Personal Property & Motor Vehicle License Tax (Individual & Business)

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General Information

The City of Fairfax assesses all individuals & businesses on the value of motor vehicles, including automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, campers and other recreational vehicles (RVs) and boats that are located in the City of Fairfax. Such property is considered personal property. Additionally, the City imposes a Motor Vehicle License Tax for each vehicle and issues a vehicle license decal as proof that the license tax and personal property taxes have been paid.

Assessments and Tax Rates 

Classification Tax Rate per $100 of Gross Receipts
Personal Property $4.13

The Commissioner of the Revenue determines the method of assessment for personal property and the City Council establishes the tax rate. The current personal property tax rate is 4.13 per $100 of assessed value. In addition to the personal property tax all motor vehicles normally garaged in the city are required to display a Motor Vehicle License Decal. The Motor Vehicle License Tax is $ 33.00 per annum and is administered directly by the City Treasurer (click here to e-mail the Treasurer). Before obtaining a decal vehicle owners must register their vehicles with the Commissioner of the Revenue for personal property tax purposes.

The Commissioner of the Revenue determines the fair market value of vehicles, for assessment purposes, by using nationally recognized pricing guides. The guide most often used is the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Official Used Car Guide. The Commissioner uses the clean trade-in value, as of January 1st of the tax year. A new vehicle is assessed at 100% of its manufacturer’s suggested retail price (M.S.R.P.). In the absence of a recognized price guide or M.S.R.P., the Commissioner of the Revenue determines the fair market value based on the cost of the vehicle or a percentage of the cost of the vehicle.

Computation of Tax 

The amount of personal property tax due is determined by multiplying the property’s assessed value by the tax rate [(X/$100) x 4.13]. The Commissioner of the Revenue for the City of Fairfax prorates personal property taxes. If you are a new resident or have purchased a new vehicle you are taxed based on the actual length of time that the vehicle has been located in the City. Individuals are assessed for a full month if the vehicle is located in the City between the 1st and the 15th of the month.

Filing and Payment Procedures 

Beginning in 1999 the Commissioner of the Revenue has implemented a change in the filing requirements for Personal Property tax on vehicles. Under the new program known as Filing by Exception, all residents owning personal property in the City of Fairfax are required to register their vehicles with the Commissioner of the Revenue only once. The "exceptions" are purchase of a new/used vehicle, sale or disposal of an old vehicle, or a change in name and/or address. You must complete a Vehicle Registration and Personal Property Tax Return and file it with the Commissioner of the Revenue within 60 days of any of the following:

  • Moving a vehicle into the City of Fairfax
  • Sale or disposal of an old vehicle
  • Change in name and/or address
  • Any other changes to your Personal Property

Personal property Tax Notices are sent out to existing residents, by the Commissioner's office, in February. If the information on the notice is correct, you will not need to do anything else. The City Treasurer sends out tax bills in September. All personal property tax payments are due by October 5th. Once all personal property and vehicle license taxes have been paid the City Treasurer issues Vehicle License Decals. These are to be placed on the vehicle windshield to the right of the Safety Inspection Decal.

Exempted from Taxation

The following persons are required to register and file annual personal property tax returns, however they are exempt by law from paying the personal property tax and the vehicle license tax:

  • Military personnel who are on active or extended duty and are not legal residents of Commonwealth of Virginia. The vehicle must be registered solely in the active duty military person’s name.
  • Members of the U.S. Congress and their spouses and recognized Foreign Diplomats.
  • Any person legally domiciled in another state, whose motor vehicle is normally garaged or parked in the City of Fairfax, provided they show evidence that they have paid a personal property tax on the vehicle in their state of domicile.
  • Those persons, businesses and not for profit corporations specifically those exempt by City of Fairfax.
  • The Fairfax City Council has adopted a lower personal property tax rate of $0.01 per $100 of assessed value on one motor vehicle owned and regularly used by a qualifying disabled veteran in accordance with Virginia Code §58.1-3506(A)(19). Download the Application for Reduced Personal Property (Car Tax) Rate for Qualifying Disabled Veterans here. Applicants will be required to provide official documentation from the U.S./Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs that verifies the disabled veteran has been rated by such agency to have a "100% service-connected, permanent, and total disability or has either lost, or lost the use of, one or both legs, or an arm or a hand, or who is blind." The reduced Personal Property tax rate is subject each year to adoption by the City Council during their annual budget deliberations. Disabled veterans need only apply once, but must contact the Commissioner of the Revenue by May 1st each year to receive the lower rate on a different vehicle should the approved vehicle be otherwise moved, sold or disposed.

Pay Online

Business Return for Tangible Personal Property, Machinery & Tools

Every person, business or professional owning tangible personal property and/or machinery and tools located within or doing business within the City of Fairfax, is subject to a tax and must file a report. The tax is based upon the total assessed value of the property. The deadline for filing the return is May 1 of the calendar tax year.

Additional Resources 

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