Personal Property Tax

Personal property tax is levied each calendar year on all motor vehicles, trailers, campers, mobile homes, boats, and airplanes with "situs" (site where the item is permanently located) in the county. A vehicle has situs for taxation in the county, or if it is registered to a county address with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Personal property taxes are due October 5th of each year or the next business day thereafter.

Rockbridge County Code Section 25-24 states that Tangible Personal Property - motor vehicles, trailers, semi-trailers, boats, etc. -  that acquire a situs (location) within the County or are transferred to a new owner in the County, shall be filed with the Commissioner's Office within thirty (30) days following the date of such transfer or acquisition (i.e. purchase date or move date).  Any person failing to file on or before the due date shall incur a late filing penalty of $15.00, provided that such penalty not exceed the greater of ten percent (10%) of the tax assessable on such item or $10.00, provided, however, that the late filing penalty shall not exceed the amount of the tax assessable.

Personal Property Assessment
The commissioner of the revenue is responsible for the assessment of all personal property with taxable status in Rockbridge County. Virginia state law requires commissioners of the revenue to use a recognized pricing guide to assess vehicles for personal property tax. Rockbridge County uses the January 1, Eastern Edition N.A.D.A. (National Automobile Dealers Association) Official Used Car Guide and the January 1, National Edition N.A.D.A. Official Older Car Guide, and the January 1 National Edition N.A.D.A. Motorcycle/Snowmobile/ATV/Personal Watercraft Guide for routine valuation purposes.

These guides contain three values. Rockbridge uses the "Clean Loan" value, taking into consideration four-wheel drive, special engine, and/or tandem / single-axle configurations. Vehicles listed in the January 1, National Edition N.A.D.A. official older used car guide, are valued using the "Clean Loan" value, the lowest of three values listed in the guide. Motorcycles are valued using the "Rough Trade-In Value".

If the model and year of a vehicle is not listed in the recognized pricing guide, the law permits the vehicle to be valued on the basis of percentage of original cost, to reflect fair market value. To ensure uniformity in valuation for vehicles of the same make and model, the office of the commissioner of the revenue uses the original cost as reported from Division of Motor Vehicles. Current model year vehicles not listed in the guide are assessed at 85 percent of the original cost.

Campers and motor homes are assessed based N.A.D.A. Recreation Vehicle Appraisal Guide. Watercrafts, to include motors, are assessed by N.A.D.A Marine Appraisal Guide, where enough information is reported to correctly identify the watercraft.  Otherwise, the value is assessed at 85 percent of the original cost.
Notify Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries of any change of ownership in your numbered vessel.

Tax Day
In addition to requiring valuation based on a pricing guide or cost, the Code of Virginia requires that the value of tangible personal property be fixed as of “tax day,” which is January 1, regardless of when the property is purchased or located in Rockbridge County. 

The commissioner of the revenue's duty is to ensure fair, equitable and uniform assessments.

Personal Property Tax Relief Act Guidelines
The Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 1998 provides tax relief for any passenger car, motorcycle, or pickup or panel truck having a registered gross weight of less than 7,501 pounds.  The vehicle must be owned or leased by an individual and NOT used for business purposes.  A vehicle is considered to be used for business purposes if:

  •  More than 50% of the mileage for the year is used as a business expense for Federal Income Tax purposes OR reimbursed by an employer;

  • More than 50% of the depreciation associated with the vehicle is deducted as a business expense for Federal Income Tax

  • The cost of the vehicle is expensed pursuant to Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Service Code; or
  • The vehicle is leased by an individual and the leasing company pays the tax without reimbursement from the individual.

Vehicles qualified for tax relief are noted on your tax bill and show a reduction for the portion of the tax the Commonwealth will pay.  For qualified vehicles, your tax bill is reduced by the applicable tax relief percentage for the tax year on the first $20,000 of value.  The (locality) will be reimbursed by the Commonwealth for the amount of the reduction once you have paid the balance due shown on the bill. .  Tax relief is calculated using the Rockbridge County Commissioner of the Revenue’s effective tax rate in effect on August 1, 1997.

You are required to certify annually to the Rockbridge County Commissioner of the Revenue that your vehicle remains qualified to receive car tax relief.  Therefore, it is important that you review the information sent to you by your locality to be sure that your vehicles are properly qualified.  This information my be included on items such as personal property tax returns, decal applications or tax bills.  If your vehicle is improperly qualified or you are uncertain whether your vehicle would be eligible for car tax relief because it is used part of the time for business purposes, contact the (locality) at 540-463-3431.   When you display your Rockbridge County decal and pay your taxes on qualified vehicles, you are certifying to the Rockbridge County Commissioner of the Revenue that your vehicle has been qualified correctly.