Isle of Wight tax rate is among highest in the area

Published 1:36 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2016

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

If Isle of Wight County approves a 3-cent real estate tax rate, it will be the highest among counties in the region at 88 cents.

It was the highest until last month, when Prince George County raised its rate from 82 cents to 86 cents for fiscal 2017. 


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Isle of Wight has the second highest personal property tax rate for vehicles among area counties, and is among the most expensive when it comes to Hampton Roads cities.

The least expensive locality for real estate in the Hampton Roads region is Gloucester County at 68 cents per $100 in assessed value. Even high-growth James City County comes in just below Isle of Wight at 84 cents. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

James City County has not proposed a tax increase for fiscal 2017. Gloucester County has proposed a 4-cent tax increase for fiscal 2017, but it would still be well below Isle of Wight County’s rate at 72 cents.

If Isle of Wight’s budget is adopted as proposed, the real estate tax rate would increase from 85 to 88 cents per $100 in assessed value.

The proposed increase would represent an annual tax bill of $2,200 — up $75 from the current fiscal year, for a house valued at $250,000.

The personal property tax for vehicles in Isle of Wight is $4.50 per $100 of assessed value, the same rate as Newport News, Hampton and Franklin. The most expensive localities for vehicle personal property tax are Southampton County and the city of Portsmouth at $5.

Gloucester is also the least expensive for vehicle personal property tax at $2.95.

The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors raised the personal property tax rate in 2012 from $4.40 to $4.50. That was the first increase in more than a decade.

The real estate tax rate has gone up 33 cents — already more than 50 percent — since fiscal 2011 for a variety of reasons, including the loss of revenue from International Paper, the cost of the Norfolk water deal, other expenses and debt service. 

Historically, however, the county’s tax rate has ebbed and flowed with real estate values and county needs. As the new century dawned, the county real estate tax rate was 77 cents. The heady days of the housing bubble prompted the Board of Supervisors to cut the rate to the bone and it declined most years until it reached a low of 52 cents in 2008. That was the same year the economy crashed and a year before International Paper temporarily shuttered its paper mill in the southern end of the county.

It was also a period in which the county was spending money on capital projects, including a new courts building and the long-term Norfolk water agreement.

Revenue went south, costs went north and the supervisors began acknowledging the difference between the two in 2012 when they began restoring the tax rate.  By 2014, it had climbed back to 73 cents, just below where it had been 15 years earlier, and last year went to 85.


Real estate tax rates, cheapest to most expensive

Gloucester County                  68 cents*

Surry County                          73 cents

York County                            75.15 cents

Southampton County                         77 cents**

James City County                  84 cents

Isle of Wight County              85 cents ***

Prince George County                        86 cents****

*Gloucester County has proposed a 4-cent increase to 72 cents

**Southampton County has proposed a 5-cent increase to 82 cents

***Proposed tax increase would make it 88 cents

****Prince George passed a 4-cent increase last month for fiscal 2017



Williamsburg                           $.57

Franklin                                  $.99

Chesapeake                          $1.05

Poquoson                                $1.07

Suffolk                                 $1.07*

Norfolk                                   $1.15

Newport News                      $1.22

Hampton                                 $1.24

Portsmouth                            $1.30

•Suffolk has a general rate of $1.07 and a Route 17 taxing district of $1.31 and downtown business district rate of $1.175


Personal property tax rates for vehicles, cheapest to most expensive

Gloucester County                  $2.95

Surry County                          $4

York County                            $4

James City County                  $4

Prince George County            $4.25

Isle of Wight County              $4.50

Southampton County             $5



Williamsburg                         $3.50

Chesapeake                          $4.08

Poquoson                               $4.15

Suffolk                                   $4.25

Norfolk                                   $4.33

Franklin                                $4.50

Newport News                     $4.50

Hampton                                $4.50

Portsmouth                          $5  {/mprestriction}