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Personal Property FAQ

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Q.  What is the personal property tax rate in Charlottesville?

A.  The personal property tax rate is set by City Council in mid-April of each year. The rate is currently $4.20 per $100 of value (4.2%).

Q.  What is Personal Property Tax Relief?

A.  Personal Property Tax Relief is a program that resulted from the Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 1998. The intention of the act was to phase out the car tax completely. In order to do this, the act required the Commonwealth of Virginia to pay localities a percentage of each citizen’s tax bill. The percentage of relief each year may change from the projected amount depending on economic conditions. The percentage that the Commonwealth pays was intended to increase each year until it reached 100%. The act does not change the localities’ tax rates.

PPTRA program costs soared beyond original estimates as new car values increased substantially faster than inflation, "holding" periods for vehicles shortened as a result of unprecedented dealer incentives, vehicle ownership per household grew and more people moved into the state.  It soon became clear that PPTRA when fully implemented would cost at least double what had been projected.

As a result, the General Assembly put a $950 million cap on the amount of funds set aside for Personal Property Tax Relief (PPTR) and is dividing the amount of Personal Property Tax Relief between all of the localities across the state of Virginia.  Each locality has to then divide the amount of relief allocated by the state among the qualifying vehicles in the locality.  The amount of relief will vary among localities depending on vehicle value and population.  This means an increase in the amount of the personal property tax bill citizens will be required to pay.  This is why it is so important to notify the Commissioner of Revenue's Office when you buy, sell or trade a vehicle.  It makes a difference for everyone.

Q.  Does the percentage of relief apply to the full amount of my tax?

A.  The percentage of relief only applies to the first $20,000 of your car’s assessed value.

Q.  How do I qualify?

A.  Vehicles that are primarily (more than 50%) for personal use qualify for PPTRA. If you have questions about your vehicle’s eligibility, contact the Commissioner of Revenue at 970-3160.

Q.  My mailing address is in Charlottesville, VA. Should I be taxed by the City of Charlottesville?

A.  Not necessarily. While your mailing address may be Charlottesville, VA, your street may fall outside city limits. If this is the case, you should be taxed by the County of Albemarle. Check this list to see if your address is within city limits. If you cannot find your address, you may want to call Albemarle County’s Department of Finance at 296-5851 to find out if you should be taxed by Albemarle County.

Q.  I am paying my personal property taxes after the deadline. I understand that there is a 10% penalty for late payment, but my penalty amount seems like more than 10% of my bill. Why?

A.  The penalty for late payment is based on the full tax amount assessed for the tax half in question. This means that citizens must pay penalty on the tax amount before tax relief. As the tax relief percentage goes up, the penalty therefore appears out of proportion with the amount of tax for which the citizen is responsible. (See Code of Virginia §58.1-3531)

Q.  If I move from one locality to another, how will this affect my Personal Property Tax Relief credit?

A.  An important fact to keep in mind with the Personal Property Tax Relief Act is that localities within the Commonwealth do not always assess personal property the same way, nor do they all use the same tax rate. This can affect the amount of your tax credit if you move from one locality to another. Click here to find out which method each locality uses.

For more information about personal property taxes, visit the sites listed below: