July 21, 2021 News & Press Releases

BREAKING: Out-of-Touch Glenn Youngkin Uses Luxury Horse Farm to Skirt Property Taxes

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Richmond, VA — Tonight, a shocking new report is highlighting how pro-Trump billionaire Glenn Youngkin has maneuvered to avoid paying property taxes on his multi-million dollar private horse farm. As Youngkin campaigns on a disastrous economic agenda that would decimate education and public safety, it is abundantly clear that he is completely out of touch with Virginians.

Youngkin has proposed eliminating Virginia’s income tax — which would slash nearly three-quarters of the state’s general fund budget. Youngkin has done so without providing any explanation for how he would pay teachers and law enforcement, maintain and improve Virginia’s infrastructure, or protect essential services Virginians rely on.

Now, new reporting shows that Youngkin is using his luxury horse farm to skirt property taxes. See key excerpts below and read the full report here.

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Youngkins received 95% tax cut due to conservation status of their horse farm
By Patrick Wilson

GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin and his wife last year successfully petitioned Fairfax County to designate their horse farm as an agricultural district, which led to a 95% reduction in the taxes they pay on the 31.5-acre property in Great Falls that surrounds their home.

The agricultural district reduced the Youngkins’ real estate tax bill on the farm by a total of $151,844.90 in 2020 and 2021 combined, according to public information that the Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration provided to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. [...]

The tax break for the agricultural district involves the Youngkin farm, but not the house they built in 2005. The Youngkins first applied for the agricultural district in October 2019 for their property, Mane Manor LLC and Normandy Farm LLC. They opted not to include the land that their house sits on, which would have lowered the tax bill even further.

The seven parcels making up the farm were assessed at $6,818,370 in 2020, which would have resulted in a tax bill of $80,695 at market value. But at the agricultural district rate, the assessment dropped to $376,900, and the resulting taxes owed for 2020 were $4,460, a reduction of nearly 95%.

The assessed value of the farm this year is $6,750,040, which would have resulted in a tax payment of $79,211.72 at market value, according to the county. But with the agricultural district, the assessed value drops to $306,930 and results in a 2021 tax payment of $3,601.82 – a reduction of more than 95%.

A state government panel called the State Land Evaluation and Advisory Council establishes the lower rates for the districts and they fluctuate.

The farm property at the time of approval included two outdoor riding arenas, stables, horse pastures, and storage buildings. Equestrian facilities are typical in the area, along with stately homes, pastures lined with short, wood fences, and scattered woodlands, according to county records.

County records from before the application was granted indicated that the Youngkins wanted to add a horse boarding service and new, indoor riding arena on the farm, but that the property was intended for their personal use. Suzanne Youngkin is a member of the Virginia Tech Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center Advisory Council.

Conservation officials analyzed the property as part of the application, and the Youngkins agreed to abide by a soil and water conservation plan and forestry plan, and are restoring trees and vegetation to keep a large part of the land in its natural state.

The properties on the farm were previously owned by various people, and the Youngkins bought the land over time, making the most recent purchase in 2019.

Youngkin, a former private equity executive, has contributed $12 million of his own money to date in his effort to win the governorship. He faces Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former governor, in the November election.

In early 2020, there was some confusion over what the Youngkins intended to do on the farm.

Some neighbors emailed members of the Fairfax County planning commission saying they would object to any planned commercial operation or boarding business, according to a county transcript of a 2020 planning meeting.

John Ulfelder, the Dranesville district planning commissioner, noted at a meeting that the agricultural and forestal district application was strictly a determination on whether the property met the requirements for that district and to be eligible for real estate tax relief.

"Moreover, the applicant ... makes it abundantly clear that she has no intention of running a commercial riding and boarding stable on the property. It is intended solely for the applicant’s personal use," Ulfelder said at the meeting, adding that he had visited the property and wanted to personally thank the Youngkins for reinvigorating equestrian use of the property and for good stewardship of the land.

Later, at the June 2020 meeting of the board of supervisors, Suzanne Youngkin said that while she didn't intend commercial use, she was leaving open the possibility that she would "share" one of the barns, according to a video on the county's website.