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Frustrations rise in Henrico as personal property tax bills increase

Published: May. 2, 2022 at 6:32 PM EDT
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Many Henrico County residents called administrators on Monday after they were surprised with a spike in their personal property taxes over the weekend.

Several citizens also contacted 12 On Your Side, saying their bills increased 50% or more.

Unfortunately, it’s a common theme across much of Virginia. Car values have risen due to supply and demand.

Andrew Foster’s 2014 Honda CRV still runs well, but he’s a bit unwell after seeing his personal property tax bill.

“Eight years old, with 90,000 miles,” he said.

His bill from Henrico County said it’s worth $14,000 - a 30% jump over last year. Combine that with his other vehicle, and he’s now looking at paying 58% more in personal property taxes for 2022.

“I think what got me really fired up about this is that I know it will impact a lot of people in the community,” Foster said. “You don’t know different people’s situations, but Henrico is pretty economically diverse, and people in central and eastern Henrico, even my own community, have a really hard time with this.”

“[It’s} very frustrating,” said Delegate Phillip Scott (R – Stafford). “At a time when inflation is at an all-time high, we need to be looking to save our taxpayers money, any which way we can. That will only help our economy grow stronger.”

In March, Delegate Scott’s bill (HB1239) was signed into law. It allows localities to adjust the tax rate for vehicles. Beforehand, rates had to be adjusted across the board for all personal property.

However, Scott said only a handful of localities have decreased rates.

“If you were to take Stafford, Spotsylvania and Caroline County, those three counties have saved taxpayers about $20 million of an inflated tax rate,” he said.

On Monday, Henrico’s Director of Finance said they were flooded with phone calls about the personal property tax bills.

County Manager John Vithoulkas released a statement reading in part:

“We understand that many residents are frustrated by the increases in used car values that have resulted in higher personal property tax bills. These higher-than-expected values are an issue across the country and are the result of several factors, specifically a limited supply of vehicles due to reduced production during the pandemic and strong consumer demand for vehicles. Henrico is committed to treating taxpayers fairly and to being good stewards of our financial resources. We use a national pricing guide, as required by law, to value vehicles.”

Meanwhile, Foster is also disappointed with the emphasis on the real estate tax rate compared to personal property.

“We heard stories about how we’re giving you a refund, we’re lowering your rate, and we all feel good about that,” he said. “When this came through, I was pretty frustrated because this is a pretty big bill for some folks. To see that it went through with this much of a change, and not much mention of it from the county; no analysis, no, ‘hey, this is what we’re going to do.’ Yeah, I was pretty frustrated by that.”

Henrico’s tax rate is the lowest in the metro area, at $3.50 per $100 of assessed value. The rate did not change compared to 2021.

Meanwhile, surrounding jurisdictions in the metro-area have the following tax rates per $100 of assessed value.

  • Chesterfield - $3.60
  • Hanover - $3.57
  • Richmond - $3.70

However, all that is little comfort to all those car owners who now must pay a lot more in taxes.

“To know that the citizens are being overtaxed, it’s just mind-boggling,” Scott said.

Vithoulkas added they will continue to monitor the situation and “will consider adjustments in future years as the used vehicle market and overall economy stabilize.”

Anyone with questions or concerns about your tax bill can contact the Department of Finance at (804) 501-4263 or taxhelp@henrico.us.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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