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Certification of Vehicle Usage

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Requirements

Beginning January 1, 2003, vehicle owners are required to certify the use of the vehicle to be either personal or business. The certification will be part of each application for initial and renewal vehicle registration at DMV. Be sure to indicate your vehicle's personal property tax relief status on the vehicle registration renewal. If the status is not indicated on the renewal form, your vehicle may not be eligible for personal property tax relief. Certification information collected by DMV shall be made available to Commissioners of the Revenue and other local assessing officials for use in discharging their responsibilities for qualifying vehicles for relief under PPTRA.

The vehicle must be owned or leased by an individual and NOT used for business purposes. A vehicle would be considered to be used for business purposes if:

  • More than 50 % of the mileage for the year is used as a business expense for Federal Income Tax purposes or reimbursed by employer;
  • More than 50% of the depreciation associated with the vehicle is deducted as a business expenses for Federal Income Tax;
  • The cost of the vehicle is expensed pursuant to Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Service Code; or
  • An individual leases the Vehicle and the leasing company pays the tax without reimbursement from the individual.

Vehicles qualified for tax relief are noted on your tax bill and show a reduction for the portion of the tax the Commonwealth will pay. For qualified vehicles, your tax bill is reduced by the applicable tax relief percent for the tax year on the first $20,000 of value. If your qualifying vehicle's assessed value is $1,000 or less, your tax has been eliminated and the Commonwealth's share is 100%. Tax relief is calculated using the locality's effective tax rates that were in effect on August 1, 1997.

You are required to certify annually to the locality that your vehicle remains qualified to receive car tax relief. Therefore, it is important that you review the information sent to you by your locality to be sure that your vehicles are properly qualified. If your vehicle is improperly qualified or you are uncertain whether your vehicle would be eligible for car tax relief because it is used part of the time for business purposes, contact your locality.


Local Requirements

The Commissioners of the Revenue, Treasurers and other local officials having assessing or collection responsibilities shall implement provisions for certification by the vehicle owners as to the vehicle use for business purposes. The certification is required for any vehicle with a value in excess of $1,000.

  • In jurisdictions where an affirmative personal property tax return is required of the taxpayer, certification shall be obtained at the time of filing a return of personal property. In cases where this method fails to obtain the requisite taxpayer certification, taxpayer certification may be obtained at the time of any one of the following:
    1. Application for or issuance of a decal or local license plate. This can be at the time of the initial or renewal of the local vehicle license pursuant to Va. Code 46.2-752.
    2. Payment of personal property tax bill where payment can be construed as a certification of vehicle usage.
    3. Any other communication with the vehicle owner requiring an affirmative response or responsive action on the part of the owner.
  • In jurisdictions where a File By Exception method is used for personal property tax returns, certification shall be obtained at the time of the following:
    1. The File By Exception process in which citizens shall be required to notify the locality of any changes in vehicle usage on an exception basis, and either
    2. Payment of personal property tax bill where payment can be construed as a certification of vehicle usage, or
    3. Application for or issuance of a decal or local license plate. This can be at the time of initial or renewal of the local vehicle license pursuant to 46.2-752, Code of Virginia.

The criteria to use to determine qualifying vehicles is shown below.

Flowchart indicating which vehicles qualify.