Tax Relief & Exemptions

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Tim Tangen
Manager, Tax Relief

Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouse of a First Responder Killed in the Line of Duty



For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, a surviving spouse of any covered person who has been killed in the line of duty may be eligible for a full or partial exemption of real estate taxes for their principal residence and up to one acre of land. (Code of Virginia, Title 58.1, Chapter 32, Article 2.5, Exemption for Surviving Spouses of Certain Persons Killed in the Line of Duty and Fairfax County Code Section 4-28)

Covered person means any person set forth in the definition of "deceased person" in Virginia Code § 9.1-400 whose beneficiary, as defined in Virginia Code § 9.1-400, is entitled to receive benefits under Virginia Code § 9.1-402, as determined by the Comptroller prior to July 1, 2017, or as determined by the Virginia Retirement System on and after July 1, 2017.

You are not eligible for this tax exemption if you have remarried.

Required Documentation: (Exemption cannot be processed without this documentation)

  • Copy of the person's death certificate
  • Copy of Marriage certificate
  • Determination of the Comptroller or the Virginia Retirement System that meets the following:
    • Verifies the deceased spouse was a member of the Virginia Line of Duty Act (LODA)
    • Verifies the deceased spouse was killed in the line of duty as a direct or proximate result of performance of duty.
    • Verifies the surviving spouse is/was the designated beneficiary for death benefits under the Virginia Line of Duty Act (LODA)

The exemption applies to a dwelling with an assessed value in the most recently ended tax year that does not exceed the countywide average assessed value for dwellings zoned as single family residential. If the assessed value of your dwelling exceeds the countywide average assessed value, you will receive a partial exemption.

Taxes levied prior to January 1, 2017 are not eligible for exemption. Land exceeding one-acre, certain structures not attached to the house, refuse fees, and water fees are not eligible for exemption.

The Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration (DTA) will review your application and contact you directly if more information is required. Otherwise, you will receive written certification once your application and exemption have been approved. If your  real estate taxes are escrowed by a mortgage lender, you will need to send the lender a copy of the exemption certification.

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