Vehicle Personal Property Tax Appeals

Legal Basis for Uniform Assessments

  • Virginia state law (Section 58.1-3503.A.3) requires the Commissioner of Revenue to assess vehicles using values found in a “recognized pricing guide,” thus ensuring uniformity and equity of all assessments within a jurisdiction.
  • Virginia state law (Section 58.1-3515) also specifies that personal property assessments are to be based on property values as of January 1 of the tax year which begins on January 1 and ends on December 31.
  • To meet these requirements, Arlington uses one of the lowest January 1 values, the “clean loan value,” in the N.A.D.A. Official Used Car Guide (Eastern January 1 Edition) and other guides published by the National Association of Automobile Dealers or other recognized organizations.

Read the Following Before Filing an Official Appeal

  • Nearly all vehicles (e.g., automobiles, trailers, boats) located in Arlington are subject to Arlington County personal property taxes.
  • If you feel your vehicle has been assessed incorrectly, you may appeal your assessment to the Commissioner of Revenue pursuant to Section 58.1-3980, et seq.
  • Arlington taxpayers may use the Commissioner of Revenue’s official vehicle assessment appeals process only if they feel that the Commissioner has not assessed their vehicles correctly because of special circumstances relating to the condition of the vehicle (e.g., excessive rust, damage due to an accident) that may have caused the vehicle’s value to be less than the official assessed value.
  • All other perceived assessment errors resulting from incorrect or incomplete vehicle information (e.g., wrong make, model, year, location, ownership) are handled through the regular administrative correction process, not the official appeal.
  • If there is incorrect information on your assessment, if you have sold your vehicle or have moved your vehicle from Arlington, please call the Commissioner’s office at 703-228-3135 so the Commissioner can correct your assessment.
  • Because of time constraints during the fall assessment period, the Commissioner recommends that, to avoid a late payment penalty, you pay your bill in full, have the assessment corrected, then receive a refund based on the corrected assessment.
  • If you file an official appeal before the tax due date within 30 days of the assessment, you won’t incur a late-payment penalty.
  • If you wish to file an official appeal after 30 days from the date of the assessment, you should pay the full assessed amount to the Treasurer by the due date, then apply for a refund through this appeal process, or you will be assessed a late payment penalty.

Appeals Process

1. Have your vehicle individually appraised by an expert appraiser (e.g., car dealer, insurance appraiser, car auctioneer or automobile mechanic). The written appraisal must:

    • Be on the appraiser’s letterhead
    • Include the appraiser’s name, address, phone number and signature
    • Describe the vehicle’s condition on January 1 of the assessment’s tax year
    • List the specific conditions that make your vehicle’s worth lower than the clean loan value listed in the N.A.D.A. Official Used Car Guide (Eastern January 1 Edition) (e.g., excessive rust, body damage, missing engine — excess mileage alone is not a sufficient reason)
    • List each condition that existed on January 1 and the amount that condition contributed to your vehicle’s clean loan value reduction

2. Submit the appraisal and a completed Notice of Appeal of Vehicle Personal Property Assessment form to the Commissioner of Revenue.

  • The Commissioner will review the application, then notify you in writing of her decision.
  • Appealing your assessment doesn’t guarantee that your personal property tax assessment will be lowered.

Note: An appeal becomes official once you have mailed the required documents (as determined by the post office postmark) or delivered them to the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office. You also can appeal your assessment by filing suit against the Commissioner of Revenue in the Arlington Circuit Court, pursuant to Virginia Code § 58.1-3984.