Do I have a personal property tax obligation as an active duty service member maintaining a legal domicile in a state other than Virginia?
No. If you reside here solely due to military orders, if the vehicle is titled in your name and/or spouses name and if the vehicle is not used in a trade or business, you do not have a personal property tax liability. You must present a copy of a current leave and earning statement (LES) to receive this exemption. Recertification of the exemption is required every 3 years.
What about if I co-own the vehicle with my spouse?
Personal property titled jointly with a spouse may be eligible for exemption from the personal property tax, if the spouse also maintains a legal domicile outside of Virginia. For a list of documentation required, visit our Military Exemption web page.
I am an active duty service member stationed in Virginia. I have three cars. Two cars are registered in my name only. My third car is co-owned with my 20-year-old son, who still lives with us. Does my military exemption apply to the third car as well?
Because neither the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) nor the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act (MSRRA) extends their tax protections to a service member’s dependents, and because the vehicle is jointly owned with your daughter/son, the vehicle is subject to taxation.
Do I have to own the vehicle? What if I am leasing?
A vehicle leased by an active duty service member and/or spouse is taxable; however, it may qualify for a personal property tax relief credit of 100% on the first $20,000 of assessed value pursuant to a contract requiring the service member and/or spouse (the lessee) to pay the personal property tax. Any amount over $20,000 is taxable at the current personal property tax rate. A copy of the lease is required.
My car is registered with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. What are my vehicle tax obligations as an active duty service member maintaining Fairfax County as my legal residence?
In accordance with the situs provisions in Virginia code (Code of Virginia § 58.1-3511) and the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), your tax liability would be Fairfax County regardless of where you are stationed or where your vehicle(s) may be garaged or located during the year. (If your vehicle is registered in another state, the vehicle would be taxable where the vehicle is garaged or parked.)
I am stationed in Virginia and my car is garaged/parked on Fort Belvoir. Am I exempt from the local personal property tax?
Fairfax County has general taxing authority with respect to property not belonging to the United States at Fort Belvoir. If your vehicle is garaged/parked on Fort Belvoir this does not automatically exempt your vehicle from the personal property tax. The normal military exemption rules would apply.
I have been exempt from the personal property tax but I will be retiring from the military on June 30th. Will my vehicles become liable for the personal property tax if I stay in Fairfax County?
You have 60 days from your separation date to update your status with Fairfax County. Your vehicles will become taxable as of July 1. Personal property taxes are prorated. A copy of your DD-214 is required.
I am on active duty, my spouse and I both maintain a legal domicile outside of Virginia, and he/she is authorized to be with me in Virginia. Other than military separation, could my spouse lose his/her exemption from the local personal property tax?
Your spouse could lose his/her exemption from personal property tax due to:
- Voluntary physical separation due to duty changes—i.e., orders move the service member to a location outside the state where the spouse can join the service member, but chooses not to do so. (This DOES NOT include service member’s deployment to a war zone or other location where a spouse is not allowed to follow.)
- Spouse commits an action that clearly establishes Virginia as his/her state of domicile. Such actions would include filing a local court action, such as a claim for divorce, accepting in-state tuition, voting locally, or filing Virginia income taxes.
Is it legal for the Department of Tax Administration to request copies of military ID cards?
Yes. The Department of Tax Administration may request documentation needed to establish residency status, including copies of military ID cards. This is according to DoD Instructions Number 1000.13 Title 18, US Code Part 1, Chapter 33, Section 701, January 3, 2007.
I met and married a service member here, in Virginia. My spouse has been stationed in Virginia for years but claims another state as legal domicile. Am I eligible for exemption from the personal property tax under the MSRRA?
No. To qualify for relief/exemption you must also maintain a legal domicile outside of Virginia. Unless you can establish residency in another state, the relief provision will not apply to vehicles registered with your name.