Tax adjustment brings significant cost increase for some boat owners in Chesterfield County

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — Some boat owners in Chesterfield are suddenly paying a lot more in taxes. The county changed the way it assesses their property.

For some boater owners, the change has brought a large increase in their tax bill. The county commissioner of revenue says the assessment method is now fairer.

“We did have a lot of boat owners calling when they got their assessment and their bill,” said Jenefer Hughes, Commissioner of the Revenue for Chesterfield.

The way boats are assessed for personal property taxes is changing in Chesterfield.

Scott Wilson is the president of Chesdin Boat Sales. He says he’s heard about the tax change and hopes it won’t affect his customers.

“Nobody wants to see their taxes raised, but hopefully it won’t be such a dramatic effect to deter anyone from getting out and enjoying boating,” Wilson told 8News.

Hughes, who was elected in 2017, defended her office’s decision to adjust the way boats are assessed. She told 8News the change doesn’t mean a tax increase for all boat owners.

“We now follow the law,” Hughes said. “Some boat assessments went up, some went down, but they’re all now uniform.”

Hughes told 8News the old method of assessment, using self-reported data and marina records, was outdated and unfair.

“Previously, it just depended on when you bought the boat, who you bought the boat from,” Hughes said.

The county uses a third-party marine blue book and the Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries registration to make assessments. Wilson is hoping the change won’t keep boaters from getting out on the water.

“Obviously, the higher the taxes the more concerned someone might be,” Wilson said.

Hughes told 8News her office adjusted the tax assessment for about 50 boat owners in Chesterfield whose assessments came out very high to make it fairer.

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