By MIKE WILLIAMS
Local officials took action Monday to lessen the blow on taxpayers in the county who would have to pay more in personal property taxes for their vehicles at the end of the year due to current economic conditions.
Nearly everyone is aware that record high inflation, global supply chain issues and other factors are combining to distort the market for used vehicles in the U.S. These factors are driving the value of used vehicles to extraordinarily and unrealistically high amounts.
County Administrator Jonathan Sweet said Monday the Board of Supervisors, Commissioner of Revenue Kim Matthews and Treasurer Melinda Worrell desire to “mitigate some of what we would consider unprecedented values of appreciation” for vehicles during the 2022 tax year versus what everyone has been accustomed to.
Sweet said his entire life when you drove a vehicle off the car lot it depreciated in value.
“We’ve seen the opposite occur today in some cases,” he said.
He said several communities across Virginia have considered doing something to relieve citizens of this “unusual tax increase.”
When personal property tax bills are figured, the unusually high value of vehicles will drive the amount owed up.
County Attorney Tim Kirtner explained that Matthews looks at the NADA Blue Book for vehicle values when personal property tax bills are calculated.
With the action Monday – passage of a resolution to allow Matthews to use a ratio less than 100 percent when figuring vehicle values – the effect of inflation will be lessened.
Sweet said applying a 97 percent ratio would effectively return a quarter of a million dollars back to taxpayers in the county through smaller personal property tax bills.
Robinson District Supervisor Jeff Reeves recommended the county pass the resolution using a 93 percent ratio, which he said Matthews initially proposed.
Cloyd District Supervisor Adam Hall seconded the motion.
Sweet said using the 93 percent ratio would mean reducing personal property tax bills by $620,000.
The resolution applies to just the 2022 tax year.
Massie District Supervisor Andy McCready praised Matthews and Worrell for their work on the resolution.
The value ratio will apply to cars (personal and business), trucks (under 10,001 pounds) and handicapped motor vehicles.