During their meeting this afternoon, the Board of County Supervisors unanimously voted to extend the tax payment due date for the vehicle classification of tangible personal property by 90 days.
Normally, the vehicle classification of the tangible personal property tax payments is due by October 5 of the calendar year. The approved extension means that the vehicle personal property tax for tax year 2023 will now be due on Jan. 3, 2024. This does not extend the business classification of the tangible personal property tax due date; business tangible personal property will continue to be due on Oct. 5, 2023.
Prince William County is required to use a nationally recognized service for vehicle assessments. The county uses JD Power (NADA), which is one of the commonly used services by other Virginia jurisdictions to assess vehicles.
The county has historically utilized a 100 percent ratio against the assessed value until last year, tax year 2022, when vehicles were assessed at 80 percent of value to mitigate the unusually high appreciation of new and used cars. This phenomenon, largely driven by the COVID-19 supply/production chain issues and computer chip shortages across the nation, resulted in inflated car values that were deemed not reflective of true fair market value. As the car market has begun to normalize with assessed values generally depreciating year-over-year, the county returned to utilizing a 100 percent assessment ratio for tax year 2023.
The Board recognizes that the change from 80 to 100 percent ratio of fair market value, coupled with the declining percentage of tax relief from the fixed dollar amount provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia under the Personal Property Tax Relief Act, creates a hardship for taxpayers in this high inflationary environment and as taxpayers recover from the pandemic. The Board extended the payment due date to provide temporary relief to taxpayers by providing additional time to accumulate funds for the payment.
The Board also issued two directives to staff regarding vehicle personal property assessments: one directs staff to explore other nationally recognized pricing guides as the basis for assessments, and report back to the Board on options for next tax year. The other directs staffs to examine and report back to the Board regarding levels of impact of various refunding options at 5 percent, 10 percent and 20 percent.
More information about personal property tax is available at pwcva.gov/department/tax-administration/personal-property-tax. Residents may contact the county's Taxpayer Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-792-6710.
Q&A with Prince William County regarding Vehicle Tax
BRISTOW BEAT- Q: As I understand it, personal vehicles were taxed at 100 percent of their value before the pandemic, and at 80 percent last year. Now, in fiscal year, 2023 vehicles are back to being taxed at 100% of their value. I also understand the tax rate is $3.70 for every hundred dollars of the vehicle's value.
PW COUNTY-A: Virginia jurisdictions are required by the State Code to assess property at fair market value. The county has historically utilized a 100 percent ratio against the assessed value until last year, tax year 2022, when vehicles were assessed at 80 percent of value to mitigate the unusually high appreciation of new and used cars.
This phenomenon, largely driven by the COVID-19 supply/production chain issues and computer chip shortages across the nation, resulted in inflated car values that were deemed not reflective of true fair market value. Therefore, a lower assessment ratio was adopted for tax year 2022. As the car market has begun to normalize and assessed values are generally depreciating year-over-year, the county returned to utilizing a 100 percent assessment ratio for tax year 2023.
The county’s personal property tax rate for vehicles is $3.70. You can see the county’s tax rates here: https://www.pwcva.gov/assets/2023-04/Tax%20Rates%20-%202023_0.pdf
Q: I also understand that the value of used vehicles remains high (some more than others); however, some people claim the county's evaluation of their vehicles is high compared to their own research. From where is the county getting its assessment value for these vehicles? Is it from one source (if so, which one) or an average of a number of sources?
A: The county is required to use a nationally recognized valuation service, and JD Power (NADA) is one of the most common ones used by Virginia jurisdictions to assess vehicles. JD Powers (NADA) is also the valuation service that is included in the county’s third-party software/tax administration system.
(BB Note: JD Power (NADA) bases its assessments on the prices of vehicles sold via recognized used-car sellers and dealerships and does not include any private sales. Vehicles purchased through private sales generally cost less, but may be in worse condition.)
Q: What else could account for the estimates being on the high side? Does the county only look at Make, Model, and Year, or is anything else considered that would increase or decrease the value of the vehicle?
A: You can find information about how vehicles are assessed here: https://www.pwcva.gov/department/tax-administration/personal-property-tax. In addition, it is important to note that the county uses the assessed value as of January 1 of the tax year, as required by State Code. Therefore, a value obtained from an online source today will likely reflect additional depreciation since January 1, and hence, a lower value.
Q: Was the tax rate set in April during the budget season?
A: Yes. The tax rates are duly advertised and adopted with the county’s budget each year. You can find the FY 2024 Budget here: https://www.pwcva.gov/department/management-and-budget/fy2024-budget
Q: Can people dispute the value of their vehicle?
A: Yes, taxpayers can appeal their assessment. Additional information can be found here: https://www.pwcva.gov/department/tax-administration/personal-property-tax.
If a taxpayer has submitted an appeal and it is close to the due date, the taxpayer should always pay the amount due in full while waiting for an appeal to be processed as approved or denied, so they do not accrue a non-payment penalty on any unpaid balance of the tax bill.
Q: Are car taxes due in October?
A: Personal property taxes are typically due October 5 based on County Ordinance. However, on September 12, 2023, the Board of County Supervisors took action to extend the due date for the vehicle classification of tangible personal property by 90 days to January 3, 2024. You can find the release regarding the Board of County Supervisors’s action here: https://www.pwcva.gov/news/board-approves-extension-tax-due-date-vehicle-personal-property-90-days
Q: Are car taxes specifically earmarked for county road projects?
A: No, all tangible personal property tax revenue is considered general revenue in the county’s general fund. General revenues are split with the School Division in accordance with the County-School Revenue Sharing Agreement, with the School Division receiving 57.23 percent of all general revenue. The county’s 42.77 percent share of general revenue funds many county programs and services. You can see the breakdown of funding in the budget here: https://www.pwcva.gov/department/management-and-budget/fy2024-budget
Q: Are vehicle taxes tied to the need for road improvements? Is that a consideration when the county recommends a vehicle tax?
A: Taxes are generally determined based on the funding needed to provide programs and services to the community, as described in the prior question.
Q: From what I understand payment plans and different payment options for car tax are available. Correct?
A: Residents are welcome to call Taxpayer Services to discuss options for the payment of taxes if they need help. Pre-payment and regular payments on an account are available to taxpayers year-round. The taxpayer can make payments via the Taxpayer Portal as it is self-serve. Taxpayers can register for an account if they do not already have one at https://tax.pwcgov.org/. They can also make payments at any time throughout the year and can find more information on tax payment options at: https://www.pwcva.gov/department/tax-administration/tax-payments.
The day after the tax is due, the bills are considered delinquent and subject to penalty and interest. Delinquent payment plans can be established as soon as the first day the balance becomes delinquent. Taxpayers can call Tax Administration at 703-792-6710 and ask to be set up on a delinquent payment plan at that time. More information can be found at: https://www.pwcva.gov/department/tax-administration/tax-enforcement-delinquent-tax-collections.
BB: Prince William vehicle owners should also be mindful of how they pay their car tax. People paying via credit cards may need to go through an intermediary and incur surprising fees, as one man on Western PW Chatter accounted.
According to the Prince William County Government tax administration page on the website, there are various ways to pay, and when people pay via electronic check the service is free!
"An electronic check is a convenient way to make an online payment using your checking account. All electronic check payments are processed by the County."
Information in this article was provided by the Prince William County Communications Department, which derived its information from the Finance Department.
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