Personal Property Tax
The 2021 Personal Property Taxes were due October 5, 2021. Any unpaid balance now includes a 10% penalty. Please include 10% with your payment. Interest will accrue each month, starting November 1, 2021, on unpaid balances.
WHAT IS PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX?
Personal Property Tax (also known as a car tax) is a tax on tangible property - i.e., property that can be touched and moved, such as a car or piece of equipment. It is an ad valorem tax, meaning the tax amount is set according to the value of the property. A higher-valued property pays more tax than a lower-valued property.
- Personal property tax applies to any vehicle normally garaged or parked in Prince William County - even if the vehicle is registered in another state or county.
- Virginia law makes vehicles with an active Virginia registration taxable in the municipality where the vehicle is registered - even if the vehicle is garaged or parked in another state.
Although jurisdictions throughout Virginia levy a personal property tax, many U.S. states do not; as a result, some County residents may not be aware that a tax on personal property exists.
Revenue collected from the personal property tax is used to fund services like police and fire protection and other services such as parks, libraries, and education.
ITEMS SUBJECT TO THE PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX
In Prince William County, a personal property tax is assessed annually (as of January 1) on automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, and mobile homes. Business are also assessed a business tangible property tax on items such as furniture and fixtures, computers, and construction equipment.
All other property; including personal effects, household items, monies, securities, and livestock are not subject to the personal property tax.
The County maintains registration information on boats, personal watercraft, outboard motor watercraft, and boat trailers although the tax on these items was eliminated beginning in 1998.
LOCAL VEHICLE REGISTRATION / LICENSE FEE
A local vehicle registration fee (which is sometimes called a license fee) is imposed on vehicles normally garaged, stored, or parked in the County. The registration fee is listed on the Personal Property tax bill. The fee is collected as general revenue which is budgeted and appropriated by the Board of County Supervisors. The County registration fee does not apply to town residents or to vehicles garaged at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Residents of the towns should register their vehicles with both Prince William County and their respective town clerk or tax office.
STATE TAX RELIEF (CAR TAX)
Information about the impact of the Personal Property Tax Relief Act on County residents is located on the County webpage Personal Property Tax Relief Act (PPTRA). Summary information is also available at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
MOVING A VEHICLE
Moving a vehicle to Prince William County from another Virginia Jurisdiction, please report your change of address to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) 804-497-7100. Contact the County that you moved from and then call Prince William County at 703-792-6710. Contact each County within 60 days of moving to avoid continued assessment in the County you are no longer living in and to be assessed accordingly by Prince William County.
Moving a vehicle into Prince William County from another state, please register your vehicle and change of address with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) 804-497-7100 then call the County at 703-792-6710. Contact the County within 60 days of moving to avoid assessment of a late filing penalty and to ensure correct assessment of your vehicle.
Moving a vehicle out of Prince William County. You must register the vehicle with the state and or municipality where the vehicle is moved to. Failure to update the registration will result in continued personal property tax liability with Prince William County. It is recommended that the move be reported to both the County and to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Taxpayer Services at 703-792-6710 or email to TaxpayerServices@pwcgov.org
* MOVING A VEHICLE OUT OF VIRGINIA. You must register the vehicle with the state where the vehicle is moved to. Failure to register will result in continued personal property tax liability with Prince William County. The Virginia Code Section 58.1-3511 - "the situs (meaning tax liability) for vehicles registered in Virginia, but normally garaged, docked, or parked in another state shall be the locality in Virginia where registered."
PRORATED PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX
Vehicles that are moved into or out of the County after January 1 are prorated based on the number of months that the vehicle is/was located in the County.
Exceptions to the prorating standard:
- Vehicle is moved out to a non-prorating Virginia jurisdiction; then the tax is not prorated.
- Vehicle is moved in from a non-prorating Virginia jurisdiction; then the vehicle is taxable in the prior jurisdiction for the entire year.
- Vehicle is moved out of Virginia and is not registered with the state where it is moved to.
PAYMENT DUE DATE
Personal property tax bills are mailed late summer with payment due October 5 (unless this date falls on a weekend or holiday then the due date is moved to the next business day). A prorated tax bill is applied to vehicles that move into or out of the County after January 15th. See Prorated Personal Property Tax for further information.
PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT AND PENALTY
Payment of the Personal Property Tax is normally due each year by October 5 (see Tax Bill for due date).
If payment is late, a 10% late payment penalty is assessed on the unpaid original tax balance. Interest at a rate of 10% per annum is added beginning the 1st day of the month following the original due date. A collection fee of $30 is added to accounts more than 30 days delinquent. Administrative fees are added for most collection processes (liens, garnishments, registration holds, judgments, etc.)
VA Code 58.1-3916: Penalty and Interest
Our office is bound by VA Code regarding waiving the penalty or interest. The code was written to ensure fair and equitable treatment for all taxpayers and prevent the tax office from subjective decisions. Per the VA Code, localities do not have the legal authority to waive late payments on past due accounts, except under very strict circumstances.
MANAGING YOUR PERSONAL PROPERTY
The best ways to manage your tax records is to create an online account at tax.pwcgov.org. By creating an online account, you have access to information and resources for managing your county taxes. For example, you can make a payment, print a copy of a tax bill, sign up for electronic billing or notifications, view the account balance and payment history, report vehicle status changes, and report a move and address change. Click here to register for an online account or to login (if you already have an account).
Assistance is also available by contacting Taxpayer Services:
Phone: 703-792-6710 Monday-Friday, 8:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M.
Virginia law requires localities to use a nationally recognized pricing guide as the basis for the assessment of vehicles. Prince William County contracts with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), as approximately 95% of all vehicles in the County can be assessed using the NADA car value guide. The values used by NADA are based on actual transactions and wholesale auctions of vehicles throughout the area for which the guide is published. Most Virginia jurisdictions use NADA to assess vehicles.
Vehicles are assessed using the January NADA clean trade-in value for automobiles, trucks, and vans. Newer vehicles not listed in the January NADA guide are assessed at a percentage of cost, or if cost information is unavailable a percentage of the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). Vehicles older than those listed in the NADA guide are valued at a percentage of cost, a percentage of the prior year's assessment, or other method that is representative of the value. There is a minimum assessment for vehicles and trucks depending on gross weight.
Trailers are assessed using the following depreciation schedule: 1st year - 90% of cost; 2nd year - 80% of cost; 3rd year - 65% of cost; 4th year - 50% of cost; 5th year - 35% of cost; 6th year - 20% of cost; 7th year and after - 10% of cost. The minimum assessed value of a trailer is $100 - $500 depending on gross weight.
All assessments are 100% of the indicated value.
ANNUAL ASSET STATEMENT
In the spring of each year, owners of personal property will receive a Personal Property Declaration, also referred to as an asset summary statement. Any errors or omissions found in the statement should be reported to the County. If the statement is correct no action is needed.
APPEALING A VEHICLE ASSESSMENT FOR HIGH MILEAGE
To report that your vehicle has high mileage (see chart below for minimum mileage amounts), send a copy of your last oil change invoice or your state inspection receipt along with a copy of your tax bill or state registration to PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, TAX ADMINISTRATION DIVISION, PO BOX 2467, WOODBRIDGE, VA 22195-2467. Write "Hi-Mileage" in the lower left corner of the envelope. Please do not send mileage information along with a tax payment.
High mileage adjustments can take time to process. You must pay your personal property tax in full by the due date and be refunded the difference. The deduction for high mileage cannot exceed 40% of the normal assessed value for the vehicle. Once a vehicle is established in our system as having high-mileage, the reduction in assessed value will continue for as long as you own the vehicle.
MINIMUM MILEAGE FOR HIGH MILEAGE ADJUSTMENTS
To qualify, vehicle mileage as of January 1, 2021, must be:
- 2021 model year vehicle - 10,001 miles or more
- 2020 model year vehicle - 20,001 miles or more
- 2019 model year vehicle - 35,001 miles or more
- 2018 model year vehicle - 45,001 miles or more
- 2017 model year vehicle - 60,001 miles or more
- 2016 model year vehicle - 70,001 miles or more
- 2015 model year vehicle - 85,001 miles or more
- 2014 model year vehicle - 95,001 miles or more
- 2013 model year vehicle - 105,001 miles or more
- 2012 model year vehicle - 120,001 miles or more
- 2011 model year vehicle - 130,001 miles or more
- 2010 model year vehicle - 140,001 miles or more
- 2009 model year vehicle - 150,001 miles or more
- 2008 model year vehicle - 155,001 miles or more
- 2007 & older model year vehicles - 165,001 miles or more
The mileage we record in our system for your vehicle will be adjusted to 1/1/2021 by adding 1,250 miles per month if the date on your documentation of mileage is before 1/1/2021 or subtracting 1,250 miles per month if the date on your documentation of mileage is after 1/1/2021.
APPEALING A VEHICLE ASSESSMENT FOR CONDITION
The Code of Va. Section 58.1-3503 requires all localities to use a recognized pricing guide to value vehicles. The use of individual sales or trade-in offers as the basis for a vehicle's assessment is not permitted under state law. The Code of Va. 58.1-3515 requires localities to value property as of January 1.
An appeal can be filed if the condition of the vehicle is such that it has major structural/mechanical damage as of January 1. If you believe your assessment is in error due to the condition of the vehicle, you can file an appeal using the Appeal of Vehicle Assessment Form
Elderly and Disabled
Elderly Citizens and Disabled Persons who meet certain criteria may be granted relief from all or part of their real estate taxes, personal property tax on one vehicle, the vehicle registration/license fee, and the solid waste fee. For more information visit the Elderly and Disabled tax relief program page.
Effective January 1, 2021, disabled veterans may qualify for relief on one automobile or pickup truck owned and used primarily by or for the veteran. For more information visit the Disabled Veterans tax relief program page.
Military Personnel Exemptions
Active duty and retired military personnel may be eligible for personal property tax relief. For more information visit the Military Personnel Exemption page.