Federal Government Shutdown Assistance
The City of Alexandria continues to offer resources and information about food assistance, coping strategies, relief for taxpayers, and more for those who were affected by the partial shutdown of the federal government from December 22, to January 25.
Read the full news release here.
Discovery and Collections
- Tax Relief and Tax Assistance Programs
- Tax Preparation Assistance
- Surviving Spouses of Members of the Armed Forces Killed in Action
Delinquent Tax Collections
- Definition: Delinquent Taxes
- Collections Tools
- Field Visits
- Statutory Assessment
- Penalties, Interest and Fees
- Contact Us
Discovery: RADAR Program
- Payment Methods
- Alexandria Tax Guide
- Personal Property Tax
- Business Tax
- Real Estate Assessments
Tax Audit, Research & Analysis Unit
The City of Alexandria has created several programs to ease the Real Estate and Personal Property tax burden on elderly and/or disabled residents, disabled military veterans, and surviving military spouses.
Real Estate Tax Relief for Elderly and Disabled Persons Program: Residents of the City of Alexandria who are 65 years of age or older or who are permanently and totally disabled may be eligible for the City's Real Estate Tax Relief or Deferral Program for Elderly or Disabled Persons.
Personal Property Tax Relief for Elderly and Disabled Persons Program: The City’s Personal Property Tax Relief Program for senior or permanently disabled City residents allows eligible applicants to be exempt from payment of personal property tax on one vehicle.
Note: A taxpayer may simultaneously apply for Real Estate Tax Relief and Personal Property Tax Relief using the combined application form. If more than one vehicle is owned, the City will apply the benefit to the vehicle with the highest assessment, subject to certain guidelines.
The City offers a full real estate tax exemption to any veteran who has been rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or its successor agency pursuant to federal law to have a 100 percent service-connected, permanent and total disability, and who occupies the real property as his/her primary place of residence. The surviving spouse of a veteran eligible for the exemption may also qualify.
Surviving Spouses of Members of the Armed Forces Killed in Action: Virginia General Assembly legislation exempts from real estate tax the principal residence of surviving spouses of members of the armed forces killed in action.
- Residence must be occupied as the principal residence of a qualified surviving spouse.
- Dwelling must be zoned as single family residential.
- Dwelling assessed value is not in excess of the City’s average assessed value for the current year.
(Average assessed value of dwellings zoned as single family residence is $500,000 for year 2015).
- The surviving spouse must not be remarried.
The exemption applies regardless of whether the spouse was killed in action prior to the effective date of the amendment, but applies only to real property taxes to be paid on or after January 1, 2015.
Exemption from taxation applies to surviving spouse’s principal place of residence, even if he or she moves to a new principal place of residence. Exemption would not require the surviving spouse to have been residing in the commonwealth at the time his or her spouse was killed in action.
- Copy of death certificate of member in United States armed forces killed in action.
- Copy of marriage certificate.
Note: There is no deadline to file this application, however applicants are encouraged to file by April 15.
Discovery & Collections assists taxpayers with preparing current year Virginia State Income Tax returns. There is currently no assistance available for preparing federal income tax.
Any person wishing to receive assistance must meet the following criteria:
- He or she must be a resident or employee of the City of Alexandria; and
- He or she must have a completed federal income tax return for the year in question.
Assistance is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., by email or by phone at:
In person assistance is available, by appointment, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at:
Discovery and Collections
301 King St., Suite 1700
Alexandria, VA 22314
All taxes are considered delinquent on the day following the due date. The due dates for all City taxes can be found on the Finance Calendar. If the usual due date falls on a weekend, tax payment will be due on the first business day following the due date and the delinquency date will be one day later.
Discovery & Collections uses a number of tools to ensure the collection of all delinquent taxes, penalties, interest, and fees owed to the City of Alexandria.
On occasion, taxpayers may not be able to pay when taxes are due. The payment plan, which spreads the total tax liability over time, is designed only to stop legal action for collection of delinquent taxes. It is a formal, signed agreement between the City and the taxpayer. The typical payment plan requires that the taxpayer make an initial payment of 20 percent of the taxes due; the remaining balance will then be paid in installments over a time period designated by the City. Interest will continue to accrue during the payment period.
Discovery & Collections mails a variety of letters informing taxpayers that they are delinquent on their taxes and may face collection action. If the taxpayer does not respond, staff initiates legal action to collect the delinquent taxes. Once collection begins, staff mails letters explaining the collection process.
Through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Vehicle Registration Withholding (DMV Stop) Program, the City will ask the DMV Commissioner to withhold registration or registration renewals for any taxpayer who owes delinquent taxes, penalties, interest, and fees to the City of Alexandria. Once a DMV Stop has been placed on an account, the taxpayer must pay the entire amount due with certified funds (cash, money order, or cashier's check) or credit card to get the Stop removed. The stop will be removed within one business day of payment. An administrative fee is assessed on all delinquent accounts for the administration associated with collecting the debt. (Virginia Code Section 46.2-752)
NOTE: This information applies to DMV Stops for unpaid taxes only. Please see here for DMV Stops placed due to unpaid parking citations.
Through the Set-Off Debt Program, the City asks the Virginia Department of Taxation to withhold all or part of a taxpayer's Virginia State Income Tax refund to cover any balance due to the City. An administrative fee is assessed on all delinquent accounts for the administration associated with collecting the debt. (Virginia Code Sections 58.1-520.1 and 58.1-523)
Pursuant to Va. Code § 58.1-3919.1 and § 58.1-3934, Discovery & Collections refers delinquent personal property tax accounts that are more than 90 days past due to Nationwide Credit Corporation (NCC) for collection. The entire local tax amount is collected and remitted to the City. NCC charges the delinquent taxpayer a 20% collection fee, in addition to the local tax amount due. If you have been notified that your account has been referred, please contact NCC directly at www.nccarm.com, or by calling 703.776.9260. NCC is located at 5503 Cherokee Avenue, Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22312.
Delinquent taxpayer lists are published annually in the local newspaper and/or on the City's website for all taxpayers with delinquent balances greater than $20 as of June 30. (Code of Virginia Section 58.1-3921)
Tax Services & Enforcement makes arrangements with the delinquent taxpayer's employer to garnish the wages of the delinquent taxpayer in the amount that is owed. It may be necessary to garnish more than one paycheck in order to satisfy the tax liability.
Discovery & Collections makes arrangements with the delinquent taxpayer's bank to recover from the taxpayers' account(s) the amount that is owed.
Discovery & Collections places a lien against all rental income due the taxpayer to recover the amount that is owed. (Code of Virginia Section 58.1-3944)
Discovery & Collections applies in writing to any person indebted to or having in his hands estate of a taxpayer for payment of taxes more than 30 days delinquent. Payment by this third party will entitle him or her to a credit against such debt or estate. The taxes, penalties, and interest constitute a lien on the debt or estate due the taxpayer from the time the application is received. For each application served, the person applied to is entitled to a fee of $20. Staff will also send a copy of the application to the taxpayer with a notice informing him or her of the lien. (Code of Virginia Section 58.1-3952)
Finance staff prepares a Distress/Seizure Warrant for the Sheriff's Office to enter a business and seize cash from the cash register for payment of delinquent taxes. (Code of Virginia Sections 58.1-3919 and 58.1-3941)
Any business more than two months past due in the payment of admissions, meal sales, or transient lodging taxes may be required to post a bond for these taxes. Since fiduciary taxes collected from customers are held in trust by the business owner, they should not be commingled with the business's operating funds.
In extreme cases, Discovery & Collections may work with the Sheriff's Department or Police Department to seize property and/or assets that can be used to satisfy or can be sold to satisfy delinquent taxes. These properties are sold through auctions that are open to the public.
When real estate taxes remain delinquent as of the December 31 following the second anniversary of the original due date, Discovery & Collections may work with the Court to seize the property and sell it to satisfy the delinquency. These properties are sold through public auctions. (Code of Virginia Section 58.1-3965)
Non-Registered Vehicles on Private Property
If you are concerned about vehicles which may not be properly registered with the City parking on a private lot you own or manage, or on private property you own or manage, please fill out the following form to allow Tag and Parking Enforcement Personnel to patrol the property. Return the completed form to the Alexandria Police Department Parking Enforcement Unit.
Finance Department staff conducts “door to door” field inspections of businesses operating in the City for a period of three to four months each year. Staff verifies tax compliance by requesting confirmation that businesses are currently licensed and up to date on taxes owed. City staff will take the following steps to provide businesses with additional information and time to comply:
- Staff issues Warning Notices to businesses that do not have a valid City business license. The Warning Notice advises the business owner that he or she must obtain a City business license and file for business personal property tax. ( Sample Warning Notice)
- The business is given a packet of information that includes a copy of the Alexandria Small Business Resource Guide. This guide provides information to the business owner regarding procedures and requirements for establishing a business in the City of Alexandria. Also included in the packet are the current year business license application and business personal property tax return and the interdepartmental approval form. This form requires the business owner to contact the Zoning Division, Code Enforcement, and other applicable City agencies.
- If the taxpayer fails to respond to the Warning Notice within the specified time, staff will make a courtesy call to remind the business owner that he failed to comply with the City business license and business personal property tax requirements.
- If the taxpayer fails to respond, staff will check state sales tax records for the following: gross receipts reported by the business for the current and last three years; the date the business began to operate in the City; and a brief description of the type of business conducted by the company. If staff cannot find the company’s information, they will review their field notes to determine the business tax classification then statutorily assess (see below) the business for the estimated length of time the company has operated in the City.
If a taxpayer fails to file a tax return by the due date, the relevant office's staff will assess the tax based on the best information available. Discovery & Collections will enforce this statutory assessment.
- Business License or Business Personal Property Tax: If the company has previously reported gross receipts or tangible personal property information to Business Tax, staff will use the previously reported information to prepare a statutory assessment. If staff is unable to obtain the necessary information, staff will prepare a statutory assessment by reviewing the gross receipts or tangible personal property filings of a similar company. If this information is not available, staff will statutorily assess the business based on the best possible estimate.
- Personal Property Tax: If a taxpayer fails to file for personal property tax, staff will assess the vehicle based on Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles records and a recognized pricing guide.
Any business that receives a statutory assessment of business license or business personal property taxes and wishes to appeal the amount of the assessment must fill out and return either a delinquent business license application or a business personal property tax return.
Any business or individual that receives a statutory assessment of a vehicle and disagrees with the value placed on the vehicle must follow the normal personal property appeal procedure. Any business or individual that has been assessed for a vehicle that is not located in the City or has been disposed of (sold, traded, donated, etc.) should contact Personal Property Tax for assistance.
The City of Alexandria imposes penalties for failure to file or pay taxes on time, assesses interest on delinquent taxes, and charges fees to cover the cost of collection.
Late Filing Penalty
- Personal Property Tax: All vehicles must be registered for personal property tax within 30 days of purchase or within 30 days of moving into the City. After an additional 90 day grace period, the City assesses a late filing penalty of $10 or five percent of the tax due from the taxpayer, not to exceed the amount of the tax payable by the taxpayer. (City Code Section 3-2-229).
- Business Personal Property Tax: Business personal property tax returns must be filed by May 1 of each year. The City assesses a late filing penalty of $10 or five percent of the tax due, whichever is greater, for failure to file a business personal property tax return by the due date. In no case may a late filing penalty exceed $500 if a return is filed within the first 30 days after the due date. If the tax filing is more than 30 days late, the late filing penalty is five percent of the total tax due amount. (City Code Section 3-2-229)
- All Other Taxes: The City assesses a penalty of $10 or 10 percent of the tax due, whichever is greater, for failure to file a return. The penalty may not exceed the amount of the tax. Information on the filing dates for other taxes can be found in the Alexandria Tax Guide.
Late Payment Penalty
- The City assesses a late payment penalty of $10 or 10 percent of the tax due, whichever is greater, on all tax accounts paid after the due date. No penalty may exceed the amount of the tax billed.
- Interest on all delinquent taxes accrues at an annual rate of 10 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. This fee is $20 for accounts with balances between $20 to $49.99 and $45 for accounts with balances of $50 or more. There is no administrative fee on accounts with balances below $20. The administrative fee is applied towards processing costs incurred in the collection of delinquent taxes through the DMV Stop and Set-Off Debt Programs. (Code of Virginia Sections 46.2-752 and 58.1-520.1; City Code Section 3-2-230)
Waiver of Penalty and Interest
- Any business or individual that does not receive a tax bill three weeks prior to the due date should call the Treasury Division at 703.746.3902 to determine the total amount due. Failure to receive a tax bill does not relieve the taxpayer of the obligation to pay taxes by the due date and is not grounds for the waiver of late payment penalty and interest.
- Penalty and interest may only be waived in cases of late payment when one of the following conditions is met:
- The taxpayer can substantiate, with his or her own affidavit and a supporting statement from the postal service, that the tax filing or tax payment, although postmarked subsequent to the due date, was in fact mailed on or before that date; or
- It is substantiated through appropriate documentation that the taxpayer died in the six-month period immediately preceding the due date or that the taxpayer was, for medical reasons, incapable of making the tax filing or tax payment on the due date; or
- The tax bill is mailed to a prior owner of the taxpayer's property after a deed of transfer has been recorded but before the City's assessment records have been updated.