The taxman cometh—and wants list of stored vehicles

Todd Divers’ job is to find taxable property for the city. File photo Todd Divers’ job is to find taxable property for the city. File photo

Personal property taxes are due June 5, and the city has stepped up its efforts to locate vehicles that reside in Charlottesville, even if their owners don’t.

Woolen Mills Storage received a request from Commissioner of the Revenue Todd Divers to provide a list of vehicles stored there.

“If a vehicle is parked here on January 1, it’s taxed here,” says Divers.

“It has been a nightmare,” says Woolen Mills Storage general manager Eddie Griffin, who was charged with collecting the name, address, vehicle description and VIN—vehicle identification number—from the 47 rented spaces, including some that are rented by construction companies that switch multiple vehicles in and out of the spaces.

He says 22 tenants had not turned in their paperwork. “It has been a pain in the butt,” he says, and he wonders why the city can’t collect the information from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“It’s a request for information,” says Divers, who says the city routinely asks landlords for lists of tenants to make sure businesses have licenses or have paid tangible business taxes. And while he hasn’t gone after apartment complexes for lists of renters, “I think the code allows that.”

That’s something Albemarle County is already doing, according to spokesperson Jody Saunders. Owners of apartments, office buildings, shopping centers,
trailer camps, trailer courts, self-service storage facilities, marinas and airports are all required to file lists of tenants with the county, she says.

What the city’s request is not, assures Divers, is double taxation for someone who may live in Albemarle and store a vehicle in Charlottesville. If that’s the case, “you’d probably get a refund from Albemarle,” he says.

And nonresidents who rent a monthly parking space in the city are exempt from paying personal property tax, as are full-time students who pay taxes on their vehicles in another domicile, says Divers.

Tracking down stored boats or RVs to collect the city’s $4.20 per $100 of value is just part of the commissioner of the revenue job. “We have to find taxable property and tax it,” says Divers. “That’s what they hire us for.”

Correction 12:08pm: Woolen Mills Storage is not the only storage facility in the city, as previously reported, but it does seem to be the only one that stores vehicles, boats and RVs.