Personal Property Taxes in Warren County

Staff of the Warren County Finance Department and Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office have been made aware of concerns regarding personal property tax valuation. We would like to clarify questions raised and offer an explanation to what Warren County has done to limit the burden from personal property taxes on citizens.

The Code of Virginia requires that automobile values for personal property taxes, “…shall be valued by a recognized pricing guide or if the model and year of the individual automobile are not listed, may be valued on the basis of percentages of original cost.” Warren County, along with most other cities and counties across the state, use JD Power (formerly NADA) Eastern United States Value as this pricing guide. No other valuation information can be used to determine automobile value, as required by the Code of Virginia to ensure fair pricing amongst all citizens.

During the budget process, the Commissioner of the Revenue noted drastic increases in vehicle valuations due to economic circumstances. Used vehicle prices were 39% higher than the same period in 2020. This is due to multiple factors such as microchip shortages, supply chain disruptions, and limited new vehicle inventory.

It was recommended, and ultimately approved by the Board of Supervisors, to lower the valuation standard used in previous years to bridge the gap in the drastic increases. The decision was made to drop from “clean” value to “average” valuation in order to limit the increase.

Additionally, to limit the burden of taxpayers, the Board approved a $0.20 decrease in personal property tax rates. Also, tax relief was kept a percentage point higher than allowable by the state to provide additional relief to citizens.

We want to ensure the public that we have not artificially increased valuations to increase tax revenues. The County is required by the Commonwealth of Virginia to tax according to a recognized pricing guide, and we pay a third-party vendor to provide an unbiased recording of all vehicle values each year. When we realized the increases this would create in tax bills, we did everything possible to limit the burden.

Any further questions for clarity and understanding can be sent to the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office or Finance Department. We appreciate all concerns and wish to hear them fully to provide comprehensive answers and create understanding between the County and its taxpayers.

Below shows a table of the proposed tax rates as of April 2022 when the tax rate was set. It shows that Warren County adopted a very competitive tax rate structure in comparison to neighboring localities who also use the JD Power Eastern United States Value structure.

Locality 2022 Tax Year Rate           2022 Tax Year Valuation
Clarke $4.50 Average
Fauquier $3.45 Clean
Frederick $4.23 Clean
Loudoun $4.20 Clean
Page $3.85 Clean
Rappahannock           $3.45 Average
Shenandoah $3.80 Clean
Warren $3.80 Average
Winchester $4.80 Average

  (540) 636-4600
  (540) 636-6066
  220 N. Commerce Avenue
     Front Royal, VA 22630

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