Roanoke County provided personal property tax relief for its citizens the last two years, but some residents have still been concerned with this year’s bills.
“If I can stress one thing with all of this, everybody who pays personal property tax to Roanoke County bill is smaller because of what the board [of supervisors] did this year … And the same was true for everybody that owned a personal vehicle last year,” County Administrator Richard Caywood said Friday morning. “All of the bills were lower than they would have been for those vehicles had the board not taken action.”
Yet some citizens have been concerned because their taxes have been higher this year, despite the BOS lowering the rate from $3.50 per $100 of assessed value to $3.40.
County officials say the commissioner of revenue’s office has received approximately 100 calls from concerned citizens inquiring about their tax bills.
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But when used car prices skyrocketed across the country due to a shortage of new vehicles last year, supervisors offered an unprecedented amount of relief to its citizens, Caywood said.
Last year the county chose to increase the personal property tax relief percentage mandated by the state from 47.45% to 83.3% on the first $20,000 in assessed value for qualifying vehicles in an effort to quell the large hike in assessed value of used vehicles, according to county officials.
It received approximately $12.2 million from the state for its offset percentage, but the county decided to double the amount, as used car values had risen 30% to 40% from 2021 to 2022.
County citizens paid a total of approximately $36.5 million in personal property taxes in 2022, roughly $3 million more than last year, but without the additional cuts, this year’s number would’ve been nearly $49 million.
The relief given last year is likely what has caused some residents to wonder how their tax bills seemingly went up this year from 2022, according to county officials.
Caywood used the example of one individual who was concerned about their tax bill to illustrate what it would have been had the county not expanded relief in 2022 and lowered rates this year.
A Subaru worth $10,750 in 2021 jumped to a value of $13,380 in 2022, making the vehicles tax rate jump to $468.30, but with roughly 83% in relief, the owner only ended up paying $78.21 in 2022.
The same car has dropped in value back to $10,780 this year, according to the JD Power valuation the county uses, making its taxes $366.52. But with a 56.10% reduction, and the 10 cent drop in taxes, the owner will owe $160.90, according to Caywood.
He also noted that last year’s 83% reduction on the first $20,000 of assessed value only applied to personal vehicles, so those with other types of taxed vehicles, and business owners did get any relief in 2022.
But everyone will benefit from the 10 cent reduction for their 2023 bill, Caywood said, also noting the rate had not been changed since 1982.
People with more expensive vehicles who did not notice as much of a difference in their 2022 bill should see more of a difference this year as well, he said.
“There’s been many, many people whose bill went down. For both the fact that the rate was lower, and some vehicles were starting to experience more normal depreciation … Normally, this was never an issue, because every year every existing vehicles depreciated,” Caywood said. “So people’s bills on the same vehicle always went down, because the value always went down.
“And it’s only this unusual situation where that has happened that caused bills for the same car to rise from year over year. And it’s really not a situation we would desire. But again, by law, you’re required to tax things on actual value.”