Real Estate Assessments & Taxes

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: DTA is open 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For your convenience, our full service counter is open until 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays for walk-in customers.

703-222-8234
TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 357
Fairfax, VA 22035

Howard Goodie,
Division Director

Real Estate Tax - Frequently Asked Questions

MyFairfax is your home to conduct key online transactions with the county. This is an ongoing customer service initiative to provide you with faster and easier access to your county information in a secure environment.

As a first step, we're excited to offer you direct access to your Personal Property Vehicle Tax, Business Personal Property Tax, and Real Estate Tax information.

Register for an account today or login to view your information.

To add your real property to the MyFairfax portal, you need the property's Tax Map Reference Number and the Web Control Number. You can find both numbers on the property's Notice of Assessment Change for the current tax year that is sent out in February every year.  If you don't have the current tax year's Notice of Assessment Change, you can get the Web Control Number by calling, 703-222-8234 (TTY 711)  (Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.), or using our online Contact Us form.

The Web Control Number is on the Notice of Assessment Change and changes every year, so you must have the current year’s number.

The Tax Map Reference Number can be found by searching for the parcel information by address, or on the Notice of Assessment Change.

Sample Notice of Assessment Change with Web Control Number and Tax Map Reference Number Circled
Sample Notice of Assessment Change with Web Control Number and Tax Map Reference Number Circled

This notice is not a tax bill.

You are provided this annual notice as an official statement of the assessed value of your real property for local tax purposes. (Code of Virginia, § 58.1-3330)

The January 1 real estate assessment represents the estimated fair market value of your property. The assessed value provides the basis for your real estate taxes that will be due on July 28 and December 5. If the due date falls on a weekend, the due date moves to the next business day.

If you believe that your property is incorrectly assessed, you can file an appeal with the Department of Tax Administration (DTA) or with the Board of Equalization.

See our Real Estate - Tax Rates and Fees page for information about the base tax rate and other tax district rates and service charges that may be applicable in certain districts.

The base tax rate is set annually by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Start with the base real estate tax rate, which for this example is $1.150 per $100 of assessed value. Check to see if other tax rates apply to the property in question. Add all applicable tax rates to get the total tax rate.

If our example property is in a leaf collection special tax district, a rate of $0.013 would be added to the base rate giving us a total tax rate of $1.163. If this property is assessed at $400,000, to compute the real estate tax bill divide the assessed value by 100 and multiply by the total tax rate.

For Example:
( $400,000 ÷ 100 ) × $1.163 = $4,652

Make sure you are taking into account any special tax districts applicable to your property when making your calculation.

See example in the previous question.

See this Press Release for information about the current year’s assessments.

Indications of residential market improvement have occurred throughout the region. See the Real Estate Assessments Comparisons for Residential Properties page for more information.

There are about 342,500 residential properties in Fairfax County. Sales activity and price fluctuation within the real estate market varies somewhat based on property type and from neighborhood to neighborhood. Fairfax is a large and diverse jurisdiction and the local conditions and many other factors that affect value can vary widely, impacting its various neighborhoods differently. Consequently, the percentage of assessment change is also variable.

For perspective, you can see the sale prices of properties within your assessment neighborhood.

Newspapers sometimes publish a summary of the average sale price in an area that compares one time period to another. While this may give a general indication of a percentage change in sales prices, it should not be compared to any percentage change in your assessment, for the following reasons:

  • The time period shown may not match that of the January 1 effective date of assessment.
  • Areas covered are typically a zip code or other large area and do not reflect different changes within individual neighborhoods. In addition, property types may have been combined and do not take into account differing percentage changes between single family, townhouse, and condominium types of residential dwellings.
  • A mean or median percentage change can be overly influenced by the types of properties sold during the specified time period. For example, percentage changes can be misleading if more lower priced homes sold during the beginning of the time period versus more higher priced homes at the end.

After the sale verification process, recent market value land sales are analyzed to determine representative land values for all land types throughout Fairfax County. These values are then uniformly applied by neighborhood according to each parcel's particular characteristics (location, size, zoning, shape, etc.).

The Code of Virginia § 58.1-3330 requires assessors to separately identify land, building, and total values. In many cases, land sales are few or non-existent in built out neighborhoods. In these cases, land sales in other neighborhoods are analyzed to determine typical land sale price to total sale price ratios. These ratios are then applied to similar built out neighborhoods to set the land portion of the assessment.

Staff appraisers generally select from the professionally accepted valuation choices of market or cost when valuing residential property. For the market approach to value, staff appraisers examine recent sales that occur within Fairfax County assessment neighborhoods. These sales are studied to determine if they represent fair market value and to confirm the physical features of the property being sold. After adjusting for differences between properties, these sales are used as a guide to determine the proper assessment for all other properties in the neighborhood. When using the cost approach, the land assessment is added to the depreciated replacement cost to obtain a total cost value for each property within a neighborhood. These cost values are then compared to recent fair market value improved sales in the neighborhood and adjusted, if required, to best reflect the sale prices. Cost, or adjusted cost if required, is then applied to the remainder of properties within the neighborhood to yield uniform assessments that reflect market value.

For properties with buildings, the assessed value is allocated between land and building to comply with legal reporting requirements (Code of Virginia § 58.1-3330). The overall tax burden is based only on the total assessed value (i.e., the total of land plus any buildings).

We are pleased to provide answers to any questions you may have about your real estate assessment. In addition to the information on this site, you may contact us by the following methods:

  • Automated Information System: Call 703-222-6740 Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to hear recorded property descriptions, assessed values, and sales prices. You may also use this number to receive a faxed report for up to five properties per call.
  • E-mail: Specific questions or requests for more information may be requested using email. Please include a telephone number where you can be reached during the day.
  • Telephone: Call the Central Information Team (CIT) Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 703-222-8234 [TTY 711]. You may request to speak with an appraiser.
  • FAX: Specific questions or requests for more information may be faxed to 703-324-4935. Please include a telephone number where you can be reached during the day.
  • Regular Mail: Specific questions or requests for more information may be addressed to Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 357, Fairfax, VA 22035. Please include a telephone number where you can be reached during the day.

We strongly encourage you to call our staff appraisers at 703-222-8234 [TTY 711] to discuss your assessment questions. You may also review real estate information from the Department of Tax Administration online.

You may find additional information about filing assessment appeals here.

Sale price is the actual price a buyer pays for a particular property, and not necessarily representative of fair market value.

A real estate appraisal is a detailed single property valuation representing fair market value and may be obtained at any time throughout the year. Appraisals can have a variety of purposes, such as a mortgage loan, sale, home equity loan, or estate valuations.

An assessment is a mass appraisal of property as of January 1 each year for tax purposes. Assessments are based on large numbers of sales that are analyzed to determine values for large groups of similar properties with the goal of making any value changes equitably amongst all properties in a given group. An assessment value can be, and often is, different than an appraised value of the same property for mortgage loan purposes, for example.

Real Estate may be assessed for more than the sales price because the assessment reflects "fair market value." Fair market value is not necessarily the price paid for a piece of real estate, but rather, what it is worth on the real estate market. A sale may be below fair market value, for example, if the owners are in financial distress and need to sell quickly, lowering the price beyond what they might otherwise accept. Selling a property at an amount simply sufficient to cover the mortgage would be another example of a distress sale not at fair market value. The current tax year’s assessments are based on the prior year’s sales.

Market Value sales are those that have been determined by county appraisers to be representative of fair market value (i.e., a willing seller and buyer, neither party related to the other, neither party under duress to sell or buy, adequate exposure of the property to the market, and financing terms typical for the current market). Non-market sales are those that have been determined not to be representative of the typical market value. Examples of non-market sales may include a bank foreclosure or a sale to a related party.

For multi-parcel sales from January 1, 2004 forward, the total sales price will be shown on each of the parcels. There will also be a note indicating that the parcels are part of a multiparcel sale. Multiparcel sales prior to 2004 will show as a zero price on the website, with a note on the detail record indicating a multiple parcel sale. Please contact us for the sales price.

Current year sales in our records are indicated on the initial search panel by a sales date in the current year.

Real estate taxes are due in two equal installments. The due dates are July 28 and December 5 each year. If the due date falls on a weekend, the due date moves to the next business day. Tax bills are mailed out three to four weeks prior to the due dates.

If taxes are paid by the mortgage company, the bill is sent electronically to them.

The Department of Tax Administration strives to maintain accurate real estate records. Please notify us immediately should you note an error in your property record by email or by calling 703-222-8234 [TTY 711], or by writing to:
Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 357
Fairfax, VA 22035

You may check your current mailing address in the real estate online records or change your mailing address.

Most mortgage companies participate in a mass billing and payment system through an electronic information exchange with Fairfax County. Participating mortgage companies furnish Fairfax County with electronic data twice yearly listing the accounts whereby they will be paying the taxes from escrow accounts. If your mortgage holder does not commit to pay your Real Estate taxes, the tax bills will be mailed to your current mailing address.

If you have a mortgage, but would like to see a copy of your bills, please sign up for our MyFairfax Portal.

Real Estate tax bills are due in two installments on July 28 and December 5 of each calendar year. If the due date falls on a weekend, the due date moves to the next business day.

If you do not receive a tax bill at least two weeks before the due date, you can confirm the amount due by email at dtarcd@fairfaxcounty.gov or by calling the Department of Tax Administration at 703-222-8234 [TTY 711].

Please note: failure to receive a tax bill does not relieve the obligation for penalties for payments made after the due date.

You should provide us with your name, property address, legal description of the property in question and a contact number. Your name will be withheld from the Fairfax County Real Estate Division website. However, owner names remain public information if we receive inquiries about property ownership.

Note: If a taxpayer whose name has been withheld would like their name displayed again, they must send us a notarized written request.

Send us a letter requesting that the name be removed. Include the property address, legal description and a copy of the death certificate.

Mail to:

Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 357
Fairfax, VA 22035

If the property in question is jointly owned and one or both individuals are deceased, documentation must be filed with Fairfax County Circuit Court Probate Office.

4110 Chain Bridge Road, Room 328
Fairfax, VA 22030
Make an appointment by calling 703-691-7320 (press 3, 6, 3).

Then send us a letter requesting that the name be removed, include copies of the death certificates, probate information filed, property address, legal description, and a contact number. Mail to:

Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 357
Fairfax, VA 22035

You should provide us the property address, legal description of the property in question, contact number, and a legal document (examples below).

  • Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce Decree showing you retain your maiden name
  • Legal document showing name change (Court Order)
  • Legal document from the State Corporation Commission showing the name change

Mail to:

Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 357
Fairfax, VA 22035

The Commonwealth of Virginia does not currently offer a homestead exemption of real estate taxes.

It is industry standard for insurance companies to use an independent replacement cost to determine the insurable value of your home. In the case of a loss, damages would generally be paid based on the insurance company’s independent estimate of the replacement cost, not the building portion of your assessment. Keep in mind that the house assessment does not equal the cost to replace a house. For assessment purposes, the improvement value reflects years of normal depreciation. For insurance purposes, your insurance company would generally use their own estimate of what it would cost to rebuild your home today.

If real estate must be sold to collect delinquent taxes, any tax sale would be handled by the county's contract legal firm for such collections, with oversight from the County Attorney's Office. If you have questions or would like to be added to a potential bidders list for real estate public auctions, please visit our collection attorney, Taxing Authority Consulting Services PC. You will only be notified in the event a public auction is scheduled. Please note, the Code of Virginia does not authorize the sale of tax lien certificates. Sales only occur at public auction, and the sale conveys title to the property itself.