Half the counties in USA charge personal property tax on car. That is OK, but recently my county is appraising my car at a very high price and the reply from the county is that

Since there is no used market data information for new model year vehicles, these are not listed in NADA. In these cases, we assess at 95% in the first year and 90% for second year models

But the issue is that, on car, even after it being at 95%, they are close to drive out price that include sales tax etc. My question is if I should send them my purchase receipt that shows the sell price and then ask them to fix it or forget it.

I happened to buy this car at significant discount from MSRP ( about 5k)

  • 1
    It can't hurt. They can only say "no".
    – RonJohn
    Sep 13, 2019 at 5:41
  • My question is if I should send them my purchase receipt that shows the sell price and then ask them to fix it or forget it. - that's really a question for your county's tax authority, not us. They likely have an appeals process.
    – dwizum
    Sep 13, 2019 at 13:01

1 Answer 1


Your jurisdiction should have on their tax authority website the method to formally appeal, the documentation required, and the reasons your can appeal.

In my state (Virginia), the local government is required by law to treat all all vehicles uniformly. Which means they have to use a nationally recognized used car pricing guide, and pick the same condition column for all vehicles. For new cars they pick a uniform percentage of the MSRP for the first two years. They are trying to achieve uniformity so all new cars get the same percentage of MSRP.

In my county the only appeal that relates to the value of the vehicle is high mileage, and body damage. You can also appeal because of a mistake in the car data, or an error in location, that you sold the car.

So if your jurisdiction has similar requirements your chance of a successful appeal is small, but there may be little cost in doing so.

While you are free to file an appeal, remember that it doesn't change the due date or the amount until the appeal is resolved. So if the deadline is approaching, you will have to pay the original billed amount and wait for a refund.

  • @mhoran-psprep thanks, so it is on MSRP, but the problem with MSRP is that mostly cars are sold at far below MSRP
    – Raj
    Sep 13, 2019 at 12:24
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    In Virginia that would still meet the goal of being uniform. If all new cars are valued at 95% of the MSRP, then everybody is treated fairly. In year three the value is not based on MSRP but on NADA, with no idea if you would be able to get a better or worse deal based on your ability to negotiate. Sep 13, 2019 at 12:48
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    To emphasize @mhoran_psprep's point - it's more about being uniform than about actually representing the specific value of your specific vehicle. Uniformity makes it vastly easier for all parties. Without uniformity, there would effectively be an inherent cost in determining each vehicle's value (i.e. an appraisal) and the "savings" from getting a more accurate value would be lost to that cost.
    – dwizum
    Sep 13, 2019 at 13:03
  • @dwizum: And an appraisal is really nothing more than informed opinion. The only way to find the real market value of a car is to list it for sale on e.g. Craigslist, and see how much you can get for it. Of course then you don't have the car any more, so your tax problem is solved :-)
    – jamesqf
    Sep 13, 2019 at 16:46
  • @Raj "but the problem with MSRP is that mostly cars are sold at far below MSRP" I'm guessing it would make no practical difference if they used a "more realistic" basis. I've no idea what real tax rates are, but suppose it's 7% on the "95% of MSRP". If "85% of MRSP" was a more realistic drive-home price, then – because the county needs/wants a certain amount of revenue – they'd presumably end up charging tax at 7.8% of that figure (10k * 0.95 * 0.07 ~= 10k * 0.85 * 0.078).
    – TripeHound
    Sep 16, 2019 at 8:56

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