Personal Property Tax

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The following questions and answers will provide the taxpayer with a basic understanding of the assessment of personal property tax on vehicles.

For further questions concerning Personal Property Tax, please call 434-970-3160.

Personal Property Tax FAQ

What types of personal property are taxable? Automobiles, trucks, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, boats, airplanes, mobile homes, business furniture, fixtures, equipment, and machinery and tools used in a manufacturing process.
How is personal property assessed?

The Commissioner of the Revenue is required by law to assess vehicles by means of a recognized pricing guide. The pricing guides utilized by the City of Charlottesville are the National Automobile Dealers Association official used car guide and the official older used car guide. Clean trade in is the value taken from these books. If a vehicle is not listed in the guide, the assessment will be based on a depreciated prior year NADA Clean Trade in Value and if none listed then a percentage of purchase cost or a percentage of MSRP. The pricing guide utilized for motorcycles is the National Automobile Dealers Association Motorcycle appraisal guide. The value taken is clean trade in. For trailers, the assessed value is based on a percentage of original cost.

How is the amount of tax determined? The personal property tax rate is established by the Charlottesville City Council. The tax is figured by multiplying the property's assessed value by the tax rate. The current personal property rate is $4.20 per $100 of assessed value. The current rate for machinery and tools is $4.20. Mobile homes are assessed at the real estate tax rate which is currently$0.95.
What is proration? The City of Charlottesville is one of several localities in Virginia with the authority to collect personal property taxes on a pro-rated basis. In general terms, a vehicle's tax will be prorated on a monthly basis based on the number of months it has a situs in the City of Charlottesville or is owned by the taxpayer. Boats and business equipment are not prorated.
If I move out of Charlottesville or sell my automobile, will my tax bill be prorated?

If you move out of state or into another prorating locality in Virginia or sell your vehicle, you are eligible to have your personal property tax bill prorated. You may receive either a credit or a refund of taxes paid for the portion of the year your property was not located in Charlottesville. If you move after January 1 of the tax year to a non-prorating locality, you must pay the City of Charlottesville for the entire year. If you move to a prorating locality in Virginia you must provide a paid personal property receipt from that locality in order to receive a credit or refund from the City of Charlottesville. If you move to another state, you must submit a copy of the other state's registration for your vehicle. If you have disposed of your vehicle, you must provide a copy of a bill of sale or a repossession notice.

If you have moved out of the jurisdiction of the City of Charlottesville and registered your personal property with another jurisdiction, you can notify our office by filling out the on-line Move Out of Personal Property form. (PDF Version)

You can also report your disposal of your personal property by filling out the Request for Disposal of Personal Property Form on-line.

When is my personal property tax bill due? Personal property taxes are billed in two installments. The first installment, which includes your city vehicle license fee, is due June 5. The second installment is due December 5.
I have purchased a new vehicle and registered it at DMV. Do I need to obtain a City of Charlottesville decal? The City of Charlottesville does not require automobiles to display a decal. All vehicles with active license plates will be charged a city license fee. This fee will be included on the first installment of personal property taxes.
I have just moved into the City of Charlottesville, must I notify the Commissioner's office? If you have changed your vehicle information at DMV to reflect a garage jurisdiction of Charlottesville, this information SHOULD be forwarded to the Commissioner by DMV. If you have not changed this information at DMV, contact the Commissioner's office immediately. You should also register with the Commissioner’s office for personal property tax within 30 days of moving here.
If I sell my automobile, whom must I notify? The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles AND the Commissioner of the Revenue must be notified within 30 days. This is the legal responsibility of the citizen, not that of the motor vehicle dealer or new owner.
If I buy an automobile, whom must I notify? Virginia law requires you to register with the locality of your jurisdiction within 30 days of purchasing (or otherwise becoming the owner) of a vehicle.
I am active duty military, am I liable for personal property tax in the City of Charlottesville? Under the Service Members Civil Relief Act, active duty military personnel are subject to state and local taxation only in their home of record. If you maintain the City of Charlottesville as your legal residence and your vehicle is registered in Virginia you would be liable for personal property tax regardless of where you may be stationed or where your vehicle may be garaged or located during the tax year. If you and your spouse are in Charlottesville by virtue of military orders, you would not be liable for personal property tax. Any service member requesting an exemption from personal property tax will be required to submit a copy of their most recent leave and earnings statement.
I am a full-time college student, am I liable for personal property tax in the City of Charlottesville? If you are a full-time student attending an institution of higher learning in Charlottesville, you would not be liable here if you are paying a personal property tax on the vehicle in your domicile. If you are a resident of Charlottesville attending college elsewhere, you are liable for personal property tax here.


Vehicle License Fees

The City of Charlottesville assesses an annual license fee on every motor vehicle, motorcycle and trailer that is garaged in the city and has an active state registration. License fees are due on June 5 each year and are included on the personal property tax bill.  If you have questions regarding the Vehicle License Fee, please call 434-970-3160.


Amount of License Fee

 Passenger Vehicle (4000 lbs. and less)  


 Passenger Vehicle (4001 lbs. and over)




 Trailer (1-1500 lbs.)


 Trailer (1501-4000 lbs.)


 Trailer (4001 lbs. and over)  


 Please note that the above prices apply to vehicles that are not for hire or rent.