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Commissioner of Revenue Q & A


Amy B. Carr
Commissioner of Revenue

Commissioner of the Revenue Questions & Answers

Click here for the Personal Property Listing Form

What is the generally personal property for taxation purposes?
Automobiles, trucks, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, boats, airplanes, mobile homes, business furniture, fixtures, equipment, farm machinery.

How is the amount of tax to be levied on personal property determined?
The Southampton County Board of Supervisors establishes a personal property tax rate each year in June. The actual tax is then computed by multiplying the property's assessed value by this rate. The current rate for general personal property is $5.00 per $100.00 of assessed value of property.

How is personal property assessed?
The Commissioner of the Revenue is generally required to determine the assessed value of motor vehicles based on a recognized pricing guide, if available, or a percentage of the original cost. The pricing publications used are the National Automobile Dealers Association official used car guide and the official older care guide, the commercial truck guide, motorcycle and watercraft guide, and the recreational vehicle guide. The value taken from these books is the average loan value. If the vehicle is not listed in the guide, because of the current year model, the average will be based on 80% of the purchase price.

For Personal Property other than motorcycles, the assessed value is normally based on a percentage of the original cost.

What is Personal Property Tax Relief?
The Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 1998 provides tax relief for passenger cars, motorcycles, and pickup or panel trucks having a registered gross weight of less than 7,501 pounds. To qualify, a vehicle must:
1) Be owned by an individual or leased by an individual under a contract requiring the individual to pay the personal property tax.
2) Be used 50% or less for business purposes.

Motor homes, trailers, and Farm Use vehicles do not qualify for tax relief. State law does NOT provide for Personal Property Tax Relief for vehicles used for business.

Does my car qualify for Car Tax Relief?
If you can answer YES to any of the following questions, your motor vehicle is considered by State Law to have a business use and does NOT qualify for Car Tax Relief:

1) Is more than 50% of the mileage for the year used as a business expense for Federal Income Tax purposes OR reimbursed by an employer?
2) Is more than 50% of the depreciation associated with the vehicle deducted as a business expense for Federal Income Tax purposes?
3) Is the cost of the vehicle expense pursuant to Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Service Code?
4) Is the vehicle leased by an individual and the leasing company pays the tax without reimbursement from the individual?

What personal property is prorated?
The proration of personal property taxes applies to motor vehicles and trailers. This includes automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, and other vehicular equipment requiring registration through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, mobile homes and boats.

Airplanes, farm machinery, machinery and tools and business personal property are not prorated.

What does proration of personal property taxes mean?
The term proration refers to the authority of a locality to collect personal property taxes on a pro rata basis - that is, generally, for the portion of the year that an item is located there. Proration means that the assessed tax on a motor vehicle or trailer will be prorated on a monthly basic upon the number of months that it maintains situs in Southampton County, or is owned by the taxpayer.

If I move out of Southampton County during the tax year or sell my motor vehicle during the tax year, am I eligible for a refund of the personal property tax paid?
Yes, in most situations. Generally, if you move out of Virginia altogether or into another Virginia locality that prorates personal property taxes, or sell or dispose of a motor vehicle, your personal property tax for that vehicle will be prorated. You will receive a credit or a refund of taxes paid for that portion of the remaining year, provided that all other taxes and debts due the county have been paid. Approximately 40 localities in Virginia prorate personal property taxes on motor vehicles.

A temporary absence from the County of Southampton does not make you eligible for a prorated refund. To receive a refund you must submit proof, such as relocation papers, leases, utility bills, or tax records from another locality, that the vehicle is no longer located in Southampton County.

If my vehicle is damaged during the tax year, will the tax be prorated?
No. The property's assessed value as of January 1st will be used as the basis for the personal property tax. If you feel your vehicle is below average condition because of mechanical malfunctions, excessive mileage or other reasons, you may appeal your assessment for an individual review of your vehicle's value.

When must I file a tax return on the personal property that I owe?
The normal deadline for purchasing a license decal for vehicles is February 15th. The filing deadline for reporting all personal property is March 15th.

When is my personal property tax payment due?
Taxes on all personal property in the County of Southampton are due on December 5th of that year. Taxes on motor vehicles and trailers that are moved into the county after this date will receive a supplement bill that will be due thirty (30) days from the date the bill was issued.

When selling or disposing of a motor vehicle or trailer, do I need to notify anyone?
Yes. Both the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the Commissioner of the Revenue's office must be notified immediately. This is the citizen's responsibility and not that of the motor vehicle dealer or new owner.

What are my tax obligations if I am an active duty military person maintaining Southampton County as my legal residence?
Under the Soldier's and Sailor's Civil Relief Act, your tax liability would be to the County of Southampton regardless of where you may be stationed or where your vehicle may be garaged or located during the year.

As an active duty member of the military, would I be taxed for personal property in Southampton County if I maintained a legal domicile in a state other than Virginia?
No. If you reside here by virtue of military orders, you would not be taxed in Southampton County on personal property titled in your name only. However, personal property titled jointly with a non-military member or in the name of a leasing company would be subject to personal property taxes if the same tax was not paid to your legal domicile.

Military personnel must present a copy of current leave and earnings statement (LES), and/or copy of orders.



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