Statement from Arlington’s Commissioner of the Revenue regarding impacts of COVID-19 on Personal Property Values for 2021
The Arlington County’s Office of the Commissioner of Revenue bases the annual tax assessments for motor vehicles garaged in Arlington County on the “Clean Loan Value”, established by the “National Automobile Dealer’s Association Used Car Guide”, which is published every January. Under this guidance, assessments are prepared every summer for bills to be mailed in preparation for the annual motor vehicle tax payment due date of October 5.
Generally, a vehicle is a depreciating asset, so customers would expect lower assessments as their vehicle ages. However, our office has learned that some vehicle values may have increased this year due to a number of factors, including a slowdown in production of vehicles in 2020 and 2021, partly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has caused an increase in prices for new and used vehicles. Limited availability and associated price increase drive up prices for customers shopping in the used car market as well as the new vehicle market. These higher values may result in increased assessments for some vehicles.
At this time, our office is unable to predict how this potential increase could affect our customers. Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy wants to assure Arlingtonians that they will receive a fair assessment based on market value data.
Vehicle Personal Property Taxes
All cities and counties in Virginia have a personal property tax which helps fund local government. For Arlington County residents, the tax is assessed on all motor vehicles that are garaged (regularly parked) overnight in Arlington County per Arlington County Code § 27-11.1 , including:
- Motor homes
- Motor Scooters
The tax also applies to vehicles that:
- Do not display Virginia license plates (these vehicles may also be required to pay an annual Out of State License Fee
- Are inoperable
- Are “temporarily absent” from Arlington (removed for a short period with the intent to return)
- Are garaged in other Virginia jurisdictions, or moved outside the Commonwealth of Virginia, but not properly registered as such
As of July 1, 2019, vehicles are no longer required to display a county decal.
Vehicle Personal Property Tax Exemptions
If you are a full-time student with a vehicle registered in a state that has personal property taxes and you are the sole owner of the vehicle, you may be exempt from Arlington County personal property taxes. To find out if you qualify please call the COR office at 703-228-3135 Option 0, or visit the office at 2100 Clarendon Blvd, Suite 218.
Any motor vehicle owned by the State or any political subdivision or by the United States government may be exempt from Arlington County personal property taxes. To find out if you qualify, call the COR office at 703-228-3135 Option 0, or visit the office at 2100 Clarendon Blvd, Suite 218.
If you are a foreign diplomat and your vehicle is registered with the United States Department of State, you may be exempt from Arlington County personal property taxes. To find out if you qualify please call the COR office at 703-228-3135 Option 0, or visit the office at 2100 Clarendon Blvd, Suite 218.
The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act exempts active duty military personnel from personal property tax in any state other than their legal state of residence. Therefore, vehicles titled in an active duty non-resident military person’s name(s) will be exempt as long as the active duty military member is in Virginia pursuant to military orders and furnishes a Leave & Earnings Statement (LES) for the period of situs (physical presence in this locality/state).
To apply for this exemption, active duty members and their spouses are required to submit:
- A completed application and affidavit
- A copy of the active duty military member and spouse’s Military ID Card
- A copy of the servicemember’s LES that corresponds (within three months) to the month and year in which the vehicle was either moved into Arlington County or purchased
- If applying for tax relief for a leased vehicle, a copy of the lease agreement is also required
- A copy of the active duty military member’s orders
- Proof of spouse’s legal state of residence or domicile (acceptable documentation includes a copy of a voter registration card, driver’s license [front & back], or personal property tax bill)
Once approved, the Commissioner of Revenue will annually mail a Vehicle Personal Property Tax Notice indicating that an exemption has been provided. Any changes that might affect the active duty member’s exempt status must be reported at this time by returning the form, or contacting our office at 703-228-3135 Option 0. In addition, the active duty member and/or qualified spouse may be asked to provide certain documentation annually as continuing proof of exemption.
Note: Under any circumstance, if your vehicle is leased, you do not qualify for personal property tax exemption. However, beginning with the tax year 2016, each vehicle leased by an active duty military member, his or her spouse, or both, may qualify to receive 100 percent tax relief for the first $20,000 of the vehicle’s assessed value. In order for a leased vehicle to qualify for Personal Property Tax Relief (PPTRA):
- The lease must be in the name of the active duty servicemember and/or his or her spouse.
- Neither party applying for the tax relief can be a Virginia resident and must be in Virginia due to military orders.
- The lease document must require the lessee to pay the leasing company for any tax assessed against the vehicle.
In accordance with the situs provisions in Virginia code (Code of Virginia § 58.1-3511) and the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), a vehicle registered with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles that is owned, or leased by a service member maintaining Arlington County as their legal residence has a tax liability in Arlington County regardless of where the member is stationed or where your vehicle(s) may be garaged or located during the year. Active duty military personnel who are residents of Virginia, but of a County other than Arlington, must show proof of filing/payment in that County to avoid paying personal property taxes in Arlington.
Military Exemption for 100% Disabled American Veterans
The Virginia Constitution provides veterans who have 100 per cent service-connected, permanent, and total disabilities with a tax exemption for one automobile or pickup truck. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for determining a veteran’s disability rating. Please fill out the application and follow the instructions on how to submit it to our office.
The Commissioner of Revenue’s Personal Property Tax Division assesses all Arlington vehicle personal property taxes, based on:
- The County Board’s set tax rate (for 2020, the tax rate has been set at $5.00 per $100 of assessed value).
- Your vehicle’s value. (The Commissioner uses the “Clean Loan” value in the January [of the tax year] edition of the “National Automobile Dealer’s Association Used Car Guide” for vehicle assessments.)
- The number of months your vehicle was located in Arlington.
- The amount of tax relief your vehicle is provided.
- The Code of Virginia and local ordinances.
For more information on tax assessments or vehicle personal property taxes, contact the Personal Property Tax Division:
- Call Center: 703-228-3135
- Vehicle Personal Property Service Counter:
Beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office, located on the 2nd floor of the Bozman Government Center, is closed to the public until further notice. This includes all in-person transactions for all the Divisions including Administration, Business Tax, Vehicle Personal Property, and DMV Select. Filings and payments can be processed online via the Customer and Assessment Payment Portal at CAPP.arlingtonva.us.
We appreciate your understanding while we work to keep our staff and customers healthy and safe.
- Online: Customer Assessment and Payment Portal (CAPP)
- Fax: 703-228-7581
Office of Commissioner of Revenue
Personal Property Tax Division
P. O. Box 1755
Merrifield, VA 22116-1755