HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Angered and confused over a drastic increase in their car tax bills, thousands of Virginia taxpayers are reaching out to their local leaders for answers. In Henrico County, the plea for assistance is being answered.
On Tuesday, the Henrico County Board of Supervisors will vote on a proposed emergency ordinance, announced Friday by County Manager John Vithoulkas, to mitigate tax increases on personal property bills.
In some cases, taxes have increased on vehicles and trucks by as much as 35% of their assessed value because of supply chain issues and the high demand and limited supply for used cars.
“When we balanced our budget in March, we had anticipated an increase of 15% to 20% for car values due to inflation. We had no idea that it would be as high as it was or that inflation would be as bad as it is,” says Board of Supervisors Chairman Pat O’Bannon.
O’Bannon says the first of the plan will give people more time to pay the first half of their personal property tax (residents are sent two bills each year). The emergency ordinance moves the due date from June 6 to August 5, with no penalties or interest.
The second part of the plan will happen this summer, once a change to a state law takes effect July 1 that allows localities to return surplus personal property tax revenues to residents.
Under the proposal, Henrico would effectively reduce the personal property tax rate by 52 cents for the year (from $3.50 to $2.98 per $100 of assessed value).
The exact amount of money returned to taxpayers will be determined once the fiscal year ends on June 30.
Henrico leaders said they believed they were the first city or county in Virginia to return both a surplus real estate and personal property tax monies to taxpayers in the same year.
“Henrico is committed to keeping taxes low and pushing them lower,” Vithoulkas said. “We are committed to being good stewards and doing what is right by our taxpayers. That is our promise.”
O’Bannon says she hopes by next year, the cost of new and used cars will go down and tax rates will return to normal.
“We are hoping this is temporary,” O’Bannon says. “We are hoping inflation is temporary and we are hoping that the lack of vehicles is temporary.”