Commissioner of Revenue

Vehicle Personal Property Tax Information

 

For any questions concerning decal fees or problems, please contact the Arlington County Treasurer's Office at 703-228-4000.


PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX ON VEHICLES

Arlington County taxes all vehicles located in the county. Virginia state law gives the Commissioner of Revenue the duty of assessing vehicles and administering the tax. The Arlington County Board sets the tax rate each spring. 

Q. Why have personal property taxes changed?

A. In 2006 there where significant changes to the vehicle tax relief and the personal property tax rate. For more information, click here (30.0K PDF format).

Q. What types of vehicles are defined as taxable under the Vehicle Personal Property Tax?

A. Automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, motor homes, trailers, semitrailers, and boats.

Q. Which vehicles are subject to the Vehicle Personal Property Tax?

A. 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 has not been legally registered in another jurisdiction.

Q. Do I need to register my vehicles in Arlington County even if they are already registered in the state of Virginia?

A. Every vehicle garaged in Arlington County must be registered with the Arlington County Commissioner of Revenue. This can be done through the mail or in person using the Vehicle Registration Form (15.0K PDF format). You can also register online. To register your vehicle, you'll need to submit your valid state vehicle registration. If you have moved your vehicle from another Virginia jurisdiction, you'll need to supply a copy of your most recent paid vehicle personal property tax receipt or a copy of your most recent certified vehicle personal property tax filing.

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Q. Do I need a decal and, if I do, how do I get one?

A. Every vehicle regularly garaged or parked in Arlington County requires a County Decal. As of July 1, 2010, the fee for obtaining an Arlington County decal is $33.00. For information on Arlington decal procedures, please contact the Treasurer's Office at 703-228-4000.

Many neighborhoods in Arlington have zoned parking. You may also need to obtain a Zone Parking Permit depending on your Arlington address.

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Q. If I'm new to Arlington or I have purchased a new vehicle, how soon do I need to register?

A. You are required to file a vehicle personal property tax return within 60 days of moving a vehicle into Arlington or purchasing a vehicle which will be located in Arlington.

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Q. What is the usual tax return filing timeline?

A. Each April you will receive a notice listing the vehicle(s) registered in your name as of the previous January 1st. Included with this listing is a notification form for changes or additions. Should you need to make changes or additions, this notification form must be sent to the CoR office before May 1st.

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Q. Is the timeline the same for boats?

A. If you own a boat, you must file a Watercraft Personal Property Tax Return (15.6K PDF format) by May 1st.

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Q. When will I receive my tax bill?

A. Owners of vehicles registered in Arlington on or before July 15 will receive a tax bill which will be due on October 5. If you move a vehicle into Arlington after July 15 and file a vehicle personal property tax return within 60 days, the Treasurer will bill you and you will have 30 days from the billing date to pay the tax without late payment penalty or interest.

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Q. Upon what is my vehicle assessment based?

A. The Arlington County Commissioner of Revenue bases the assessment on values in recognized vehicle pricing guides, such as the N.A.D.A. Used Car Guide. 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.

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Q. If my vehicle has been in Arlington less than a whole year, will my taxes be prorated?

A. The vehicle 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. If your vehicle is not registered in another jurisdiction, it is considered to be temporarily absent from Arlington so the Arlington tax will not be prorated. If the vehicle is moved to a non-prorating Virginia locality, you will still owe taxes to Arlington for the full year.

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Q. What if I trade in my vehicle?

A. When you buy or trade in a vehicle, the salesperson will often say they will “take care of everything.” However, they will not register your vehicle for the personal property tax or have your Arlington vehicle decal transferred for you. Nor, will the salesperson contact our office to tell us you have disposed of a vehicle.

Please provide your disposal information to our office online to notify the Commissioner of the trade-in.

If you prefer to complete the paper version of this form, please print and complete the Vehicle Disposal Form (90.5K PDF format) and return it to our office via facsimile: 703-228-7581, or by mail to:

  • Commissioner of Revenue
    Vehicle Personal Property Tax Division
    2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 218
    Arlington, Virginia 22201

You may also register your new vehicle online using the Online Payment and Registration System and then contact the Treasurer regarding the transfer of the decal from your previous vehicle to your recently acquired vehicle.

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Q. What if I sell, donate, or dispose of my vehicle?

A. If your vehicle has been disposed of, please notify the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by calling 804-497-7100 to update the Commonwealth’s records. You can then provide your disposal information to our office online as long as the disposal occurred within the last 30 days.

If you prefer to complete the paper version of this form, please print and complete the Vehicle Disposal Form (90.5K PDF format) and return it to our office via facsimile: 703-228-7581, or by mail to:

  • Commissioner of Revenue
    Vehicle Personal Property Tax Division
    2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 218
    Arlington, Virginia 22201

If you wait more than 30 days to notify the Commissioner, you must contact the DMV to be certain that the Commonwealth has a record of the vehicle's disposal. After 30 days, a bill of sale or insurance policy providing the disposal date of the vehicle may be provided as documentary evidence of the disposition of the vehicle.

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Q. What if I move?

A. If you have moved within Arlington, you will need to provide your new address so we can update your tax records. You can provide your change of address information to our office online. Please also notify the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by calling 804-497-7100 to update the Commonwealth’s records.

If you prefer to complete the paper version of this form, please print and complete the Vehicle Address Change Form (65.0K PDF format) and return it to our office via facsimile: 703-228-7581, or by mail to:

  • Commissioner of Revenue
    Vehicle Personal Property Tax Division
    2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 218
    Arlington, Virginia 22201

If you have moved out of Arlington, but within Virginia, in the last 30 days, you will need to provide your new address and the date of your move so we can adjust your vehicle personal property tax assessment. If you wait more than 30 days to notify the Commissioner, and have moved within Virginia, you must also provide a filing receipt or paid tax receipt from your new taxing locality. Please also notify the DMV to be certain your vehicle record and garage jurisdiction have changed. (The garage jurisdiction determines what locality receives the updated address changes from the DMV.)

If you have moved out of Virginia, you must provide a copy of your new state vehicle registration in order to adjust your account. 

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Q. If I am in the military, do I still have to pay this tax?

A. If you are an active-duty member of the United States military who maintains a legal residence outside of Virginia and is residing 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 CoR office at 703-228-3135.

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Q. What about non-residents?

A. Even if you are a non-resident, you are liable for the vehicle personal property tax if your vehicle is garaged or parked in Arlington. Some non-residents may be exempt from the tax during the first year if you provide a paid receipt or certified filing for a personal property tax for the same vehicle and the same time period from another Virginia jurisdiction which does not prorate its tax or from another state or city. An excise tax, registration fee, sales tax or an ad valorem tax is not considered vehicle personal property tax.

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Q. Is there any possibility that I might be eligible for property tax relief?

A. The Commonwealth Car Tax Relief program was enacted in 1998. It applies to the first $20,000.00 of the assessed value of cars, panel trucks and pick-up trucks. These vehicles must have a registered gross weight of under 7,501 pounds. It also applies to motorcycles that are owned or leased. To qualify, vehicles must be used for non-business purposes.

Motor homes, trailers, boats and farm use vehicles do not qualify for tax relief.

Additional information regarding the Personal Property Tax Relief Act (PPTRA)

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Q. May I talk to someone at the Commissioner of Revenue office in person?

A. You may visit the Commissioner's Vehicle Personal Property Office (Room 218) at any time between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also reach us by phone at 703-228-3135.

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Last Modified: July 11, 2012
2100 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, VA 22201 Tel: 703-228-3000 TTY: 703-228-4611