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Guidance Documents

A guidance document is defined as "...any document developed by a state agency or staff that provides information or guidance of general applicability to the staff or public to interpret or implement statutes or the agency's rules or regulations..." Agencies are required to maintain a complete, current list of all guidance documents and make the full text of such documents available to the public. By law, these Guidance Documents are published on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall site. However, because of the volume, the Department's rulings, tax bulletins, forms, and publications are published on the Department’s website in the Laws, Rules & Decisions section, while other types of guidance documents, such as internal memoranda and agreements with other agencies or states, are published on the Town Hall.

Under Va. Code § 58.1-205, a court is required to sustain a regulation unless unreasonable or plainly inconsistent with applicable provisions of law, while tax bulletins, guidelines and other documents are accorded judicial notice only.  Under Virginia case law, when a matter is judicially noted, it is taken as true without the offering of evidence by the party who should have ordinarily done so, but the opponent is not prevented from disputing the matter. Therefore, guidance documents are not given the great weight accorded to regulations that have been promulgated under the Administrative Process Act. The Department’s regulations may be found in the Virginia Administrative Code.

The following types of guidance documents have been published by the Department:

  • GUIDELINES (Instructions for taxpayers related to specific events or tax-related subjects). Guidelines currently in effect are listed below and available on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall. Information on guidelines currently under development may be found on the Department’s website.
  • MANUALS (Instructions for the Department's staff) are listed below and available on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall.
  • RULINGS (advisory opinions of the Tax Commissioner and final determinations of appeals) are available in the Laws, Rules & Decisions section of the Department's website.
  • TAX BULLETINS (information of an urgent or temporary nature, e.g., quarterly interest rates) are available in the Laws, Rules & Decisions section of the Department's website.
  • FORMS and related instructions are available on the Department’s website.
  • PUBLICATIONS (reports routinely issued by the Department that include information on economic, demographic and procedural topics) are available on the Department’s website.
  • Other types of guidance documents are available on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall.

Guidelines Currently Under Development

OTP Tax Civil Penalty Guidelines (new)
First-Time Home Buyer Savings Accounts (new)
Research & Development Tax Credit (new)
Pass-Through Entity Withholding (update)
Motion Picture Tax Credit (update)
Port Tax Credits (update)

Recently Developed Guidelines

The following links provide background information about certain guidelines that have been recently developed or updated by the Department.

Insurance Premiums License Tax (updated July 1, 2013)
Single Sales Factor (issued January 7, 2013)

Guidelines and Manuals Currently in Effect

The following guidelines can be found on the Virginia Town Hall and, in most cases, in Laws, Rules & Decisions section of the Department's as a public document.

Income Tax Guidelines

Pass-Through Entity Withholding
Motion Picture Production Tax Credit (updated August 6, 2012)
Qualified Appraisals (for Land Preservation Income Tax Credit)
Barge and Rail Usage Tax Credit (updated December 7, 2012)
International Trade Facility Tax Credit (updated December 7, 2012)
Port Volume Increase Tax Credit (updated July 1, 2013)

Sales Tax Guidelines

Virginia Retail Sales and Use Tax Rate Increase
Public Service Corporation Exemption Repeal
Food Tax Rate Reduction
Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday
Sales Tax Holiday for Clothing and School Supplies
Accelerated Sales Tax (updated April 28, 2014)
Motor Vehicle Fuel Sales Tax
Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday (issued September 30, 2013)
HB 2313 Retail Sales and Use Tax Changes (issued May 1, 2013)

Miscellaneous Tax Guidelines

Incentive Payments To Small Tobacco Product Manufacturers
Virginia Communications Taxes
Local Business Tax
Appealing Local Mobile Property Taxes
Cigarette Tax Rate Increase
Idle Machinery and Tools
2009 Virginia Tax Amnesty Program
Addendum to the 2009 Virginia Tax Amnesty Guidelines
Cigarette Tax Enforcement
Tobacco Products Tax
Prepaid Wireless E-911 Fee
Insurance Premiums License Tax
Rental Tax Guidelines

Manuals and Procedural Guidelines

Guidelines For Appealing Local Mobile Property Taxes (PDF 254Kb)
Field Audit Guidelines (PDF 4.3Mb)
Field Collections Guide (PDF 668Kb)
Set-Off Program Information Guide (PDF 1.12Mb)


Last Updated 4/30/2014 9:18


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