Personal Property Tax Information
What is the Personal Property Tax?
Most Virginia jurisdictions levy a personal property tax, also known as a car tax -- though many localities in other U.S. states do not have such a tax. Personal property taxes are used to fund general County services like police and fire protection, recreation, library services, and the County's share of education costs.
Items Subject to the Personal Property Tax
Prince William County's personal property tax is assessed annually, as of January 1, for the following kinds of personal property: automobiles, trucks, mobile homes, motorcycles, trailers, and business personal property (e.g., furniture and fixtures, computer equipment, construction equipment, etc.). All other personal property, including personal effects, household items, money, securities, and livestock, is not subject to the personal property tax.
PLEASE NOTE: The personal property tax applies to any vehicle normally garaged or parked in the County, even if it is registered in another state. Virginia law also makes vehicles with an active Virginia registration taxable in the Virginia municipality where it is registered, even if the vehicle is garaged or parked in another state.
The County maintains registration information on boats, personal watercraft, outboard motors, boat and watercraft trailers, though the tax on these items was eliminated beginning in 1998.
Prorated Personal Property Taxes
Generally, the tax due on vehicles moved into or out of the County after Jan. 1 is prorated based on the number of months that the vehicle is located in the County. There are three exceptions:
- The vehicle is moved to a non-prorating Virginia jurisdiction; the tax is not prorated.
- The vehicle is moved from a non-prorating Virginia jurisdiction; the vehicle is taxable in the prior jurisdiction for the entire year.
- The vehicle is moved out of Virginia.
Owners that move their vehicle out of Virginia must promptly register the vehicle in the state where the vehicle is normally garaged or parked in accordance with that state's motor vehicle laws. Failure to do so will result in continuing or additional personal property tax liability to Prince William County (see Virginia Code 58.1-3511 which states that vehicles registered in Virginia but normally garaged or parked in another state are taxable in the locality in Virginia where registered).
Vehicle License Fee
License fees are general fund revenues that are budgeted and appropriated by the Board of County Supervisors. County license fees do not apply to residents of towns or to vehicles garaged at Marine Corps Base Quantico. In addition to registering their vehicles with Prince William County, residents of the towns should also register their vehicles with their respective town clerk or town taxpayer services office.
Personal Property Tax and License Fee Payments
Bills are mailed in late summer, with an Oct. 5 due date for all vehicles located in the County on January 1, or moved into the County by June 30. For vehicles moved into the County after July 1, you will receive a bill for the prorated tax. If a due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the due date is moved to the following business day.
Virginia law requires localities to use a nationally recognized pricing guide as the basis for assessment of vehicles for personal property tax. Prince William County contracts with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) to electronically assess vehicles. Approximately 95% of the vehicles in the County are assessed this way. The values used by NADA are those listed in its car value guides. Values listed in these guides are based on reports of actual transactions and wholesale auctions of vehicles throughout the area for which the guide is published. Most Virginia jurisdictions use the NADA guide books. The County assesses vehicles as of January 1 of each year. The assessed value of automobiles, trucks, and vans represents the clean trade-in value obtained from NADA or from the NADA car value guide. New vehicles not listed in the January NADA guide are assessed at 90% or 95% of the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) depending on model year.
Annual Asset Statement
In the spring of each year, you will receive an asset summary statement. Only incorrect information or changes to this form need to be reported to the County.
Appealing a Vehicle Assessment for High Mileage
Send a copy of your last oil change invoice or your state inspection receipt along with a copy of your state registration to Prince William County, P.O. Box 2467, Prince William, Virginia 22195-2467. Write "Hi-mileage" in the lower left corner of the envelope. Please do not send this information along with payment or in the envelope included with the tax bill. These adjustments will take time to process. You must pay your personal property tax in full. You will be refunded the difference. The deduction for high mileage can not exceed 40% of the trade-in value for that model year.
Minimum Mileage for High Mileage Adjustments
To qualify, the vehicle mileage as of January 1, 2013, must be
2013 model year vehicle - 10,001 miles or more
2012 model year vehicle - 20,001 miles or more
2011 model year vehicle - 35,001 miles or more
2010 model year vehicle - 45,001 miles or more
2009 model year vehicle - 60,001 miles or more
2008 model year vehicle - 70,001 miles or more
2007 model year vehicle - 85,001 miles or more
2006 model year vehicle - 95,001 miles or more
2005 model year vehicle - 110,001 miles or more
2004 model year vehicle - 120,001 miles or more
2003 model year vehicle - 130,001 miles or more
2002 model year vehicle - 140,001 miles or more
2001 model year vehicle - 150,001 miles or more
2000 model year vehicle - 155,001 miles or more
1999 - 1994 model year vehicles - 165,001 miles or more
Appealing a Vehicle Assessment for Condition
Code of Va. Section 58.1-3503 requires all localities to use a recognized pricing guide to value their vehicles. The use of individual sales or trade-in offers as the basis for a vehicle's assessment is not permitted under state law. 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, use the form below to file an appeal. Form Appeal of Vehicle Assessment
State Tax Relief (Car Tax)
Information on the Personal Property Tax Relief Act is available here.
Also, please see the state tax relief
page for detailed information.
Welcome to PWC!
If you recently moved from another Virginia jurisdiction
, and have paid a current license fee or have a current vehicle decal , you should change your address with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV),
then call the County at 703-792-6710. You must report within 60 days of moving to the County, or you will be assessed a late filing penalty.
If you have recently moved from another state
, please register with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
, then call the County at 703-792-6710. You must report within 60 days of moving to the County, or you will be assessed a late filing penalty.
Active duty or retired military personnel may
be eligible for personal property tax relief. Follow the Military Personnel
link for more information.