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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
ArlingtonArlington board getting heat over car-tax bills

Arlington board getting heat over car-tax bills

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It’s not just the office that values the vehicles (Arlington commissioner of revenue) or the office that sends out the tax notices (Arlington treasurer) that have been feeling the heat from the public over higher car-tax bills.

County Board members have been getting their share of comments, too.

“We have definitely heard some concerns,” County Board Chairman Katie Cristol acknowledged, as elected officials and their staff have been fielding complaints about sometimes significant increases in personal property taxes on vehicles, which come due Oct. 5.

That big bump up in vehicle values traces its roots to the pandemic and supply-chain issues that followed. New-car prices spiked as a result of inventory problems, and used-car prices tagged along.

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Anticipating that a major spike in values was on the horizon – “that has come to fruition,” Cristol said ruefully on Sept. 20 – County Board members during their springtime budget deliberations decided to tax vehicles at 88 percent of assessed value, down from full valuation most years. County Board members also eliminated the $33-per-vehicle administrative charge, which disproportionately hit taxpayers with older, less pricey vehicles.

But for owners of pricier chariots, which receive less benefit from a state rebate on the car tax, increases have in some cases been substantial. And during a presentation by Treasurer Carla de la Pava, Cristol thanked the treasurer’s office for explaining the situation to taxpayers who make contact about the matter.

“You’ve been terrific partners, helping to explain the decisions,” Cristol said.

Arlington’s tax coffers are expected to receive about $132 million in car-tax payments this year. Those who feel their assessment was too high can file an appeal with the commissioner of revenue.

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