Personal Property Tax Information
What is the Personal Property Tax?
Personal property tax (also known as 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 that the tax amount is set according to the value of the property. A higher-valued property pays more tax than a lower-valued property.
Although jurisdictions throughout Virginia levy a personal property tax, other U.S. states do not, and because they don't some County residence many not be aware that a tax on personal property exists.
Revenue collected from the personal property tax is used to fund general County services like police and fire protection and other services such as parks, library services, and education.
Items Subject to the Personal Property Tax
Prince William County's personal property tax is assessed annually as of January 1 for the following:
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.
- mobile homes
- business personal property - such as furniture and fixtures, computers, and construction equipment
All other personal 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 motors, boat and watercraft trailers; though the tax on these items was eliminated beginning in 1998.
Prorated Personal Property Tax
The personal property tax on vehicles that are moved into or out of the County after January 1st is prorated based on the number of months that the vehicle is located within the County. There are three exceptions to the prorating standard.
- 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 Fees
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.
Payment Due Date
Personal property tax bills are mailed out in late summer. Payment is due Oct. 5th for all vehicles located in the County as of Jan. 1st and those moved into the County by June 30th. For vehicles moved into the County after June 30th a prorated tax bill is sent. If the Oct. 5th 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, owners of personal property 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, 2014, must be
2014 model year vehicle - 10,001 miles or more
2013 model year vehicle - 20,001 miles or more
2012 model year vehicle - 35,001 miles or more
2011 model year vehicle - 45,001 miles or more
2010 model year vehicle - 60,001 miles or more
2009 model year vehicle - 70,001 miles or more
2008 model year vehicle - 85,001 miles or more
2007 model year vehicle - 95,001 miles or more
2006 model year vehicle - 105,001 miles or more
2005 model year vehicle - 120,001 miles or more
2004 model year vehicle - 130,001 miles or more
2003 model year vehicle - 140,001 miles or more
2002 model year vehicle - 150,001 miles or more
2001 model year vehicle - 155,001 miles or more
2000 & older model year vehicles - 165,001 miles or more
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 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)
If you moved to Prince William County from another Virginia jurisdiction
please report the change of address with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
and then call the County at 703-792-6710. New residence must report within 60 days of moving to the County (even if current license fees are paid or the vehicle has a current year vehicle decal) to avoid being 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. New residence must report within 60 days of moving to the County to avoid being assessed a late filing penalty.
Active duty and retired military personnel may
be eligible for personal property tax relief. Select the link Military Personnel Exemption
for more information.