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Tax relief for Alexandria car owners approved

After the idea was floated by Mayor Justin Wilson a month ago, proposed tax relief for car owners was approved as part of the city budget last night (Wednesday).

The one-time measure is intended to keep the vehicle tax from skyrocketing after vehicle values were estimated to increase by 26% for around 87% of cars in the city. For comparison, the tax base increased by only 5% for 15% of vehicles the previous year.

The relief was included in the budget, but the City Council still has to amend the allocation of state funding from the Personal Property Tax Relief Act (PPTRA) to increase the maximum value for 100% relief from cars valued at $1,000 to cars valued at $5,000. The ordinance is scheduled for review (item 18) at the City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, May 10.

The ordinance is under review at the upcoming meeting and largely a formality to bring the ordinance in line with the proposed budget. The change is included on the consent calendar — a wrap-up of items considered uncontroversial.

A staff report on the potential relief called the dramatic increase in car values an “unprecedented situation.”

According to a release from the city:

In addition, the budget includes personal property tax relief for all vehicles by adopting an assessment tax ratio of 78.8% on the assessed value of vehicles. City Council’s action discounts a vehicle’s actual market value by 21.2% for Tax Year 2022 to reflect unprecedented value appreciation due to the pandemic. Beyond this, Council has taken additional action to further minimize the tax burden on lower-valued cars. The City receives a fixed amount from the state each year to be used to help offset personal property taxes on the first $20,000 of the assessed value of “personal use” vehicles. Due to the rising car values and the fixed amount of state funds, City Council has shifted the allocation of Personal Property Tax Relief (PPTRA) funds to lower-value cars. The threshold for vehicles that receive a 100% state car tax subsidy will be increased, from $1,000 and less to $5,000 and less. This action is estimated to eliminate the local tax burden on more than 30,000 cars.

The tax relief has additional adjustments based on the value of the car, with lower valued cars seeing higher relief.

Proposed Personal Property Tax Relief Act rates, image via City of Alexandria

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