Updated July 23, 2020
Most of you know you need to register your vehicles with Fairfax County AND the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. And most of you do, which leads to your car tax bill every year (friendly reminder: it’s due Oct. 7!).
- Register Newly Purchased or Move-In Vehicles to Fairfax County Within 60 Days
- Register with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
However, not everyone registers their new vehicles, especially some people who have moved here from another state or purchased their vehicle elsewhere. The county’s Target Program allows you to send tips on vehicles with out of state plates that may not be registered in Fairfax County.
“This program provides Fairfax County residents a way to communicate with the tax office in reporting vehicles that may be evading personal property taxes,” says Juan Rengel from the Department of Tax Administration. “This is an effective way to participate in ensuring everyone living in Fairfax County pays their fair share.”
Approximately 850,000 personal property (car) tax bills are mailed to county residents during the summer with payment due October 5. However, you may know of a vehicle in your neighborhood with out of state plates that should be researched by our tax office. Within the last fiscal year, more than 3,500 previously unregistered vehicles were added to car tax records, which will yield more than $2.6 million in tax revenue to support the county budget.
Top 10 States Where Unregistered Vehicles are Coming From
- North Carolina
- New Jersey
- New York
Fairfax County’s location near Washington, D.C., military bases, universities and corporate world headquarters draws people from all over the world who make the county their home, either on a temporary or permanent basis. The perception may be that if a vehicle has out-of-state license plates, then the owner is not registering their vehicles. However, some vehicle owners with non-Virginia plates may not be required to register:
- Military personnel temporarily living in Fairfax County due to military order and their permanent residence is elsewhere
- Full-time college students
- People visiting family members
- Vehicles with government license plates
The online system is simple (it’s also mobile friendly available on our county app); here’s a screenshot of what’s required (state and license plate number) and optional (location, year, make, model):
After you fill out the quick form, you can check on its status. There are eight possible status levels:
- Pending/Under Investigation
- Already Assessed
- Added to Tax File
- Registered in Another Virginia Jurisdiction
- Plate Not Found in DMV
- Tax Liability Not Substantiated
- Rental Vehicle
- No Owner Information
How are these status levels determined? Tax office staff researches a variety of sources to identify vehicles, owners and enough connections to Fairfax County so the car tax can be assessed, while also weeding out visitors and other exceptions. “This includes our staff going out to the field doing a drive by to spot the vehicles,” Rengel says. The Department of Tax Administration also partnered with the Office of the Sheriff and the Police Department in canvasing areas and reporting possible tax evaders.
If a vehicle should be registered in the county, then the owner will receive a tax bill, which will also include penalties, interest and the “Out-of-State Plates Tax.”