Vehicle Registration FAQ

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Q.  My vehicle is registered in the City of Charlottesville.  Am I required to purchase a vehicle decal?

A.  No.  In October 2005, City Council passed an ordinance eliminating the city decal, but citizens are still required to pay a vehicle license fee, which is at the same rate as the former decal fee.

Q. So why am I paying if I'm not getting anything for it?

A.  Many customers found it inconvenient to buy a new sticker every year and scrape off the old one.  By not using stickers, and by combining the fee with the tax bill, Charlottesville joins many other cities and counties which have changed their decal laws.

Q.  When should I expect to receive a bill for the vehicle license fee?  Do I have to complete a registration form?  

A.  Vehicle license fees for vehicles registered in the City of Charlottesville will appear on the 1st half personal property tax bill each year.  You will not receive a separate bill.  Taxes are due June 5th and December 5th of each year.

Q.  Is it true that I can get a ticket for not taking off my old city sticker?

A.  Yes, it's true that there is a state law prohibiting the display of any expired stickers or decals (including parking permits, inspection stickers, etc.)  Any officer in any locality, not just Charlottesville, has the discretion to issue tickets for this violation.

Q.  I haven't had this car all year long,  why is it still on my bill?

A.  Whenever you buy, sell , trade, or junk a vehicle, it's necessary to notify DMV and also the Commissioner of Revenue's Office, within 30 days.  By not acting within this time frame, it's possible that a vehicle can remain in your name at DMV and on City tax records.  Please contact the Commissioner of Revenue's Office at (434) 970-3160 to determine the proper documentation required to remove a vehicle from your account.

Q.  I haven't lived in Charlottesville since ......, why am I still getting a bill?

A.  Whenever you move out of a locality, it's necessary to re-register you vehicle at the new locality within 30 days.  If you move but do not change your vehicle registration at DMV, it's possible that the vehicle will remain taxable by the City until you do make that change.  Changing the address on your driver's license does not automatically change the address on your vehicle registration(s).

Q.  How do I know if my vehicle is registered in the City of Charlottesville or Albemarle County.

A.  Your garaging jurisdiction is displayed in the lower left corner of your DMV registration card.  You may also call the Commissioner of Revenue's Office at (434) 970-3160, fax them at (434) 970-3663 or E-mail them for assistance in determining your garaging jurisdiction. 

Q.  I own a vehicle or trailer for which I I have been billed, but I am not currently operating the vehicle or trailer.  Do I still have to pay the vehicle license fee?

A.  Yes.  If you own a vehicle that is registered in the City of Charlottesville, even if it is inoperable, you are still required to pay a vehicle license fee for the said vehicle.  Remember, taxes are assessed and must be paid on ALL vehicles, regardless of whether they are used or not.

Q.  I paid a vehicle license fee for my vehicle, but have since moved out of the City of Charlottesville or sold my vehicle.  Can I get a refund?

A. Yes.  Vehicle license fees are prorated.  If you have moved or sold a vehicle, you must notify the Commissioner of Revenue's Office once you register your vehicle in your new locality to avoid being taxed by the City of Charlottesville.  You have 30 days in which to do this.

Q.  I have traded vehicles.  Do I have to pay a vehicle license fee for my new vehicle since I paid it on my old vehicle?

A. Yes.  You must pay a vehicle license fee for each vehicle registered to you that is garaged in the City of Charlottesville.  Vehicle license fees do not transfer from one vehicle to another.

Q.  So how does the City know whether or not I've paid my taxes?

A.  Instead of requiring decals("stickers"), the City now works with DMV to withhold registrations of vehicles whose taxes are unpaid.  This is a better enforcement tool because it only affects customers who are delinquent, instead of requiring everyone to display a sticker.

If you have any additional questions regarding vehicle license fees, you may contact the Treasurer's Office at (434) 970-3146.