Virginia: Culpeper County looks at a new business personal property tax category for data centers

May 10, 2023 | Posted by MadalineDunn

In Culpeper County, the Board of Supervisors is reportedly considering a lower rate for data center developments. The proposal would see  a new business personal property tax category that would introduce a lower rate for computer equipment and peripherals in data centers. 

Economic Development Director Brian Rothamel explained to the board that currently, other localities have a lower rate for business personal property taxes. Indeed, many communities are also taxing business personal property in data centers as a separate tax classification, according to a county report, with the county’s rate “substantially higher” for that use. 

​​Board Chairman Gary Deal shared that he was being lobbied by those in the data center sector and claimed that reducing the rate for such developments is now common practice. Further, he said that the county could consider a reduction in tax to show data center developers that Culpepper is “open for business.” He also added that there is a “limited” land supply and the board has mandated that there will be no more developments in rural areas. Salem Supervisor Tom Underwood supported the proposal, citing the tax revenue as the primary draw.

Not everyone was in support of the proposal, including Supervisor Dave Durr, who said that there was already sufficient interest. 

Commissioner of the Revenue Terry Yowell added that lowering the rate in other areas has not had the desired effect of attracting data centers in other localities.

Underwood moved to put forward a motion for a public hearing for the separate classification at the $3.50 current rate; it passed 4–3, with Gugino, Rosenberger, and Durr voting against the motion.