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Prorating personal property tax started this month

Effective Jan.1 of this year, how personal property tax is assessed changed.

Last spring, the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance to change the assessment of personal property from non-prorating to prorating.

Supervisors saw this move as not only being fairer to citizens but also a way of increasing revenue.

How will this decision affect you?What the change means is that residents selling their vehicles will only be taxed for the portion of the year that they owned that vehicle.

Most folks trade up so if you trade in an older vehicle for a newer one, you will be taxed at the higher rate for the remainder of the year.

According to Commissioner of Revenue Terry Yowell, with about a 30 percent turnover in vehicles during a year, it should equate to additional revenue.

It will also require more manpower as there will be added paperwork required sending out bills once a month rather than once a year.

Culpeper County now joins the ranks of some 30 other counties in the commonwealth that prorate personal property taxes.

Yowell wants to make sure that citizens are aware of the change. The following information from the Culpeper County Commissioner of Revenue's office should clarify the change.

Proration of Personal Property Tax began January 1, 2013

The term “proration” refers to the authority of a locality to provide for the levy and collection of personal property taxes on a prorated basis, generally for the portion of the year that such property is normally garaged, parked, stored or otherwise acquires a situs for taxation within such locality.

Proration of personal property taxes will apply only to motor vehicles and trailers. This includes automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, motor homes, campers, tractor trucks, semi-trailers and other vehicular equipment requiring registration through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Other types of personal property such as airplanes, boats, mobile/manufactured homes, business personal property and machinery and tools will continue to be taxed on an annual basis.

Under the prorated system, a motor vehicle will be taxed on a monthly basis for the portion of the calendar year that it is subject to taxation in the County. For example, if you acquire your vehicle between the 1st and 15th of the month, you will be liable for a full month’s tax, beginning with the first month in which you made the purchase. However, if you purchase a vehicle on or after the 16th of any given month, your tax liability for the motor vehicle will begin on the first day of the following month.

If you sell or dispose of your vehicle during the year, you may not be liable for a full year’s tax bill. If you move from Culpeper to another Virginia “prorating” locality, you may not be liable for a full year’s tax bill. However, if you move from Culpeper to a Virginia “non-prorating” locality, and maintain ownership of your vehicle, you will be subject to a full year’s tax bill.

If you move out of the Commonwealth, you may not be liable for a full year’s tax bill. However, please note the law stipulates that a temporary absence does not make someone eligible for prorated tax. In order to be eligible for prorated tax, you must submit sufficient documentation related to a permanent “move out” date such as relocation papers or housing rental agreements along with a copy of the out of state DMV registration of your vehicle.

It is advisable to keep good records of your vehicle transaction in order to expedite any problem that may occur in determining transaction dates. Residents are also reminded that State law requires notification of vehicle disposition be made to the DMV (see back of registration card). It is your responsibility to take care of these matters as a statutory tax liability may occur if sufficient documentation is not available to give proof of a disposition.

Taxpayers who own vehicles subject to taxation by Culpeper County as of January 1, and who have previously registered their vehicle with the Commissioner’s office, are no longer required to file annually. Vehicles acquired or moved in after January 1 must be registered with the Commissioner’s office within 60 days. A registration form for tangible personal property may be obtained online or you may contact the Commissioner’s office for assistance.

Military personnel residing in the county who are the legal residents of other states are still exempt from the personal property tax under the proration system. Proper documentation to support military status and legal residency must be submitted annually.

Taxes on personal property by Culpeper County are billed once a year and are due December 5. Any supplemental assessments billed after December 5 will have the due date indicated on the tax bill.

For more information, please call the Commissioner of the Revenue Office at 727-3443, stop by the office located at 151 N Main Street (Giles Miller building) or email Terry Yowell at tyowell@culpepercounty.gov.
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