Overview of Virginia Taxes
Virginia property tax rates are well below the national average. Since home values in many parts of Virginia are very high, however, many Virginia homeowners still pay above-average property taxes in dollar terms.
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To calculate the exact amount of property tax you will owe requires your property's assessed value and the property tax rates based on your property's address. Please note that we can only estimate your property tax based on median property taxes in your area. There are typically multiple rates in a given area, because your state, county, local schools and emergency responders each receive funding partly through these taxes. In our calculator, we take your home value and multiply that by your county's effective property tax rate. This is equal to the median property tax paid as a percentage of the median home value in your county.
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Jennifer Mansfield Tax
Jennifer Mansfield, CPA, JD/LLM-Tax, is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience providing tax advice. SmartAsset’s tax expert has a degree in Accounting and Business/Management from the University of Wyoming, as well as both a Masters in Tax Laws and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has mostly worked in public accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and Deloitte. She is passionate about helping provide people and businesses with valuable accounting and tax advice to allow them to prosper financially. Jennifer lives in Arizona and was recently named to the Greater Tucson Leadership Program.
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Virginia Property Tax
Homeowners in the state of Virginia pay property tax rates that are well below the national average. Since home values in many parts of Virginia are very high, however, many Virginia homeowner still pay above-average property taxes in dollar terms. Indeed, in parts of Virginia such as Alexandria and Fairfax County, average home values are over $400,000 and median annual property taxes exceed $4,000. Read on to learn about key Virginia property tax rules and rates from around the state.
How Virginia’s Property Taxes Work
Property taxes in Virginia are calculated by multiplying a home’s assessed value by its total property tax rate. Assessed value is determined by local assessors on regular two- to six-year cycles. By state law, cities are required to reassess every two years and counties every four years. Smaller cities and counties (less than 30,000 and 50,000 people respectively) can vote to reassess every four, five or six years.
The purpose of reassessment is to determine the fair market value of a property. This is the price the property would sell for on the open market. An inaccurate assessment can mean years of excess taxes, so it’s important that homeowners read their assessment notice. A homeowner who disagrees with their valuation can talk to their local board of assessment or file an official appeal with the Board of Equalization and Assessment Review.
Since properties are not reassessed every year, assessed values typically diverge from market values over time. The state of Virginia conducts an annual sales ratio study to determine the ratio of assessed values to market values. While ratios are generally close to 100%, in some cases they are not.
Thus, when properties are reassessed, it is possible for assessed values to change significantly. By state law, total taxes across a tax district cannot increase by more than 1% because of a reassessment, but taxes on an individual property can increase by any amount. Keep that in mind as reassessment approaches.
Virginia Property Tax Rates
Tax rates in Virginia are calculated by local governments including counties, cities and special districts such as sanitation districts. They are calculated per $100 of assessed value.
The table below shows the effective tax rate (that’s annual taxes paid as a percentage of home value) for every county and independent city in Virginia. It also shows the median home value and median annual property taxes.
Eager to move? Or perhaps you’re simply looking to refinance your current mortgage? Before making a decision, take a look at our Virginia mortgage guide, which contains everything you need to know about getting a mortgage and mortgage rates throughout Virginia.
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax Payment||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
|Buena Vista (city)||$118,900||$1,025||0.86%|
|Colonial Heights (city)||$181,300||$1,778||0.98%|
|Falls Church (city)||$660,900||$6,808||1.03%|
|Isle of Wight||$249,600||$1,401||0.56%|
|Manassas Park (city)||$213,300||$3,243||1.52%|
|Newport News (city)||$200,100||$2,190||1.09%|
|Virginia Beach (city)||$267,600||$2,356||0.88%|
Located southwest of Washington D.C., Fairfax County has some of the most expensive homes in the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county’s median home value is $476,600, 22nd highest of any county in the U.S.
Those high home values also mean that, while property tax rates in Fairfax County aren’t especially high, annual tax payments are. The median annual property tax paid by homeowners in Fairfax County is $4,689. That’s $2,500 more than the national median.
Situated along the Atlantic Ocean in the southeast corner of the state, Virginia Beach has property tax rates slightly higher than the state average. The city’s average effective property tax rate is 0.88%, 22nd highest in the state. However, the city’s nominal rate – that’s the rate that appears on a tax bill, and which applies to assessed value – is somewhat higher: 0.95% as of 2013.
Prince William County
Prince William County is a largely suburban county situated on the Potomac River, southwest of Washington D.C. The average effective property tax in the county is 1.06%, seventh highest in the state. Real estate in Prince William County was most recently reassessed as of 2015, which means current assessed values should be close to 100% of market value. Prior to that reassessment they had dipped to around 80% of market value.
With a population of about 330,000, Loudoun County is the fourth largest county or independent city in the state of Virginia. It also has some of the highest property taxes. The median annual property tax paid by Loudoun County homeowners is $5,096, second highest amount in the state. That is more than $3,000 higher than the state median.
Chesterfield County sits along the James River just outside of the city of Richmond. The county gets its name from a former British Secretary of State, the Earl of Chesterfield. The county’s average effective property tax rate is 0.89%, 20th highest in the state and slightly higher than the state average. That rate is still lower than the national average of 1.19%, however.
Henrico County has property taxes comparable to those in Chesterfield, which lies on the opposite side of the James River and the city of Richmond. At $1,785, the median annual property tax in Henrico County is about $250 lower than that in Chesterfield County, and about $400 lower than that in the city of Richmond.
Norfolk is an independent city located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in southeast Virginia, near Virginia Beach. It is the second most populous city in Virginia. The city’s average effective property tax rate is 1.04%, 10th highest in Virginia. The nominal rate, which applies to assessed value, is 1.11%.
The average effective property tax rate in Chesapeake, an independent city in southeast Virginia, is 0.97%. That represents the amount a typical homeowner could expect to pay annually as a percentage of his or her home value. However, it is important to keep in mind that actual tax rates apply to assessed value, which can differ from market value. Homeowners whose home is incorrectly reassessed should contact their local assessor, and if necessary file an official appeal, as described above.
The median home value in Arlington County, which is located directly across the Potomac from the nation’s capital, is $584,600. That’s the 11th highest median home value of any county in the nation. Annual property taxes are likewise quite high. The median annual property tax paid by homeowners in Arlington County is $5,053, third highest in Virginia.
Richmond is the capital of Virginia and the place where Virginia’s property tax laws were established. It has a population of around 200,000, making it the fourth largest city in the state. It also has the fifth highest property tax rate. Richmond’s average effective property tax rate is 1.11%. That equates to $2,220 in annual taxes on a home worth $200,000.
Property Tax: Which Counties are Getting the Best Bang for Their Buck
SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places across the country where property tax dollars are being spent most effectively. Zoom between states and the national map to see the counties getting the biggest bang for their property tax buck.
Our study aims to find the places in the United States where people are getting the most for their property tax dollars. To do this we looked at school rankings, crime rates and property taxes for every county.
As a way to measure the quality of schools, we calculated the average math and reading/language arts proficiencies for all the school districts in the country. Within each state, these schools were then ranked between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best) based on those average scores.
For each county, we calculated the violent and property crimes per 100,000 residents.
Using the school and crime numbers, we calculated a community score. This is the ratio of the school rank to the combined crime rate per 100,000 residents.
We used the number of households, median home value and average property tax rate to calculate a per capita property tax collected for each county.
Finally, we calculated a tax value by creating a ratio of the community score to the per capita property tax paid. This shows us the counties in the country where people are getting the most bang for their buck, or where their property tax dollars are going the furthest.
Sources: US Census Bureau 2016 American Community Survey, Department of Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Police or Justice Department websites