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Old 08-26-2008, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Alexandria
33 posts, read 108,891 times
Reputation: 26

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I’m looking at a $40.00 ticket for no City Decal on a vehicle that is garaged in, registered in and pays Personal property Tax in another jurisdiction.

Even if I did want to pay this illegal ticket, there is no way to do so because of a broken system or a basic level of arrogance and incompetence, or a combination of thereof.

Can the City of Alexandria require Alexandria City Residents to display multiple City/County decals and file double Personal Property Tax returns, and pay double city/county registration fees (the Alexandria Decal) on a car that has situs (is primarily garaged) in and pays Personal Property Tax in another jurisdiction?

Alexandria City is telling me that they can and that they are.

This can not be right, and on top of it, there’s the Catch-22 that keeps me from complying with what I believe to be an illegal law, even if I wanted to.

I have a ‘fixer-upper’ in Stafford County that I am using as a secondary residence. In May I bought a pickup truck there, for use there, and it is garaged and pays Personal property Tax there.

I registered for the Stafford County Personal Property tax using my secondary address (Stafford County) the same day I registered with the Va. DMV as required by law. (Both offices are in the same office-extremely convenient.)

The pickup truck is now titled and registered by Virginia, as it must be, to me at my primary (Driver’s License) address in Alexandria, but the registration card shows Stafford County as the tax jurisdiction.

I have another car registered in Alexandria that I use (and have a City Decal for) there. The truck is ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY for use in Stafford County.

I've brought the truck into the city only three times since may, never more than 3-4 days in a row, so I could haul some furniture, trash and construction materials for the fixer-upper from Alexandria to Stafford County.

Even though the registration shows that it’s garaged and taxed in Stafford County, I’m now looking at a $40.00 ticket for a City Sticker (tax) that I can’t legally pay.

Before they accept payment for the ticket I have to register the vehicle for Alexandria P.P. tax, even though it’s already registered for Personal Property Tax in, and garaged in another jurisdiction, and pay $33.00 for a City Decal. (another tax) and affix that decal to the truck, causing me all manner of grief back in Stafford County where the truck actually lives. (They'll want to know why I have an Alexandria City Sticker when I'm going to the dump or using the local parks.)

Before I can get the decal, however, I either have to pay the Alexandria City Personal Property tax (double taxation) or prove that Personal Property Tax has been paid in Stafford County.

I can’t prove that because Stafford County doesn’t send out tax bills until December.

If, however, I pay the tax in Alexandria and ask Stafford County for a waiver, then Stafford County would rightfully no longer consider the vehicle 'primarily garaged' there since I'm paying Alexandria taxes, and therefore I couldn't legally keep it there.

IF, I was able to accomplish this feat, however, I would receive TWO TAX BILLS each year, one from Alexandria, due in October, and the other from Stafford County in December. Alexandria would waive their tax only if I proved I had paid the Stafford tax, which of course, I couldn’t do until after I get the Stafford County tax bill in December.

I was told this in an e-mail from a supervisor in the Alexandria Revenue division.

In either case, an Alexandria City Decal is required, (in addition to any other required city/county decals, even if you never bring the vehicle into the city. If you do so you may be ticketed and face the same situation.

I have escalated this to the top of the ‘competence chain’ in Alexandria. My last call, on which I am waiting for a return, was to the office of the City Attorney.


Any ideas or cites?


TIA


Egg 0<-- his mark
"If you can't be free, at least be irritating"
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Old 08-26-2008, 02:39 PM
 
Location: DC
3,286 posts, read 10,582,833 times
Reputation: 1301
Wow....that's definitely a complicated situation (at least to explain what I'm sure has been multiple times). My first guess would be to supply your Stafford tax payments from as many years as you can (to try and show that you're consistently a law-abiding taxpayer) and ask for some sort of delay from Alexandria until December or January. In Dec or Jan then show them the proof that you paid Stafford, or pay up in Alexandria if you haven't. My inclination, however, is that they'll tell you to pay Alexandria in October and then try to get a refund after you prove you paid tax in Stafford.

Another option would be to contact someone in Stafford County about maybe paying your tax early, as long as you get some sort of proof. Even if they don't send you a new decal by October, if you have some sort of receipt it should work.
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Alexandria
33 posts, read 108,891 times
Reputation: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by juniperbleu View Post
Wow....that's definitely a complicated situation (at least to explain what I'm sure has been multiple times). My first guess would be to supply your Stafford tax payments from as many years as you can (to try and show that you're consistently a law-abiding taxpayer) and ask for some sort of delay from Alexandria until December or January. In Dec or Jan then show them the proof that you paid Stafford, or pay up in Alexandria if you haven't. My inclination, however, is that they'll tell you to pay Alexandria in October and then try to get a refund after you prove you paid tax in Stafford.

Another option would be to contact someone in Stafford County about maybe paying your tax early, as long as you get some sort of proof. Even if they don't send you a new decal by October, if you have some sort of receipt it should work.
Thanks for the empathy and reply.

Stafford County actually can't run a single tax bill early without going to great trouble and expense. Their system, as efficient as it is, doesn't allow it.

I have no tax bills from previous years because I just bought the truck in May.

Alexandria is totally inflexible and technically, it's not Stafford County's problem, but they are being much more helpful (or at least sympathetic) than I would expect.

Best,

Egg

Last edited by TheEggman; 08-26-2008 at 03:14 PM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 08-27-2008, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Virginia
8,113 posts, read 12,677,755 times
Reputation: 3770
Sorry if I am a bit confused, but doesn't a vehicle have to be garaged in a jurisdiction for 30 or 60 days before having to be registered?
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:21 AM
 
1,134 posts, read 2,534,122 times
Reputation: 486
The whole personal property tax junk in Virginia is retarded IMO. I still don't understand why they don't collect taxes when you get your tags like every other state I've lived in.
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
284 posts, read 785,891 times
Reputation: 111
I had a similar problem in Alexandria. A friend who was visiting received a ticket for not displaying the City decal. When I complained, I was told that the police assume that if a car is parked in Alexandria four days in any seven day period, then it must be parked there the majority of the year. My trip "up the competence chain" ended with the "The Commissioner of Revenue" or something like that. He listened to my explanation and agreed that the extrapolation was silly. His solution – I’m not making this up – was to hand-write a note (to be placed on the car’s dashboard) to the Alexandria police asking them not to ticket my friend’s car. My experience was 10+ years ago, and I think the City will issue a “visitor’s pass” now.

This doesn’t help your situation, but I thought I take the opportunity to commiserate.
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Alexandria
33 posts, read 108,891 times
Reputation: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3org3 View Post
I had a similar problem in Alexandria. A friend who was visiting received a ticket for not displaying the City decal. When I complained, I was told that the police assume that if a car is parked in Alexandria four days in any seven day period, then it must be parked there the majority of the year. My trip "up the competence chain" ended with the "The Commissioner of Revenue" or something like that. He listened to my explanation and agreed that the extrapolation was silly. His solution – I’m not making this up – was to hand-write a note (to be placed on the car’s dashboard) to the Alexandria police asking them not to ticket my friend’s car. My experience was 10+ years ago, and I think the City will issue a “visitor’s pass” now.

This doesn’t help your situation, but I thought I take the opportunity to commiserate.
Thanks for the commiseration. My escalation to the revenue commissioners office was less than satisfactory. I was supposed to receive a call from the City Atty's office yesterday but guess what ... no call.

The Stafford County Comm. of Revenue is trying to contact their counterpart in Alexandria, but I believe they'll get as frustrated as I have.

I was told that if a police officer sees a vehicle in the city 4 times within a 45 day period it is 'assumed' to be garaged in the city.

Where i really got them mad was when I asked questions like ...

If my other car was in a place that does require a window decal, would I have to display both of them? I believe that's against state law,

"Sir, that's not your situation!"

How about my son-in-law. He drives a company vehicle home every night. His company is in Fairfax and the car is in their name. Do they have to get Alexandria Stickers on all of their fleet vehicles that might overnight in Alexandria?

Sir, that's a different situation!

These may be different situations ma'am, but they all seem to apply here.

"Sir, I'm done wasting my time. if you'll just follow the law, register your car in Alexandria and pay the taxes you owe you will not have a problem here again." CLICK!

Unfortunately I didn't get her name.


Hello, I need 'B'
I'm sorry, but you must have 'A' before you get 'B'
OK, so how do I get 'A'?
You have to show me that you have 'B'
But I need 'A' to GET 'B'
That's your problem - it's way the system works. (or doesn't, as the case may be)

Also the only The 'visitor' stickers offered are for residential parking permits, not City Tax Stickers.



Grrrrr......



Egg
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Alexandria
33 posts, read 108,891 times
Reputation: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
Sorry if I am a bit confused, but doesn't a vehicle have to be garaged in a jurisdiction for 30 or 60 days before having to be registered?
From the City ... (All Italic Emphasis is Mine)

Quote:
Personal Property Taxes: All motor vehicles parked, stored or garaged (having situs) in the City of Alexandria, including vehicles with out-of-state plates, must be registered for the City's annual personal property tax. All motor vehicles, such as trailers, registered to a City address with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles must also be registered with the City. Personal property taxes are assessed based on the calendar year or any portion of the year during which a vehicle is liable for the tax. Annual personal property tax bills (including both the City decal and residential parking permit fees) are mailed in August with a due date of October 5. (“Motor vehicles” include all automobiles, trucks, taxicabs, motor vehicles with specially designed equipment for disabled persons, motorcycles, boats, trailers, campers, and other recreational vehicles.)
They are interpreting this to mean that you can't even PARK in the city without filing a PPTax Return.

The definition of 'registered to a city address' is one of the items I have in question.

Even though a city address is shown as the address of the OWNER on the DMV Registration, it also shows "Stafford County" as the taxing jurisdiction. IOW, MY address is Alexandria, but the Vehicles Registered Address (According to the DMV) is Stafford County.

I would say the OWNER (me) is what has the city address, not the vehicle.

They are saying different.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Alexandria
33 posts, read 108,891 times
Reputation: 26
Default A bit of news from VA DMV

A bit of positive news ...

There are two locations shown on the DMV Registration, My primary residence in Alexandria as my address, and 'Stafford County" as the place where it is garaged.

The DMV's Official Definition of 'Registration Address' is where it's garaged, NOT where the owner lives.

They say that the OWNER (me) is 'registered' in Alexandria, but the vehicle is 'registered' in Stafford County.

THEREFORE, regardless of what Alexandria says, the vehicle is already REGISTERED IN Stafford County.

That gives me some ammo for the "registered to a City address with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles" part of the law.

The other part I have to 'decode' is the "All motor vehicles parked, stored or garaged " issue. I can agree with the 'stored or garaged' part because that means that the vehicle actually 'resides' in the city. But requiring any vehicle PARKED in the city to apply for P.P. Tax, even out of state vehicles, is blatantly WRONG. What about visitors and tourists?

If I don't get a response from the City Atty's. office today I'll see if I can escalate it to the Va. Att'y General.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Virginia
8,113 posts, read 12,677,755 times
Reputation: 3770
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEggman View Post
A bit of positive news ...

There are two locations shown on the DMV Registration, My primary residence in Alexandria as my address, and 'Stafford County" as the place where it is garaged.

The DMV's Official Definition of 'Registration Address' is where it's garaged, NOT where the owner lives.

They say that the OWNER (me) is 'registered' in Alexandria, but the vehicle is 'registered' in Stafford County.

THEREFORE, regardless of what Alexandria says, the vehicle is already REGISTERED IN Stafford County.

That gives me some ammo for the "registered to a City address with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles" part of the law.

The other part I have to 'decode' is the "All motor vehicles parked, stored or garaged " issue. I can agree with the 'stored or garaged' part because that means that the vehicle actually 'resides' in the city. But requiring any vehicle PARKED in the city to apply for P.P. Tax, even out of state vehicles, is blatantly WRONG. What about visitors and tourists?

If I don't get a response from the City Atty's. office today I'll see if I can escalate it to the Va. Att'y General.
Good point. So if I am a tourist visiting Alexandria, I better stay for three days or less.?.? What if you park there because you work there?
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