Real Estate Assessments & Taxes

Fairfax County, Virginia

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TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 357
Fairfax, VA 22035

Thomas Reed,
Division Director

Understanding Real Estate Assessments

As part of the Fairfax County annual assessment program, the Department of Tax Administration (DTA) reviews the assessed values for all real property each year, with January 1 as the effective date of the assessments. The Constitution of Virginia, Article X, Section 2 and the Code of Virginia, § 58.1-3201 require real estate assessments to represent fair market value.

For most residential properties, fair market value is best determined from comparable sales data. This process involves analyzing recently sold properties and adjusting the sales for differences to estimate the values of the unsold properties. Appraisers use computer assisted mass appraisal techniques to accomplish this annual task. In addition to comparable sales approach, there are other approaches to value, such as the replacement cost approach and the income approach. The appraisal staff researches and analyzes the available sales information each year to determine the approach to value which will yield the best assessed values.

For most commercial properties, fair market value is best determined by capitalizing the property's income into an estimate of value. This approach is commonly referred to as the income approach. This approach considers the ability of the property to earn income through rents, taking into account the operating expenses and allowing for vacancy and collection losses. The resulting net operating income is then capitalized into value with an appropriate rate to achieve a fair market value estimate. This value is then compared to the available market sales to determine if the property's assessment should change. Other approaches to value such as the cost approach and the direct sales approach are also used in the assessment process each year. The appraisal staff researches and analyzes the available sales information each year to determine the approach to value which will yield the best assessed values. Commercial Income and Expense Survey Forms and Instructions are available on the Forms page.

Additional information about assessment trends can be found in the current county budget on the Department of Management and Budget website, the assessment notice press release, or the real estate assessments comparisons page.

Calculating Tax Amount

The amount of taxes is calculated by dividing the assessed value by 100 and then multiplying by the tax rate:

( Assessed Value ÷ 100 ) × 2020 Tax Rate = Tax Amount

For Example:

( $500,000 ÷ 100 ) × 1.150 = $5,750

Real Estate Assessment Notices

Property owners are provided with an annual official notice of the assessed value of their real property for local tax purposes. (Code of Virginia, § 58.1-3330) This notice is not a tax bill. The assessed value provides the basis for the real estate taxes that will be due on July 29 and December 5.

Property owners are encouraged to review their assessment notices as soon as possible.

What are my options if I need more information or I disagree with my assessment?

We 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 DTA online at

You may use the online information to:

  • Determine if your property is described correctly on DTA records. Please note, properties, especially commercial properties, cannot be fully described on the website; you may need to call DTA for more details.
  • Check the comparability of assessments in your general area for properties that have physical features similar to your own home.
  • View a list of sales in your assessment neighborhood and consider if your property could have sold for its assessed value as of January 1st.

You may file an assessment appeal by downloading and completing a hardcopy appeal form from our forms page.

Any administrative appeals are required to be filed with DTA by May 1, to allow time for review prior to the filing deadline for the Board of Equalization (BOE).

You may also appeal to the BOE. Applications are required to be filed by June 1. Property owners are encouraged to file an appeal with DTA prior to filing one with the BOE.

Contact the BOE at 703-324-4891 [TTY 711], or at Suite 331, 12000 Government Center Pkwy, Fairfax, VA 22035.

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