The decal is an important tool for Arlington County in ensuring that everyone who should register a vehicle and pay personal property tax in Arlington does so.
It begins with County registration of vehicles. Many people in Arlington do not realize they have to register their vehicles with the state DMV, as well as with the Arlington Commissioner of Revenue. The Commissioner’s staff uses the decal to get these cars registered and into compliance.
The decal also helps Treasurer’s Office staff with collection of both vehicle tax and parking tickets. For example, the Treasurer’s Office will not issue a decal for any vehicle owned or co-owned by a person who is delinquent on their vehicle personal property tax, or who has an outstanding parking ticket. What’s more, the possibility of receiving additional tickets motivates people to register their cars, as well as pay their vehicle personal property tax and parking tickets.
Requiring Arlington vehicles to display a valid decal provides an obvious visual indicator for tax and law enforcement officers to determine whether personal property taxes have been paid on a particular vehicle. When all vehicle owners pay their fair share of personal property taxes, then all of us pay less, which is critical to fair taxation.
Vehicle taxes and the decal bring in approximately $80 million for the county. This money helps to fund schools, parks, roads, and other great services provided to Arlington residents. Arlington has the lowest rate of tax delinquency in Virginia: 0.226% for FY 2017. The decal is an important tool in achieving this low delinquency rate, which translates into millions of dollars that would otherwise be added to the tax burden of conscientious taxpayers.
It is interesting to note that while other jurisdictions have decided to do away with the decal, they still charge taxpayers a $33 decal fee.