The Code of Virginia specifies that, for most vehicles, the value be (1) from a recognized pricing guide, (2) applied uniformly, and (3) as of January 1 of the tax year. To meet these requirements, Fairfax County uses the January edition of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Official Used Car Guide. (Code of Virginia, Section 58.1-3503(A)(3) & Section 58.1-3515)
Localities are authorized to use the pricing guide values that include all applicable adjustments or use the base value for vehicles specified in the guide. Localities can use either average retail, wholesale, trade-in, or loan value, so long as these values are applied uniformly within classifications of property. For most vehicles, Fairfax County has chosen to use the clean trade-in value as listed in the NADA Guide. However, for new model year vehicles, the assessed value is based on a percentage of MSRP, and NADA Guide values are used for subsequent years. Discounting from the MSRP provides a uniform assessment for each class of new model vehicles and generally provides a reasonable, but conservative depreciation curve when compared to the values in next year's pricing guide.
Normal Change in Vehicle Values
Vehicle depreciation from one year to the next is the norm, and this remains true for the vast majority of vehicles assessed in Fairfax County. However, the NADA valuation guide can show some value appreciation (increase) in certain vehicle segments in any given calendar year.
New and used vehicle values can fluctuate from one year to the next, based on many factors, such as economic stability and consumer confidence; interest rates and availability of financing options; dealer incentives; and issues of supply and demand. The NADA value guide captures the nuance of annual price fluctuations in its market-based value data.
Valuation for other properties such as boats, trailers, motor homes (RVs), motorcycles, heavy duty trucks and airplanes is based on a percentage of the original cost from 60% to 20%. With the exception of RVs, heavy duty trucks and motorcycles, taxes on these properties are not prorated. This means that the property is taxed for the full year if it is normally parked in the county on January 1 of the tax year. Merely moving the property to another location on January 1 with the intent to return to the county does not change the property's taxable location. (Code Of Virginia, Section 58.1-3516)
Mobile homes are assessed at market value based on sales data and may be supplemented by valuation from a recognized pricing guide. Mobile homes are prorated on a quarterly basis if they are moved into the county after January 1. A property tax return on mobile homes must be filed within 60 days of the date the mobile home attains situs and by May 1 every year thereafter. The tax on mobile homes is not prorated when the owner sells or moves the home out of the County.
If you have additional questions about vehicle valuation, please contact the Personal Property and Business License Division via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-222-8234.