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Personal Property Tax - FAQ
The following questions and answers provide basic information to assist taxpayers in understanding the assessment of personal property taxes on motor vehicles.
- What is generally considered personal property for taxation purposes? Automobiles, trucks, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, boats, airplanes, mobile homes, business furniture, fixtures, equipment, and machinery and tools used in the manufacturing process.
- How is the amount of tax to be levied on personal property determined? The Chesapeake City Council establishes personal property tax rates each year in May. The actual tax is computed by multiplying the property's assessed value by the applicable tax rate.
- How is personal property assessed? The Commissioner of the Revenue is generally required to determine the assessed value of motor vehicles based on a recognized pricing guide, if available, or a percentage of the original cost. The pricing publications used are the National Automobile Dealers Association official used car guide and the official older car guides (January editions). The value taken from these books is the average loan value. If the vehicle is not listed in the guide, the value will be based on a percentage of the purchase price or a percentage of the prior year's assessment.
- What personal property is prorated? The proration of personal property taxes applies to motor vehicles and trailers. This includes automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, and other vehicular equipment requiring registration through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
- What does proration of personal property taxes mean? The term proration refers to the authority of a locality to collect personal property taxes on a pro-rata basis - that is, generally for the portion of the year that an item is located there. Proration means that the assessed tax on a motor vehicle or trailer will be prorated on a monthly basis based upon the number of months that it maintains situs in Chesapeake, or is owned by the taxpayer.
- Where may local tax returns be filed? Personal property tax returns may be filed by mail or in person at any of the four office locations of the Commissioner of the Revenue. The main office is located on the first floor of City Hall - 306 Cedar Road. Satellite offices are located in:
- If I move out of Chesapeake during the tax year or sell my motor vehicle during the tax year, am I eligible for a refund of the personal property tax paid? Yes, in most situations. Generally, if you move out of Virginia altogether or into another Virginia locality that prorates personal property taxes, or sell or dispose of a motor vehicle, your personal property tax for that vehicle will be prorated. You will receive a credit or a refund of taxes paid for that portion of the remaining year, provided that all other taxes and debts due the city have been paid. Approximately 40 localities in Virginia prorate personal property taxes on motor vehicles. If you move out-of-state, you are required to provide a copy of the new state vehicle registration before your tax bill can be prorated.
- If my vehicle is damaged during the tax year, will the tax be prorated? No. The property's assessed value as of January 1 will be used as the basis for the personal property tax. If you feel your vehicle is below average condition because of mechanical malfunctions, excessive mileage or other reasons, you may appeal your assessment for an individual review of your vehicle's value.
- What is "Filing by Exception"? Beginning in 2006 when the City decal was eliminated, the Commissioner of the Revenue's Office has utilized an alternative methodology for filing personal property tax returns on motor vehicles known as "filing by exception". With "filing by exception", residents of Chesapeake are required to register their motor vehicles with the Commissioner of the Revenue only once. Personal property tax filing forms (Return of Tangible Personal Property form) with preprinted information are mailed to existing Chesapeake residents each year. Only persons with new information or changes to report are required to file the form.
- When will I receive the Return of Tangible Personal Property form? Return of Tangible Personal Property forms containing pre-printed information for motor vehicles, motorcycles and trailers are mailed out to residents in January.
- When must I return the Return of Tangible Personal Property form? If any changes need to be made on the form, you must return the form to the Commissioner of the Revenue by March 1.
- If all the pre-printed information on the Return of Tangible Personal Property form is correct, do I need to return it? If the pre-printed information on the form is correct, you do not have to do anything else and can discard the form.
- What changes or updates must I make to the information shown on the Return of Tangible Personal Property form? If the owner's name or address is incorrect, please change accordingly. Review the list of vehicles on the form and make any necessary changes to the information shown for each one. Any change in usage from personal to business or vice versa must be correctly noted. You must indicate on the form if you have sold, traded or junked a vehicle. Such changes also need to be reported to DMV.
- If I have moved out of Chesapeake, do I still need to file the Return of Tangible Personal Property form? Yes, you must notify DMV and return the form indicating your new address and the date you moved. If you have moved out of state, you must provide the date you moved and a copy of your out of state registration.
- What is the filing deadline for reporting personal property other than vehicles? The filing deadline for reporting mobile homes, airplanes, business personal property, and machinery and tools is March 1.
- When is my personal property tax payment due? Taxes on all personal property in the City of Chesapeake are due on June 5 of that year. Taxes on motor vehicles and trailers that are moved into the city after this date will receive a supplemental bill that will be due thirty (30) days from the date the bill was issued.
- When selling or disposing of a motor vehicle or trailer, do I need to notify anyone? Yes. When selling or disposing of a motor vehicle or trailer, both the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the Commissioner of the Revenue's office must be notified immediately. This is the citizen's responsibility and not that of the motor vehicle dealer or new owner.
- What are my tax obligations if I am an active duty military person maintaining Chesapeake as my legal residence? Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, your tax liability would be to the City of Chesapeake regardless of where you may be stationed or where your vehicle(s) may be garaged or located during the year.
- As an active duty member of the military, would I be taxed for personal property in Chesapeake if I maintained a legal domicile in a state other than Virginia? No. If you reside here by virtue of military orders, you would not be taxed in Chesapeake on personal property titled in your name only. Military personnel must present a copy of current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) each year to receive exemption.
- How does the City of Chesapeake determine the tax exempt status of military service personnel? Each January, military personnel receive a "Chesapeake Military Vehicle Registration" form which lists all the vehicles currently registered in Chesapeake and in the name of the military personnel. If any information on the form is incorrect, you must make the necessary changes and return the form to the Commissioner of the Revenue along with a current copy of LES (Leave and Earnings Statement). Once the registration form and LES are received and reviewed for eligibility, your vehicle account(s) will be coded so as to be exempt from personal property tax.
- Are disabled veterans eligible for relief on personal property tax? Any single motor vehicle owned and regularly used by a veteran, who is permanently and totally disabled as certified by the Department of Veteran Affairs, may qualify for a reduced personal property tax rate. For further information, please contact the Commissioner of the Revenue's office at 757-382-6730.
- Are persons who have motor vehicles specially equipped eligible for relief on personal property tax? Motor vehicles which are owned and are specially equipped to provide transportation for physically handicapped individuals, may qualify for a reduced personal property tax rate. For further information, please contact the Commissioner of the Revenue's office at 757-382-6730.
For personal property other than motor vehicles, the assessed value is normally based on a percentage of the original cost.
Mobile homes, airplanes, boats, and business personal property are not prorated.
Deep Creek – 824 Old George Washington Hwy. N
South Norfolk – 1205 20th Street
Western Branch – 2808 Taylor Road
A temporary absence from the City of Chesapeake does not make you eligible for a prorated refund. For your personal property tax to be prorated, you must submit supporting documentation of your move or of the vehicle being disposed. For additional information on documentation to submit, please call 757-382-6730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the vehicle is damaged prior to January 1 and has not been repaired, an assessment appeal form may be filed.
Personal property titled jointly with your spouse or property titled solely in your spouse's name may be eligible for exemption of personal property tax based on qualifying conditions provided in the federal Military Spouses Residency Relief Act. To apply for exemption on such personal property, the spouse of the active-duty servicemember must submit a Military Spouses Residency Affidavit to the Commissioner of the Revenue's Office. Personal property that is leased by an active duty servicemember and/or spouse is not exempt from personal property taxes.
Additional information about assessments and taxes may be obtained by contacting:
|Personal Property Assessment||757-382-6730|
|Business Property Assessment||757-382-6739|
|Real Estate Assessment||757-382-6235|