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Tax Enforcers on the Prowl for Sticker-Less Cars

by ARLnow.com — March 4, 2011 at 10:23 am 9,360 210 Comments

If you thought Arlington’s vehicle tax isn’t enforced, think again. As Michael Lee Pope reports, the Commissioner of Revenue’s office has a team of officers who head out before dawn to track down residents who aren’t paying their taxes.

In neighborhoods like Colonial Village, tax enforcement officers seek out vehicles with out-of-state tags and/or without Arlington registration stickers. They take notes, snap photos and then send letters to the owners, if need be.

The Personal Property Enforcement Program has collected more than $6 million in lost revenue in seven years, according to Ingrid Morroy, the county’s Commissioner of Revenue.

Read Pope’s report in the Arlington Connection or listen to it on WAMU.

  • DouroRouro

    I received one of these letters about two years ago. Somehow, they had gotten into my building’s private parking garage and checked vehicles there. A bit annoyed to get the letter considering I had just moved to the County a week or two before and was just waiting on my decal to arrive in the mail.

    • Lou

      Access to garages has been a long standing issue with the county. It’s pretty much a requirement they put on buildings during their site plan review.

      They also target the garden apartment communities, because of the high density of on street parking and high turnover of tenants. Frankly I think their tactic is to just write tickets, rather than take pictures and send letters. Or maybe it’s two-fold enforcement. Police as ticket writers, and tax officers as letter writers.

    • CW

      Not cool with respect to your specific situation – but you had the law on your side and I am sure that it resolved itself.

      That said, having been the tenant of two buildings with private garages, I am all for garage checks. Why should those who live in nice buildings with garages be exempt from the law, while those who park on the street are subject to enforcement? Let them in, I say. They can see my sticker and then ring up the scum that thinks they can hide. Note that I’m not saying that I’m a big fan of the car tax; I think it’s weird as hell and makes no sense. But, I do believe in equal enforcement, and, if there is to be a car tax, it should be enforced. That way, the entities receiving the funds know how to budget properly. Just think – maybe if they enforce the car tax, then they will be able to reduce property taxes!! That will make some people very happy.

      • N.Arlingtonian

        I couldn’t agree with you more!

      • http://arlingtondirt.blogspot.com/ TGEoA

        I know of a private garage in Arlignton where a Caps player garaged almost a million dollars worth vehhicles… None of them had Arlington tax stickers.

      • DouroRouro

        I don’t really have any issues with garage checks – I just didn’t realize the extent of their efforts :)

    • Easton

      I used to live in the Atrium condo in Rosslyn, and the condo management wouldn’t let them into the garage. So, the County got even by occasionally stationing Sheriff’s deputies at the garage entrance and ticketing anyone coming or going who didn’t have an Arlington decal.

      That’s not really the function most people have in mind when they think of our highly staffed public safety departments. (And every time I saw the sticker traps, it was always sheriffs and not APD officers.)

  • SW

    They were out patrolling in Arlington Forest this morning. As I was about to hop in my car, a county truck stopped next to my car, stared for a few seconds, then drove away. Now I know what they were doing!

    • FedUp

      The Commissioner’s office does not have a truck. You will see them in a sedan with the County logo on it. And you can always ask for their id. I personally like what they’re doing. Why should I pay my taxes when others don’t?

      • Lou

        Yeah, I think the trucks are police issue. I saw a nifty new dark-blue unmarked Charger doing traffic enforcement around Ballston last night. BOLO, folks.

    • Want a clue

      Actually, that would not have been the individuals in this story. They go out in their own vehicles, not county marked vehicles, and definitely not big trucks. And I don’t know why everyone is confusing what they do with the ticket writing by police. NOT THE SAME GROUP!!! County Police=parking enforcement Tax Enforcement Specialists = just that……no ticket writing involved! A courtesy letter, that is it (I got one), and the reason for that is because everyone plays stupid. “I didn’t know I had to do this.” “Gee, I never noticed that everyone else has TWO different stickers on their windshield. Wonder why I don’t have one of those Arlington County Decals?”

  • Hank

    If it is anything like the Parking enforcement near the Virginia Hospital Center they drive around in a $50,000 truck and double park while they write parking tickets.

    Why can’t they ride a bike? Most of the parking ticket vultures could use some quality time on a bike.

  • Mel

    I saw them doing this and almost called the police. It’s very suspicious to see someone driving around flashing a light into cars when it’s still dark out. It wasn’t clear that they were county employees.

  • JamesE

    There are a lot of cars in my condo garage from Texas and Florida.

    • N.Arlingtonian

      You should report them to the Commissioner’s office.

      • GMo

        How do I go about doing this? I have several folks who live/regularly park in my garden apartment cul-de-sac (a public street) who have out of state tags and no tax sticker. I’m sick of these tax dodgers. I’m aware they have 60 days to register in VA and another 60 to pay the tax but these folks have been here for almost a year now.

        • Overgrown Bush

          Careful. Some folks are exempt. Lots of military around here, and I think some of them may have exemptions.

          • GMo

            Word. Well unfortunately for one guy I know he’s not military. Actually, several months ago when I first met the dude I had warned him that I was about to report him for not having the decal…that was like 8 months ago.

            I really try to be a nice neighbor but that does not extend to turning a blind eye to evaders when I pay my taxes in full and on time.

          • BrownFlipFlops

            Yep. …and TX and FL are very popular with Army and Navy folks, respectively. If you see a little blue sticker on the windshield, usually with the name of a base, they are probably exempt from having to change their residency when they move every 2 or 3 years.

          • JW

            Even exempted folks are required to have a sticker–they just don’t have to pay for it. There’s no excuse for not having a sticker, even with out of state plates.

          • el burrito sabanero

            you sound like you work at the compliance division of the commissioner

          • jesse

            The garage searches are a 4th amendment issue. You have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a private garage. VA also states that if you spend less than 6 months of the year in state your exempt. So a lot of people who are employed by the US, and travel 6 months or more a year are exempt. Plus if you park on federal property your exempt. Honestly the tax policy is antiquated and needs to be revamped. They may get mad and threaten you but there is no legal standing.

          • Want a clue

            But they are still required to display a decal (no vehicle is exempt from this requirement).

          • Burt

            Remember surrounding counties like Fairfax don’t use the stickers any more so even if they have Virginia tags just because they aren’t displaying a sticker does not mean they haven’t paid their taxes. So it’s best not to assume anything by a lack of a sticker…My car is in Arlington almost every day because I work there like to eat there have friends I visit and my parents live there.

          • GMo

            “Every vehicle regularly garaged or parked in Arlington County requires a County Decal. As of July 1, 2010, the fee for obtaining an Arlington County decal is $33.00. For information on Arlington decal procedures, please contact the Treasurer’s Office at 703-228-4000.”

            Despite not living here you may actually fall under the definition of requiring a decal.

          • Overgrown Bush

            GMo, if I lived in Fairfax and worked in Arlington there is NO way I’m going to pay Fairfax personal property tax AND Arlington personal property tax. I would be willing to bet Arlington would lose on that every time in court too. Although, I would bet they’d spend $1 million on attorneys trying to figure out how they could win.

          • GMo

            That may be, I was simple providing the information posted on the website…

          • Want a clue

            OG Bush….one only pays in the jurisdiction where the park their vehicle overnight. No one is taxed in two jurisdictions (state statute) deliberatly. That only comes about by inaction and evasion on the part of that person.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Want a clue: I hear you. I was responding to:

            GMo:
            March 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm
            “Every vehicle regularly garaged or parked in Arlington County requires a County Decal. As of July 1, 2010, the fee for obtaining an Arlington County decal is $33.00. For information on Arlington decal procedures, please contact the Treasurer’s Office at 703-228-4000.”

            Despite not living here you may actually fall under the definition of requiring a decal.

          • Want a clue

            Only if consistently here, which sets precedent for taxing in the county. Also, people need to pay attention the garaging jurisdiction in the DMV (appears on their registration cards). Police look at that to see what decal (if any for that jurisdiction) is required. Often people don’t bother to change that information if wrong in DMV (moved, or just an error), but it is a very important detail.

          • jenn

            same with students – if you are a full-time student, or in many cases of master’s/doctorate level training, in a fellowship or residency program, you may not be a resident of the county where you’re living. you’re required to pay taxes (and you also vote, etc.) in the county of your permanent residence during this time.

        • GMo

          OK, so the “Report a Tax Evader Online” link on the Commissioner’s web site is dead. If you call 703-228-3033 you can ask to speak with a compliance officer to report the tax evaders.

          They’ll ask you for the location, vehicle description and plate number. It’s ok if you don’t have the plate number, they will still do a “field enforcement.”

  • LyonSteve

    “DESCENDING ON THE streets of Arlington in the middle of the night can be a daunting task for county workers, who sometimes ask to be accompanied by sheriff’s deputies to ensure safety. They are often confronted by people…”

    What do they expect? I’d suspect this person was prowling cars in the neighborhood looking for unlocked cars or cars with electronics in plain view.

    Hey Arlington, treat all cars the same way (and not subsidize “hybrids”) and maybe more people will comply!

    • local

      yeah right

    • R.Griffon

      I guarantee these people aren’t dodging taxes b/c they feel it’s unfair that hybrids get a break. They’re dodging taxes b/c they simply don’t want to pay (and in some cases of new residents, might not even know).

  • Southeast Ben

    Cops were outside the street runs perpendicular to Wilson (along Boulevard Woodgrill) last night at 7:30PM.

    There also appears to be an increased police presence in all of Arlington as well lately. Not sure what that is about.

    • CW

      Part of that may be due the rash of vehicle break-ins (mostly thieves looking for GPS and other electronics.)

      I hope the cops catch them soon.

      • CW

        Ok, this is not cool. I am CW. The one who says mean things about the property tax complainers. You are not. Seriously, I can’t believe that there isn’t a bigger problem of people impersonating each other on this board. I can’t wait for the new forum system to get going!!

        • jan

          what new forum system?

          • CW

            In the past, I’m dropped little complaints about how it would be cool to be able to edit posts, to have distinct usernames so what happened above can’t happen, etc. ARLnow.com has responded to those posts on the boards, saying that it’s coming sometime in the future.

          • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

            We’re in the design phase right now.

          • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

            Post editing probably won’t happen. It’s not fair to people who might respond to your comment for you to go back and change it.

            Our goal is, however, to allow people to register names that you’ll be able to use in the comments and the forum. You’ll still be able to post comments anonymously without logging in, but regular commenters (or anyone else, for that matter) will be able to register their names and set up profiles. That way, you differentiate yourself from anyone trying to use the same name.

          • OX4

            Will there be any update to the mobile version? The mobile comments just list the comments in order of posting, which loses the reply tree structure. I can’t tell if anyone has replied to my awesome posts.

          • CW

            No, I DEFINITELY never said anything like that. I think it’s a horrible idea.

          • CW

            Lol. Exhibit A.

          • CW

            Impostors!

          • OX4_fan

            All I know is, that whoever that OX4 guy is, he is so funny and cool. Can’t wait til his next post!!

          • borf

            You can tell the real CW because he doesn’t have a beard like the one in the parallel universe does.

            http://www.galaide.org/old_weblog/image/spock.jpg

          • NotTheRealCW

            But the real CW is much more sexy than that. And dangerous. But mostly sexy. Perhaps even dangerously so.

          • CWWC

            I’m the real CW. I’m so into myself I can’t stop looking in the mirror!

  • CrystalMikey

    I’m all for this…lots of out of state plates in my parking garage.

    • N.Arlingtonian

      As I suggested to JamesE, report them to the Commissioner’s Office – it really works. These out of state car owners should NOT get a free ride!

      • Want a clue

        And, they get charged a $100 penalty for keeping out of state plates in violation of state law (unless specifically exempted), so double-whammy! Turn em in, please!

  • TheOldDom

    All of you with out of state plates in your garage — report them to the police! This is what they want you to do.

    This piece reads as a propaganda piece from the County.

    Governments want you to not trust your neighbors anymore. Report them and fulfill government’s agenda. It’s not really about paying your “fair share.” This was the same bs reason given for health-care “reform.”

    • CW

      Please explain. It seems to me that the goverment’s “agenda” in this case consists of collecting revenue in the manner by which it is statutorily directed. Personally, I think that’s a pretty darn good agends. We’re not talking about telling them that your neighbor is a commie or something.

      Now, if you don’t agree with the tax structure, that’s a different argument altogether. I don’t really like the car tax myself, but I don’t think that some people should be able to skirt the law while others pick up their slack.

      • BasedHerein

        CW, does this mean you are *not* declaring a moratorium on car tax discussions since you kinda sorta broached the topic yourself? (“…I don’t really like the car tax myself…”). Versus, say the property tax discussions you wanted to declare a moratorium on yesterday.
        http://www.arlnow.com/2011/03/03/volunteer-opp-arlington-county-auxiliary-police-unit/comment-page-1/#comment-36114

        One might argue that your concerns on the car tax should be muted since, as with property taxes, “that’s what [you] signed up for” by registering a car in the county.

        Granted, you didn’t rant about it at length, but the point I was trying to make yesterday about your moratorium is that “it seems somewhat arrogant” to try to stifle the discussion when others have disagreements about how the tax is levied.

        And for what it’s worth, I think both the personal property tax on vehicles and the real estate tax are dodgy. So we agree on at least one of those. Common ground.

      • jesse

        How do you know who is exempt and who isn’t? If you don’t like the law don’t support it. Let it crush itself under it’s own weight. Flight attendants, federal employees, Military are all exempt too. Since all probably spend less than 6 months on VA soil.

    • CrystalMikey

      Not sure what you’re problem is. If I’m paying the tax/fees the guy/gal down the hall (minus being a military member), needs to pay their fair share!

      • GMo

        Damned straight!

    • local

      Give the paranoia a rest, dude.

      • FrenchyB

        Paranoia will destroy ya

    • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

      Glenn B, I mean TheOldDom –

      whats so bad about asking people to pay their share of tax?

      And seriously the health care reform bill was needed. Its not right for the richest country in the world to have so many people not get the treatment they need. Its 2011, not 1970. Lets use our wealth to help people live.

      Get a grip on the real meaning of life man and stop chewing the tea leaves from Fox News.

    • Want a clue

      Don’t you have a Tea Party to go to?

      • TheOldDom

        Do you even know what the Tea in Tea Party stands for?

        Tax Enough Already!

        • mehoo

          Yeah, we’re shocked that you’re a teabagger.

    • CW

      I trust my neighbors just fine. It’s those black helicopters buzzing my house that I’m not so sure about. But the joke’s on them. I made a new hat that keeps the radio waves out. Suck it, government!

  • NArl

    Its not the cops that care abou the sticker, however they will put a ticket on if your neighbor calls your car in to the police. Its the treasurer of the county Vote someone in who will take away the sticker then no more night time prowling.

  • bennynojets

    When I used to commute to Tysons, motorcycle cops would be at the bottom of the 66 westbound on-ramp in the morning looking at each car that passed. I can only assume that they were checking for the tax stickers. It seems a bit dangerous for the cops and a nuisance to the flow of traffic. Please correct me if I am wrong. Were they there for another reason.

    • LyonSteve

      They are checking inspection stickers.

      • Lou

        I think they pretty much check for everything, tax sticker, inspection, plate stickers.

        • LyonSteve

          They can check everything but county tax sticker. How would they know where you live? What if you are going home to a county without a sticker?

          • Overgrown Bush

            That’s what the license plate scanner is for.

          • Lou

            Papers Please!

      • Overgrown Bush

        I passed through a Fairfax County inspection sticker checkpoint two days ago (March 2…thanks for the one day reprieve!) during rush hour! Thanks for adding to the backup!

    • Chad

      They do this at the split of Route 50 into GW Parkway and 66 going into DC. It’s usually for Inspection stickers or registration renewal.

  • Resident

    I always thought I was safe since I left before 8am. Guess I’m not!

  • Rick

    I loved coming here when I was away at school and had my vehicle registered where a sticker is not required… nothing like giving up a days work to go stand in line with everyone else fighting (successfully I might add) their parking tickets.

  • steve

    My favorite thing to do besides report Obama Stickered Priuses for running stop signs is to report them for not paying their taxes.

    • CW

      Then the joke’s on you. Not only do hybrids pay only a fraction of the tax, but most liberals don’t mind paying their share of taxes as they see it as a moral obligation to pitch in for the common good. Some of them might even thank you for pointing out their omission. :)

      • Overgrown Bush

        Oh, please!

      • mehoo

        How do you know what liberals think?

        • CW

          Because I am one. But I also attend the mandatory meetings and read the weekly newsletter.

          • CW

            As a side note, and as the original CW, I’d just like to say that I agree with the imposter CW on this topic entirely.

          • CW

            steve. Uniting CW’s around the world since 2011.

          • steve

            Any of you CWs got a light?

          • CW

            Only if I can bum a smoke.

          • http://www.twitter.com/jennrubenstein jenn

            darn it, i must have forgotten to update my address when i moved! =)

      • CW

        Ok, this is getting seriously, dangerously out of hand. While there is a lot of back and forth on this site, there is good discourse as well. Continuing to use others’ names and impersonate them is going to have the net result of no one being able to trust anything that is said.

        • CW

          I just decided to have some harmless fun and make it “Post As CW Day.” Hopefully everyone else will join in. C’mon – it’s Friday! :)

        • Overgrown Bush

          You shouldn’t really trust anything that’s said on a blog on the internet anyway, right?

          • CW

            Usually not, but this site’s pretty darn good for information that you can’t really find anywhere else. I’d like it to stay that way.

      • OK45

        You certainly like to generalize to entire groups of people with little or any evidence. How do you know what all liberalize think? What other groups do you stereotype like this?

        • OK45

          ^liberals.

  • http://www.twitter.com/NewsCat_in_DC NewsCat_in_DC

    On a slightly different note, some cop who might have lived in my apartment building decided to ticket my car TWICE because I had the tax sticker on the right side of my windshield and not the center. (I didn’t know it was mandated to be in the CENTER of the windshield). The car was parked in my apartment’s outdoor parking lot and I’m pretty sure the cop was a neighbor. Fortunately I managed to get both tickets overturned (It was the second ticket when I found out WHY I was getting the tickets). But I still think that cop was a jerk.

    • CrystalMikey

      Ummm…it tells you the placement plain as day on the paper/letter you pull said decal from. ;)

  • Raymond Warren, Deputy Commissioner

    I want to clarify that the Office of the Commissioner of Revenue does not issue parking tickets or tickets for failure to display a county sticker. Our staff does note vehicles that do not display an Arlington sticker or Virginia license plates. If the vehicle appears to be parked in a residential area, the Commissioner’s office will send an inquiry letter.

    Sometimes we learn that the vehicle owner is exempt(military or a diplomat, for example.) Sometimes the vehicle owner was only visiting the county. But in a significant number of cases it is determined that the vehicle is not registered with the county and should be.

    Our goal is ensure that all taxable property is properly assessed so that the vehicle property tax can be set as low as possible. We are not, however, the people who write tickets. The police and parking enforcement officers are outside of the jurisdiction of our office.

    Raymond A (Ray) Warren
    Legal Counsel/Deputy Commissioner of Revenue

    • bob

      I appreciate that distinction.

      But do police have the right to enter garages?

      • OK45

        If the property owners let them in, absolutely. Pretty much every property around here allows this practice.

        • jesse

          Supreme court has ruled that 4th amendment issues regarding multiple people in a domicile ALL have to consent to search. They still have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The fact is it is a poor poor tax system. I spend 3-5 months in VA the rest around the world and have my home in VT (gun country)! When in VA I am on US land not VA land or jurisdiction.

    • CW

      Thank you for participating on the site. Nice to see some community outreach.

      • CrystalMikey

        +1

  • John Fontain

    Raymond, thanks to you and your staff for going after the folks who aren’t paying their fair share.

    • Arlingtonian

      I’ll echo that. I pay my taxes, so should everyone else.

      • Overgrown Bush

        Ditto. I pay my taxes and so should everyone else becaue my taxes are too damn high. I’m tired of paying for all the deadbeats, lawyers, Board members, and idiots who are driving up my bill!

        • Come on…

          I agree it’s not fair that some pay and some don’t, but let’s be real here– you can be pissed about deadbeats and idiots not paying their taxes, but the lawyers and board members are already carrying more than their share of the tax burden. The top 10% of earners (i.e. board members and lawyers), already account for 70% of income tax revenue. Either way, I think it’s unfair of the government to charge a tax for merely owning private property. Come on, a $33 permit & taxes for a boat parked in your driveway but maybe only used in Maryland? $33 & taxes for a car parked in your driveway that doesn’t even run? How is that fair? Government’s going a little too far. Maybe stop subsidizing stupid shit that the majority of people, if polled, don’t even want.

          • Want a clue

            Boats are not required to have decals you silly goose! Look into it….

          • borf

            Um, wait a minute. You’re whining about the tax burden of the rich, by looking at distribution of tax revenue? Nice try.

            And of course, in the same post you bash a tax that’s highly regressive.

          • G. Griffon

            I for one LOVE the vehicle/property tax. Why? Because everywhere I lived before NOVA had a local income tax instead. So here, you instead get to basically choose your own tax rate. Wanna pay less in local taxes? Drive a cheaper car. Or even better yet, don’t own one at all if you can swing it.

            I’d have to go back and look at the numbers again, but when I first moved I think I did the math and figured out that as long as I was driving a car (or cars) worth 1/2 my annual income or less, I was coming out ahead. At the time I was driving a car worth about 1/4 my income (and now even less), so you won’t hear me complaining.

            Choosing to make less income, on the other hand, is somewhat less palpable.

          • jesse

            I never got the triple taxing your income concept. VT has few laws, we pay state income and town property tax (property being land/home) only downside is New Yorkers. I work in VA and crash there a week a month. I don’t vote there my car spends its time on private property or usg property. I like VA on somethings but your tax system is 200 years old and in need of reworking.

  • OX4

    Oh my, thanks!

  • Burt

    Remember not all counties in Virginia require a sticker and many of us work ,play and have family in Arlington so don’t assume no sticker means we haven’t paid our taxes..

    • CW

      I think that’s why they do inspections in the wee hours of the morning: less chance for “collateral damage.” But it only results in a letter anyways, so no harm/no foul. I’m guessing they don’t escalate (e.g. turn it over to the police for ticketing, or whatever they do) unless they continue to see the same vehicle at the same location day in and day out.

      • Want a clue

        BINGO!

      • Overgrown Bush

        If Arlington sends a letter, they presumably get an address off the license plate check. If the address is in another county, why send the letter? This should be a self-checking process.

        • Want a clue

          Addresses are way too frequently wrong. Most people don’t think to update their addresses until they do not get their plate renewal notices from the DMV…that could be two years after a move! Also, the car might be the parents car, but driven by the kid who is living here…..

        • Raymond Warren, Deputy Commissioner

          That is a very reasonable question. Our region is very fluid and people move in and out of Arlington to and from Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax County fairly often. Many simply forget to register their vehicle locally or even change their address with the DMV. A Falls Church address on the current DMV registration information does not mean the person is not now residing in Arlington.

          Also, Virginia law says the vehicle is to be taxed by the jurisdiction where it is “garaged” (parked overnight). Within the past few months we picked up a vehicle registered to an Alexandria woman but actually used by her son in law in Arlington. In another case a woman in a tidewater city bought a car for her adult child. The title lists the tidewater city but Arlington is still the proper taxing jurisdiction.

          So, another county address does not necessarily mean that the person has not moved to our county or that the vehicle should be taxed elsewhere.

          Raymond A. (Ray) Warren
          Deputy Commissioner/ Legal Counsel

          • Raymond Warren, Deputy Commissioner

            I should add that the tidewater woman’s adult child is a bona fide Arlington resident and after consultation all parties agree that Arlington (where the car is being used and garaged) is the proper taxing jurisdiction.

          • Kristen

            A few weeks ago I purchased a car and then spent the night at my boyfriend’s apartment building in Arlington. I got a ticket for not having a decal – not more than 12 hours after buying the car. As an Alexandria resident, which is where the car is primarily “garaged”, I have 30 days to register it with the City for personal property tax purposes. I did register it with the city the day after it was purchased, but it can take up to 14 days to get the bill, and then another week or more to get the decal.

            I tried to call several different numbers to find out how to get this fixed,and I was told to go to the police information desk. The woman there was extremely rude and said that they could not do anything until I was “compliant”. I tried to show her my title and registration, that had been issued the day before I got the ticket, as well as the printed proof that I had registered with the city of Alexandria, but she wouldn’t even look at it. She also insisted that they couldn’t even address my type of situation after 3 pm, saying that this was on the back of the ticket, but those hours were actually for those who wanted to take their case to court, which I would like to avoid since it would be a waste of everybody’s time.

            I just finally received my bill, and I’m hoping to go pay it in person and get my decal today, I’m just wondering if there is any hope of getting this dismissed, since it seems like they make it a near impossible task.

          • Westover

            The lady at the desk did not issue you the ticket and thus she can’t really do anything about it. She is there to provide information and it seems she let you know how to appeal it. That is not a court type ticket, you go to the adjudicator. Follow the instructions and you can easily appeal it. It sucks that it happaned to you, and they obviously should not have ticketed you, particularly since there are now area jurisdictions that don’t even issue the sticker, but you still have to deal with it.

          • Shirley

            Is this official policy: garaged means overnight?

          • Want a clue

            STATE CODE:
            § 58.1-3511. Situs for assessment; nonresident exception; refund of tax paid to city or county; apportioned assessment.

            A. The situs for the assessment and taxation of tangible personal property, merchants’ capital and machinery and tools shall in all cases be the county, district, town or city in which such property may be physically located on the tax day. However, the situs for purposes of assessment of motor vehicles, travel trailers, boats and airplanes as personal property shall be the county, district, town or city where the vehicle is normally garaged, docked or parked

          • Shirley

            If what appears to be a Deputy Commisioner making a statement that Alington is redefining thepolcy to be “overnight” I would like a clarification of the above statement

        • jesse

          BINGO. The purpose of the tax is social control.

  • OK45

    I registered today just to say that for those of you say “report your neighbors to the police for tax enforcement”, I say that I am shocked and appalled at you. You would rather hide behind a telephone or a computer and the government to handle a problem that you have with another person? Shame on you.

    Yes, that person may not be paying their “fair share” but at least have it out with that person before you make a county case out of it. I mean, honestly, have we gotten so determined to avoid any and all contact with other people that we would rather fill out an online form than say “Hey neighbor, why don’t you have a county sticker? It would mean a lot to myself and everyone else if you would just pay the fee every year”. Please keep the government involvement to a minimum for our own collective sake and for the government’s sake too as it takes them time and money to track this person down as opposed to you doing it.

    But really, where has the decency gone?

    • CW

      Wait, let me get this straight. You’re calling people indecent for reporting tax evaders instead of going up and chatting to them about it? They’re criminals. You’re going to walk up to them and confront them (albeit nicely) about the fact that they’re breaking the law? Replace the phrase “tax evader” with “crack dealer” and then see how it sounds. “Hey, man, it would mean a lot to myself and everyone else if you just stopped dealing crack in my neighborhood.”

      • OK45

        Why would you replace “tax evader” with “crack dealer”? That isn’t even remotely the same thing. Not paying taxes =/ class 5 felony.

        • CW

          I’d replace it to illustrate a point. Which is that they are breaking the law. Which is true. Which is why I replaced it as such.

          • OK45

            I believe there is a term for what you did…. strawman.

            And dealing in absolutes never works out well. Ask G.W. Bush.

          • CW

            No, it’s not a straw man argument because I never attempted to draw a direct analog between crack dealers and tax evaders. I was illustrating a point figuratively; there’s a difference.

            Let’s just keep it general then, no figurative speech or hyperbole. You’re proposing that people go up to their neighbors and talk to them about how it hurts their feelings that said neighbors are breaking a law. That is a correct summary of your position, no?

          • OK45

            Nowhere did I mention hurt feelings or taking things personally (just like I didn’t mention crack dealers either). There are three reasonable assumptions about why someone who lives here doesn’t have a sticker: (1) they are unaware of the law, (2) they are actively avoiding the tax, or (3) they are lazy. By approaching a person, you can most likely solve #1 and #3 with a twenty second conversation. If #2 is the case, that is when the government should be informed and get involved. All I’m saying is why burden this government department any more? They already cost us enough money and, if we pile more work on them, we just get our taxes inflated….. again. Plus it is a little big brother ish to get a notice about it.

          • CW

            As a side note, I wondered why my posts weren’t posting (note the 3 variations on the same thing)…then, boom goes the dynamite…multi-post!!!

          • CW

            Not dealing in absolutes…just illustrating a point. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But just figurative.

          • OK45

            Ok, good debate…. everyone pay their taxes and we won’t have this problem. its Friday, time for a frosty one.

            And I still think getting the gov involved is a solution of last resort.

          • CW

            Wow, a reasonable person who is willing to say “good debate” after airing out some conflicting viewpoints?! Cheers to that, OK!!

          • CW

            Oh, and also, much respect for starting happy hour at 3:22 PM. :)

    • say what?

      Hear hear! All you tattle-talers are appalling. Not to mention if someone doesn’t want to pay their taxes, and they’re able to get away with it, good for them. Do you think getting more people to pay is going to lower your share? It’s not. You’re just mean and bitter.

      • Overgrown Bush

        I can’t support being a tattle-tale, but are you serious? The more people that skirt paying tax the more others are going to pay.

        • say what?

          You’ve already paid your share of taxes. Do you think you’ll get it back? Do you think the county will lower taxes the next year? You are wrong. It will be more revenue for the county obviously the more they collect, but it’s not going to benefit your wallet one way or another.

          I don’t endorse not paying, but I by and far don’t endorse tatlling with the hope that it will benefit you.

          • mehoo

            Cool – so how about you pay taxes and nobody else does. Would that work out for you?

            Please do some thinking.

      • OK45

        For the record, I was not endorsing tax evasion like you seem to be. All I’m saying is that getting government involved where it doesn’t need to be is a terrible idea.

        • say what?

          Agree. Thank you for pointing this out.

          Those who are hoping to save on taxes by telling on others may want to consider what portion of their taxes is paying the salaries of those checking cars in the wee hours? The more people complain about this the more people the county is going to be justified to hire to deal with the issue. Just have some decency and mind your own business if it’s not hurting you directly, or talk to the offender if you believe it is hurting you.

        • CW

          > getting government involved where it doesn’t need to be is a terrible idea.

          On which many would agree, but it doesn’t seem very relevant here. Collection of THEIR taxes is an area where I think that maybe, just maybe, it might be their business in the first place. Maybe.

      • Lou

        So, you’re saying that people who get away with not paying taxes are Winning?

      • CW

        > if someone doesn’t want to pay their taxes, and they’re able to get away with it, good for them.

        I think there’s a gaping hole where your moral compass should be. Is this your way of “Stickin’ it to tha man?”

      • Want a clue

        I guess you would would applaude some robbing a bank then. I mean, it does not hurt anyone, right? It is insured by the Feds, and insured, so no harm no foul? To quote Seth and Amy from SNL, REALLY!?!

        • say what?

          No, this isn’t a moral issue for me. I have a sticker on my car. I think any honest citizen should. But believing that turning someone else in is going to benefit you is just silly. That is what I’m disagreeing with on this thread. Tatlling on your neighbor is not going to bring you any benefit beyond the joy of being a meanie. Save your government complaints for something worthwhile. The last thing I want is increased taxes due to the county hiring more inspectors because of the overwhelming response of residents wanting this issue addressed. Who cares? Either pay your taxes and rest assured in both your honesty and ability to not get a ticket, or don’t pay your taxes and gamble. No need for third party interference.

          • Want a clue

            I guess they should get rid of all of those “Have you seen me?” milk cartons and crimstopper numbers, huh?

          • Dan

            +1

    • CrystalMikey

      Dude, I live in 16 story high rise…am I supposed to just wait by the car in a garage for hours on end for the driver to show? No. I have no idea whose car is whose…

      I’m not going to spend all day snitching on every car I see, but if I do have the gumption after seeing the same MD car in my garage for months on end, than I have every right.

      • OK45

        You just said that you have seen the car over and over for months. By now, I would think that you have an idea as to who the owner is. I too live in a highrise and can put many of the owners with their cars. I might be more social than you are but it certainly doesn’t take a forensics team to figure out who owns the car. Even a note under the wiper would suffice.

        I’m not encouraging vigilante-ism here, I’m just saying that there should be a step between you noticing a neighbor without a sticker and you reporting them to the government.

        • http://www.twitter.com/jennrubenstein jenn

          i lived in a high rise with a garage for 2 years, aside from one car parked next to me and one across from me, i couldn’t tell you who any of the cars belonged to. even with those 2 car owners, i recognized them and waved occasionally, but i didn’t know their names or what unit they lived in. i’m plenty social, but the only times we really stood around chatting with neighbors were during 3am fire alarm extravaganzas.

          …just sayin. =)

          • CrystalMikey

            +1 Sorry OK45, but my building is just not that social.

    • CW

      I guess that’s fine, as long as you have no interest in actually getting them to pay it. If you confront somebody about it they’re just going to think you’re a nosey jerk and go about their business. But a letter from the county shows that they’re no longer flying under the radar and may face real penalties for non-compliance.

      • OK45

        Well I guess we know how you would act if someone asked you about you not paying “your fair share”. Must have a lot of respect for your fellow (wo)man.

        • CW

          They wouldn’t have to. I have so much respect for my fellow (wo)man (AND myself) that I signed up on my own immediately after moving to the area. And well ahead of the grace period that the county gives you.

    • JW

      If I had the power to fine my neighbors for not paying taxes, then I would totally “have it out” with them. I don’t have that power, so I’ll report them to those that do.

    • John Fontain

      “You would rather hide behind a telephone or a computer and the government to handle a problem that you have with another person?”

      I don’t have a problem with the person, I have a problem with that person not following the law. And when it comes to matters of law, enforcement is not my responsibility nor it is something that officials recommend you take into your own hands. This has nothing to do with wanting to hide behind a telephone. It simply a matter of following the procedure that the County recommends we follow.

      And I do agree fully with CW that you could apply your “logic” to any other violation of the law to see how ridiculous your view is. For example:

      “If you see your neighbor slash someone’s tires, don’t hide behind your phone and call the cops, have the decency to confront them yourself! You owe it to your tire-slashing neighbor.”

      • say what?

        Your non sticker welding neighbor is most likely not dangerous. There is no chance of harm to yourself, other than people knowing you are nosey and somewhat lame. Which, I can understand wanting to avoid.

        • John Fontain

          This isn’t a question of personal safety. It’s simply that you don’t owe “decency” to someone who is violating the law. Is this really so hard to understand?

      • SouthArlington

        +1. Stated quite articulately.

      • borf

        I am just curious. Do you have a problem with the county not wanting to follow the laws concerning illegal immigration? The law is the law, right?

    • jesse

      A great point would suck if your life depended on that neighbor after such an incident.

  • 1234

    It has now been over 2 years of my neighbors reporting residents of 2 illegal group homes on our street not registering thier cars in the state (much less the county) and absolutely nothing has been done. The county has repeatedly stated that they will “try to track them down” but there has been no change in the vehicles’ status, and they are certainly not exempt. What exactly does it take to have someone issue a ticket to these tax evaders??

    • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

      I would assume that taking photos would be your best bet. In addition, I am sure this office has LOADS of people complaining to them and has a small staff.

    • FedUp
    • Ha…

      Or just get a life. Spend a little more time with your family, a little less time chatting with neighbors about the horrors of those in group houses. We’re not all awful.

    • Want a clue

      Remember, the county can’t make those people register their cars in the state. However, the $100 penalty for keeping out of state plates is usually incentive enough, but ONLY WHEN THE COUNTY KNOWS WHERE TO FIND THESE CARS!!!

    • From the only GOP in Arlington

      And I’m sure all of you feel really good about tattling on your neighbors……

      • Too Easy

        Gotta tell on people who have nice cars because they seem to ignore the pieces of crap that never move from the street parking spaces. No wonder I like my house in FFx county better than the one in Arlco. Not so many wanabee IRS agents in FFx.

    • jesse

      Flight attendants, park for work at the airports which is not VA soil. In VA technically 5 months a year. The group home/crashpad could be under scrutiny though.

  • 1234

    I should clarify: rather than “issue a ticket” I should have said “What does it take to enforce the law of registering your vehicle where you live?”

  • 1234

    The issue doesn’t appear to be the actual reporting of the evaders, the issue appears to be what the County does (and can do) in trying to enforce the law. Apparently they only send letters if they can track down the owner — what happens when it is determined that there is active tax evasion occuring? Why can’t tickets be issued (as Ray Warren implied above)?

    Frankly it pisses me off to no end that I can and will get a ticket parked in front of my house in the middle of the night if my safery inspection has expired, but the car parked across the street has had MD plates on it for 2 years.

  • Steve

    Its my belief that the use of vehicle code laws to enforce tax laws was unconstitutional and so ruled years ago by the Supremes. Someone needs to challenge the tax nazis on this.

    • OK45

      The federal income tax is apparently unconstitutional as well but I’m still going to pay it.

      • jesse

        Actually the commerce clause gets you there albeit when the south rentered the union they were forced into that. The south had a right to break away legally (even if it was stupid). What is worse is blindly following something bad instead of finding a real solution.

    • GMo

      Gotta love Motown!

      • CW

        STOP! In the naaaaaame of taxes ….

        • CW

          before you break the bank?

    • local

      If that were actually true, someone would have a long time ago, doncha think?

    • jesse

      Bingo!

  • Jeff

    My neighbor has their tax sticker, but I’ve seen him pick his nose at a stoplight, and I’m pretty sure he practices witchcraft- is there a link on the Arlington County website I can visit to report him?

    • Want a clue

      That would depend on what he did with it. Did he flick it? He littered, call the police. Did he eat it? Call the health department.

      Does he kill animals in practicing the Craft? SPCA

  • local

    Is there a place we can turn in people who use bad grammar?

  • buckey09

    My mother came to visit me one weekend, parked in the visitors area with a visitors tag on her mirror, and a month later got a letter sent to my parents house in Pennsylvania from Arlington County, trying to collect tax from her for living in Arlington. I suppose there’s no way to distinguish between a car w/out of state tags that’s been here for an extended period of time, and one that’s just visiting for the weekend (so I guess there are hundreds, maybe thousands of people getting letters like this since this area is so transient). Her situation seems extremely Big Brotherish to us however.

    • jesse

      Big brother indeed. Also they presumed they were guilty too. I am all for taxes, tax dollars pay my salary (well indirectly). But be smart about it. Instead of uniting and saying this tax code is so old and out of date change it drastically, people turn on each other government wins.

  • Ballstonian

    Wish they had a reward program, because I’d make a killing in my high rise in Ballston. Nothing going on tonight, maybe I’ll just get a couple cocktails in a camelback, my iPhone 4, and snap pictures along with descriptions to turn everyone in. I get tired of paying it every year, but I pay his Caesar his dues. And so should everyone else if I’m getting cleaned out by Arlington County for what services?

    • Want a clue

      Leave a message on their windshield…..”I saw what you did…..I know who you are!”

  • From the only GOP in Arlington

    yep, what an absurd requirement — here in Socialist Arlington, I’m surprised you don’t have to pay a tax on breathing air.

    • Want a clue

      Well, I am sure we would if air was produced by air farms owned by the Grand Ole’ GOP Dyanastic Families. Then of course they would just turn around and use the funds to bottle it all up to ship it over to the middle east under the label “Eau du Democracy”.

  • OX4

    You’re all wrong.

  • Zimmie

    The high risers are great for getting the county decal. Just walk around at night, find a car with windows down, help yourself to the car’s county decal, and then go have a drink.

  • 22204

    Just reported seven of my neighbors here in 22204.

  • d.rather

    What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

  • Want to be able to park on my street

    I wish they would check the 4300 Block of Pershing Drive for the 12 work vans and landscape trucks that park there everyday and do not have stickers…

  • Michael

    6 mil in 7 years. I wonder if that even covers salaries, benefits and overhead.

  • Too Easy

    Another car hate tactic by Arlington. The county is just greedy and is making neighbors spy and report on each other.The county just wants more cash to waste on “delegate trips and board members perks” Look at they way they exempt foreclosures and bank owned properties from affecting “property values”. To be fair they seem to ignore or fail to add value for additions and renovations to houses and resort to these measures of causing distrust among neighbors to make up for the lost revenue. It should be no ones business but my own of whom I work for where I payed my taxes. Most of these do good crybabies fudge their Federal and State taxes using bogus exemptions.BTW nice how board member get extra perks to buy real estate in the county and the low interest loans for them is just dandy.

    • jesse

      The FBI investigates fraud and conflict of interest in government if you suspect it call the nearest field office.

  • Annoyed

    The police did ticket overnight for lack of decal on FRIDAY NIGHT in South Arlington. I had two friends from out of town who got tickets and now have to go and argue them. Makes my friends really want to come back to Arlington County.

    • jesse

      this is extreme. But in my state where there is 600,000 people and 6,000,000 guns they wouldn’t dare to harass the people like this. VT safest state in the US!

  • Pissed

    Why should tenants who live in “fancy apartments” have to pay this bs tax. We are already paying $60+ a month to have our cars parked in those garages, hence off the street. We are not using street parking so we shouldn’t have to pay this tax. Only people who burden the streets with their cars should have to pay. If I am going to street park my car anywhere worth parking I will probably have to pay a meter as it is anyway. Colorado understands this because it makes logical sense, thus you only need a sticker if you plan on street parking your car overnight. This fee is complete horse sh*t and I think it reflects poorly on the County. Not only that, Arlington County has some of the worst maintained roads in Northern VA. They need to take notes from Fairfax County on how things should be run. Rookies.

  • VAnew

    So, what happens when the owners of the cars got those inquiry letters? Do they immediately have to register the cars in Arlington or face being ticketed or something? What kind of enforcement does Arlington county have authority to do?
    Does the Personal Property Enforcement Program have authority to register and bill the vehicles they suspect without consent from the owners?

    Or the letters are the courtesy warnings since the owners of out-of-compliant vehicles will most likely get ticketed for not displaying Arlington decal if they continue to park in Arlington county overnight.

    To my understanding, once ticketed you cannot just pay the ticket but have to register the car to get the decal first.

  • Socialist

    So on the Comm. of Rev site, it states that tax revenues collected from this car tax has increased from $400,000 range in 2003 to $4 million range in 2007. Yes. Million. Has the number Arlington county car population increased that much? Is it time to reassess the price of this tax? You’re paying $5 per 100 assessed if the car is valued over $20k. What are we paying for? The county HR department costs $8 million a year to run, Human Services costs $177 Million about equal to the police and fire combined, and twice the amount for our justice system.

    I’ve been to the main Human Services building and observed the programs they offer. I have to say, it’s a nice warm fuzzy service, but completely a waste of my tax dollar. When was the last time YOU have used or even seen the service at work?! The budget for this service has increased about 5% every year only to be slightly outpaced by general administrative (staffing) budget of 6%. While our the police/fire/sheriff has remained stagnant. A strong indication that the population in the county has increased significantly, yet human services and staffing has to increase by 5-6%?!

    I think it’s about time for me to attend a board meeting and let them know what I think. Yes, and I vote. Call me what you want, but if you dive into the county’s budget, you can see “mismanaged” money. I’m sure almost 90% of us would agree to this deal: Say we cut half of our car tax and to make a 5% cut to human services and we can still maintain current level of services the majority of us use and touch everyday. I’m sure we can also sprinkle in some cuts in property taxes as well and still can maintain present level of services that we use everyday.

    • Socialist

      edit:

      A strong indication that the population in the county has NOT increased

  • Socialist

    final rant:

    The problem with all government is the culture of management. Everywhere else, management is rewarded with doing more with less. Conversely in government, management boasts with how many staff works under them. A culture change is needed here and everywhere.

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