Business Personal Property Tax
The City levies a tax each calendar year on all tangible property used in a business, profession or occupation. Business tangible property includes furniture, fixtures and equipment, including but not limited to desks, typewriters, personal computers, movable partitions, drapes, cabinets and chairs.
In addition, all manufacturers, mining, processing or reprocessing companies, television or radio broadcasting companies, dairy, and dry cleaning or laundry businesses located in the City must pay a property tax on machinery and tools used in their business.
Returns: May 1
Payments: October 5
Each March, the Finance Department mails property tax returns to all for-profit and non-profit businesses licensed in the City that began operating prior to January 2 of the current year. All businesses must file the returns with an itemized listing of all tangible personal property, including the date of acquisition, date of disposal, and original purchase price. All personal property must be substantiated through the following documentation:
- Assets or Equipment Journal; or
- Federal Form 4562; or
- Federal Schedule L of Form 1120.
Business personal property tax returns must be filed by May 1 with:
Tax Services & Enforcement
PO Box 178
Alexandria, VA 22313
Failure to File
If a business does not file a return by May 1, the City will conduct a statutory assessment of the account and bill accordingly.
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Computation of Tax
The City assesses all business personal property, except computers, at 80 percent of the property's purchase cost in its first year of service. In each subsequent year of service, the assessed value declines by ten percent until it reaches the minimum value of 20 percent of purchase cost in the seventh and later years of service. The City assesses computers at 65 percent of the property purchase cost in the first year of service, 45 percent the second year, 30 percent the third year, 20 percent the fourth year and five percent in the remaining years.
The tax is established by multiplying the assessed value of the property by the property tax rate. The tax rate for business personal property is $4.75 per $100 of assessed value. The tax rate for machinery and tools is $4.50 per $100 of the assessed value.
City Council determines a separate property tax rate for machinery and tools during May of each year. The tax rates apply to the current tax year beginning January 1.
Some, but not all, non-profit organizations are exempt from paying the business personal property tax but must still file an annual return. More information can be found in the Licensing and Tax Guide for Non-Profit Organizations.
No Proration of Business Personal Property Tax
The assessed value of business personal property is determined as of January 1 of the year for which the tax is levied. There is no proration or refund of the tax for business personal property that is disposed of or moved out of the City after January 1. Likewise, business personal property that is located in the City after January 1 in any given year is not taxable for that tax year.
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Understanding the Personal Property Tax Bill
Business personal property tax bills are mailed in late August or early September to all business that were operating in the City as of January 1 of the tax year. There are two types of business personal property tax bills: standard and statutory billing.
The left hand side of the standard bill shows the tax assessed based on the return filed, broken down by property type, but does not show the assessed value of the property itself. The right hand side reflects the assessed taxes, plus any penalties, interest, and fees added and any payments that have already been applied. If the annual business personal property tax return was filed after the May 1 due date, the bill will reflect a late filing penalty assessed on the current year tax. This section will also show any delinquent prior year balances due, which must be paid immediately to avoid additional penalty and interest.
Sample Standard Bill (PDF)
The statutory bill reflects a statutory assessment, an estimated tax that is assessed on any business that fails to file a business personal property tax return, as well as a penalty for failure to file a return. In order to receive a corrected bill based on the actual value of the business's tangible personal property, a business must file an amended business personal property tax return. Information on filing an amended return can be obtained by calling 703.746.3903 and choosing option 2.
Sample Statutory Bill (PDF)
Any business that does not receive the tax bill should contact the Treasury Division by email or by phone at 703.746.3902. The business will still liable for paying the tax by the due date. Failure to receive a bill does not relieve the taxpayer of the responsibility of paying the tax and/or any penalty and interest assessed due to late payment.
NOTE: The reverse side of each tax bill provides important information concerning payment methods, penalties and interest, due dates, returned check fees, and the method for making corrections to an account.
Paying Business Personal Property Tax
Payment is due by October 5 (or the following business day if October 5 falls on a weekend) for all current year taxes. Delinquent prior year balances should be paid immediately to avoid additional penalty and interest.
At Cash Payment Centers: The City of Alexandria has partnered with Global Express Bill Payment Centers to offer walk-in cash payment centers for business personal property taxes. This free service offers business owners the convenience of making cash payments at approximately 50 Northern Virginia locations. For more information and a list of locations, see Six Easy Ways to Pay.
By Mail: Any business owner wishing to pay by mail should write the account number on a check or money order and send it with the bill stub to:
City of Alexandria Business Personal Property
P O Box 34901
Alexandria, VA 22334-0901
Returned checks are subject to a $35 fee in accordance with state law.
At Sun Trust Bank: Business personal property taxes may be paid at any Sun Trust Bank in the City up to 5 p.m. on the due date.
Information on all other payment methods, including paying by debit/credit card or eCheck, is available on the Six Easy Ways to Pay page.
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Penalties and Interest
Late Filing Penalty
Business personal property tax returns must be filed by May 1 of each year. The City assesses a late filing penalty of $10 or five percent of the tax due, whichever is greater, for failure to file a business personal property tax return by the due date. In no case may a late filing penalty exceed $500 if a return is filed within the first 30 days after the due date. If the tax filing is more than 30 days late, the late filing penalty is five percent of the total tax due amount.
Late Payment Penalty
The City assesses a late payment penalty of $10 or 10 percent of the tax due, whichever is greater, on all tax accounts paid after the due date. No penalty may exceed the amount of the tax billed.
Interest on all delinquent taxes accrues at an annual rate of 10 percent the first year and five percent each year thereafter, until all taxes, penalties, and interest are paid in full.
Tax Forms and Taxpayer Assistance
Prior year business personal property tax returns can be found here. For additional tax forms and taxpayer assistance, contact:
Tax Services & Enforcement
301 King Street, Room 1700
Alexandria, VA 22314
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