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So Much for ‘Lowest Tax Rate' in Northern Virginia

You’ve heard us growl when the Arlington County Board resorts to talking about Arlington having the “lowest tax rate” when they hear complaints about the high taxes in Arlington County. And it’s true, county taxpayers do enjoy the the lowest real estate tax rate among Northern Virginia jurisdictions. But at the same time, real estate tax payments to Arlington County are are based on the highest average assessed value for the "average single-family home."

The adopted FY 2011 budget that began on July 1 (available at the DM&F website), and which the Board approved three months ago, contains a page that compares Northern Virginia jurisdictions’ real estate tax bills for the average single-family home. While Arlington County does indeed have the lowest real estate tax rate, it also raised taxes so that Arlington taxpayers will see the second highest change in tax payments. According to the comparison, the six Northern Virginia jurisdictions showed the following percent changes in tax payments:

  • Prince William County        7.0%
  • Arlington County                 5.9%
  • City of Fairfax                      2.6%
  • Alexandria                           1.8%
  • Loudoun County                 1.4%
  • Fairfax County                  <0.6%>

If you consider just the change in the amount of the tax payment, of the six, Arlington County had the highest change ($270) followed by Prince William County ($215), City of Fairfax ($101), and Fairfax County (a reduction of $29).

Did your income or your family's income go up 5.9%? Well, the income from the real estate tax available to the Arlington County Board went up 5.9%. Sheesh!

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