CAPP Help Center & FAQ

Below you will find answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, contact CAPP customer service.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Signing up for CAPP

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Why should I use CAPP?

Creating a CAPP profile gives you access to view current tax account status, file returns, make payments, and manage and update account information. You can subscribe to email notifications of new bills and tickets, renew dog licenses, and set up payments to be automatically debited from your bank account.

If I signed up for the previous Payment Portal, do I need to sign up for CAPP?

Yes. CAPP provides access to much more information about your financial relationship with the County, and therefore we need to require stronger passwords and better identification of users than on the Payment Portal. We studied the feasibility of migrating Payment Portal accounts to CAPP, and quickly discovered that most passwords were too guessable and that we had no way of knowing if the Payment Portal users were actually eligible to see the accounts they enrolled. CAPP was designed with your privacy and financial security in mind, and we appreciate your cooperation in helping it stay that way.

How do I sign up for CAPP?

To create a CAPP Profile, you must own (not lease) a vehicle, real estate, business, or licensed pet in Arlington County, and have a valid email address to which you have access. In addition, you’ll need one of the following:

  • An Arlington Tax Account Number
  • An Arlington Utilities Account Number
  • The Virginia Title Number of a vehicle that is registered for personal property taxes

Because CAPP contains private information about your relationship with the county, you’ll also need to verify certain information about your tax accounts. This may include the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number or your Business’ FEIN, the Driver’s License Number you gave us when you registered a vehicle, and/or a Document Locator Number from a recent bill or collection notice.

If you don’t have this information available, contact us for assistance, or you can Pay Without Signing Up.

Ready? Sign up for CAPP now.

What kind of password must I use for CAPP?

Because of the sensitivity of the information in CAPP, we ask that you use a password that is “strong” — easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess. A good, strong password is at least 8 characters long, includes at least one upper case letter, one lower case letter, one number, and one symbol, and combines two unrelated concepts. For example, if you grew up on Main Street and your 5th grade teacher was Ms. Clark, you might choose M@inClark5. While CAPP cannot enforce the concepts in your password, it does require that it be 6 characters long and include both numbers and letters. Remember that it is your personal information, and that of your business, family and pets, that is being protected by this password. Once you choose a password, it is encrypted in our database and can never be retrieved. If you forget your password, you will need to choose another one.

Why do you ask for the “last four digits” on the profile sign up screen?

For your protection, CAPP requires you to give us authentic information to verify that you should have access to the accounts you are requesting. If we have your SSN or FEIN on file, the last four digits will suffice. If we do not, we may provide you with a 4-digit PIN in a renewal letter. Otherwise, you will need to call the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office at 703-228-3060 to add your SSN or FEIN to our records.

What is a DLN?

A DLN is a Document Letter Number – a unique number which is printed on every piece of correspondence relating to CAPP-enabled taxes since November 2008. The DLN can be found in the lower left of any bill, letter, or return sent relating to a CAPP-enabled account, including the CAPP welcome letter. If the correspondence includes a payment voucher, the DLN will be located above the voucher perforation.

Can I sign up using my spouse’s or partner’s information?

It is a violation of Virginia law to gain access to private tax records by using false information or otherwise misrepresenting your identity. You MUST have authorization from the owner of the taxed property in order to access their records. If you have that authorization, choose “Authorized Representative” instead of “Owner/Co-owner” on any accounts related to property that you don’t own.

Why can’t I see all my accounts?

The creation of CAPP required the merging of accounts from many different County systems. In most cases, we were able to easily identify common taxpayers, but in others we were not. If you have accounts with us that are not showing, click “Link Additional Accounts” to add them.
You can also visit the Department of Environmental Services’ website to access your utilities (water/sewer/refuse) account online.

I registered a new car, dog, or business with the County, why can’t I see the account here?

The registration may not be complete yet, or we may not have been able to link it to your CAPP profile. Click “Link Additional Accounts” to add it manually.

Can I use CAPP if I own a new vehicle, business or dog and haven’t registered it or don’t have a recent piece of mail from the Treasurer or the Commissioner?

You must first register your vehicle or business with the Commissioner of Revenue or your dog license with the Treasurer. Once that is done and you receive your first correspondence from us, you may use the Document Letter Number (DLN) listed there, or on any subsequent correspondence you receive from our offices (i.e. returns, renewals, bills, or other letters).

A DLN is located in the lower left corner of all correspondence regarding your accounts. If the correspondence includes a payment voucher, the DLN is located above the voucher perforation.

I followed the steps to register but have not received an email confirmation yet. Where is it?

A CAPP confirmation email is sent after you complete your “CAPP Profile Request” registration to notify you that your customer profile account has been completed. The email includes an authorization code that you will need to access the CAPP site the first time. If you do not receive the email, contact us at 703-228-3702 to activate your account.

Some ISPs and spam filters can stop legitimate email from being delivered to the intended recipient. Be sure to list “capp@arlingtonva.us”, “payment@arlingtonva.us” and “business@arlingtonva.us” as a trusted sender in your email program.

Am I required to use CAPP?

No. You may also continue to submit your returns and payments by mail, in person, or at our drop boxes.

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Online Payments

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If I pay online, do I have to sign-up?

If you sign up, you’ll get access to features like Bill Payer Notification, Automatic Bill Payment, and assessment and payment histories. But you may also Make a Quick Payment without signing up if you need to.

What forms of payment can I use to pay online?

CAPP currently supports e-check payments, credit card payments and PIN-less debit card payments.

What should I know before choosing my method of payment?

You should know that paying by e-check, which is an electronic payment debited directly from a bank account, is free of charge. Credit and debit card payments require a fee charged by our credit card processing partner.

Why am I charged a fee for paying by credit card?

We offer the option of paying by credit card as a convenience to those customers who wish to do so. However, credit card transactions have a cost, sometimes a substantial one. The 2.5% fee that is charged by our credit card processor (often referred to as a “convenience fee” or “merchant fee”), is the lowest we have come across for a municipal government, but it still comes to $12.50 on a $500 bill, and $60.00 on a $2,400 bill — the average real estate installment tax bill. So, while we accept credit cards as a convenience to those customers who wish to use them, those customers must bear the cost of doing so. Retail merchants are able to absorb this credit card cost and pass it on by increasing the price of their goods and services. If the convenience fees were absorbed by the County, however, at a minimum, it would cost millions of dollars annually, which would be borne by increasing taxes for everyone. What’s more, were these charges not passed on to the consumer, many more people would choose to pay by credit card larger and larger amounts, resulting in an ever increasing expense for the County.

It is important to note that customers using credit cards pay the convenience fee directly to the credit card processor. Arlington County does not receive any portion of the fee.

Can I get a temporary decal when I register my car online?

Temporary decals will be available for any eligible vehicle registered online with a corresponding decal payment. A .pdf image will be displayed after the payment is submitted and can be printed or emailed.

I wasn’t able to print the temporary decal. How can I get a new one?

Call the Treasurer’s office at 703-228-3090 to request that the temporary decal be re-sent.

How long will it to take for my payment to be applied to my account?

In most cases, payments will be reflected the next business day, but a payment may be delayed if staff attention is needed. Either way, the date on which a tax or fine payment was entered in CAPP will be used as the effective payment date for determining penalty and interest. If you are paying a utilities bill, payment must be received within 30 days of the bill date to avoid a late fee. Allow sufficient processing time for your payment to be posted to your utilities account. NOTE: If your payment is returned by the bank due to incorrect account numbers, insufficient funds, or other reasons, you will be responsible for fees, penalties, and interest until legitimate payment is provided.

Can I schedule a payment for a future date?

Yes. When logged into CAPP and paying a single bill by e-check, you’ll be able to choose the date on which the money will be deducted from your bank account. This does not apply to credit card payments, quick payments, or payments made using the “View and Pay All Bills” link.

Can I opt out of paper bills?

Laws and ordinances require that we use postal mail for official billing of taxes and most other County debt. CAPP is an alternative way of receiving bills and letters from us, but it doesn’t replace the official, legally required means.

Can I pay more or less than the amount due of the bill?

You are free to pay any amount regardless of the amount due. Simply enter the amount you want to pay. However, if you choose to pay less than the full amount by the due date, penalties and interest will apply to unpaid balances, collection action will take place, and you may not receive any reminders to pay the remaining amount.

Remember that tax and fine payments are due before the midnight which concludes the due date. If you are paying taxes or fines after midnight but before the balances are updated, or utilities more than 27 days after the bill date, you may be billed separately for penalties and interest.

What are Automatic Payments and how do I sign up?

CAPP allows customers to enroll certain accounts for automatic, recurring payments using saved bank accounts. Credit Cards cannot be used for automatic payments. The eligible account types are Vehicle Personal Property (VPP), Real Estate (RES), Business Tangible (BTN), and Water/Sewer Utilities (UTL). Enrolled accounts with balances will have the designated bank accounts debited on the due date(s), with the option of monthly debits for Real Estate accounts. To enroll, click the Manage Automatic Payments link on your CAPP Profile and indicate which account(s) you would like to be paid automatically. You will then be required to enter a valid bank account and routing number. Separate bank accounts can be used to pay individual accounts; to do so the enrollment form need only be completed for each bank account. Once the enrollment request is submitted, the Treasurer’s Office staff will review the information submitted and send written confirmation. Requests submitted close to bill due dates may not be set up in time and may need to be paid separately to avoid late fees.

Can I change existing Automatic Payment information?

Yes, users can log into their CAPP profile anytime to change bank accounts, enroll new accounts to be debited automatically, or discontinue the service. Customers who signed up for the Automatic Bank Debit program by paper application can also use this new CAPP feature to manage their accounts. Any change to your enrollment close to a due date may not take effect until after the bill is due. It is the user’s responsibility to ensure all financial information entered is accurate and there are sufficient funds available to complete the payment.

What’s the difference between Automatic Payment and e-check payment?

Normal e-check payments are entered by the taxpayer for the amount and on the date they specify. Automatic Payments will occur on set dates for the balance of the account at that time using a predetermined bank account. These payments will continue until the service is discontinued.

If my tax account is delinquent, are the associated late fees included in the amount due?

The balances shown in CAPP are correct as of the start of business on the most recent business day, including penalties and interest. If there have been changes to your account today which you wish reflected in CAPP before making a payment, contact the Treasurer’s office for an updated balance.

Where can I locate my Bank Routing and Bank Account Numbers on my check?

Your bank routing number, account number and check number can be located at the bottom of your check. Your bank routing number is the 9 digits between the |: symbols.

Below are five examples of how your information may appear. The bank routing number is underlined in green and the account number is underlined in red. In these examples, you would enter the bank routing number as 126000107 and the account number as 6173694.

DO NOT ENTER YOUR CHECK NUMBER. Your check number is also located on the bottom of your check, on either side of the bank routing number or the account number.

Check examples showing routing and account numbers

What fees are associated with this service?

There are no fees associated with using CAPP, filing returns, or making e-check payments. For credit card and PIN-less debit payments, our credit card payment service provider charges a handling fee depending on the type of payment being made.

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Vehicle Registration

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Do I have to Register my vehicle and pay tax?

Nearly all vehicles located in Arlington County are subject to personal property tax, including vehicles that are not registered in Virginia, vehicles that do not run, and vehicles that are temporarily absent from Arlington County. A vehicle is temporarily absent if it does not acquire a taxable status in another jurisdiction

How do I get a decal?

A valid Virginia registration for each vehicle must be presented to the Commissioner of the Revenue, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 218. Upon payment of all outstanding Arlington County obligations, a decal will be issued.

What is a decal?

Cities and counties in Virginia require a decal to be displayed on the front windshield of each vehicle adjacent to the Virginia inspection sticker. All personal property taxes and outstanding parking violations on all vehicles must be paid before a decal can be issued for any of the vehicles. Arlington County Police will ticket all vehicles garaged, stored or parked in Arlington which do not display a valid Arlington County decal. Furthermore police departments throughout Northern Virginia will issue tickets to Arlington based vehicles not displaying a valid Arlington decal. An Arlington County decal must be displayed within 60 days of purchasing a vehicle or locating it in Arlington.

Why are you asking for my Social Security Number?

The Arlington County Commissioner of Revenue is requesting your Social Security Number for local tax administration purposes pursuant to Virginia Code § 58.1-3017. Social Security Numbers are used as a means of identification, to facilitate tax collection and to provide tax refunds to taxpayers. Social Security Numbers are regarded and protected as confidential tax information and will not be disclosed for any purpose, except as required by law.

What is a VIN?

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique number (consisting of numerals and letters) assigned to a vehicle by the auto/truck manufacturer primarily for registration and identification purposes. Every vehicle manufactured since 1981 has a 17 character VIN. When decoded, each character of the VIN identifies specifics about that particular vehicle. For example, make, model, year, body style, engine size, etc.

Where can I find the VIN?

The VIN should be listed on your state vehicle registration. The VIN can be found on your auto or truck by looking at the dashboard on the driver side of the vehicle. If the VIN can not be found, open the driver side door and look at the door post (where the door latches when it is closed). It is likely that the VIN will also be displayed in this location.

What if the VIN is not 17 characters long?

If the VIN on your auto/truck is not 17 characters long, double-check to make sure that you have copied it down correctly. If the result of a second look is that the VIN is still less than 17 characters long, the VIN is most likely from a pre-1981 vehicle. Prior to 1981, VINs varied in length from 11 to 17 characters. Information on vehicles manufactured before 1981 is limited.

How are cars valued?

The Arlington County Commissioner of Revenue uses the lowest value in recognized vehicle pricing guides, such as the N.A.D.A. Used Car Guide, to assess all vehicles. The actual price you paid for the vehicle may be the basis for the assessment only if the vehicle is not listed in a pricing guide.

What timeframe am I taxed for?

The personal property tax year is from January 1 to December 31. Vehicles are assessed based on the number of months they have a taxable situs in Arlington. A period of half a month or more is considered a full month.

I am in the military, do I have to pay?

MILITARY: If you are an active-duty member of the United States military who maintains a legal residence outside of Virginia and resides in Virginia under military orders, your vehicle(s) may qualify for a military exemption. To qualify, a vehicle must be registered:

  • solely in the name of the active duty service member, or
  • jointly in the names of the active duty service member and his or her spouse who share a household, or
  • solely in the name of the active duty service member’s spouse as long as he or she resides with the active duty military member.

Any service member or spouse requesting an exemption from personal property tax will be required to submit their military ID, Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), and documentation as to military orders and marital status (if spousal exemption is sought.). Co-owned vehicles where the co-owner is other than a spouse are only exempted when both owners are on active duty and are residents of another state. Leased vehicles do not qualify for military exemption. To find out if you qualify for this exemption, call the Commissioner’s office at 703-228-3135.

I’m not a Virginia resident. Do I still need to do this?

If you are a non-resident, you are liable for the personal property tax if your vehicle is in Arlington. You may be exempt from the tax during the first year if you provide the Commissioner’s office with a paid receipt or certified filing for a personal property tax (not an excise tax, an ad valorem tax, a sales tax, nor a registration fee) for the same vehicle and the same time period from a jurisdiction that does not prorate its tax.

In accordance with Virginia law, Arlington County’s Commissioner of Revenue assesses an annual license fee of $100 on vehicles garaged in Arlington that carry out-of-state license plates and are not exempt from the car tax (full-time student attending school in Virginia, military, congressmen, diplomatic status and taxi cabs). This fee is in addition to the annual vehicle tax and decal fee.

The State of Virginia requires vehicle owners to register their vehicles with the DMV in Virginia within 30 days of entering the state, unless otherwise exempted by law. Arlington residents must register their vehicles with Arlington County within 60 days of move-in or acquiring a new vehicle.

Current Virginia license plates may be obtained by visiting the DMV Select, located at the Commissioner’s office, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard, 2nd floor, or at any Virginia DMV Customer Service location. For more information for residents new to Virginia, visit http://www.dmvnow.com/webdoc/moving/newva.asp.

Is this property tax just an “Arlington” thing?

All cities and counties in Virginia have a personal property tax. Arlington County taxes cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, motor homes, trailers, semitrailers, boats and aircraft. This tax is assessed by the Commissioner of the Revenue while taxes are paid to the Treasurer.

Does my vehicle qualify for tax relief?

The vehicle must be owned or leased by an individual and NOT used for business purposes. A vehicle is considered to be used for business purposes if:

  • More than 50% of the mileage for the year is used as a business expense for Federal Income Tax purposes OR reimbursed by an employer;
  • More than 50% of the depreciation associated with the vehicle is deducted as a business expense for Federal Income Tax;
  • The cost of the vehicle is expensed pursuant to Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Service Code; or the vehicle is leased by an individual and the leasing company pays the tax without reimbursement from the individual.

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Security

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How is my financial information protected?

Arlington County takes information protection very seriously. There are multiple layers of security within the application to protect your data. Your access to CAPP uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) from your browser to protect any information you submit or view from the CAPP system. Your account passwords are protected so that even CAPP administrators cannot access this information.
The site is protected from “Phishing” and other “Trojan Horse” attacks with Extended Validation. Look for the “County of Arlington (US)” green bar in newer browsers to ensure that you are at the legitimate CAPP site.

What can I do to help secure my information?

Because you establish your own unique profile and password, you will be able to view and control who has access to your accounts. All information transferred to your computer is done over a secure connection. You can help maintain this security by doing the following:

  • Do NOT provide your account numbers, DLNs, or password to anyone else.
  • Choose a password that is different from those you use for your web-based email, social networking, or other web sites whose security may be compromised.
  • Change your password periodically and be sure your password is something known only by you. Your password is used to access your account information. It should be kept confidential in order to reduce your security risks.
  • Always log off. Once you have completed your transactions it is important to log off so you do not leave a “live” session active for someone else to use.
  • When you log out of CAPP you should always close the web browser to ensure your personal data is not viewable by the next person to use the computer.

My pop-up blocker reports pop-ups. Do I have to turn it off?

There are some links within CAPP , including credit card payments, that will launch or pop-up a new window of information that may be blocked by your computer from displaying on your screen and which may also prevent your ability to print documents. It is recommended that you either disable your computer’s pop-up blocker features or change your computer’s pop-up blocker settings to allow pop-ups while navigating through the CAPP secure website. CAPP will never display advertisements or other pop-up windows except to enable a feature you request, such as viewing or printing a document.

You may refer to your browser’s (i.e., Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox) Internet Options or Preference settings to locate your pop-up blocker settings. You may also locate pop-up blocker features in additional toolbars that may be installed on your browser, such as Google and Yahoo. Some Internet users have more than one pop-up blocker feature installed that may need modification.

What computers and browsers can be used with CAPP?

It is recommended that you use Internet Explorer 8 (or higher), current or newer versions of Safari, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox as your browser to access the CAPP website. Using a different browser may reduce site functionality. For your security, you may wish to disable any local settings, utilities, or browser settings that auto-fill or auto-complete fields in your browser. There are no restrictions regarding what computer you use (PC’s, Macs, Linux, netbooks, mobile phones, etc) as long as you are using a supported browser. We have received reports of problems paying by credit card using Safari and Opera, and are investigating with our credit card processing partner.

To be able to view and print letters properly, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0 version or greater.

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Business Returns and Account Access

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I filed my return in CAPP but need to make a correction. Can I do that online?

Any return you file or payment you make through CAPP can be changed until it is processed by our internal tax system (usually early the next morning). Business License and Business Tangible returns submitted through CAPP can be amended online at any time after that. But once a payment or other return is processed, it cannot be changed online. You will need to contact the appropriate office to inquire about how to make changes. For business tax returns, contact the Business Tax Division at 703-228-3060. For vehicle registrations, contact the Personal Property Division at 703-228-3135. For payments and dog license renewals, contact the Treasurer at 703-228-3090.

Can I change my address or contact info online?

You will be able notify us of such changes using links inside CAPP. To ensure your privacy and our ability to assess your taxes appropriately, most of these requests will require verification by our staff. Note that address changes for other County service agencies cannot be submitted through CAPP; contact those agencies directly. For your utilities (water/sewer/refuse) account, contact the Department of Environmental Services at 703-228-6570. For Real Estate Assessments, contact 703-228-3920.

What if I’m no longer in business?

You will be able to notify us of such changes using links inside CAPP. To ensure your privacy and our ability to assess your taxes appropriately, most of these requests will require verification by our staff.

Can I have my accountant or tax professional create a CAPP profile for me?

Yes, but we strongly suggest that you create your own master account, and then allow them to create a secondary account. That will allow you to control access to your accounts should you ever change accountants. If your accountant is based in Arlington and is registered with us for a Business License, they should register for their own CAPP Profile, and then request third party access to your accounts through that.

Can more than one CAPP profile have access to my accounts?

Yes. Multiple individuals can create profiles to access an account. The customer with the “Master” profile has the authority to manage the web access rules for any additional customer profiles.

CAPP allows for three “Access Type” options for customer profiles:

  • Master – The profile with Master authority status is granted “All Access” functionality to the account, with the additional ability to manage profile access rules to the account. There can be only one profile with Master authority. Note: To request “Master” access level, or removal of the “Master” access level from an individual that is no longer employed by a business, the business owner/officer must contact the Commissioner of Revenue.
  • Account Manager – Will have the same access authority as the Master, except the ability to remove the Master profile’s access.
  • View – Profiles with view only access will not be able to make changes, submit requests, file returns, or make payments.

CAPP also allows you to control the access third-party tax preparers have to your account.

What if I own or am employed by multiple businesses. Can I access all my businesses with one logon ID? Can I use the same email address?

If you own your own business and are also an employee of another business, you should register your CAPP profile as your own business (i.e., sole prop or non-sole prop) and then request third party access to your employer’s business.
If you own or are employed by multiple businesses, you will need to create profile for one business, and then request third-party access to the other businesses. If the businesses have the same ownership and should be separate accounts on one customer record, contact the Commissioner of Revenue to have the records merged.

How do I restrict the access that my employees and/or third-party accountants have to my accounts?

If you have the master profile on your accounts, you can adjust the permissions of the other profiles as follows:

  • All Access – file returns, make payments, submit requests (close/reactivate account, change mailing address, change DBA name, request filing extensions, and installment agreements), modify information, and manage profile access to the account.
  • File – view all information and file returns.
  • File & Pay – view all information, as make payments and file returns.
  • Pay – view all information and make payments.
  • View – view account information, but not submit requests or modify information.

I have multiple tax accounts. Can I access all of my tax accounts in CAPP?

Depending on the information you provided when you established a CAPP Profile, other accounts associated with your customer record may be available. If you need to add others, select the “Add Access to Account” link from the CAPP Customer home page. You will then be required to verify information for the account you wish to add.

For business taxes, each owner, officer, or designated employee that successfully requests access to one tax account will automatically receive access to all tax accounts for that taxpaying entity. The individual with the “Master” level authority for the taxpaying entity may then limit access to specific tax accounts.

I’m a third-party accountant or tax preparer. Can I access multiple clients’ accounts with my CAPP profile?

Yes. If your own business has an Arlington Business License, you should first create a CAPP profile for yourself. Then, you can add access to the business tax accounts for all your clients under your profile. After logging in, select the “Add Access to Another Account” link from your CAPP Home page. You will be required to enter the requested information for each of the client tax accounts to which you require access.

The account owner will then be able to log in to their CAPP Profile to change the third-party’s access level: (a) “file”, (b) “pay”, (c) “file and pay”, or (d) “view” only.

If you are not an Arlington-based business, you will need to maintain separate profiles for each client, as though you were an employee of the client.

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Contacting Us

For further assistance with CAPP, including manual sign up, contact customer service at 703-228-3702 or capp@arlingtonva.us.

For specific questions regarding taxes and payments, contact the appropriate office at the telephone numbers listed below:

  • Commissioner of Revenue Business Tax Division: 703-228-3060
  • Commissioner of Revenue Vehicle Personal Property Division: 703-228-3135
  • Treasurer’s Office: 703-228-4000

Business hours: Monday – Friday, 8a.m. – 5p.m.

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