Some Fairfax County drivers will see their car tax bills go up

Some drivers in Fairfax County, Virginia, are going to see their car tax bills go up, and the county government says it’s because of the pandemic.

About 12% of county residents will see their personal property tax bills rise compared to last year, with an average increase of $25 for cars valued at $20,000 or less, the Fairfax County government said in a statement.

Typically, cars decrease in value over time, and thus, tax assessments go down. But the past year has been anything but typical.

Fairfax County attributes the tax hike to several factors, including the pandemic-induced shortage of new and used cars that has pushed prices to record levels. Prices have especially gone up for used cars, because a global computer chip shortage and supply chain disruptions have hampered automakers’ ability to build new cars.

Low interest rates and stimulus payments are helping to boost car purchases, county officials said.

Fairfax County bases car taxes on a vehicle’s value on the J.D. Power Used Car Guide. For most vehicles, the value is based on the “Clean Trade-in Value” as of Jan. 1 of the tax year.

A car owner can file an appeal if they believe the assessment of the vehicle is too high. A vehicle’s value can be appealed based on body damage, rusting or high mileage — but car owners still must pay their tax bill by the due date.

Car tax bills are due Oct. 5.

Anna Gawel

Anna Gawel joined WTOP in 2020 and works in both the radio and digital departments. Anna Gawel has spent much of her career as the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, which has been the flagship publication of D.C.’s diplomatic community for over 25 years.

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