Business Property Tax Reports Due 3/1

As an individual, you likely have to pay personal property tax each year.  For most, this means paying a tax on personal vehicles, boats, and motor homes.  You normally get a bill from the city or county you live in, and pay the tax to them.

Each year, a business also pays tax on the tangible property used in the business or trade.  Unlike an individual, the business owner self-reports the property used in their business.

Each business is different, and the property reported is different.  However, here are the general guidelines:

The business must report:

  • All office equipment including furniture, fixtures, furnishings, operating equipment, computers, peripherals, hand tools, power tools, books, machinery, and other such tangible property.
  • All NON-LICENSED vehicles and trailers. Tractors, office trailers, storage trailers, etc.  If it has a license plate on it, do not report it.

Basically, if the item can be considered a ‘tool’ or ‘property’ and will last more than a year, list it.  If it is something that you consume in your business or that wear out quickly (like cleaning rags, gloves, a tape measure, chemicals) or something you use on or leave with a customer customers (mulch, nail polish, hair spray, etc.), don’t list it.

For a new business owner, it can be confusing to know exactly what to list.  So, here are some examples:

ProfessionList:Don’t List:
EVERYONEDedicated home office items. If you have a computer and desk for the EXCLUSIVE use of your business, list them.Personal use items, like the kitchen table or the family computer, even if that’s where you do some paperwork.
Cleaning / janitorial / maid service companyVacuum cleaners, floor buffers, and related equipment. Items like a bucket, cleaning rags, cleaning solution, etc. These are all consumable items.
Lawn care / landscaperLawn mowers, power tools, hand tools like rakes and shovels, and any trailers. If your trailer has a license plate, don’t list it.Gloves, fuel, oil, mulch, or any other type of consumable item.
Home Repair / HandymanPower tools, hand tools, ladders, and trailers. If your trailer has a license plate, don’t list it. Note: you normally don’t need to list hand tools individually. You can list ‘bag of asst. hand tools’, with the value of the lot.Personal protective equipment (like a hard hat, gloves, etc.), or any type of consumable item.
Home InspectorLadders, Camera (if you have a dedicated camera for the inspection. If you are using your cell phone, don’t list it.)
Hair/Nail Professionals (not salons)Clippers, hand dryer, scissors.Uniforms (smocks), any chemicals, nail polish, or accessories.
Uber/Lyft DriversPossibly a GPS.Anything else. Your vehicle is your ‘tool’ and is covered by your Personal Property Tax.

Below are links for city/county business property tax forms

City (click city name for form)Due DateNotes
Chesapeake3/1
Hampton3/1
Newport News3/1
Norfolk3/1
Portsmouth3/1As of 2/3/18, Portsmouth does not have their 2018 form posted on their website
Roanoke and Vinton2/1Note early filing date
Salem2/15Note early filing date
Suffolk5/1Note late filing date
Virginia Beach3/1

If you are having trouble or have questions about your business property, please contact our office.