Higher car values bring higher personal property tax bills in Norfolk


by David Ham


Posted on June 29, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 29 at 5:47 PM

NORFOLK -- Used car values are up. This is good news if you're selling a car, but it could be bad news for your tax bill.

The National Automobile Dealers Association says that used car values were up in 2009 about 10% and up about 30% for SUVs.

"In the 15 years that I have been in the industry, we definitely haven't seen anything like this," said Jonathan Banks with NADA.

NADA's assessments of used vehicles is used by municipalities to set personal property tax rates.

"When I first moved here, it was sort of a shock because other states I've lived in, I didn't have it on vehicles," said Jeffrey Hauser, who lives in Norfolk.

The City of Norfolk sent out bills for vehicle personal property taxes in April.

He and his wife estimate they pay about $400 a year for their Dodge Dakota pick-up truck and a Honda CR-V.
NADA says values are up because of supply and demand.  Officials say fewer people are trading in cars, fewer vehicles are being leased, and fewer people are traveling, so rental companies are holding their cars longer.  Additionally, the Cash for Clunkers program took many used cars off the roads.

On top of higher assessed values, Norfolk also voted to increase its vehicle personal property tax rate next year by five cents-- to $4.35 for every $100 of value. 

Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Newport News, Williamsburg, and James City County's vehicle personal property tax rates have not increased.

Taxpayers may be able to dispute their vehicle tax bill if they think it's too high. Local commissioner of revenue offices can adjust tax bills for things like higher than average mileage and body damage.

Active duty military who are not Virginia residents are exempt from paying Virginia vehicle personal property taxes.