ISSUE: Why is it necessary to appeal the assessed value of my vehicle every year?

FACT: The appealed value is only valid for one year since the condition of a vehicle, and its resale value, typically changes between inspections.

man inspecting vehicleMuch like the assessed value of a home changes due to damage or renovations, so too, does the value of a vehicle. Since 1998, the Commissioner of Revenue in Virginia Beach has offered taxpayers the opportunity to appeal their personal property tax assessments if owners believe it has been assessed for more tha​​n its fair market value. The personal property tax applies to cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs and business use vehicles.

The appraised amount of a vehicle is based on the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) resale value. The NADA value, however, assumes that a vehicle is in good condition. A number of factors could decrease a vehicle’s value: 

  • Unrepaired cosmetic damage: Suppose a driver had their vehicle assessed in 2017 and it had a large dent in the door from an accident. Such damage will reduce a vehicle’s value and it would be reflected in the reassessed amount. If same vehicle is brought back in 2018 with the damage repaired, the owner wouldn’t be eligible for the same appraisal reduction since that damage is no longer present, bringing the car’s value closer to NADA’s definition of good condition.
  • High mileage: For example, if driver has a 2013 car with 77,000 miles on it, it would be eligible for a high mileage deduction. A car from the same year with fewer than 70,000 miles would not qualify. Generally speaking, the more miles on a vehicle’s odometer, the lower its assessed value will be.
  • Excessive wear and tear: Wear and tear on a vehicle refers to damage that is natural and inevitable through the course of normal use. Scratched or fading paint, worn carpet, scuffs on the interior or stains on the seats are expected over the lifetime of a vehicle. A typical 10-year-old vehicle would be expected to exhibit these signs just from being used. A two-year-old vehicle with chipped paint, a damaged headliner and torn seats would be considered excessively worn and valued less than a similar vehicle of the same year.

​Good news: 

If you appeal the tax bill and it turns out it’s worth a little more than the assessed value, you won’t end up paying more. There are exceedingly rare situations in which the assessed value could be raised, but that usually means there’s an issue with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) not correctly identifying value-added options, such as a four-wheel drive transmission or a higher trim package.

If you think your vehicle has been assessed for more than it’s worth, you can appeal the assessment online by clicking here and following the instructions on the page.

For additional information about the appeals process, please visit the Personal Property Assessment Appeals website or call 385-4487. For more information about local taxes and the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office, please visit​.

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