Last year’s soaring car tax values resulted in more people behind on their vehicle taxes, according to Arlington’s Treasurer.
Despite the uptick, Arlington County ended the 2023 fiscal year with historically few people behind on their taxes, Treasurer Carla de la Pava told the Arlington County Board on Tuesday.
The county closed out the fiscal year on June with the lowest delinquency rate in its history: under 0.16%.
Car assessments are determined by the office of Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy, weighing several factors including oil prices and supply-chain issues.
Bucking a century-long “depreciation pattern,” vehicle values — especially for SUVs, trucks and hybrid and used vehicles — rose last year due to widespread pandemic-era car shortages, Susan Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Commissioner of Revenue, tells ARLnow.
“Covid-19 had the largest impact when vehicle production and supply lines collapsed,” she said. “New cars were in tight supply and the laws of supply and demand were in full effect. Production of less-new cars available at elevated prices from dealers had a cascade effect on the used car market driving up prices.”
In response, the County Board in 2022 adopted a one-year-only reduced assessment rate at 88% of the clean trade-in value of vehicles. Despite this, the Treasurer’s Office, which collects the vehicle taxes, “still saw the highest tax delinquencies not just since the pandemic but the highest since the fallout of the Great Recession in 2008,” de la Pava said.
Taxes levied on vehicles make up the lion’s share of delinquencies, or 77% of the total delinquencies at the end of this fiscal year. Vehicle tax delinquencies went up 33% despite a far smaller increase in delinquent accounts, 3.4%. Almost half of these delinquencies involved vehicles worth at least $20,000.
Most delinquent accounts were opened the year prior and are concentrated in densely populated, highly transient areas, de la Pava said, which she attributes to new or short-term residents unaccustomed to a vehicle tax. Her office also hears from residents surprised their taxes went up after buying a new car.
The treasurer credited the 2022 reduced rate and delinquency prevention efforts for avoiding a surfeit of delinquent vehicle owners.
Compared to vehicle taxes, real estate taxes make up most of 88% of taxes levied and only 6% of delinquent taxes.
Delinquencies for the business tangible tax — for furniture and equipment inside businesses — were half a million dollars higher last fiscal year, compared to the year prior, though still lower than pandemic years, she said.
De la Pava credited the county’s online payments system for helping to keep a lid on delinquencies.
“People ask me all the time: ‘How is it that we have such a low tax delinquency rate?'” she said. “Delinquency prevention is a big part of that. The Customer Assessment and Payment Portal, otherwise known… as CAPP, is one of the most important tools we have to prevent delinquency.”
Automated withdrawals via CAPP made up $51 million of the taxes Arlington collected, she noted.
Paying in-person at Lubber Run and Arlington Mill community centers, meanwhile, is becoming an increasingly popular option for those who cannot or do not want to pay online, she said.
There is also a bit of good news for vehicle owners: values are starting to follow more normal depreciation patterns, Anderson says.
Vehicle assessments this year were largely lower than in 2022 — even with the reduction applied — but Anderson says calling this a full return to normal would be “a bit of stretch,” as some vehicles remain in high demand and a “large hole” persists in dealership inventories.
“Elevated prices on new cars drives up prices in the used car market,” she said. “New car inventories are increasing, and prices are no longer including premiums from dealers and rebates are returning slowly into the marketplace.”
This January, the Commissioner of Revenue’s office will have values to apply for tax year 2024 assessments and predicts they could be impacted by “oil prices, production setbacks, shipping chain interruptions, vehicle moguls slashing prices in the electric vehicle market, and government shutdowns.”
“As we stand today, the market is still continually shifting,” Anderson said.
Good Wednesday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
After a 2-year search for new digs, Arlington Independent Media is on the cusp of moving from its long-time headquarters in Clarendon.
Former Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos is taking a top job in the Virginia Attorney General’s Office. Stamos lost her reelection bid in 2019, defeated in the Democratic primary by…
Sometime next year, three residential streets in Arlington without sidewalks could get upgrades to allow for safer pedestrian and cyclist use. To help address demonstrated safety and access issues on…
About Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT): Latinas Leading Tomorrow is a dynamic 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young Latina women through education, mentorship, and leadership development. We are committed to fostering a community of future leaders who will make a significant impact to the community.
Job Description: We are seeking a passionate and dedicated Part-time Executive Director to lead our organization into its next phase of growth and impact. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader who can oversee day-to-day operations, drive fundraising efforts, and cultivate relationships with stakeholders. This is a 1099 position; Remote position with ability to attend DMV events; 8-10 hours a week; $35-40/per hour.
Oversee program operations, including educational and community initiatives.
Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, maintaining trust and accountability.
Develop and execute a strategic vision aligned with our mission and values.
Lead fundraising efforts in partnership with the Board Members.
Cultivate relationships with community partners, schools, educators, and donors.
Demonstrate strong leadership skills, fostering a positive organizational culture.
Communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders and make compelling public presentations.
Promote inclusivity and collaboration throughout the organization.
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to