City of Alexandria, VA
Personal Property Tax
Personal Property Taxes: All motor vehicles normally parked, stored, or garaged (having situs) in the City of Alexandria, including vehicles with out-of-state plates, must be registered for the City's annual personal property tax. All motor vehicles registered to a City address with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles must also be registered with the City, even vehicles normally parked, stored, or garaged in another state. (“Motor vehicles” include all automobiles, trucks, taxicabs, motor vehicles with specially designed equipment for disabled persons, motorcycles, boats, trailers, campers, and other recreational vehicles.) Once registered with the City, a vehicle will remain registered until the vehicle owner provides the information and documentation needed to adjust or close the account. Personal property taxes are assessed based on the calendar year (January 1 to December 31) or any portion of the year during which a vehicle is liable for the tax. Annual personal property tax bills (including both the City decal and residential parking permit fees) are mailed in August with a due date of October 5 (or the next business day if October 5 falls on a weekend or holiday). Tax exemptions are available for some vehicles and/or vehicle owners.
NOTE: Titling and registering a vehicle with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does not automatically register the vehicle with the City of Alexandria.
City Decal: Any person who must register a vehicle for personal property tax must also purchase and display a City decal within 30 days of moving into the City or purchasing a vehicle. (Decal fee exemptions are available for some vehicles and/or vehicle owners.) The decal acts as proof of registration with the City and payment of personal property tax, if applicable. The City decal expires annually on the tax due date and must be removed and replaced by November 15. (Typically, the decal will be effective from October to October; however, the decal for any vehicle purchased or moved in during this period will still expire in October.) Vehicle owners may contact the Treasury Division for information on advance decals mailed with the annual bill or other questions related to obtaining a City decal.
Residential Parking Permits: Residents of residential permit parking districts must also purchase and display a residential parking permit. Additional information on the residential parking permit program is available on the Residential Parking Permit Program Facts page.
Registration: Vehicle owners must register with the City and purchase and display a City decal within 30 days of moving into the City, purchasing a vehicle, or registering a vehicle to a City address with Virginia DMV. Vehicles not registered within 30 days may be cited for failure to display a City decal, which carries a $40 fine. Any vehicle not registered within 120 days of becoming taxable will be subject to a late filing penalty.
Payments for New Accounts: Decal and/or parking permit fees, plus any prior year taxes, must be paid within 30 days of the billing date. Taxes for the current calendar year must be paid by October 5 (or the next business day if October 5 falls on a weekend or holiday) for accounts created on or before September 5 or within 30 days for accounts created on or after September 6.
Payments for Existing Accounts: October 5 (or the next business day if October 5 falls on a weekend or holiday)
All residents of the City of Alexandria must register and purchase and display a City decal within 30 days of moving into the City or purchasing a vehicle in the City. Vehicle owners may register by:
NOTE: Registering a vehicle on someone else’s behalf requires a signed, notarized statement from the vehicle owner(s) explicitly authorizing the substitute to register the vehicle with the City.
Upon receiving the information, staff will register the vehicle and mail a bill for any taxes and/or fees that may be immediately due.
The following persons are fully or partially exempted from paying the personal property tax and decal fee but must still register their vehicles, file the annual filing by exception letter (FBE), and display valid City decals:
NOTE: The following property is not eligible for this exemption and is therefore fully taxable:
In some cases, in order to receive the relevant personal property tax and/or decal fee exemption, the vehicle owner must provide staff with documentation of his or her tax exempt status. The type of documentation required depends upon the category of exemption requested.
For vehicles owned solely by active duty military members, the vehicle owner must provide:
For vehicles owned or co-owned by the spouse of an active duty military member, the vehicle owner must provide:
For vehicles owned by recognized foreign diplomats and their immediate families, the vehicle owner must provide:
For vehicle owners who pay taxes on their vehicles to other Virginia jurisdictions or other states, the vehicle owner must provide:
Other types of exemption are validated through Virginia DMV records and/or information provided by the US Congress.
Personal Property Tax: The Personal Property Tax rate is $4.75 per $100 (4.75%) of the assessed value of the vehicle ($3.55 for vehicles with specially-designed equipment for disabled persons).
NOTE: Vehicles subject to personal property tax may also qualify for Personal Property Tax Relief (PPTRA), which covers a percentage of the personal property taxes due on the first $20,000 in assessed value for personal vehicles. This percentage is subject to change each year.
City Decal Fee
Privately Owned Vehicles:
Business owned (decal fee is based on vehicle gross weight):
For Hire (decal fee is based on vehicle gross weight):
Fully or Partially Exempt Taxpayers:
To transfer a decal, the vehicle owner must remove the decal from the vehicle and return it to the City. If a vehicle has been traded and the decal destroyed, the vehicle owner must provide a letter confirming the destruction of the decal from the dealership.
Assessments and Appeals
How Vehicles are Assessed: The assessed value is the fair market value of the vehicle as published in nationally recognized pricing guides. The City primarily uses the clean trade-in value (as of January 1 of the tax year) found in the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Official Used Car Guide. If a vehicle is not listed in the NADA guides, the City uses the Cars of Particular Interest Guide or another recognized pricing guide. The City assesses vehicles not listed in any recognized pricing guide at fair market values. For new model vehicles, the City uses a percentage of the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) or a percentage of the purchase price if MSRP information is not available. Generally, a vehicle's assessment will decrease from year to year. In some cases, the assessment will increase. An explanation of assessment increases can be found here.
Appealing an Assessment: The City assesses personal property on the assumption that it is in fair condition for its age. If a vehicle is not in fair condition because of high mileage, extensive body or interior damage, or serious mechanical malfunctions, the vehicle owner may appeal the assessment. Each appeal must be received by December 31 of the tax year to which it applies. Appeals are considered in the order they are received and may take 60 days or more to be completed. If the appeal is not answered by October 5 of the tax year, the tax amount originally assessed is still due. If the assessment is later reduced as a result of the appeal, the City will issue a refund.
Appeals for Damage or Malfunction: The vehicle owner may submit an appeal by having a mechanic complete the appeal form and returning it by mail or in person. (Please note that the linked form is for calendar year 2013 assessments. Prior year forms can be found here.)
Appeals for High Mileage: The vehicle owner should submit documentation dated prior to March 31 of the applicable tax year. The documentation provided must show both the VIN number and mileage of the vehicle. Accepted documentation includes:
Submitting an Appeal in Person or by Mail:
Through the Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 1998 (PPTRA), the Commonwealth of Virginia grants partial relief of the personal property tax levied on the first $20,000 of the assessed value for qualifying vehicles. In 2004, the General Assembly passed legislation capping PPTRA relief at $950 million for the entire State, beginning with the year 2006. The legislation also ended reimbursement for prior year taxes on September 1, 2006, and authorized the City to remove the State credit and bill vehicle owners for the entire tax.
Each locality must annually recalculate relief to equitably distribute the locality’s PPTRA reimbursement from the State. For 2012, owners of qualifying vehicles in Alexandria received Personal Property Tax Relief equaling 61 percent of the tax levied on the first $20,000 of assessed value. Qualifying vehicles assessed at $1,000 or less received 100 percent relief. (The tax relief percentage for 2013 will not be available until late July 2013.) To calculate car tax relief for a full calendar year, multiply the vehicle’s value or $20,000 (whichever is less) by the tax rate of 4.75 percent and then by the PPTRA rate of 61 percent. If the vehicle is being assessed for only part of the calendar year, divide the full year total by 12 and multiply by the number of months for which the vehicle is being taxed.
Example: The owner of a qualifying vehicle assessed at $20,000 and taxed for a full year will receive $579.50 in relief for 2012. ($20,000 X 4.75% X 61% = $579.50) The owner of a qualifying vehicle assessed at $20,000 and taxed for six months will receive $289.75. ($579.50/12 X 6 = $289.75)
To qualify, a vehicle must:
Motor homes, trailers, and farm use vehicles do not qualify for tax relief.
Does your vehicle qualify for car tax relief?
If you can answer YES to any of the following questions, your motor vehicle is considered by State law to have a business use and does NOT qualify for car tax relief.
NOTE: All changes to vehicle status (purchases, trades, moves, sales, donations, etc.) should be reported to the City of Alexandria within 30 days and promptly reported to the Virginia DMV.
Moving within or out of the City
A vehicle owner who has moved within the City of Alexandria should report the change of address to:
A vehicle owner who has moved out of the City must:
Disposing of a Vehicle
In the event that a currently registered vehicle is traded, sold, donated, stolen, or totaled, the vehicle owner must:
Documentation accepted by the City of Alexandria includes:
NOTE: A temporary absence from the City does not exonerate a vehicle owner from paying the taxes. The City will consider a vehicle owner’s absence from the City to be temporary until the vehicle owner provides the information and documentation described above.
Annual Billing: In the second week of August or later each year, the City mails personal property tax bills for all vehicles registered prior to July 15. Owners of not-for-hire automobiles who have no delinquent tax balance will receive their new City decal and residential parking permit (if applicable) with their bills. Taxpayers with delinquent balances and owners of for-hire vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, motor homes, etc. must pay all taxes, penalties, and interest due to receive the City decal and residential parking permit. All taxes assessed for the current calendar year (January 1 to December 31) as of this billing are due October 5.
Billing upon Registration: Upon registering vehicles newly purchased or newly moved into the City, staff will mail a bill for the City decal, residential parking permit (if applicable), and any personal property taxes that may be due as of the billing. Bills mailed upon registration must be paid within 30 days.
NOTE: Any vehicle owner who does not receive the bill by mail must contact Personal Property Tax at 703.746.3995 or the Treasury Division at 703.746.3902. Failure to receive the bill will not relieve the vehicle owner of the obligation to file and pay taxes by the due date.
Payments (by check or money order) for personal property tax, City decals, and residential parking permits may be mailed with the bill stub to:
Any vehicle owner paying by check or money order should write the account number in the memo field. Returned checks are subject to a $35 fee in accordance with state law. The City of Alexandria also offers a variety of other payment options.
Any vehicle owner who is delinquent on his or her taxes and believes he or she may need a payment plan should see Tax Services & Enforcement.
Penalties for Late Payment
Additional information on payment plans, penalties, interest, administrative fees, and delinquent tax collections is available on the Tax Services & Enforcement page or by contacting: