Vehicles normally garaged or parked in Fairfax County must display Virginia license plates within 30 days of purchase or move-in. Fairfax County residents and businesses who fail to display Virginia license plates on their vehicles after 30 days are subject to the county’s local Out-of-State Plates Tax. You will obtain your Virginia license plates when you register your vehicle with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). For your convenience, the DMV 2 Go customer service van is frequently scheduled to visit the Fairfax County Government Center.
The Out-of-State Plates Tax refers to the $100 tax (Code of Fairfax County § 4-17.3-1), plus an additional $250 penalty (Code of Virginia § 46.2-662), for a total of $350 assessed annually. This tax and penalty will be included on the vehicle’s tax bill.
The Out-of-State Plates Tax and penalty is in addition to the county's local vehicle tax. The tax does not apply to certain residents, such as active duty military or active duty military spouses who co-own a vehicle. The Out-of-State Plates Tax and penalty also does not apply to non-resident students enrolled as full-time students in an accredited institution of learning in Virginia. Full-time college students are also subject to the vehicle tax based on the domicile of the owner.
While most vehicles located in Virginia are required to display Virginia license plates, special rules for out-of-state cabs exist. For example, a vehicle may be used as a cab in DC and display DC license plates. If however, when not in service, the vehicle is normally garaged at a Virginia residence and used in Virginia for personal use, that vehicle is required to display dual license plates (i.e., it must display plates from both DC and Virginia at the same time). While such vehicles are subject to the county’s vehicle tax and may be eligible for the State Car Tax Subsidy, displaying dual plates will exempt the vehicle from the Out-of-State Plates Tax. Failure to display dual tags as of January 1 makes this vehicle subject to the county’s non-proratable Out-of-State Plates Tax and a penalty of $350 assessed annually.
Fairfax County Code:
- Local motor vehicle license plate tax (§ 4-17.3-1)
- Current license plates; defined and determinations (§ 4-17.3-2)
- Assessment and collection of local motor vehicle license plate tax (§ 4-17.3-3)
- Exemptions (§ 4-17.3-4)
- Penalty (§ 4-17.3-5)
Code of Virginia
- Ordinances imposing license taxes on owners of certain motor vehicles (§ 15.2-973)
- Temporary exemption for new resident operating vehicle registered in another state or country (§ 46.2-662)
- Movement by manufacturer to place of shipment or delivery (§ 46.2-1554)
- Movement by dealers to salesrooms (§ 46.2-1555)
- Junkyards (§ 33.2-804)