The Arlington prosecutor has accused Olmstead Oldsmobile of falsifying a new car bill of sale so the purchaser could evade this year's state personal property tax on the vehicle.
The prosecutor filed a complaint against the company with the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles last week. A spokesman for the agency said yesterday the complaint is the first of its kind.
The Division of Motor Vehicles is expected to hold a hearing on the incident. The agency has the power to suspend or revoke the car dealer's license.
The practice of dealers helping purchasers avoid paying personal property tax on new cars is widespread, according to Assistant Arlington Commonwealth's Attorney Bill R. Hicks. But he said evidence is hard to obtain.
The personal property tax is assessed on automobiles owned as of Jan. 1 each year. A person who buys a car after the first of the year.
In the incident involving Olmstead, doesn't have to pay the tax that year. Hicks said, a man "had ordered an Oldsmobile Delta 88 diesel (from the dealer) several months ago and told a salesman he did not want the car delivered to him until after Jan. 1 so he would not have to pay 1978 taxes on it."
The car was delivered early, and the man paid cash for it Dec. 27, Hicks said. When the man tried to pay for his county license tags early in the new year, he was told he would also have to pay the personal property tax on the car because its registration was dated Dec. 27, according to Hicks. The man refused, Hicks said, and left the tax office in a huff.
The man went back to Olmstead where he was issued a bill of sale dated Jan. 3, 1978, Hicks said.
When the man returned to the tax office to get his auto tags, office employes "obviously caught on right away" and reported the incident to county prosecutors, according to Hicks.