Loudoun taxpayers could see an increase in property tax bills due May 5 as a result of increases in used vehicle values, according to Commissioner of the Revenue Robert Wertz Jr.
He said this is not due to a tax rate increase or reduction in tax relief.
The value of vehicles was following a typical downward trend in early 2020, Wertz said, but the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the usual market trends in the automobile industry as a whole.
As a result, all major vehicle appraisal services saw an increase in used vehicle market values between January 2020 and January 2021.
One change to the market was due to the federal reserve cutting interest rates to 0%, which allowed customers to purchase vehicles sooner than they may have in the past.
Wertz said during the summer of 2020, prices increased over 10% for the U.S. used car market as a whole.
Values were also affected by auto manufacturing plants’ closing for the production of ventilators and other personal protective equipment, which caused a reduction in new car inventories.
Additionally, values changed due to companies with large vehicle fleets — including car rental firms — not replacing inventory, adding to the shortage of pre-owned vehicles that would normally be available in the used vehicle market.
Vehicle values for tax assessment purposes are established as of January 1 and historically decline over time as vehicles age. As a result, the value of any vehicle for tax purposes would normally be lower than the value of that same vehicle the previous January.
“My office assesses personal property on the assumption that it is in fair condition for its age,” Wertz said in a prepared statement. “A vehicle owner can request a review of the assessment if a vehicle is not in average condition as of January 1 of the tax year being appealed, because of unusually high mileage, extensive unrepaired body damage or serious mechanical defects. This does not include normal wear and tear,”
Appealing an assessment does not guarantee that it will be reduced, nor does the filing of an appeal relieve the payment of the tax bill by the respective due date, Wertz said. Vehicle owners who believe their vehicle was worth less than its assessed value on January 1, 2021, can obtain an appeal form at loudoun.gov/pp-appeal.
More information also is available online through the commissioner’s frequently asked questions about vehicle personal property tax assessments.
The commissioner said he encourages Loudoun taxpayers to connect with his office virtually in order to protect themselves as well as his staff and slow the spread of COVID-19. Most transactions with the office can be done online.
For more information, visit loudoun.gov/cor or send an email to email@example.com or call 703-777-0260 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. If you choose to make an in-person visit, please contact the office beforehand as office hours may be adjusted due to the pandemic.