Chapter 3.10


3.10.010    Returns and valuation of personal property for taxation.

3.10.015    Personal property tax relief.

3.10.020    Make-up, examination, etc., of property books.

3.10.030    Assessment of property omitted from books – Alteration of books.

3.10.040    When treasurer to receive taxes – Publication of notice – Penalty and interest on delinquencies – Etc.

3.10.050    License tax on owners of motor vehicles not displaying current license plates.

3.10.060    License tax on automobile graveyards.

*Charter references – General authority of council as to taxation, § 11(24-28); collection of taxes, § 20; tax lien on real estate, § 22.

Cross references – Dog license tax, SCC 6.10.090 et seq.; vehicle license tax, SCC 10.10.040 et seq.

State law references – Taxation, Code of Virginia, Title 58.1; local taxes generally, § 58.1-3000 et seq.; general authority of city relative to taxes and assessments, § 15.2-1104.

3.10.010 Returns and valuation of personal property for taxation.

(1) In ascertaining what personal property is to be listed for taxation, who is to list the same and when and how it is to be listed, the provisions of the laws of the state shall be followed.

(2) The commissioner of revenue shall furnish to each person forms for lists of valuations as provided for by state law and such person shall, within the time and in the manner therein mentioned, make out and deliver to the commissioner sworn statements of all personal estate, monies, contracts and credits which such person is required by the laws of the state and this chapter to list.

(3) If the commissioner of revenue is not satisfied with the taxpayer’s valuation of personal property, he may, upon his own view or such information as he may obtain or possess, adopt what he deems a fair and proper valuation thereof; provided, that where it is practicable, he shall give an opportunity to the taxpayer to be heard before his books are returned to the city treasurer.

(4) If any person shall fail, within the prescribed time, to make out and deliver the personal property lists in the prescribed manner, he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. If any person shall refuse to exhibit to the commissioner of revenue any property listed or required by this chapter to be listed by him, in order that a fair valuation thereof may be assessed, he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

(5) The tax on all tangible personal property, as defined in Section 58.1-3500 of the Code of Virginia, as amended, except for household goods and personal effects listed in Section 58.1-3504 of the Code of Virginia, as amended, and except for (a) horses, mules, and other kindred animals; (b) cattle; (c) sheep and goats; (d) hogs; (e) poultry; (f) grains and other feeds used for the nurture of farm animals; (g) grain, tobacco, wine produced by farm wineries and other agricultural products in the hands of a producer; (h) equipment and machinery used by farm wineries in the production of wine; all of which are hereby expressly exempted from taxation, shall be at the rate per every $100.00 of the assessed value for the tax year concerned, which rate shall be set annually in the budget ordinance for the city of Staunton. Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, the rate per every $100.00 of the assessed value of the tangible personal property of Habitat for Humanity or its local affiliate or subsidiary shall be zero. The property taxed hereunder, not exempted hereby, shall include all tangible personal property permitted to be taxed locally by Chapter 35 of Title 58.1 of the Code of Virginia, as amended. The provisions hereof are retroactive to January 1, 1987, and effective for calendar year 1987 and the following years.

(6) Motor vehicle owners are required to file a new personal property tax return on or before May 1st of any tax year for which there is: (a) a change in the name or address of the person or persons owning the vehicle; (b) a change in the situs of the vehicle; (c) any other change affecting the assessment of the personal property tax on the vehicle for which a tax return was previously filed; or (d) purchase or sale of a vehicle. Unless and until such a new personal property tax return is filed, the most recent tax return filed prior to January 1st of each new tax year and/or information retrieved from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles shall be the basis for the assessment of a motor vehicle. (Ord. 2007-22. Code 1964, §§ 10-25 – 10-28; Code 1985, § 12-76; Ord. 5-13-87; Ord. 5-22-97).

Cross references – Penalty for Class 4 misdemeanor, SCC 1.05.100; payment of vehicle personal property taxes prerequisite to licensing of vehicle, SCC 10.10.060.

State law reference – Personal property returns, Code of Virginia, § 58.1-3517 et seq. Separate classification of Habitat for Humanity § 58.1-3506.

3.10.015 Personal property tax relief.

(1) Purpose – Definitions – Relation to Other Ordinances.

(a) The purpose of this section is to provide for the implementation of the changes to the Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 1998 (PPTRA) effected by legislation adopted during the 2004 Special Session I and the 2005 Regular Session of the General Assembly of Virginia.

(b) Terms used in this section that have defined meanings set forth in PPTRA shall have the same meanings as set forth in the Code of Virginia Section 58.1-3523, as amended.

(c) To the extent that the provisions of this section conflict with any prior ordinance or provision of the city code, this section shall control.

(2) Method of Computing and Reflecting Tax Relief.

(a) For tax years commencing in 2006, the City adopts the provisions of Item 503.E of the 2005 Appropriations Act, providing for the computation of tax relief as a specific dollar amount to be offset against the total taxes that would otherwise be due but for PPTRA and the reporting of such specific dollar relief on the tax bill.

(b) The city council shall, by resolution, set the percentage of tax relief at such level that is anticipated to fully exhaust PPTRA relief funds provided to the city by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

(c) Personal property tax bills shall set forth on their face the specific dollar amount of relief credited with respect to each qualifying vehicle, together with an explanation of the general manner in which relief is allocated.

(3) Allocation of Relief Among Taxpayers.

(a) Allocation of PPTRA relief shall be provided in accordance with the general provisions of this section, as implemented by the specific provisions of a resolution adopted annually, after the personal property tax book is certified by the commissioner of revenue and delivered to the treasurer.

(b) Relief shall be allocated in such a manner as to eliminate personal property taxation of each qualifying vehicle with an assessed value of $1,000 or less.

(c) Relief with respect to qualifying vehicles with assessed values of more than $1,000 shall be provided at a percentage, annually fixed and applied to the first $20,000 in value of each such qualifying vehicle, that is estimated fully to use all available state PPTRA relief.

(4) Transitional Provisions.

(a) Pursuant to authority conferred in Item 503.D of the 2005 Appropriations Act, the city treasurer is authorized to issue a supplemental personal property tax bill, in the amount of 100 percent of tax due without regard to any former entitlement to state PPTRA relief, plus applicable penalties and interest, to any taxpayer whose taxes with respect to a qualifying vehicle for tax year 2005 or any prior tax year remain unpaid on September 1, 2006, or such date as state funds for reimbursement of the state share of such bill have become unavailable, whichever earlier occurs.

(b) Penalty and interest with respect to bills issued pursuant to subsection (4)(a) of this section shall be computed on the entire amount of tax owed. Interest shall be computed at the rate provided in SCC 3.10.040. (Ord. 2006-05).

3.10.020 Make-up, examination, etc., of property books.

The land and personal property books shall be made up, examined, certified and delivered as provided by the laws of the state. (Code 1964, § 10-29; Code 1985, § 12-77).

State law references – Land books, Code of Virginia, § 58.1-3301 et seq.; personal property books, § 58.1-3114 et seq.

3.10.030 Assessment of property omitted from books – Alteration of books.

Should the commissioner of revenue, at any time after the books referred to in SCC 3.10.020 have been delivered to the treasurer, discover that there has been omitted any real or personal property therefrom, he shall forthwith assess the same and send a copy of such assessment to the treasurer, and keep a record thereof on the book in which the omission occurs, and the treasurer shall collect the tax so assessed as other taxes are collected. The commissioner shall make no alteration or amendment to his books after copies are delivered to the treasurer, other than as prescribed in this section. (Code 1964, § 10-30; Code 1985, § 12-78).

State law reference – Alteration of property books after delivery to treasurer, Code of Virginia, §§ 58.1-3119, 58.1-3311.

3.10.040 When treasurer to receive taxes – Publication of notice – Penalty and interest on delinquencies – Etc.

(1) The city treasurer shall commence to receive the city taxes on February 1st in each year or as soon thereafter as he may receive copies of the books of the commissioner of revenue, and for this purpose shall give notice for at least two weeks prior to June 20th each year that he is prepared to receive at his office the whole or three-fourths of the city taxes on real estate from any person charged therewith on or before June 20th in each year, or in case that day is Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday, then the following business day, without penalty, and for this purpose shall give notice for at least two weeks prior to December 5th of each year that he is prepared to receive at his office on or before December 5th of each year the remaining one-fourth of the city taxes on real estate and all the city taxes on personal property; except, however, solely for the year 2005, the city treasurer shall give such notice prior to January 27, 2006, that the treasurer is prepared to receive all the city taxes on personal property.

(2) Any person who shall fail to pay the taxes required on or before the dates herein set forth in each year shall incur a penalty thereon of 10 percent, which shall be added to the whole amount of taxes or levies due from such taxpayer, and the city treasurer shall proceed with the collection of such taxes or levies as provided by law.

(3) Should it come to the knowledge of the treasurer that any person owing such taxes or levies is moving or contemplating moving from the corporate limits of the city prior to June 20th or the following December 5th, as the case may be, the treasurer shall have the power to collect such taxes or levies by distress, or otherwise, at any time after such bills shall have come into his hands.

(4) Interest at the rate of 10 percent per annum shall be collected upon the principal and penalties of such taxes and levies from the first day of January following the year for which such unpaid taxes or levies were assessed, which penalties and interest shall be collected and accounted for by the city treasurer, along with the principal thereof, as provided by state law. (Ord. 2005-037; Ord. 2005-34; Ord. 2004-35. Code 1964, § 10-13; Code 1985, § 12-79).

State law reference – Authority of council to prescribe tax due dates and penalty and interest on delinquent taxes, Code of Virginia, § 58.1-3916.

3.10.050 License tax on owners of motor vehicles not displaying current license plates.

(1) The city hereby imposes a license tax in the amount of $10.00 annually, upon the owners of motor vehicles which do not display current license plates and which are not exempted from the requirements of displaying such license plates under the provisions of Sections 46.2-650 through 46.2-750 of the Code of Virginia, are not in a public dump, in an automobile graveyard, as defined in Section 33.2-804 of the Code of Virginia, or in the possession of a licensed junk dealer or licensed motor vehicle dealer.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be applicable to any vehicle being held or stored by or at the direction of any governmental authority, to any vehicle owned by a member of the armed forces on active duty or to any vehicle regularly stored within a structure.

(3) This section shall not apply to any vehicle which is stored on private property, for a period not in excess of 60 days, for the purpose of removing parts for the repair of another vehicle. (Code 1964, § 15-297; Code 1985, § 12-80).

Cross reference – Vehicle licenses generally, SCC 10.10.010 et seq.

State law reference – Authority for above section, Code of Virginia, § 15.2-973.

3.10.060 License tax on automobile graveyards.

(1) For the purpose of this section, an “automobile graveyard” is any lot or place which is exposed to the weather and upon which more than five motor vehicles of any kind, incapable of being operated, and which it would not be economically practical to make operative, are placed, located or found.

(2) The city hereby imposes a license tax upon each automobile graveyard in the city, in the amount of $1.00 per annum for each motor vehicle or hulk thereof, 12 years old or older, within the premises of such graveyard on January 1st of each year. (Code 1964, §§ 15-290, 15-298; Code 1985, § 12-81).

State law references – Similar definition of “automobile graveyard,” Code of Virginia, § 33.2-804; authority for above tax, § 15.2-903.