and remain a lien on such property, together with any penalties which might thereafter accrue, until such taxes and penalties are paid in full.

Such tax rates shall include, without limitation, the tax rate imposed by any school boards for districts in which the property is located.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8334; 56 Del. Laws, c. 457, § 1.;

In no case shall the supplemental assessment procedure be employed to impose taxes retroactively.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8335; 56 Del. Laws, c. 457, § 1.;

(a) Whenever the board of assessment or department of finance places a property on a supplemental assessment roll, it shall deposit notice thereof in the regular mail addressed to the owner of the property affected thereby at the address shown on the assessment rolls, or if the address of such owner does not appear on the assessment roll, then to the person occupying the property, or if there is no apparent occupant such notice shall be posted on the land. Such notice shall be given no later than the date on which the supplemental assessment roll on which the property appears is certified to the respective county government.

(b) Each board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use shall publish notices of the places where the supplemental assessment roll may be inspected together with a notice of the time and place of the sittings to hear appeals. The notices published by the Department of Land Use of New Castle County shall also state the time and place for filing written notices of appeal with the Board or Department. Such notice shall appear at least once a week for 2 weeks in at least 2 newspapers in the case of Kent and Sussex Counties and, in the case of New Castle County, in at least 2 newspapers, 1 of which is the newspaper with the highest general circulation published in New Castle County. Such publication shall begin no later than the date on which the supplemental assessment roll was certified.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8336; 56 Del. Laws, c. 457; 67 Del. Laws, c. 209, § 2; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, §§ 96, 97.;

Within 30 days from the date on which notice of supplemental assessment is sent by the board of assessment or Department of Finance or Department of Land Use, the owner may appeal the supplemental assessment to the respective board of assessment or board of assessment review. The appeal shall be scheduled and heard by the board during its next regular appeal period as provided in this title. Pending determination of such appeal, the owner may: (1) pay the tax imposed by the supplemental assessment, and if on appeal the assessment is reduced, the owner shall be entitled to a refund of the taxes which the owner has overpaid plus interest thereon at the rate of 1% per month; or (2) not pay the tax imposed by the supplemental assessment, in which case penalties shall accrue at the rate of 1% per month on the amount of taxes computed in accordance with the determination of the appeal, and no action to collect the tax shall be taken until the appeal is determined. Such interest and penalties shall begin to accrue upon the expiration of 3 months from the date on which the unpaid tax became due and payable. Interest attributable to the overpayment of school taxes shall be paid by the school board of the districts entitled to receive such taxes.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8337; 56 Del. Laws, c. 457, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 97.;

Section 8319 of this title may be utilized by the respective boards of assessment and the departments of finance in connection with the annual and supplemental assessment procedures.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 8338; 56 Del. Laws, c. 457, § 1.;