Personal Property Tax
Personal Property Tax Tiers
In FY2014, the City of Alexandria made changes to the personal property tax relief program that may affect residents’ bills. The method for distributing personal property tax relief to qualifying vehicles was restructured to a tiered system, based upon the vehicle’s assessed value.
The Vehicle Personal Property Tax rate approved in the FY 2016 budget is $5 per $100 of assessed value.
Under the new tiered system, qualifying vehicles assessed at $1,000 or less will continue to receive 100 percent relief. However, qualifying vehicles assessed at $1,001 or more would receive the following personal property tax relief. Please note that PPTRA relief is prorated for vehicles owned for a part of the year.
1. Vehicles valued between $1,001 and $20,000 will receive PPTRA relief of 60% on the total assessed value. (Maximum relief of $600)
2. Vehicles valued between $20,001 and $25,000 will receive PPTRA relief of 50% on the first $20,000 of assessed value. (Maximum relief of $500)
3. Vehicles valued at $25,001 and higher will receive PPTRA relief of 40% on the first $20,000 of assessed value. (Maximum relief of $400)
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:
- Completing the online registration form;
- Bringing the vehicle’s valid state registration card, title, or bill of sale and the owner’s driver’s license to 301 King Street, Room 1700, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except City holidays; or
- Printing the registration form and mailing it with a copy of the vehicle’s valid state registration card, title, or bill of sale and payment for the City Decal to Treasury Division, PO Box 323, Alexandria, VA 22313.
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.
- Any person who fails to register for personal property tax within 120 days is subject to a late filing penalty. The penalty is five percent (5%) of the tax due or $10 (whichever is greater), not to exceed the original tax amount due.
- The owner of any vehicle normally parked, stored, or garaged in the City that does not purchase and display a valid City decal within 30 days of moving into the City or purchase a vehicle is subject to a $40 fine for each violation of the City’s tax ordinances. Alexandria police and parking enforcement officers may issue citations on public property or on private property (including parking lots) with the consent of the property owner. Alexandria has reciprocal enforcement agreements with other localities that enable officers in each participating locality to issue citations for violations of the other localities’ tax ordinances.
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:
- Military personnel who are on extended active duty and who are not residents of Virginia, if the vehicle is owned (not leased) by and registered solely in the name of the active duty person, are exempt from both the decal fee and personal property tax. Military personnel who are on active duty and are residents of Virginia are exempt from the decal fee but not the personal property tax.
- Spouses of military personnel on extended active duty, who are not residents of Virginia, are exempt from both the decal fee and personal property tax if the vehicle is solely registered to the spouse or co-registered to the spouse and the active duty military member. Vehicles co-owned with other family members or non-related persons will not qualify for the exemption.
- Members of the United States Congress and their spouses are exempt from both the decal fee and personal property tax.
- Recognized foreign diplomats and their immediate families are exempt from both the decal fee and personal property tax.
- Disabled American veterans whose vehicles display current Virginia disabled veteran license plates are exempt from the decal fee but not the personal property tax.
- Members of the Virginia National Guard whose vehicles display current Virginia National Guard license plates pay only half the decal fee but are not exempt from the personal property tax.
- Vehicle owners who pay taxes on their vehicles to other Virginia jurisdictions or other states are exempt from the personal property tax but may still be required to pay the decal fee.
NOTE: The following property is not eligible for this exemption and is therefore fully taxable:
- Leased vehicles (other than those taxed in other Virginia jurisdictions or states);
- Property used in a trade or business; and
- Property co-owned with any person who does not qualify for tax exemption.
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:
- A copy of the member's military identification card; and
- A copy of the member's current Leave and Earning Statement (LES).
For vehicles owned or co-owned by the spouse of an active duty military member, the vehicle owner must provide:
- A copy of the member's military identification card;
- A copy of the member's current LES;
- A copy of either the marriage certificate or the spouse's military dependent identification card; and
- A completed City of Alexandria Military Spouse Residency Relief Form: Certification of Legal Residence (Domicile).
For vehicles owned by recognized foreign diplomats and their immediate families, the vehicle owner must provide:
- A copy of the vehicle owner's Personal Identification Card issued by the United States Department of State.
For vehicle owners who pay taxes on their vehicles to other Virginia jurisdictions or other states, the vehicle owner must provide:
- A copy of his or her personal property or ad valorem tax receipt for the vehicle and tax period in question.
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 $5 per $100 (5%) of the assessed value of the vehicle ($3.55 for vehicles with specially-designed equipment for disabled persons).
- If a vehicle is subject to the taxes in Alexandria for a full calendar year, the tax amount is determined by multiplying the tax rate by the assessed value.
- If a vehicle is subject to the taxes in Alexandria for less than a full calendar year, the assessed value is prorated for the number of months the vehicle is subject to taxes. The vehicle is subject to tax for a full month if it is parked, stored, or garaged in the City of Alexandria for 15 or more days of the month. The tax amount is then determined by multiplying the tax rate by the prorated assessed value.
- If the current owner of the vehicle paid taxes during the same tax year to a non-prorating Virginia jurisdiction, the City will relieve the personal property taxes assessed upon receipt of proof of taxes paid to the non-prorating jurisdiction.
- If the City is notified that a vehicle is moved out of the City or disposed of, the City will adjust the personal property tax assessment accordingly.
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:
Automobiles and Motor Homes $33 Motorcycles $21 Trailers: Boat and Utility $14.50 Camping and Travel $23 Semi-trailer for vehicle weighing:
- Less than 1,501 lbs.
- 1,501 to 4,001 lbs.
- 4,001 lbs. or more
Private buses for 10 or more passengers, including the driver
$0.30 per 100 pounds of weight, but not less than $23 Private school bus used solely for transportation to and from
Sunday school or church
$23 under 4,000 pounds; $28 over 4,000 pounds
Business owned (decal fee is based on vehicle gross weight):
Under 4,000 lbs. $33 4,001 - 10,000 $38 10,001 - 12,000 $43 12,001 - 15,000 $48 15,001 - 18,000 $53 18,001-20,000 $58 20,001-22,000 $63 22,001-24,000 $68 24,001-26,000 $73 26,001-40,000 $83 40,000 and above $98
For Hire (decal fee is based on vehicle gross weight):
- Under 4,000 lbs.: $23
- 4,000 lbs. and above: $28
Fully or Partially Exempt Taxpayers:
- Military (Non-Taxable), Foreign Military, Foreign Diplomats, Congresspersons, Disabled Veterans and P.O.W.'s: $0
- National Guard: $16.50
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.
- When moving to Alexandria from Arlington and Loudoun Counties; the Cities of Fairfax, Manassas and Falls Church; or the Towns of Herndon and Middleburg (Reciprocity based on the Northern Virginia Local Motor Vehicle License Compact): $5
- When transferring decal from a vehicle already registered in the City to a new vehicle: $1
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 2015 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:
- An inspection receipt;
- A mechanic's official receipt for work performed; and/or
- A dealer's official receipt for work performed.
Submitting an Appeal in Person or by Mail:
301 King Street, Room 1700
Alexandria, VA 22314
Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Department of Finance
City of Alexandria
PO Box 178
Alexandria, VA 22313
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. In 2013, the City restructured personal property tax relief to apply varying percentages of relief to vehicles of differing values.
Under the tiered system, qualifying vehicles assessed at $1,000 or less continue to receive 100 percent relief. However, qualifying vehicles assessed at $1,001 or more receive the following personal property tax relief. Please note that PPTRA relief is prorated for vehicles owned for a part of the year.
- Under $1,001: 100% relief
- $1,001 to $20,000: 58% on the first $20,000 of assessed value (Maximum relief of $580)
- $20,001 to $25,000: 48% on the first $20,000 of assessed value (Maximum relief of $480)
- Above $25,000: 39% on the first $20,000 of assessed value (Maximum relief of $390)
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 5 percent and then by the PPTRA rate tier appropriate for your vehicle's value. 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 $580 in relief for 2015. ($20,000 X 5% X 58% = $580) The owner of a qualifying vehicle assessed at $20,000 and taxed for six months will receive $290. ($580/12 X 6 = $290)
To qualify, a vehicle must:
- Have a registered gross weight less than 7,501 pounds;
- Be owned by an individual or leased by an individual under a contract requiring the individual to pay the personal property tax; and
- Be used less than 50 percent for business purposes.
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.
- Is more than 50% of the mileage for the year used as a business expense for Federal Income Tax purposes or reimbursed by an employer?
- Is more than 50% of the depreciation associated with the vehicle deducted as a business expense for Federal Income Tax purposes?
- Is the cost of the vehicle expensed pursuant to Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Service Code?
- Is the vehicle leased by an individual and the leasing company pays the tax without reimbursement form the individual?
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:
- Remove the decal from the vehicle and return it to the City;
- Fill out and submit a completed disposition form; and
- Provide proof of personal property tax registration with another Virginia jurisdiction or a copy of the vehicle's new state registration card.
Disposing of a Vehicle
In the event that a currently registered vehicle is traded, sold, donated, stolen, or totaled, the vehicle owner must:
- Remove the decal from the vehicle and return it to the City;
- Fill out and submit a completed disposition form; and
- Provide documentation of the change in status.
Documentation accepted by the City of Alexandria includes:
- Trades: A copy of the buyer’s order or purchase order.
- Sales: A copy of the bill of sale.
- Donations: A copy of the donation receipt.
- Stolen Vehicles: The case number from the jurisdiction where the vehicle was stolen.
- Totaled or Destroyed Vehicles: The statement of loss from the insurance company.
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.
- If the vehicle is registered between January 1 and September 5, personal property taxes for the current calendar year are due October 5. (If any prior year taxes are due, they must be paid within 30 days.) The City decal fee and parking permit fee are due within 30 days. If a late filing penalty has been applied, all taxes and fees must be paid before a decal and/or parking permit will be issued.
- If the vehicle is registered between September 6 and December 31, both current year and any prior year personal property taxes, the City decal fee, and the parking permit fee are due within 30 days. (The owners of vehicles registered at this time that were moved in or purchased between December 16 and December 31 will owe no current year taxes and will be billed for the decal fee and parking permit fee only.)
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:
Department of Finance
City of Alexandria
P.O. Box 34899
Alexandria, VA 22334-0899
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
- A late payment penalty of $10 or 10 percent of the tax billed to the taxpayer, whichever is greater, will be assessed for failure to pay any personal property tax by the due date. No penalty may exceed the amount of the tax billed.
- Interest on all delinquent taxes accrues at an annual rate of ten percent the first year, and five percent each year thereafter, until all taxes and penalties are paid.
- The City will assess an administrative fee on all delinquent personal property tax accounts on a per vehicle, per year basis. The administrative fee, described in the table below, is applied towards processing costs incurred in the collection of delinquent taxes.
|$0 to $19.99||$0|
|$20 to $49.99||$20|
|$50 and up||$45|
Additional information on payment plans, penalties, interest, administrative fees, and delinquent tax collections is available on the Tax Services & Enforcement page or by contacting: