The Commonwealth of Virginia is a state composed of 95 counties and 38 independent cities. Cities and towns each have their own local governments. Towns are synonymous with counties in terms of government and taxation. Homeowners' property tax assessments are performed and collected annually by each county and city through their own departments of real estate assessment and finance.

Overall, the state has an average tax burden when compared at the national level. According to Tax Foundation, Virginia is the 27th-most burdensome state, with an average rate of 9.3%. As far as property taxes are concerned, the state's average effective tax rate is well below the national average. But home values in the state are rather high, so when calculated in dollars, Virginia residents end up paying more in property taxes. This includes counties like Alexandria and Fairfax, where average values top $500,000. Homeowners in these areas end up paying taxes of more than $4,000 each year. 

Average Property Taxes in Virginia

The median home value in Virginia was $248,400, as of 2018, which amounts to an average property tax bill of $1,973. This calculation was based on the average tax rate of 0.79%. Virginia placed 17th place in the nation for property tax payments. 

Among the 133 jurisdictions in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Manassas Park City had the highest property tax rate at 1.37%. The median home value there was $257,800, resulting in an average annual tax payment of $3,524. By contrast, Buchanan County had the lowest effective tax rate in the state at 0.42%. According to SmartAsset, the average home value in the county was $70,500, with an average annual tax payment of $293. 

Home values and tax payments in Falls Church City the highest in the state. As of 2018, SmartAsset reported a median home value of $724,000, with an average annual tax rate $8,288. Arlington also has high home values, mainly because of its proximity to Washington D.C. There, the average annual tax payment was $5,436 on an average home valued at $623,300.  

How Virginia Property Taxes Are Calculated

Homes in Virginia are taxed on their assessed value, which are conducted every two to six years by an assessor. Most cities are required to reassess their homes every two years as per state law. Smaller counties and towns, however, can vote to have their properties reassessed anywhere between four and six years. The reason for reassessment is to figure out the market value of the home. Some homeowners may end up paying higher tax bills if their home values go up and an assessment isn't done for six years. In these cases, homeowners can file an appeal with the Board of Equalization and Assessment Review.

Virginia Property Taxes Compared to Neighboring States and Nationally

Virginia has relatively lower property taxes than the majority of the nation states, according to the latest data from SmartAsset. The state placed 17th place for a mean effective owner-occupied housing property tax rate of 0.79%. Neighboring states include Maryland in 31st place at 1.10%, West Virginia in eighth place at 0.59%, Kentucky in 20th place at 0.85%, Tennessee in 12th place at 0.75% and North Carolina at 22rd place at 0.86%. 

The national average effective tax rate as of 2018 was 1.21%. For a home valued at $250,000 in Virginia, homeowners would have to pay an average annual tax payment of $1,993. For a home valued at the same amount, the national annual tax payment would be much higher at $3,028.

The Bottom Line

Virginia has a diversified mix of modern cities to small towns, and the property tax rate is proportionate to the size of the region and population. Generally, property tax rates are higher for regions with higher median home values and bigger populations. But, on average, the state pays significantly lower than the national average, and is relatively on par with some of its neighboring states. 

West Virginia Property Tax Guide

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