Personal Property Tax

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Current Size: 80%

Special Notice: COVID-19’s Impact on the Vehicle Valuations of 2022

Residents may continue to experience a higher personal property tax on vehicles this year due to changes in the market.

Historically, vehicle values tend to depreciate from month to month.  As such, the predicted value of any vehicle would be lower than the value of that same vehicle the previous January. In early 2020, vehicle values were trending as the industry normally expected.  Then, in March 2020, COVID-19 altered the anticipated trends of the automobile industry. As a result, all major vehicle valuation services, not just J.D. Power National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), indicated increased market values between January 2020 and January 2021.  In late 2021, early 2022 J.D. Power reported that the used car market continued at historic levels. On a year-over-year basis, used prices are nearly 39 % higher than the same period in 2020.

Several key market events, beginning as far back as mid-2019, played a part in the values established in January 2022.  These events include but are not limited to:

  • In March of 2020, The Federal Reserve cut the interest rates to near 0%. These unprecedented low interest rates, on both new and preowned vehicles, allowed consumers to purchase vehicles sooner than they would have in the past. In states that were closed due to COVID-19, buyers sought vehicles from outside of their own state of residence.  A strong demand means higher prices.
  • The “COVID-19” related closing of certain auto manufacturing plants for the necessary production of ventilators and other Personal Protective Equipment caused a further reduction in inventory. 
  • Large fleet companies (E.g.: rentals agencies and car services) chose not to replace inventory adding to the shortage of preowned vehicles in the market.  
  • The world wide microchip shortage and supply chain disruptions has caused buyers to continue purchasing used cars and driving up the demand and price.

What have we done to help?

In response to the higher values, the Commissioner of the Revenue alerted other city officials and the City Council voted to lower the tax rate in 2022 on motor vehicles from $3.50 per $100 to $3.15 per $100 and eliminate the vehicle license fees.  


The City of Harrisonburg levies a personal property tax on all taxable tangible personal property located in the City.  Items of personal property that are taxable include:

  • Automobiles
  • Trucks
  • Motorcycles
  • Trailers
  • Campers/RV's
  • Boats
  • Aircraft
  • Mobile Homes

The personal property tax is levied annually on vehicles that are owned in Harrisonburg on January 1. The tax is billed around November 1 with a due date of December 5. The personal property tax is not prorated for persons moving out of Harrisonburg or for the disposal of a vehicle after January 1. It is due for the full year. Vehicles that are normally garaged outside Virginia but have Virginia license plates are taxed by the Virginia locality where they are registered.

Passenger cars and light-duty trucks are taxed based on the value of the vehicle. We use the clean trade-in value as determined by the January issue of the National Automobile Dealers Association (N.A.D.A.) Official Used Car Guide. Unusually high mileage as of January 1 may be considered during the assessment process. To claim high mileage, a certified document dated prior to January 1 of the tax year must be presented to the Commissioner's office in order for an adjustment to be made.

The personal property tax is calculated by multiplying the assessed value by the tax rate. The current rate is $3.15 per $100 of assessed value. The personal property tax rate is determined annually by the City Council and recorded in the budget appropriation ordinance each year.

Owners of personal use vehicles receive a partial deduction on their personal property tax, which is called Personal Property Tax Relief (PPTR), or "car tax relief." The relief is funded by the state, and it varies between localities and may change from year to year. The car tax relief applied to Harrisonburg vehicle taxes in 2021 is 19.4% and is provided only on the first $20,000 of a vehicle's value. Read more about car tax relief  PDF[101KB] Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 1998

Example Calculation for a Personal Use Vehicle Valued at $20,000 or Less

  • Assessed value of the vehicle is $10,000
  • Apply the $3.15 tax rate : ($3.15/100) x $10,000 = $315.00
  • Calculate personal property relief: 19.4% (for 2022) x $315.00 = $61.11
  • Reduce the tax by the relief amount: $315.00-$61.11 = $253.89
  • Tax amount = $253.89

The following N.A.D.A. pricing guides are also used by the Commissioner of the Revenue office: N.A.D.A. Motorcycle Appraisal Guide;  N.A.D.A. Recreation Vehicle Appraisal Guide. Vehicles not valued by a pricing guide are valued using the original cost less depreciation.

Disabled Veterans Personal Property Tax Exemption  

Personal Property Tax on a Business


When moving from another state into the City of Harrisonburg please make sure you:

  • Register the vehicle(s) with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Get a Virginia State Inspection.


I have moved to another state. How do I update my records with the Commissioner of Revenue office regarding personal property taxes for my vehicle?

Register your vehicle in your new state and forward a copy of either the title or registration to our office by:
Fax: 540-432-7781
City of Harrisonburg
Commissioner of the Revenue
409 S. Main Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22801-3610


When moving to a prorating locality please make sure to:

  • Update address, garaged jurisdiction, and date of move with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Notify Harrisonburg of your move, so that taxing status can be changed as of the end of the year.

*Taxation will cease as of December 31 of current year.


When moving from a prorating locality please make sure to:

  • Update address, garaged jurisdiction, and date of move with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Notify the previous locality of your move.

*Taxation will begin January 1 of the following year.


Taxable in Virginia in home locality: Titled in Virginia, but garaged out of state.

Taxable in school locality, unless personal property tax has been paid in home locality: Vehicles titled out of state, but garaged in Virginia.

Personal Property Tax Liability for Virginia Vehicles Used by Full-Time College Students.


Change of Address

Upon moving, you must notify the Commissioner of the Revenue of your new billing address as soon as possible so that your record can be updated.  All billings will be mailed to the last known address on record. You can use the online change of address form.

Please be aware that failure to receive a bill does not relieve your obligation to pay the tax due by the due date. Failure to pay the tax due by the due date will result in a late payment penalty of 10% or a $10.00 (minimum) being assessed.  An annual rate of 4% interest begins January 1 of the following year.

Note:  If a due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is extended to the next succeeding business day.


Online Payment

Make all checks payable to the City of Harrisonburg. We do not accept credit card payments in the office. You can only use credit cards, debit cards, and electronic checks through the online system.