Personal Property Taxes

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NOTICE: COVID Impact on Vehicle Values

The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to have a significant impact on used vehicle valuations.  Historically, vehicles depreciate each year.  However, due to the pandemic and its lingering effects, 2022 is seeing drastic vehicle valuation increases.  In Charlottesville, half of vehicles have increased in value by between 20% and 40%.  If your vehicle valuation seems higher than you anticipated, it is likely a result of this phenomenon. Some of the factors leading to higher vehicle valuations include:

  • Supply chain issues impacting the production of new cars, and by extension, the availability of used cars;
  • Slower replacement rates of large fleets, creating a shortage of used vehicles in the market;
  • Increased demand caused by low interest rates, high savings rates, and an influx of money available to consumers (covid-related stimulus and tax refunds, increased available equity from high housing prices, etc…);
  • Historically high wholesale pricing (industry average for vehicles up to 8 years old is 54% higher in 2022 than 2021).

In accordance with Code of Virginia 58.1-3503, the City of Charlottesville Commissioner of the Revenue uses the “Clean Trade-in Value” established by J.D. Power (NADA) as fair market value.  The personal property tax rate is established by City Council.

Personal Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans

The Constitution of Virginia [Article X, Section 6(a)(8)] and Virginia Code §58.1-3668 was amended effective January 1, 2021 to exempt from taxation one motor vehicle owned and used primarily by or for any Veteran of the Armed Forces or Virginia National Guard who meets the following criteria: 

  • Veteran must have been rated by the US Department of Veterans affairs or its successor agency pursuant to federal law with a 100% service-connected, permanent and total disability.
  • The one motor vehicle includes only a passenger car or a pickup or panel truck that is registered for personal use.
  • The following ownership and use qualify for personal property tax exemption:
    • The vehicle is owned and used by the disabled veteran.
    • The vehicle is owned jointly with the spouse of the disabled veteran.
  • This exemption shall be applicable beginning on the date the motor vehicle is acquired or January 1, 2021, whichever is later, and shall not be applicable for any period prior to January 1, 2021.
  • Once a vehicle has been selected to receive the exemption, another vehicle (i.e. a replacement vehicle or a vehicle purchased mid-year) can only be selected if the original vehicle is disposed or sold.
  • Leased vehicles and vehicles owned by a business will not qualify.
  • A vehicle owned by a trust of any type, either revocable or irrevocable, does not qualify for the tax exemption.
  • Application for Disabled Veteran Personal Property Tax Exemption (PDF)

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 or send us an email at citycor@charlottesville.gov.

  1. Frequently Asked Questions
  2. Vehicle License Fees