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For Immediate Release
Date: 05/23/2013
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507

First-Hand Experience Warns Us to Prepare for Hurricane Season

~ State’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday Is Great Way to Prepare ~

 

RICHMOND – The deadly tornadoes and massive storms sweeping the Midwest this week is an all-too-familiar reminder that Virginia must be prepared to face calamities of its own.

With the 2013 hurricane season knocking on the door, now is the perfect time to assess whether you and your family are prepared to face potential power outages, strong wind and rain, and little access to outside food and water.

“I hope people pay attention to this sales tax holiday and take the time to prepare their homes and themselves for whatever may come our way, while saving some money,” said Governor Bob McDonnell.  “In recent years, we’ve seen hurricanes, earthquakes, tropical storms and tornadoes in Virginia.  Stocking up on water, flashlights, batteries, first aid kits and other essentials can make a big difference in an emergency.”

Once you’ve checked your supplies, make a list of what you still need and, if you’d like to save some money, do your shopping during Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, which runs May 25-31. The holiday allows you to shop tax-free for many items you may need in an emergency. 

The holiday exempts 22 categories of smaller items, including batteries, flashlights, bottled water, tarps, duct tape, cell-phone chargers, smoke detectors, and first aid kits.  As long as each item costs $60 or less, it is exempt from sales and use tax.  Portable generators and inverters priced at $1,000 or less are also exempt during the holiday.  For a full list of tax-exempt products, answers to frequently asked questions, and guidelines for consumers and retailers, visit www.tax.virginia.gov.

During this seven-day period, retailers may also choose to pay the sales tax themselves on any nonexempt items and pass the 5 percent savings onto customers.

The 2013 General Assembly agreed that, beginning with the 2014 hurricane sales tax holiday, chainsaws selling for $350 or less, and chainsaw accessories selling for $60 or less per item would be included in the list of tax-exempt items.  Taxpayers can look forward to this next year.

Go to www.ReadyVirginia.gov for information about putting together a family plan and supply kit for emergencies.  The 2013 hurricane season begins June 1.

Virginia also has a sales tax holiday for school supplies and clothing in August, and one for Energy Star and WaterSense products in October.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 02/06/2013
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507

New Video Shows 3 Ways to e-File Tax Returns

~ Electronic Filing + Direct Deposit = Fastest Refund ~

RICHMOND – A new video by the Virginia Department of Taxation helps individuals choose the best way to file their 2012 income taxes electronically.

The video, “How to e-File Your Tax Return,” gives an overview of three electronic filing methods: Free File, Free Fillable Forms, and Paid e-File.

The fastest way to get your tax refund is to file your return electronically, or e-File, and request direct deposit for your refund.  Filing electronically is easier than ever and is free in many cases.  Last year, 72 percent of state income tax returns, or over 2.8 million, were e-Filed, while just over 1 million paper returns were filed.  Fifty-six percent of refunds were deposited directly into bank accounts.  There is never a charge for direct deposit.  Both the number of e-Filed returns and the number of direct-deposit refunds increased by 4 percent last year.

The video explains that the first option, Free File, is a federal-state program that helps qualified individuals prepare and file their federal and state tax returns for free.  There are several software companies participating in Free File and each has its own criteria for determining who can use its services for free.  If you qualify and want to use Free File, you may choose a company and enter its web portal through the Department’s website.   You may then prepare your federal and state returns with the help of the interview-based software and e-File your returns for free.

The second option outlined in the video is Free Fillable Forms.  Free Fillable Forms is an online fill-in version of the Virginia Form 760, the state’s resident income tax return, and includes the most commonly used schedules.  You must read the instructions, know which schedules to use, and do your own calculations as you complete your return.  There are no age or income restrictions, but there are other requirements if you want to e-File your return.  For example, you must be a full-year Virginia resident, and some tax credits cannot be claimed using Free Fillable Forms.

Paid e-File is the third filing method discussed in the video.  Paid e-File is a way to file your federal and state returns through a commercial software vendor for a fee.  The Department has a list of over 30 approved commercial software products to choose from on its website.  You can click on the companies that interest you to find out more about their services and fees.  Like Free File, these products do the calculations for you, while navigating you through your return.  You can then file your federal and state returns electronically. 

“Electronic filing is faster and more convenient than completing a paper return, it’s practically error-proof, and it’s more secure than mailing your return,” said Joel Davison, the Department’s Public Relations Manager.  “There’s a reason why nearly three out of four people now file electronically in Virginia – they get their money fast and securely.”

For more information, visit the Department’s website at www.tax.virginia.gov.  Click here for the Department’s electronic filing page.

Beginning with returns for tax year 2012, the Department is required to issue refunds either through direct deposit or prepaid debit card.  This saves the state money that it would otherwise spend on printing and mailing checks.  Those who are filing state returns for tax year 2012 and expecting a refund must choose whether to receive the refund by direct deposit or prepaid debit card.  Checks can no longer be requested.  Read more about the debit card program here.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 01/30/2013
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507

Phone Scam Related to New Refund Debit Card

 

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Taxation has been alerted to a phone scam related to the new Virginia Tax Refund Debit Card.

The Department has received reports of phone calls being made to individuals, telling them that their “Way2Go prepaid MasterCard is locked for security reasons.”  The automated caller then tries to get the listener to divulge personal information.

This is a phone scam.  The Department never makes automated calls and never solicits personal information in this manner.  If you receive such a call, hang up immediately.  If the call is recorded as a voice mail, delete it.

The Department goes to great lengths to protect the confidentiality and privacy of taxpayer information.  This scam is not related in any way to the security of the new tax refund debit card or any information that taxpayers may submit to the Department.   The Department cautions individuals never to give personal information to anyone calling unless they can verify the source.

A division of Xerox Corp. administers the new Virginia Tax Refund Debit Card and refers to it as the “Way2Go” card.

The Department is working with other government agencies, law enforcement, the debit card vendor, and the telephone companies involved to try and end the phone scam.  

Questions should be directed to the agency’s Customer Services Department at (804) 367-8031.

 

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For Immediate Release
Date: 01/15/2013
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507

State Tax Refunds No Longer Offered by Check

~ Direct Deposit, Prepaid Debit Card Are the Only Options Available ~

RICHMOND – If you usually receive your state tax refund by check, you’ll have to choose a new option.

The 2012-2014 Appropriations Act approved by the 2012 General Assembly eliminated paper refund checks to save money for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The state issued over 1.2 million refund checks last year, and will save about $200,000 in printing and mailing costs annually under the new law. 

Most Virginians have their refunds deposited directly into their bank accounts.  This is the fastest way to get your refund, especially if you file your return online.

Individuals who prefer not to use direct deposit will receive a prepaid debit card loaded with their refund amount.  The new Virginia Tax Refund Debit Card is a more secure and convenient alternative to receiving a refund check in the mail, and eliminates check-cashing fees.

A division of Xerox Corporation will administer Virginia’s debit card program at no cost to the state.  The refund will be held in a bank account at a MasterCard® bank so both the funds and the debit card are protected by state and federal laws.  The card is activated by phone or online using personal information that only you should know, and you will create a PIN, or personal identification number, for use with the card.

“Most individuals prefer to have their refunds deposited directly into their bank accounts because it’s the easiest, fastest way to get your money,” said Tax Commissioner Craig Burns.  “For those who don’t use direct deposit, debit cards are a secure alternative that provide cost savings for the Commonwealth.”

The card can be used like any debit card to make purchases in stores or online, to pay bills, to get cash back at the point of sale, or to receive cash at an ATM.  You can also transfer the funds to your own account or get your entire refund amount in cash at any MasterCard® bank.  While you will be able to access your entire refund without cost, there are fees associated with some services and transactions.  Anyone considering receiving their tax refund by debit card should review the fee schedule on the Department of Taxation’s website at www.tax.virginia.gov, which also includes frequently asked questions and other information about the debit card program.

The Virginia Tax Refund Debit Card cannot be used after the refund amount is gone.  You will receive a new debit card for future refunds, unless you choose direct deposit.  Joint filers will receive two debit cards that draw from a single joint refund account.  The Department cannot split a refund amount into separate accounts.

Several other states are already using debit cards for tax refunds.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 11/09/2011
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507

Tax Department's New Website Gives Taxpayers What They've Asked For

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Taxation introduced a brand new website this week designed to give taxpayers a quicker, more intuitive path to the information they need.

Along with a fresh, uncluttered home page and a new look and feel, the new website features a menu-based design that guides users to what they need with a minimum of mouse clicks. The forms have been organized in a more navigable layout with additional information about each one. The search function is much improved, and important announcements and other information are now featured in a large slideshow in the center of the home page.

The major website overhaul was largely in response to comments and suggestions received from taxpayers in surveys on the old site, along with feedback from focus groups and Department employees. The new site better aligns with the needs and expectations of the agency’s stakeholders, who include individuals, businesses, tax professionals and localities.

“Our customers were a little frustrated and I didn’t blame them,” said Tax Commissioner Craig M. Burns. “The site needed upgrading anyway and the taxpayers who took the time to respond to surveys helped us define what the new site should look like. We now have a full-time webmaster to keep the new site current and up to the standards our customers demand.”

More taxpayers than ever, both individuals and businesses, are doing their tax-related transactions online through the Department’s website. Last year the site logged over 9 million electronic transactions, including returns filed, payments made and businesses registered. This was an increase of nearly 10 percent over the previous year.

All of the content on the new site has been reviewed and, in many cases, rewritten to make it easier to understand. The new site is also compatible with most browsers and electronic devices, such as mobile phones and tablets. The address of the new site is the same as the old site: www.tax.virginia.gov.

The Department will continue to update and add new content and features to the site with an eye toward constantly improving the experience for its customers. It will also continue paying close attention to their feedback.
 

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For Immediate Release
Date: 08/26/2011
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507

New Office Will Provide More Streamlined Service for Customers

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Taxation is moving its Customer Service Walk-In Office this weekend from 3610 West Broad Street to 1957 Westmoreland Street, Richmond. The final day at 3610 West Broad is Friday, August 26. The new office location, which will open Monday, August 29, is more spacious than the current office and will provide better service to customers.


To drive to the new location, turn off West Broad Street onto Westmoreland Street near Richmond Ford (located at 4600 West Broad Street). Travel four-tenths of a mile and look for the Tax Department sign and the large building on the right.
The Department’s telephone numbers are not changing.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 08/25/2010
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507

Tax Department, Other Agencies Playing Active Role in New Personal Finance SOL

~ Agency helping to integrate tax information into new high school course ~

RICHMOND, Va. – The Department of Taxation and other state agencies have been working with the Virginia Council on Economic Education to provide teachers with curriculum resources and professional development for a new Standards of Learning course designed to equip students with basic economic and financial literacy.


Beginning in the fall of 2011, incoming high school freshmen must earn a credit in the new Economics and Personal Finance SOL in order to graduate. This will help them to eventually become better employees, consumers, savers, investors, entrepreneurs and active citizens.


After the Tax Department (TAX) expressed interest in being involved, it was asked by VCEE to review and provide comments on the new SOL. Once the SOL was approved by the Board of Education, VCEE asked TAX and other groups to develop and teach lessons to groups of teachers in Northern Virginia, Tidewater and Richmond as part of weeklong Personal Finance Institutes this summer. TAX’s lesson focused on helping teachers understand where tax revenue comes from and how it is used at the federal, state and local levels; the different types of taxes; tax structure; and tax exemptions, deductions and credits.


Sarah Finley, executive director of VCEE, which is leading the professional development efforts for the new SOL, said the Tax Department (TAX) has “played a very helpful part, particularly with respect to the portion of the new SOL that relates to taxes. We’ve had a good back and forth to provide information that the teachers and students need to know about but would not have had access to otherwise.”


Other agencies and organizations helping with this effort include the Department of Consumer Services, the Bureau of Insurance, the Virginia Bankers Association, and certified financial planners. Funding support has come from the private sector, particularly the financial services industry, so teachers can take the courses at minimal expense.
“This cooperative effort should pay big dividends for Virginia students and better prepare them for the complex world they face after graduation,” said Acting Tax Commissioner Craig Burns.


Finley said VCEE plans to continue the Personal Finance Institutes for another four years to assist as many teachers as possible in learning the components of the new SOL.

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For Release
Date: 07/26/2010
Contact: Brian Bergen, Senior Property Appraisal, (804) 371-0862

Meeting Notice - State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC)

The Department of Taxation will host a meeting for the State Land Evaluation Advisory Council on Monday, August 9, 2010, at 11:00 a.m.

Please refer to the meeting details for further information.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 07/01/2010
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507

Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen Dies Unexpectedly

~ She leaves strong legacy of service to the Commonwealth ~

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen, who devoted her entire working life to the Department of Taxation, died unexpectedly Tuesday morning.
Bowen was a classic example of an employee who steadily worked her way up through the ranks, from taking phone calls to leading one of the largest revenue departments in the nation.


During her term as Tax Commissioner she was the driving force behind many accomplishments that helped the agency better serve employees and the citizens of Virginia. These included developing the Commonwealth’s model telework program, developing an Intranet so agency staff could communicate more efficiently, beginning a program called Tax Academy where new hires were trained in a variety of jobs so they could work in several roles as needed, and spearheading a visioning process that helped focus the agency on the future.


She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and government at the University of Georgia before returning to Charlottesville, where she was born and raised, to complete her master’s degree at the University of Virginia.


She went to work at the agency in 1978 as a Tax Examiner handling sales tax phone calls and correspondence. She also served as Director of Tax Policy, Assistant Commissioner for Customer Service, and then as Executive Commissioner for Policy and Administration. She also served briefly as Deputy Secretary of Finance before then Governor Tim Kaine appointed her Tax Commissioner in May of 2006.


Last week, Bowen was elected president of the Federation of Tax Administrators, which helps all 50 states with training, research and keeps a close eye on federal legislation affecting state tax revenues. Last week she also earned an award from the Telework Exchange organization for being the “driver” behind the Tax Department’s telework program.
 

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For Immediate Release
Date: 06/08/2010
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507

National Group Honors TAX, Bowen for Agency's 'Strategic,' 'Flexible' Telework Program

~ TAX Accepts 2 Telework Exchange Awards Today in D.C. ~

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Virginia Department of Taxation was honored twice on Tuesday for its robust telework program that has boosted both agency production and morale. TAX took home awards in the “Excellence in Telework Leadership” and “State Telework Driver Award” categories at Telework Exchange’s annual awards ceremony in Washington.


“They talked about how we were on the forefront and a leading agency in terms of both public and private teleworking,” said TAX Telework Coordinator Juliann Krogh, who accepted the awards for the agency at the City Club of Washington. “I think these awards show that TAX is continuing to explore new ways to expand its telework program. They also reflect the commitment of both our leadership and of employees to make it work for the agency.”


Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen won the “Driver” award. The leadership award went to the agency.


"Telework has transformed how we do business at TAX,” said Bowen, who was unable to attend. “This single change not only improved productivity, but raised employee morale at the same time, both for a modest cost.


“It has also given us tremendous flexibility to provide an instant response to weather and other emergencies by having a fully-equipped off-site work force ready to go on a moment's notice," added Bowen.


Telework Exchange chose Bowen as winner of the State Telework Driver Award because she has been “a leading proponent for building a robust, innovative, and pragmatic telework program at the Department of Taxation. The program’s success and sustainability continues to be driven by Ms. Bowen’s vision, persuasion, persistence, and most of all, leadership.”


In awarding TAX the “Excellence in Telework Leadership Award,” Telework Exchange noted that the agency’s program is “successful due to the excellence of its leaders. TAX’s executive team embraced a top-down approach when implementing the telework program by encouraging managers to allow eligible employees to telework and participating in the initial pilot which reinforced its viability.”


Other awards garnered by TAX’s telework program include the 2008 Best of Web and Digital Government Achievement Award, from eRepublic’s Center for Digital Government for having a program that is easy to access and that delivers internal services efficiently; and the 2008 Governor’s Technology Award for having the Best Public Sector Telework Initiative in the Commonwealth.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 05/14/2010
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507

Virginia?s Third Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday Begins Soon

~ Save money while making sure your family is ready for an emergency ~

RICHMOND, Va. – With at least some meteorologists predicting an intense hurricane season this year, May is the perfect time to stock up on supplies you may need to prepare for an emergency.


Fortunately, Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is just around the corner, and can help you save money on those emergency items – and on some everyday items as well.


The Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins Tuesday, May 25, and runs through Monday, May 31. During this week, items like batteries, flashlights, bottled water, and first aid kits priced at $60 or less, as well as some bigger-ticket items like generators priced at $1,000 or less, will be exempt from the 5 percent state and local sales tax.


For a full list of eligible products, answers to frequently asked questions and guidelines for consumers and retailers, visit tax.virginia.gov and click on the “Sales Tax Holiday” logo under Announcements.

“Once again, Virginians should prepare themselves for what could be another damaging hurricane season,” said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. “We know by experience that powerful hurricanes don’t always sidestep Virginia. It’s smart to shop early, before hurricane season begins on June 1, and why not save some money at the same time?”


During this seven-day period, retailers may also choose to pay the sales tax themselves on any nonexempt items and pass the 5 percent savings on to their customers.


Virginia also has sales tax holidays for school supplies and clothing, which this year is Aug. 6-8, and for Energy Star and WaterSense products, from Oct. 8-11.
 

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For Immediate Release
Date: 04/06/2010
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

As Deadline Nears, Virginians Should Consider Filing their Taxes Electronically

~ Returns Must Be Filed by May 3 this Year ~

RICHMOND, Va. – If you still haven’t filed your state income tax return and are expecting a refund this year, why not do what the vast majority of Virginia taxpayers are doing – file your return electronically. With the filing deadline fast approaching, this makes more sense than ever.


Filing online is the easiest, fastest and safest way to file your taxes and is the quickest way to get your refund, especially if you use direct deposit. As of April 6, just over 2 million Virginians had filed their individual tax returns, with 1.7 million, or 85 percent, filing electronically.


Returns that are filed online take about a week to process, while paper-filed returns take about 30 days. Having your refund sent to you by check instead of having it direct deposited adds another week or so to the wait.


“More and more taxpayers are discovering how fast and easy it is to file their returns electronically,” said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. “That’s great news for them as well as the Commonwealth. Not only are they getting their refunds faster, electronic filing also saves Virginia money because it’s much cheaper for us to process a return filed online than a paper return that arrives in the mail. Those who still haven’t filed should give electronic filing a try.”


The filing deadline this year is May 3 since May 1, the normal deadline for filing state income taxes, falls on a Saturday.


TAX has information about all the available electronic filing options on its Web site at tax.virginia.gov, which is where you can use the agency’s free iFile program to file your taxes.


Regardless of which way you file, here are some important tips to remember:
• Make sure the names and social security numbers on your return are correct;
• Make sure the withholding information you enter matches your W-2s;
• If you are filing a joint return, make sure you enter the names and social security numbers in the same order as last year; and
• If you are mailing your return, make sure it is signed, dated and postmarked by May 3.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 04/05/2010
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Tax Department Shares National Award for Innovative Compliance Program

RICHMOND, Va. – The Department of Taxation’s (TAX’s) innovative system of evaluating individual tax refunds has won accolades from the national Federation of Tax Administrators.


The agency’s Individual Refund Evaluation (IRE) system earned TAX a share of FTA’s 2010 Outstanding Compliance Program award. TAX tied for the award with two other states – Mississippi and Washington. Each of the winning programs “is a good example of something any state can do,” according to FTA. “Every state can learn from all three of these.”


Virginia’s program has come a long way in rooting out fraudulent tax returns. Prior to implementing the IRE system, TAX’s refund compliance efforts depended largely on basic functions, such as checking for questionable social security numbers and bank accounts. There were no reports or tracking procedures to measure either inventory or results.


The new IRE program is a relatively simple, yet powerful system that can zero in on fraudulent refunds in a wide range of scenarios and models. TAX accomplished this sea change by tying its new data warehouse to its recently updated computerized revenue management system. TAX business owners, who use the system daily, control the models and the criteria and can create, test and implement a new model in a matter of days.


“This program is an example of how the Tax Department strives to find smarter, more efficient ways to do its business,” said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. “The refund evaluation program has gone a long way toward detecting fraudulent refunds and keeping them out of the hands of unscrupulous taxpayers.”


TAX is not only stopping many more inflated refunds from going out the door, it is also reducing the number of legitimate refund requests that are delayed. Between January 2007 and June 2009, IRE helped TAX deny $6.9 million in fraudulent refunds and helped collect an additional $3.1 million from assessments generated by the refund review.


FTA judges commended TAX, saying Virginia “should be proud of what they’ve done.”
The award will be presented at FTA’s annual meeting in Atlanta on June 7.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 02/09/2010
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Filing your Tax Return Online Is the Fastest Way to Get your Refund

~ A record 2.3 million taxpayers filed their Virginia returns online last year ~

RICHMOND, Va. – Last year, more than 2.3 million Virginia taxpayers, a record 61 percent, filed their tax refunds electronically – hands down, the easiest, fastest, safest way to file. If they were due a refund, the majority of online taxpayers had them within days. Those who filed on paper, on the other hand, waited up to four weeks for their refunds.
 

Filers can expect the same turnaround times this year.
 

The reason for this is that, like last year, the Department of Taxation (TAX) is hiring fewer hourly employees during the busy filing season to process paper returns due to the budget issues facing the Commonwealth. Processing paper returns is much more costly than processing returns filed over the Internet.
 

Not only is electronic filing the fastest way to get your tax refund, it is also the easiest way to file because you can transmit your return anytime you want as long as you have a computer and an Internet connection. TAX also has a secure Web site to keep your tax information confidential and, with electronic filing, the processing of your return and refund won’t be delayed due to math errors because electronic filing programs do the calculations for you.
 

“Income tax filing season is the only time of year we interact with most taxpayers and we want their experience to be as smooth and pleasant as possible; that’s why we encourage them to file online,” said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. “More and more taxpayers are filing their returns electronically each year and finding that it takes them far less time than filling out paper forms, and puts their refund in their hand much sooner.”
 

Whether you file online or on paper, you should have your refund deposited directly into your bank account. Requesting a check adds approximately another week to the processing of your refund.
 

Taxpayers have several options for filing their tax returns electronically and getting a faster refund:

  • Go to TAX’s Web site, tax.virginia.gov, and use iFile, TAX’s free filing service.
  • Go to irs.gov and use the IRS’ e-File program to file both federal and state returns. If your adjusted gross income in 2009 was $57,000 or less, you can file your federal return for free. Many e-File vendors also let you file your state return for a small fee.
  • Use commercial tax-filing software.
  • Go to a tax professional and ask that your tax return be sent electronically.
  • Check our Web site to see if your local commissioner of the revenue can file your return for you. If so, there is no charge.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 10/15/2009
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

e-sub

~ New E-Subscription Service Is Information Resource for Taxpayers ~

RICHMOND, Va. – Did you remember that the annual back-to-school sales tax holiday for school and office supplies, clothing and footwear was Aug. 7-9? If you pay quarterly estimated taxes, do you know when your payment is due?

If you own a computer, you can now get important reminders likes these, plus the latest news and updates about the types of taxes that affect you, delivered right to your inbox.

The Department of Taxation (TAX) this week introduces E-Subscriptions, a new service for keeping subscribers informed about the tax types that interest them most, such as personal income tax, sales and use tax, employee withholding tax, and many more. This free service is available to anyone who has an e-mail address. It will be most useful to individuals, businesses, tax professionals, payroll providers, and software developers.

“E-Subscriptions is part of our ongoing effort to provide Virginia taxpayers with timely, accurate information that’s important to them,” said Tax Commissioner Janie E. Bowen. “Whether you’re an individual who just likes to know what’s going on in the tax world, or a payroll provider whose business depends on keeping up with the latest changes in employee withholding, E-Subscriptions could be a very valuable service.”

E-Subscriptions has separate e-mail lists for individual income tax, sales and use tax, employer withholding tax, corporate income tax, pass-through-entity tax, tobacco tax, and miscellaneous taxes. People may sign up for as many lists as they want or select “All Tax Types” to receive all reminders. They will also have the option of unsubscribing from the lists at any time.

To sign up or find out more about E-Subscriptions, go the agency’s home page at tax.virginia.gov and click on the link under Announcements at the top of the page.
Even if you are not a subscriber to the service, you will be able to search the archives containing all information that has been sent out.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 10/14/2009
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Giant, Square Smiley Face Head Sightings all over Virginia

~ Taxation Department invites Facebook fans, Twitter followers ~

RICHMOND, Va. – In its effort to bring a kinder, gentler approach to its tax amnesty program The Virginia Department of Taxation is inviting people to become Facebook fans of its Giant Square Smiley Face Heads. The agency is also tweeting about taxes. They even have a YouTube Channel.

“We have also established a LinkedIn page for tax professionals, CPAs and others who want to learn more about the program,” said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. “We are trying to be as progressive and inviting to the public as possible, so people can easily pay what they owe and get square with the state.”

From the outset of the campaign, the Department has looked for ways to help individuals and small businesses take maximum advantage of this window of opportunity to save money on back taxes. In addition to these social media channels, there is also a website, GetSquareVA.com, with a live-chat feature to enable taxpayers to get answers after regular business hours. The toll-free number 1-888-560-0057 (please note: 888, not 800), is also available on Mondays through Thursdays 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fridays 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

On the first day of the program, there were nearly 3,700 web site visits and the call center received over 6,000 calls.

To participate in Get Square VA, you must take the following steps between Oct. 7, 2009 and Dec. 5, 2009:


• If you have delinquent returns - file required tax returns along with supporting documentation no later than Dec. 5, 2009 and pay the full amount of the tax and one half of the interest;

• If you have outstanding tax bills - send payment for taxes due along with half the interest amount no later than Dec. 5, 2009;

• Submit filings or payments online at www.GetSquareVA.com by midnight on Dec. 5, 2009, or file or pay by mail, postmarked no later than Dec. 5, 2009.


Normally you would pay full interest and penalties on the unpaid tax, but under Get Square VA, you have a chance to get caught up on your taxes and the Commonwealth will drop your penalties and half of your interest. If you wait until after Dec. 5, 2009 to pay up, you’ll be charged full interest and penalties with an additional 20 percent amnesty penalty.

For more information, call 1-888-560-0057 (please note: 888, not 800) or go online at www.GetSquareVa.com. Taxpayers are urged to not wait until the last minute to get their questions answered and to avoid waiting in long lines.
 

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For Immediate Release
Date: 10/07/2009
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Virginia Taxpayers Can Get Square with the State Starting Today

~ More than 750 phone calls received in first few hours ~

RICHMOND, Va.  – The Virginia Department of Taxation has already had an overwhelming response to its September 28th announcement that Virginians can take advantage of a tax amnesty program that forgives and forgets if you pay-up late taxes within the next 60 days.

In an effort to meet the demand for information, the agency opened their toll-free phone lines two days early and handled more than 750 calls in the first few hours.

“The Call Center we contracted with to handle the calls was not scheduled to begin until the amnesty start date of October 7,” said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. “We shifted around people within the department to answer the calls and to do everything we can to help people take advantage of the program.”

If you owe back taxes to the state of Virginia, you have a limited window of time this fall to pay-up with NO penalties and half the normal interest charges.

From the outset of the campaign, the department has looked for ways to help individuals and small businesses take maximum advantage of this window of opportunity to save money on back taxes. In addition to the toll-free number, there is also a website, GetSquareVA.com, with a live-chat feature to enable taxpayers to get answers after regular business hours.

To participate in Get Square VA, you must take the following steps between Oct. 7, 2009 and Dec. 5, 2009:

• If you have delinquent returns - file required tax returns along with supporting documentation no later than Dec. 5, 2009 and pay the full amount of the tax and one half of the interest;

• If you have outstanding tax bills - send payment for taxes due along with half the interest amount no later than Dec. 5, 2009;

• Submit filings or payments online at www.GetSquareVA.com by midnight on Dec. 5, 2009, or file or pay by mail, postmarked no later than Dec. 5, 2009.

Normally you would pay full interest and penalties on the unpaid tax, but under Get Square VA, you have a chance to get caught up on your taxes and the Commonwealth will drop your penalties and half of your interest. If you wait until after Dec. 5, 2009 to pay-up, you’ll be charged full interest and penalties with an additional 20 percent amnesty penalty.

For more information, call 1-888-560-0057 (please note: 888, not 800) or go online at www.GetSquareVa.com. Taxpayers are urged to not wait until the last minute to get their questions answered and to avoid waiting in long lines.

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For Release
Date: 08/12/2009
Contact: H. Keith Mawyer, Property Tax Manager, (804) 367-8020

Meeting Notice - State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC)

The Department of Taxation will host a meeting for the State Land Evaluation Advisory Council on Monday, 09/14/2009 at 11:00am.

Please refer to the meeting details for further information.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 08/07/2009
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Teleworking Saving Money, Boosting Productivity for Tax Department

~ Agency Now Has 59% of its Workforce Teleworking at least One Day a Week ~


RICHMOND, Va. – If anyone wants proof that teleworking can be a great business decision while also boosting employee productivity and morale, just ask the Department of Taxation. TAX has been home-basing employees since 2001 and now has 644 employees, or 59% of its permanent and temporary workforce, working from home at least one day a week.
 

Monday was statewide Telework Day, a day when Gov. Tim Kaine and telework organizations were encouraging state agencies and private businesses to test how having employees work from home could benefit them. TAX had over 525 employees working from home that day, a one-day record for agency.


Teleworking will save the agency about $130,000 annually in rent, parking and utilities. And the employees love it.


“The benefits have been substantial,” says Tax Commissioner Janie E. Bowen. “Employees view it as a perk and it’s been a great business decision for us. We’re not only saving money, we’re also seeing higher productivity, better morale and we are much more prepared to handle a disaster because we have so many employees all over the state who could still access our systems, the Internet and provide service to taxpayers.”


In 2001, TAX home-based over 200 field auditors and collectors when budget cuts resulted in the closing of eight district offices. In 2006, Gov. Kaine Kaine issued Executive Order 35 establishing the Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance. One of his goals was to have all state agencies let at least 20 percent of their eligible employees telework by 2010. TAX was asked to be the pilot agency.


After running pilot programs and determining which employees were eligible to work from home, the agency’s telework program took off. In January 2007, TAX began sending eligible employees home in waves of 50 to telework one day a week and went to the economically depressed Danville-Martinsville region to recruit 23 full-time home-based Customer Service Reps, who started in October 2007. In February 2008, 30 seasonal data-entry employees were added in the same region to help with the agency’s busy filing season.


A year later, 294 employees are teleworking one day a week and 350 employees are home-based, including the field auditors and collectors. Productivity has gone up in most areas, including a 12 percent increase in customer service functions.


“I am an ardent champion of teleworking,” said Bowen. “It’s been a true win-win for the agency and employees. Due to higher productivity we’ve been able to hire fewer temps for filing season, and turnover has dropped in our Customer Contact Center from 57 percent in 2007 to only 4.8 percent so far this year. Our robust telework program has certainly played a major role in keeping good people.”

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For Immediate Release
Date: 08/07/2009
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507, joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov; Ginny Slaughter, Public Relations Specialist (804) 786-3455 virginia.slaughter@tax.virginia.gov

New Live Chat Service Gives Taxpayers Fast Online Help from Tax Department

~ Just click on the Live Chat icon and talk to a Tax rep in real time ~

RICHMOND, Va. – Getting help from the state tax department is now just a click away.

The Virginia Department of Taxation recently introduced “Live Chat,” a new service that lets taxpayers communicate online in real time with the department’s Tax representatives. All taxpayers need to do to connect with a rep is to click on the Live Chat logo, which is located throughout the agency’s Web site. Taxpayers can ask general tax questions or specific questions about their accounts.

Live Chat also offers extended service hours and even availability on Saturday mornings. It is available from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. week days, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

“We are always looking for ways to better serve the taxpayers and Live Chat is a big enhancement in interactive communications,” said Tax Commissioner Janie E. Bowen. “Along with calling us, writing us or sending us a secure message over the Internet, Live Chat now gives taxpayers a fourth way to get their questions answered.”

After clicking the Live Chat icon, taxpayers will receive an immediate response. The chat will then be routed to the appropriate representative based on whether it’s a question about personal income tax or a business.

Taxpayers who have account-specific questions will be asked for information to help the operator validate who they are. Once they are done chatting with the rep, taxpayers will have full access to the complete transcript of their online conversation and will be able to print it out. They will also have the option of completing a short survey to rate the service they received.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 07/28/2009
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507, joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Virginia's Fourth Annual Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday Coming Up

RICHMOND, Va. – More than ever, the cost of sending children back to school is likely hanging over the heads of many families this year, even for frugal families who clip coupons, scour sale circulars and shop around.


For the fourth year, the Commonwealth, along with Virginia’s retailers, again stands ready to help its citizens save a little more.


Virginia’s back-to-school sales tax holiday begins Friday, Aug. 7 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009.


During this three-day period, many school supplies costing $20 or less each and clothing items and footwear costing $100 or less each will be exempt from Virginia’s 5 percent sales tax. This includes items like pencils, pens, binders, paints, musical instruments and calculators, as well as pants, shirts, formal wear, shoes, flip-flops, and even uniforms.

Lists of exempt items, along with guidelines for the sales tax holiday and a set of frequently asked questions, are available on the Tax Department’s Sales Tax Holiday Information Center at www.tax.virginia.gov.


This sales tax holiday is for all taxpayers in Virginia, not just for those with children heading back to school, so now’s a good time to stock up on office supplies or clothing for adults as well. There is no limit on the number of items you can buy as long as each one qualifies under the holiday’s guidelines.


During this sales tax holiday, retailers may also choose to save taxpayers even more by opting to pay the sales tax themselves on items that are not eligible for exemption.


“The citizens of the Commonwealth are savvy, and they know that the August sales tax holiday is a great way to put a little more back in the family budget,” said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. “This has been a popular sales tax holiday every year since it was implemented, and I have no doubt even more thrifty families will be out there this year taking advantage of this opportunity to stretch their dollars a little further.”

It is estimated that Virginia taxpayers will save $4 million in sales tax this year.
 

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For Immediate Release
Date: 05/22/2009
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Tax Department Educates YouTube Viewers on Sales Tax Holiday for Hurricane Preparedness

~ Spokesmouse ‘Phil’ Shops Tax-Free to Get Ready for Storm Season ~

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia’s second sales tax holiday for hurricane preparedness begins Monday, May 25, and runs for a full week. It’s the ideal time to stock up – without paying taxes – on batteries, flashlights, bottled water, first aid kits and many other items you may need the next time a big storm hits Virginia.


To reach a broader audience, the Tax Department just posted a YouTube video about the holiday. It features agency spokesmouse, Phil, who has already starred in three videos during filing season this year urging taxpayers to file their taxes online.


In the video, Phil visits a hardware store and fills his shopping cart with duct tape, tie-downs, rope, a first aid kit, batteries, a lantern and other items that are exempt from the 5 percent state and local sales tax under the sales tax holiday guidelines. After his shopping trip, Phil relaxes at home while a storm rages outside.


Visit tax.virginia.gov for full details, including the complete list of items, guidelines for consumers and retailers, and frequently asked questions about the holiday. Even generators priced at $1,000 or less each are tax-exempt during the holiday.


Go to tax.virginia.gov/phil to view all four of Phil’s videos. They were all produced by employees of the agency.


During the sales tax holiday, retailers may also choose to pay the sales tax themselves on one or more non-qualifying items they sell and pass the 5 percent savings on to their customers.


“Phil is making some important points in his videos and with over 14,000 hits so far on YouTube we think we are getting these messages to a different audience,” said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen.


Virginia also has two additional sales tax holidays, for school supplies and clothing in August, and for energy-efficient appliances and other products in October.


Phil’s no-budget videos will continue soon as he educates viewers on other important services, events and programs offered by the Tax Department.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 05/06/2009
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

New Service Makes It Easier to File

~ Tax Department Launches Free Web Upload Service ~

RICHMOND, Va. – If you file business tax returns in Virginia, the Department of Taxation has a new service that can make your life a little easier.


The agency just launched Web Upload, a free online filing service that allows tax professionals to submit multiple returns and payments for multiple clients in a single file. Tax preparers, CPAs and payroll service providers can now bulk file employer withholding returns and sales tax returns along with payments without having to re-key any data. The service is fast, secure and available 24 hours a day.


Web Upload also lets small business owners submit a single tax return prepared on a program such as QuickBooks or Excel.


Patrick J. Gallagher, Tax Manager of Dominion Payroll Services in Richmond, is very happy with the way Web Upload has simplified doing business.


“Being the tax manager for a payroll service responsible for paying taxes in all 50 states, the Web Upload program has by far been the easiest and most hassle-free electronic reporting and payment option that I have encountered” said Gallagher.


Web Upload supports several employer withholding forms (VA-5, VA-15, VA-16 and VA-6,) as well as many sales tax forms (ST-8, ST-9, ST-6B and ST-9B).


It’s easy to get started. Just go to the Tax Department’s Web site at tax.virginia.gov, click on Web Upload and register to use the service. After registering, you validate your file format, set a password and export your data quickly and easily. Uploading data takes just a few minutes and you receive instant verification that your file was accepted.


Sign up for Web Upload today and streamline the way you file your business taxes!

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For Immediate Release
Date: 04/22/2009
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Last-Minute Filers Should Join Crowd, Consider E-filing State Returns

~ 2009 Has Been Another Record Year for Online Filing ~

RICHMOND, Va. – If you still haven’t filed your state income tax return, you’re not alone. But the May 1 filing deadline is fast approaching and Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen recommends that late filers consider doing what most taxpayers have already done this year: file online.


As of April 20, the Tax Department had processed 2.6 million individual tax returns and a record 2.1 million of them, or 84 percent, were filed electronically. This is 216,000 more e-filed returns than the department had received last year on the same date.


“Many more taxpayers this year are getting the message that e-filing is the easiest, fastest and safest way to file their tax returns,” said Bowen. “It also cuts down on errors and gets their tax refunds back into their hands quickly, especially when they use direct deposit. This is good news for the Commonwealth because e-filed returns are much more cost effective to process than paper returns.”


So far this year, 49 percent of taxpayers have chosen to have their refunds direct deposited, up from 42 percent last year.  As of April 20, 98 percent of refunds from e-filed returns were processed within six days.

On the other hand, paper returns are not being processed as quickly this year because the Tax Department saved money by hiring fewer temporary workers to handle labor-intensive paper returns. This is also slowing down refund checks. Another factor that is boosting e-filing this year is a new requirement that tax preparers with 100 or more clients file their clients’ taxes online.


Regardless of which way you file, here are some important tips to remember:
• Make sure your name and social security number are correct;
• Make sure the withholding information you enter matches your W-2(s);
• If you are filing a joint return, make sure you enter the names and social security numbers in the same order as last year; and
• If you are mailing your return, make sure it is signed, dated and postmarked by May 1
 

The Tax Department has information on its Web site – tax.virginia.gov – about all of the available electronic filing options.


If you haven’t checked out the Tax Department’s three homemade YouTube videos on electronic filing, you can do so at tax.virginia.gov/phil.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 04/01/2009
Contact: Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Spokesmouse Makes Final Push for E-Filing In Latest YouTube Video for Tax Department

~ Superhero Phil Mousepower Soars over Alley to Support Taxpayer ~

RICHMOND, Va. – Look! Up in the sky! It’s an odd-shaped bird! It’s a very small plane! Nope, it’s a mouse wearing a mask and cape – flying backwards!

This has been a record year for online filing of state income tax returns, but with about 45 days to go before the filing deadline, Phil Mousepower, Virginia’s rodent superhero, isn’t satisfied. In an effort to broaden the audience of potential e-filers, Phil just finished his third YouTube video pushing online filing. He wants everyone to know that e-filing is fast, easy and safe and the quickest way to get your refund, especially if you use direct deposit.

In his latest YouTube adventure, Phil, the Virginia Department of Taxation’s spokescritter, soars through a brick-lined, cobblestone alley to congratulate an enlightened taxpayer who has decided to file his taxes online. Go to tax.virginia.gov/phil to reach the Tax Department’s YouTube site. Along with viewing the new “Subterranean Paper Filing Blues” music video, which was posted this week, you can also watch Phil’s other two celluloid escapades.

“This one was especially thrilling for a mouse like me because it was filmed on location in an alley,” said Phil, relaxing after the shoot in his private trailer, which is about the size of a large mailbox. “I was hoping I’d run into some of my old pals back there in the neighborhood. But they were probably frightened by the bright lights, the director’s bullhorn and the scene clapper.

“I actually got to show off a little, too, by flying backwards, which you don’t see superheroes do very much because it makes them dizzy,” Phil chuckled while munching on crackers and cheese dip. “But it was much easier than scampering over those uneven cobblestones.”

Phil’s no-budget videos will continue soon as he educates viewers on other electronic services and Tax Department programs that can make their lives easier.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 03/17/2009
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

More Taxpayers E-filing Returns This Year, Getting Refunds Faster

~ Paper Returns Being Processed More Slowly to Save Money ~

RICHMOND, Va. – More Virginia taxpayers are filing their state tax returns over the Internet this year and also getting their refunds faster by having them deposited directly into their bank accounts.

About midway through the tax-filing season, nearly 1.2 million of the tax returns processed by the Tax Department have been e-filed. This is an increase of 100,000 electronically filed returns over last year at the same time. The number of refunds that were direct deposited for taxpayers grew by 102,000, a 10 percent increase over 2008.

On the other hand, many taxpayers who filed returns on paper this year are waiting longer for their refunds. To reduce costs and use fewer budget dollars more wisely, the Department hired fewer seasonal workers for the labor-intensive task of opening, sorting and processing paper returns. This is expected to save the state $75,000 this year and $150,000 during the 2010 filing season.

It costs much less to process electronically filed returns compared with paper returns. Not only do paper returns require considerably more handling, if they contain math errors employees have to stop and correct them before processing can continue.

“Tax-preparation programs have automatic calculators which greatly reduce the chance for errors in e-file returns,” said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. “E-filing your return and choosing direct deposit is not only the fastest way to get your refund, it’s also much easier than filling out a paper return, and is safer than sending your return through the mail.”

A taxpayer has several options for e-filing a tax return:

  • use iFile, the Tax Department’s free filing service;
  • use the IRS e-file program to file both federal and state returns;
  • use commercial tax-filing software;
  • go to a tax professional and ask for the return to be e-filed; or
  • check with the local Commissioner of the Revenue to see if he or she is authorized to transmit returns electronically. A list of Commissioners of the Revenue is available on the Department’s Web site.

The Tax Department has information on its Web site – tax.virginia.gov – about all of these electronic filing options.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 01/27/2009
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

State Encourages Filing Income Tax Returns Electronically

~ Paper Returns Will Be Processed More Slowly ~

RICHMOND, Va. – If you file your income tax return on paper in 2009, it will take longer to issue your refund than it has in years past.


To reduce costs, TAX will give priority to returns filed electronically. This means hiring fewer seasonal workers to open, sort and process tax returns filed on paper. As a result, it will take longer to get a refund if you file on paper. Those who file their tax returns electronically should receive their refunds twice as fast as those filing on paper.


“Like all state agencies, we have had to make some adjustments in the way we operate in order to use fewer budget dollars as wisely as possible,” said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. “It is considerably more costly to process a paper return than a return filed electronically, so we are urging all taxpayers to file online.”


Last year a record 57 percent of individual taxpayers, or more than 2 million, filed their Virginia tax returns electronically. This is an increase of over 200,000 online filers compared to the previous year.


Not only is electronic filing the fastest way to get your tax refund, it is also the easiest way to file because you can transmit your return anytime you want as long as you have access to a computer and an Internet connection. For both speed and security, electronic filing also beats dropping your tax return in a mailbox. Another advantage to using electronic filing programs is that returns won’t be delayed due to math errors; electronic filing programs do the calculations for you.


Taxpayers have several options for filing their tax returns electronically and getting a faster refund. They can use iFile, the Tax Department’s free filing service; they can use the IRS e-file program to file both federal and state returns; they can use commercial tax-filing software; they can go to a tax professional and ask that their tax returns be sent electronically; or they can check with their local Commissioners of the Revenue who are authorized to transmit tax returns electronically. A list of local Commissioners of the Revenue can be found on the Department’s Web site.


To speed your refund even more, make sure you have it deposited directly into your bank account.


The Tax Department has information on its Web site about all the electronic filing options available to taxpayers. To find out more, visit tax.virginia.gov.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 01/23/2009
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Tax Department Adopts Spokesmouse to 'Rescue' Taxpayers from Filing on Paper

 ~ ‘Phil Mousepower’ Makes Debut in New YouTube Video Series ~

RICHMOND, Va. – Meet the Virginia Department of Taxation’s newest employee, Phil Mousepower. Phil is not your typical state worker; for starters he wears a mask and a cape.

Phil Mousepower made his debut in a YouTube video this week to promote online filing. Phil wants to make the point about why using your own mouse – computer mouse, that is – makes good sense when sitting down to file your income taxes.

“We are very lucky to have a superhero mouse working with us to encourage online filing,” said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. “We also have a lot of talented folks here at TAX who have helped Phil. He had his own theme song written by one of our guys, a custom-made cape and mask, his own videographer, a custom-designed set and the use of a studio to record his movie. Some people may think it’s a little cheesy, but that’s fine with Phil. He loves cheese!”

The first Phil video was posted Thursday on the Tax Department’s home page at tax.virginia.gov.

Phil has prepared for his new role by working with a personal trainer, a dialogue coach – even though he doesn’t say much – and developing his motivation for relaying this important message about electronic filing to the public.

In a rare interview, Phil said that the hero’s role “actually came pretty naturally to me, although it may be difficult if I have to engage in swordplay. Opposable thumbs would really help me there.”

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For Release
Date: 08/15/2008
Contact: H. Keith Mawyer, Property Tax Manager, (804) 367-8020

Meeting Notice - State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC)

The Department of Taxation will host a meeting for the State Land Evaluation Advisory Council on Monday, 09/15/2008 at 11:00 am.

Please refer to the meeting details for further information.

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For Release
Date: 07/30/2008
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Virginia's Third Annual Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday Almost Here

~ Frugal back-to-school shoppers rejoice! ~

RICHMOND, Va. -- Parents whose wallets are looking a little thinner these days can take heart -- Virginia's back-to-school sales tax holiday is just around the corner!

During the Commonwealth's third annual "holiday," which will take place Friday, Aug. 1, through Sunday, Aug. 3, taxpayers can purchase certain items tax-free. Items exempt from the 5 percent state and local retail sales tax will include school supplies priced at $20 or less each, as well as clothing, including footwear, priced at $100 or less each. All Virginians can purchase these items tax-free -- purchases are not required to be for student use.

Virginia taxpayers are expected to save $4 million this year.

Back-to-school shoppers can go to the Virginia Department of Taxation's Web site at http://www.tax.virginia.gov for a complete list of exempt items, answers to frequently-asked questions, guidelines for the sales tax holiday, and additional information.

The August sales tax holiday was enacted unanimously by the 2006 General Assembly. Last year, the Legislature approved both the Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday, which took place for the first time in October 2007, and the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, which took place in May.

"The timing of the back-to-school sales tax holiday could not be better for the citizens of the Commonwealth," said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. "With the economy the way it is, and the uncertainty people are feeling regarding their financial situations, everyone can really use a little extra money in their pockets."

During the sales tax holiday period from Aug. 1 to Aug. 3, should they wish to offer their customers additional savings, retailers are permitted to pay the sales tax themselves on any non-exempt item and pass the savings on to their customers.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 05/08/2008
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov; Bob Spieldenner, Director of Public Affairs, Department of Emergency Management (804) 897-6510 vaemergency.com

Prepare for the Hurricane Season by Shopping for Tax-Exempt Generators, Supplies

~ Virginia's Third Sales Tax Holiday is May 25-31~

RICHMOND, VA - To many Virginians the names Isabel, Floyd and Camille recall very unpleasant memories. And we all remember the devastation that Katrina caused in New Orleans and other areas in 2005.

These hurricanes and others remind us that it's smart to be prepared when hurricane season arrives on June 1. Beginning this year, consumers can take advantage of a tax break when shopping for such products as generators, batteries, food-storage containers, first aid kits and even bottled water.

For the period Sunday, May 25, through Saturday, May 31, Virginia will hold its first Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. During the weeklong event, certain purchases will be exempt from the 5 percent state and local retail sales tax. Sales tax will not be charged on generators costing $1,000 or less, or on 22 other products selling for $60 or less each.

The "holiday," approved by the 2007 General Assembly, will take place each year during the last week of May through 2012 after which the holiday is scheduled to expire. Virginia already has a sales tax holiday for school supplies and clothing in August, and another for energy-efficient appliances and products in October.

Information on the hurricane-preparedness holiday for both consumers and retailers is available on the Department of Taxation's Web site at tax.virginia.gov. This includes policy guidelines for the tax holiday and a list of products that will be exempt from the sales tax during the week of the holiday. The agency's Sales Tax Holiday Information Center also includes information on the other two sales tax holidays.

"As we've seen time and again, including recently with several tornadoes hitting the state, weather can be very unpredictable and end up causing a lot of damage and hardship," said Tax Commissioner Janie E. Bowen. "Virginians should seriously consider equipping themselves for the upcoming hurricane season, and saving the 5 percent in the process is an added bonus."

In addition to the exempt items, retailers may also choose to pay the sales tax themselves on any nonexempt items they sell from May 25-31 and pass the 5 percent savings on to customers.

Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said: "All Virginians should take advantage of this tax-free opportunity to stock up on supplies they would need to make it through an emergency. Hurricane season starts June 1, and we should all be prepared."

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For Immediate Release
Date: 04/30/2008
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Tax Relief Granted for Victims of Tornadoes

~ Those in Affected Areas Receive Filing and Payment Extensions ~

RICHMOND, VA - Tax Commissioner Janie E. Bowen announced today that those affected by the tornadoes that struck Virginia on April 28 will be granted a 30-day extension for filing returns and making payments.

This extension will apply to taxpayers located in the following localities: City of Colonial Heights, City of Suffolk, Brunswick County, Gloucester County, Halifax County, Isle of Wight County, James City County, Mathews County, and Surry County.

To qualify for this special filing extension, taxpayers must be unable to meet their filing obligations because the financial books and records they need to file their taxes are located in these cities and counties or are otherwise unavailable because of severe tornado damage.

Individuals and businesses in these areas automatically have 30 additional days to file all returns and make all tax payments that had a due date, or an extended due date, on or after April 28, 2008, and on or before June 2, 2008.

In addition, taxpayers outside of these areas who suffered severe tornado damage may also request an extension. To receive the special filing extension, these taxpayers should write "Tornado Relief" at the top of their returns. The Virginia Department of Taxation will abate interest and any late-filing or late-payment penalties that would otherwise apply.

Taxpayers with additional questions should contact us at (804) 367-8031 for individual income tax questions or (804) 367-8037 for business tax questions. If there are further developments or announcements, information will be posted on the Department of Taxation's Web site at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/.

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For Release
Date: 04/18/2008
Contact: H. Keith Mawyer, Property Tax Manager, (804) 367-8020

Meeting Notice - State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC)

The Department of Taxation will host a meeting for the State Land Evaluation Advisory Council on Monday, 08/11/2008 at 11:00am.

Please refer to the meeting details for further information.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 03/05/2008
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

85% of Individual Tax Returns Are Being Submitted Electronically This Year

~ E-filing much safer than sending returns through the mail ~

RICHMOND, Va. - More Virginians are filing their state income tax returns electronically this year than ever before.

Approaching the midway point of the 2008 filing season, 85 percent of individual income tax returns are being submitted over the Internet using a computer and tax-preparation software.

A record 1.8 million individual tax returns were filed electronically in Virginia last year as taxpayers continued to discover the many benefits of filing their tax returns online instead of on paper. This year is on track to setting another milestone in electronic filing in Virginia.

Electronic filing, or e-filing, is the easiest way to file because it is available anytime as long as the taxpayer has a computer and an Internet connection. Other e-file benefits include the fastest turnaround for refunds - especially for taxpayers who have their refunds deposited directly in their bank account, and fewer errors because tax-preparation programs handle the math calculations.

Security is another important reason to submit tax returns electronically. The Department of Taxation uses the latest encryption technology to ensure that tax-return information submitted electronically remains safe and secure. For both speed and safety, e-filing certainly beats putting a tax return in the mail.

The Department has information on its Web site at tax.virginia.gov about all the available electronic filing options, including its free iFile program, which most individuals can use to file their Virginia taxes. When taxpayers finish filing their state returns with iFile they have the option of commenting about their experience. The vast majority of comments are very positive. Here are some comments from 2008 filers:

  • "This is the second year I have used it and I am still impressed by it."
  • "It is so much easier than filling out the paper forms. I will definitely use this again."
  • "This is a great asset to the citizens of Virginia."
  • "If I had known it was this easy I would have used it sooner!"
  • "You have definitely made the process user friendly."
  • "Thank you for making tax time a bit easier."
  • "I have been using iFile for several years now and I highly recommend it to other taxpayers."

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For Immediate Release
Date: 02/29/2008
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-3507, joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Tax Commissioner Tells Dealers to Stop Collecting New Motor Vehicle Repair Tax

~ Announcement Comes on Heels of Virginia Supreme Court Decision ~

RICHMOND, Va. - Tax Commissioner Janie E. Bowen announced Friday that businesses in Northern Virginia should stop collecting a recently imposed regional retail sales tax on motor vehicle repair services and labor immediately.

Bowen's announcement follows a finding Friday by the Virginia Supreme Court in the case of Marshall v. Northern Virginia Transportation Authority that the Authority has no constitutional right to impose taxes.

"In view of the Supreme Court decision, we want to ensure that dealers know that they are no longer required to collect this special tax from their customers," Bowen said.

Dealers will receive official written notification from the Department of Taxation to stop collecting the tax.

Bowen also emphasized that the court's decision has no effect on the collection of the general retail sales and use tax, or the 2 percent motor vehicle fuel sales tax that is collected in the Northern Virginia and Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Districts.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 01/15/2008
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507

E-file your Tax Return this Year For the Fastest Refund Turnaround

~ Federal AMT Issue Won't Hold Up Virginia Tax Returns ~

RICHMOND, VA - Are you expecting a tax refund this year?
If so, you should consider doing what the majority of Virginians did last year - file your income tax return online.

A record 1.8 million tax returns were filed electronically in Virginia last year as taxpayers continued to discover the many benefits of filing their tax returns online instead of on paper.

Not only is electronic filing, or e-filing, the fastest way to get your tax refund, it is also the easiest way to file because you can file anytime you want as long as you have a computer and an Internet connection. For both speed and safety, e-filing certainly beats dropping your tax return in a mailbox.

E-filing your return also makes sense because when you use software to prepare your tax return, all calculations are done for you by the software, virtually eliminating the chance for mathematical error.

Those who have their tax returns prepared by an accountant or other tax professional should request that their returns be submitted online.

"Filing online is a true win-win for both taxpayers and the Commonwealth," said Tax Commissioner Janie E. Bowen. "Both save money and time with online filing, and we can get refunds into the hands of taxpayers who e-file much faster than those who file on paper. E-filing really streamlines the process."

The Tax Department has information on its Web site about all the electronic filing options available to taxpayers, including its free iFile program. To find out more, click on the "Quick as a Click" icon on the agency's home page at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/.

Don't Let Federal AMT Issue Hold Up your State Return

Taxpayers who are required to submit certain forms associated with the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) must wait until Feb. 11 to file their federal tax returns, following recent action by Congress. (Go to IRS.gov for more information.)

This will not, however, prevent Virginians from filing their state tax returns. Once taxpayers have determined their Federal Adjusted Gross Income, they can complete and file their state returns.

Taxpayers who have their tax returns prepared professionally and are required to submit one of the AMT forms specified by IRS for their federal filing may request that their Virginia returns be submitted separately.

For more information, contact TAX's Customer Service Department at (804) 367-8031.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 09/27/2007
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov; Ginny Slaughter, Public Relations Specialist (804)-786-3455 virginia.slaughter@tax.virginia.gov

New Sales Tax Holiday to Save Energy, Taxes and Help the Environment

~ No Sales Tax Will Be Charged on Certain Energy Star-Rated Products ~

RICHMOND, Va.- Want to save money on energy and taxes, while helping the environment? You won't want to miss Virginia's first Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday, which begins Friday, Oct. 5, and continues through Monday, Oct. 8.

During the four-day tax holiday, sales tax will not be charged in Virginia on purchases of certain Energy Star-rated products priced at $2,500 or less per item. The purchases must be for noncommercial or personal use.

While the list of exempt products includes large-ticket items like air conditioners, refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines, it also includes compact fluorescent light bulbs and programmable thermostats. Energy Star-rated ceiling fans and dehumidifiers are also on the list. The sales-tax exemption also applies to purchases of used Energy Star products that meet the qualifications.

The Virginia Department of Taxation has posted guidelines, frequently-asked questions and a list of approved Energy Star items on its Web site. Click http://www.tax.virginia.gov/ to go to the Department's new Sales Tax Holiday Information Center.

The Energy Star label means a product meets strict energy-efficiency criteria set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Most Energy Star-qualified products use about 30 percent less energy than conventional models. Compact fluorescent light bulbs, however, can save users up to 80 percent of the energy cost when compared with using traditional light bulbs.

"This holiday goes along very nicely with the Virginia Energy Plan that Governor Tim Kaine recently released," said Tax Commissioner Janie E. Bowen. "We should all be thinking of things we can do to help the environment and this makes perfect sense. Not only can people save sales tax money now, they will also be saving energy costs for years to come."

On-line purchases of qualifying Energy Star products will also be exempt from the sales tax as long as the orders are placed during the Oct. 5-8 exemption period and the sellers have the items available for immediate shipment.

In addition to exempting certain Energy Star products from the sales tax during the four-day tax holiday, retailers may also choose to "absorb" the sales tax on any nonexempt merchandise they sell. Retailers who voluntarily absorb the sales tax must pay the tax themselves to the Department.

The Energy Star holiday was approved by the 2007 General Assembly. During the same session, legislators approved a third sales tax holiday for Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness Equipment. The Tax Department will publish guidelines, FAQs and a list of qualifying items for this holiday in the spring. This holiday will take place May 25-31, 2008. Virginia's first annual sales tax holiday - for certain school supplies, clothing and footwear - began in August 2006.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 08/23/2007
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov; Ginny Slaughter, Public Relations Specialist (804)-786-3455 virginia.slaughter@tax.virginia.gov

New Home-Based Jobs Coming To Danville/Martinsville Region

~ The Department of Taxation Is Creating over 50 New Telework Jobs ~

RICHMOND, VA - As part of Governor Timothy M. Kaine's initiatives to bring new jobs to areas with high unemployment and to increase the number of people working from home in Virginia, the Department of Taxation is creating more than 50 new telework jobs in the Danville/Martinsville region.

Hiring for the positions will take place in two phases. The first phase is a job fair in Danville next week to interview applicants for 25 Customer Service Representative positions that pay $13.21 per hour to start. These jobs can qualify for a raise and a $300 bonus after six months, and a $500 bonus after one year.

These jobs are part-time - 30 hours a week - and do not include state benefits. The job fair will be held at the old Pepsi Bottling Co. building at 661 Craghead St. Danville Deputy City Manager Lyle Lacy was instrumental in obtaining the building for the Department's use.

The job fair will take place Tuesday, Aug. 28, from 4-8 p.m., and Wednesday, Aug. 29, from 9 a.m. to noon. IMPORTANT: Before attending the job fair, applicants must first apply on-line at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/ and then bring printouts of their applications to the job fair.

The new employees will go through 12 weeks of training at the New College Institute in Martinsville. NCI offered its facility and equipment to support the training.

The second hiring phase will take place in February when the Department will hire 30 seasonal Data Capture Operators to work during the busy tax-filing season.

All new Department employees hired in the Danville/Martinsville region will be provided with computers and high-speed Internet connections.

The Tax Department serves as the Governor's Model Agency for Telework and currently has over 50 percent of its eligible employees working from home at least one day a week.

"We're very pleased to have the opportunity to help further the Governor's telework initiative, and to bring some new economic life to the Danville/Martinsville region," said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. "We take the Governor's desire to cut down on traffic and emissions seriously and I am thrilled with the higher productivity we are seeing from our telework program. I know we'll find some very qualified people to help us out in the Danville and Martinsville areas."

Visit http://www.tax.virginia.gov/ and click on "Careers/TAX Job Opportunities" to apply for the Customer Service positions or to find out more information.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 07/18/2007
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Need School Supplies, Clothing? Virginia's Second Sales Tax Holiday Coming in Early August

~ Rules Stay the Same; Shoppers Expected to Save $3.8 million ~

RICHMOND, VA - Need school supplies and clothing for the fall? Plan your shopping for the first weekend in August and you will save some money.

Virginia's second sales tax holiday is set for Friday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 5. During the three-day event, certain purchases will be exempt from the 5 percent state and local retail sales tax. Sales tax will not be charged on school supplies priced at $20 or less per item, or on articles of clothing, including footwear, costing $100 or less each.

The "holiday," approved unanimously by the 2006 General Assembly, will take place each year on the first Friday-Saturday-Sunday period in August. Earlier this year, the Legislature approved two additional sales tax holidays. A four-day tax holiday is set for October that exempts certain energy-efficient appliances. Another weeklong tax holiday will begin in May 2008 for purchasing equipment to prepare for hurricanes.

While there is no way to determine exactly how much taxpayers saved last year during the state's first sales tax holiday, savings were expected to be about $3.6 million. That jumps to an estimated $3.8 million for the 2007 back-to-school holiday.

The rules governing the 2007 August tax holiday are the same as last year. Information on the three tax holidays is available on the Virginia Department of Taxation's Web site at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/. This includes policy guidelines for the tax holiday, a list of frequently asked questions, an all-inclusive list of eligible school supplies, a representative list of eligible clothing, and a PowerPoint presentation.

"The state's first tax holiday was very popular last year as parents, students and others saved money on back-to-school purchases," said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. "We certainly expect this year's holiday to draw a lot of attention, too. It's perfect timing to get ready for the new school year, and will be especially helpful to families with more than one child."

All shoppers will avoid the sales tax when buying exempt items in Virginia during the tax holiday. There is no requirement that the purchases be made for a student or for school purposes.

In addition to the exempt items, retailers may also choose to pay the sales tax themselves on any nonexempt items they sell from Aug 3-5 and pass the 5 percent savings on to customers.

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For Release
Date: 07/17/2007
Contact: H. Keith Mawyer, Property Tax Manager, (804) 367-8020

Meeting Notice - State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC)

The Department of Taxation will host a meeting for the State Land Evaluation Advisory Council on Monday, 08/13/2007 at 11:00am.

Please refer to the meeting details for further information.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 04/18/2007
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Department of Taxation Grants Extension Following Virginia Tech Tragedy

~ Six- Month Filing, Payment Extension Granted~

RICHMOND, VA -- Tax Commissioner Janie E. Bowen has announced that Virginia will provide a six-month income tax filing and payment extension to those affected by the tragedy Monday at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia. This relief applies to the victims, their families, emergency responders and university students and employees and is consistent with the extension granted by the Internal Revenue Service.

"By granting this income tax filing and payment extension, the Tax Department is doing its small part to work with other state agencies to provide whatever support may be needed," said Tax Commissioner Janie E. Bowen. "At a time like this, families need to be together and concentrate all of their efforts on healing."

The relief announced today allows taxpayers affected by the events at Virginia Tech to have until November 1, 2007, to file and make payments associated with their 2006 individual tax returns due May 1. No filing and payment penalties will be due for those who qualify for this extension as long as the returns are filed and payments are made by November 1, 2007. This extension also applies to estimated payments due on May 1.

In order to claim this relief, taxpayers need to identify themselves by writing the words "Virginia Tech" across the top of the tax return. Individual income taxpayers who have questions should contact the Department at (804) 367-8031.

The Department will consider granting extensions for filing all other state taxes on a case-by-case basis for those affected by this tragedy. Those individuals needing an extension for filing other state taxes should call the Department at (804) 367-8037.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 03/14/2007
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Virginia Taxpayers Filing Electronic Returns at Record Pace This Year

RICHMOND, VA -- Virginia taxpayers are filing their income-tax returns over the Internet at a record pace this filing season.

With nearly half of the 2007 filing season complete, 75 percent of taxpayers are filing their Virginia income-tax returns electronically this year. This represents a 7 percent increase over the same period last year.

"More taxpayers are discovering how easy and efficient it is to e-file their tax returns," said Joel Davison, the agency's public relations manager. "Filing electronically reduces errors and delivers faster refunds, especially when combined with direct deposit."

By March 10, 995,827 taxpayers had filed their Virginia income tax returns using the Internet. This includes 913,844 who filed using the Internal Revenue Service's Free File Alliance program, commercial tax-preparation software, or tax professionals. Another 81,983 taxpayers filed using the Department of Taxation's free iFile Internet filing application, accessible on the agency's Web site at www.tax.virginia.gov.

Paper returns from 328,594 taxpayers had been received by March 10.

Last year, more than half of Virginia's 3.2 million individual taxpayers filed their tax returns online.

The Tax Department is promoting electronic filing this year because it speeds up return processing, reduces errors thanks to on-board calculators and navigational tools, and saves taxpayers money.

Many public libraries around the Commonwealth have partnered with the Department this year to help spread the word that e-filing state tax returns is easy, fast and safe. More than 85 libraries are hosting over 100 free informational seminars on "How to File your Taxes Electronically." The 90-minute seminars, which educate Virginia taxpayers on the various electronic filing methods, are being conducted by many local Commissioners of the Revenue and by Tax Department staff.

"Most taxpayers have only one interaction with the Tax Department during the year and that's when they file their taxes," said Davison. "We want to make that experience as pleasant and stress-free as possible for taxpayers. E-filing your taxes is the best way to streamline this process."

The Tax Department also has information on its Web site about all the electronic filing options available to taxpayers, including its free iFile program. To find out more, click on the "Quick as a Click" icon on the agency's home page at www.tax.virginia.gov. The site also has a complete schedule of the library e-file seminars, including locations, dates and times.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 01/24/2007
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Libraries, Tax Department Team Up to Educate Taxpayers on Benefits of Electronic Filing

~ Filing Tax Returns Online Is Fast, Easy and Secure ~

RICHMOND, VA -- More than half of Virginia's 3.2 million taxpayers filed their tax returns online last year. If they were due a refund and used direct deposit, they usually received their money within a few business days.

Another 1.2 million taxpayers, however, had their state tax returns prepared on a computer, but opted to submit them through the mail. Yet another segment of taxpayers is still filling out tax returns by hand and mailing them. Mailing paper tax returns, instead of filing them electronically, slows down the processing of refunds.

The Virginia Department of Taxation wants to streamline this process for taxpayers and many public libraries across Virginia are assisting in the effort to show taxpayers the many benefits of electronic filing. Between now and April 30, over 85 public libraries will host more than 100 seminars on "How to File your Tax Return Electronically." The free, 90-minute seminars will be conducted on weekdays, evenings and Saturdays by local Commissioners of the Revenue and Tax Department employees.

"Filing tax returns electronically makes good sense for Virginians and saves the Commonwealth money," said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. "This new partnership with local libraries is crucial in getting the word out and we are very grateful to them and to the Commissioners of the Revenue for helping us with this important education effort. We want all state taxpayers to know just how easy, safe and smart it is to file their tax returns online."

The online-filing seminars are open to the public, regardless of computer skill. A schedule of seminars, including locations, dates and times, is posted in each participating library and is also available on the Tax Department's website at www.tax.virginia.gov. Just click on the "Quick as a Click" icon to access this schedule as well as general information on electronic filing.

Along with speeding up the processing of refunds, especially when combined with direct deposit, filing tax returns online also reduces errors because tax-filing programs navigate taxpayers through the process with step-by-step instructions. These programs also have built-in calculators, which further reduces the chance for errors.

While the Tax Department is strongly encouraging online filing, the Department will still be mailing forms to taxpayers who filled out paper returns last year. The Department is no longer supplying libraries with paper forms, although master copies of the forms will be available for copying at libraries. Forms continue to be available for downloading from the agency's website, by calling the Tax Department, as well as at local Commissioner of the Revenue offices.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 10/02/2006
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

New Web Site Focusing on Delinquent Debtors Paying Off for Department of Taxation

RICHMOND, VA -- Several Virginia businesses have paid their back taxes to have their names removed from a new Virginia Department of Taxation Web site, while others have paid up to avoid appearing on the site.

In May, TAX started a pilot program listing businesses that owe substantial back taxes, penalties and interest on the agency's "Delinquent Debtors" Web site. This effort has already brought in more than $500,000 in overdue taxes.

When it was launched, the Delinquent Debtors site contained the names of 11 businesses. The site now lists 26 businesses, owing between $15,759 and $134,878. Five of the businesses are located in the Richmond area, while others are in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia and Hampton Roads.

Before a business is posted, TAX sends a certified letter informing the owner of the intent to publish the business name, address and the amount owed. The business then has 15 days to settle its debts or enter into an acceptable payment plan to resolve its tax liabilities. Once a business is listed, it will remain on the site until the debt is paid or a payment plan is arranged.

Of the businesses notified so far, seven either paid in full or made payment arrangements prior to being placed on the Web site, while another three businesses posted on the site were removed after paying what they owed.

"The success of similar programs in other states convinced us to try this as a way to encourage delinquent taxpayers to meet their obligations," said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. "This program is very inexpensive to run, yet proving to be very effective."

Before a business is listed on the Web site, found at www.tax.virginia.gov under "Delinquent Debtors," TAX has filed a memorandum of lien or secured a judgment against the business. TAX has made several attempts to collect this money. Collection efforts include bills, letters, and may also include phone calls from the agency's in-house collection unit and visits from its field collection staff. Most of the unresolved business debts involve sales and withholding taxes.

Virginia law gives the Department of Taxation discretionary authority to publish the names of delinquent taxpayers, but it had not exercised this authority before this year.

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For Release
Date: 09/05/2006
Contact: H. Keith Mawyer, Property Tax Manager, (804) 367-8020

Meeting Notice - State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC)

The Department of Taxation will host a meeting for the State Land Evaluation Advisory Council on Tuesday, 09/11/2006 at 11:00am.

Please refer to the meeting details for further information.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 08/02/2006
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507, joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Tax Department Extends Customer Service Hours to Answer Sales Tax Holiday Questions

RICHMOND, VA - The Virginia Department of Taxation is extending its customer service hours to answer questions about Virginia's first sales tax holiday, which occurs Friday, Aug. 4 through Sunday, Aug. 6.

Tax Department customer service representatives will be prepared to answer questions about the sales tax holiday until 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 4, and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5. The number to call is (804) 367-8037. The Department will be closed on Sunday, Aug. 6. For further details about the "holiday," check the agency's special sales tax holiday Web site -- http://www.tax.virginia.gov/salestaxholiday.

"We want to make sure people who still have questions about the sales tax holiday get the information they need to take advantage of this opportunity," said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen.

A sales tax holiday is a temporary period when the retail sales tax is not collected or payable on exempted items. Virginia's General Assembly unanimously approved the state's first sales tax holiday earlier this year. During Virginia's "holiday," retailers will not charge the 5 percent sales tax on selected school supplies priced at $20 or less per item, or on clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less per article or pair. An all-inclusive list of school supplies and a representative list of clothing qualifying for the exemption are available on the sales tax holiday Web site. Retailers who sell the exempted items are required to participate in the sales tax holiday.

Anyone who wants to purchase tax-free school supplies, clothing or footwear may do so during the three-day "holiday." There is no requirement that items purchased be intended for school-related purposes.

Businesses may also voluntarily "absorb" the sales tax for customers on non-exempt items they sell during the three-day period. However, retailers who absorb the sales tax on non-exempt items must pay the sales tax to the Commonwealth. This means that all retailers have the opportunity to participate in the sales tax holiday.

The "holiday" is expected to save shoppers about $3.6 million in retail sales tax. The three-day "holiday" will take place each year beginning on the first Friday in August and ending at midnight on the following Sunday.

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For Release
Date: 07/26/2006
Contact: H. Keith Mawyer, Property Tax Manager, (804) 367-8020

Meeting Notice - State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC)

The Department of Taxation will host a meeting for the State Land Evaluation Advisory Council on Tuesday, 09/11/2006 at 11:00am.

Please refer to the meeting details for further information.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 06/23/2006
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507, joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Guidelines for Virginia's First Sales Tax Holiday Published Today by Department of Taxation

RICHMOND, VA - Guidelines and rules for Virginia's first sales tax holiday were published today by the Department of Taxation to provide information for both consumers and retailers. The Department also published a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to show how the guidelines and rules will be applied during the sales tax holiday, to take place Aug. 4-6 this year.

During the sales tax holiday, retailers will not charge the 5 percent retail sales tax on purchases of school supplies costing $20 or less per item, or clothing, including footwear, priced at $100 or less per article. Included as part of the guidelines are an all-inclusive list of school supplies eligible for the sales-tax exemption and a representative list of clothing eligible for the exemption.  All retailers who sell the exempt items must participate in the "holiday."

The guidelines and FAQs are posted on the Department's Web site at

www.tax.virginia.gov/salestaxholiday.

"The Department worked closely with retailers and retail organizations in developing these guidelines and rules over the past several weeks," said Joel Davison, the agency's Public Relations Manager. "The new documents posted on our Web site should answer a lot of the questions that both shoppers and retailers may have about the sales tax holiday."

In addition to exempting school supplies and clothing from the sales tax during the three-day "holiday," retailers may also choose to "absorb" the sales tax on any non-exempt merchandise they sell. Retailers who voluntarily absorb the sales tax must pay the tax themselves to the Department.

"This means that retailers who don't sell school supplies, clothing and footwear may also participate in the holiday, if they so choose," Davison said. "We expect many stores to take advantage of this."

The 11-page FAQs address general questions that consumers and retailers may have about the "holiday," plus a number of specific questions, such as how layaways, gift certificates, rain checks, returns and telephone sales will be handled.

The sales tax holiday was unanimously approved by the General Assembly earlier this year. It will take place each year beginning on the first Friday of August and ending at midnight on the following Sunday.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 06/05/2006
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507, joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Sales Tax Holiday Should Bring Shoppers Out In Droves to Save on School Supplies, Clothes

RICHMOND, VA - Earlier this year the General Assembly unanimously approved a three-day period in August during which certain purchases will be exempt from the 5 percent state and local retail sales tax. Sales tax will not be charged on school supplies priced at $20 or less per item, or articles of clothing, including footwear, costing $100 or less.

The "holiday" will take place each year on the first Friday-Saturday-Sunday period in August. This year, the exemption period will be Aug. 4-6.

Starting today, information on the sales tax holiday, including a PowerPoint presentation, is available on the Virginia Department of Taxation's Web site at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/site.cfm?alias=STHoliday. Click on the sales tax holiday logo in the upper right-hand corner of the Department's home page to access the information. Policy guidelines, a list of frequently asked questions, an all-inclusive list of eligible school supplies, and a representative list of eligible clothing will soon be added to the Web site.

"We estimate that shoppers will save about $3.6 million in retail sales tax during the Commonwealth's first sales tax holiday in August as they buy back-to-school supplies and clothing," said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. "This can make a big difference for parents, especially those shopping for more than one child."

Governor Timothy M. Kaine signed the legislation into law on Friday, June 2.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 05/16/2006
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Delinquent Taxpayers Posted On Web Site

Department of Taxation pilots new collection tool

RICHMOND, VA -- The Virginia Department of Taxation has a new tool for collecting unpaid taxes -- the Internet.

The Department has started a new pilot program by publishing on its Web site a list of 11 businesses that owe the Commonwealth substantial back taxes, penalties and interest. These businesses have not responded to several attempts to collect this money. More names will be added to the list.

"Many other states have found this to be an inexpensive yet very effective tool in collecting unpaid taxes," said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen. "Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes and this is money that the state should have received a long time ago."

Seventeen other states and the District of Columbia currently post lists of delinquent taxpayers on their Web sites. Maryland has collected over $14 million since its Web program began in 2000.

Virginia law gives the Department of Taxation discretionary authority to publish the names of delinquent taxpayers, but it has not exercised this authority before now.

The businesses listed on the Department's Web site, found at www.tax.virginia.gov under "Delinquent Debtors," have all had Memorandums of Lien, or judgments, filed against them in circuit courts in their area. The Memorandums of Lien are public information. The initial list includes businesses in Richmond, Danville, Lynchburg, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Chester, Chesterfield and Chantilly. The Department has made several attempts to collect this money. Collection efforts include bills, letters, and may also include phone calls from the Department's in-house collection unit and visits from its field collection staff.

Before the businesses were posted, they were sent certified letters informing them of the intent to publish their names. They had 15 days to either settle their debts or set up an acceptable installment payment plan to resolve their tax liabilities. The program has already paid dividends. Two of the businesses receiving the certified notices paid approximately $224,000 in back taxes, while another business entered into a payment plan.

Most of the unresolved business debts involve sales and withholding taxes. In the case of sales taxes, nearly half of the 5 percent sales tax collected is distributed back to the localities.

"This is another attempt to get the attention of these businesses before we possibly take more serious measures, such as padlocking the business," said Bowen.

A business will remain on the Department's Web site until it pays its debt, arranges a payment plan, or declares bankruptcy.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 03/31/2006
Contact: Kevin Hall (804) 225-4260 Governor's Office, Joel Davison (804) 786-3507 Department of Taxation

Governor Kaine Announces Retirement of Tax Commissioner Ken Thorson
~ Appoints 28-year veteran Janie Bowen as successor ~

RICHMOND -- Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced the retirement of Virginia Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson, effective May 1, 2006. Thorson, who has served as Tax Commissioner since May 2002, is leaving after a combined 22 years of state government service. Governor Kaine also announced the appointment of Janie E. Bowen to succeed Thorson as commissioner.

Thorson, 65, has had a varied and successful career in Virginia government, including serving as the initial Director of the Virginia Lottery, and serving as the Chief of the Finance and Taxation section at the Office of the Attorney General.

"Ken has made tremendous contributions to the Commonwealth, and I thank him for delaying his retirement in order to lend his knowledge, experience, and credibility to the opening months of my administration," Governor Kaine said. "Ken's commitment to efficient customer service and good government sets a standard for all of us in public service."

Janie Bowen, 52, will be the fifth Tax Commissioner in the 79-year history of the Department, and its first woman Commissioner. Bowen, a Charlottesville native, currently serves in the Governor's Cabinet as Deputy Secretary of Finance after working for the Department of Taxation for 28 years. In 2005, Bowen received a national award for leadership and service in state tax administration. Bowen received a degree in political science from the University of Georgia, and did her graduate work in public administration at the University of Virginia.

"Janie brings impressive experience to her new position as Tax Commissioner, and I am confident that the Department of Taxation will benefit through her continued leadership," Governor Kaine said.

The Virginia Department of Taxation administers 30 state taxes, including income taxes, sales and use taxes, and miscellaneous excise taxes. The Department has long been recognized as one of the better administered tax systems in the country. The Department employs more than 850 classified employees, with a main office located in Richmond and one district office located in Norfolk.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 03/17/2006
Contact: Kristy L. Smith, Public Relations Specialist,(804)786-3455, kristy.smith@tax.virginia.gov

Gov. Kaine Signs Legislation Allowing Many Virginians To Take Advantage of Federal Tax Law Changes on Their Virginia Income Tax Return

Important Information For Virginia Taxpayers To Know For Filing Their 2005 Individual Income Tax Returns

RICHMOND, Va. - Governor Timothy M. Kaine has signed legislation that moves the date of conformity to the Internal Revenue Code forward to December 31, 2005. This will allow Virginia taxpayers to take advantage of federal tax law changes enacted in 2005, including the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005, the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005, and the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005. Because many taxpayers are now filing their 2005 Virginia income tax returns, it is important that they be aware of how this legislation will affect them.

The most significant effect of this change is to allow Virginia taxpayers to take advantage of the enhanced deductions for charitable contributions. Individuals may take an unlimited deduction for all cash donations to a charitable organization for the period beginning on August 28, 2005, and ending on December 31, 2005. In addition, corporations may take an unlimited deduction for all cash donations made for Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, or Rita during the same time period. This expanded deduction would not have been available to Virginia taxpayers without this legislation.

Contributions made by individuals to charitable organizations are generally limited to 50 percent of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income for the tax year. Corporations are generally limited to claiming deductions of no more than 10 percent of its taxable income for the year.

Although Virginia will conform generally to all federal changes to the Internal Revenue Code through December 31, 2005, two exceptions will continue: Virginia does not conform to any bonus depreciation allowed for certain assets under federal income taxation and any five year carry-back of certain net operating losses (NOL) allowed for NOLs generated in either taxable year 2001 or 2002.

More detailed information about Virginia's conformity to the Internal Revenue Code and how Virginia individual and corporate taxpayers who qualify for the higher contribution levels should complete their Virginia tax returns is available in the Virginia Dept. of Taxation's Tax Bulletin No. 06-1.

For a copy of the Department's Tax Bulletin No. 06-1 and answers to other questions, visit The Virginia Dept. of Taxation website at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/, or call (804) 367-8031 for individual income tax questions or (804) 367-8037 for corporate income tax questions.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 03/02/2006
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.davison@tax.virginia.gov

Taxpayers Find Free Filing Is Fast and Easy

RICHMOND, Va. -- If you have a computer and Internet access, filing your individual state taxes in Virginia is easy, fast, safe -- and free. Filing your return electronically will also get your tax refund to you much sooner than filing a paper return.

The Virginia Department of Taxation's electronic filing service -- iFile -- has grown steadily in use since it was introduced in 2001 as taxpayers have discovered how simple and efficient it is. This year the Department projects that more than 202,000 Virginia taxpayers will use iFile to file their 2005 individual income taxes, up nearly 11 percent from last filing season. This year, nearly 75,000 taxpayers had already used iFile by the end of February.

Using iFile has a number of advantages for the taxpayer, according to Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson.

"While no one looks forward to filing their taxes, our iFile service makes the process much easier for Virginia taxpayers than filing a paper return," said Thorson. "Not only is iFile convenient, secure and easy to use, it reduces errors and speeds processing which gets refunds into taxpayers' hands sooner when combined with direct deposit."

Taxpayers using iFile can complete an optional survey after filing, and the vast majority of comments are positive. Here is some recent iFile feedback:

  • "This is so convenient and, of course, I appreciate the fact that it's free!"
  • "This is a great service -- very fast, easy and confidential to use."
  • "I have used your service ever since it became available and I think it is wonderful!"
  • "This is my first time using iFile and I found it to be very easy to understand."

In order to use iFile, a taxpayer must have previously filed income taxes in Virginia -- either in paper or electronic form -- anytime from 1999-2004. There are a few other restrictions for using iFile, including not being able to file Schedule CR (for most credits), a 760PY form for part-year residents, a 763 form for nonresidents, a 770 form for fiduciary income, or amended returns.

But most individual Virginia taxpayers can use iFile. To find out more, go to the agency's Web site at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/ and click the iFile icon.

Along with iFile returns, the Department last year received another 1.3 million returns from other electronic sources, such as professional tax preparers and those who use tax-preparation software. This year that number is projected to rise above 1.5 million returns.

The deadline for filing Virginia individual income tax returns is May 1.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 02/27/2006
Contact: Kristy L. Smith, Public Relations Specialist (804) 786-3455, kristy.smith@tax.virginia.gov

Tax Commissioner Grants More Filing Extensions for Hurricane Katrina Victims

RICHMOND, VA -- Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson announced today that further relief would be granted to certain Virginia taxpayers directly affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Individuals and businesses in the most severely damaged parishes and counties of Louisiana and Mississippi automatically have through Aug. 28, 2006, to file returns and make tax payments that had a due date, or an extended due date, on or after Aug. 29, 2005, and on or before Aug. 28, 2006. The Department's action mirrors similar relief granted by the Internal Revenue Service.

The automatic postponement applies to taxpayers in the following Louisiana parishes: Cameron, Jefferson, Orleans, Palquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, and St. Tammany. The automatic postponement also applies to taxpayers in the following Mississippi counties: Hancock, Harrison and Jackson. Taxpayers outside of these areas who suffered severe hurricane damage may also request an extension.

To qualify for this special filing extension, taxpayers must be unable to meet their filing obligations because the financial books and records they need to file their taxes are located in these parishes and counties or are otherwise unavailable because of severe hurricane damage.

To receive the special Aug. 28, 2006 filing extension, taxpayers should write "Hurricane Katrina" at the top of their returns. The Virginia Department of Taxation will abate interest and any late-filing or late-payment penalties that would otherwise apply.

To check the specific locations that have been determined to be covered disaster areas, go to http://www.irs.gov/, click on "Help for Hurricane Victims" and then click on the heading "IRS Postpones Until Aug. 28, 2006, Taxpayer Deadlines in Areas Hit Hardest By Katrina" for information.

Individual income tax filers who have questions should contact the Department at (804) 367-8031. Business taxpayers should call (804) 367-8037 for assistance.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 01/31/2006
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507 joel.Davison@tax.virginia.gov

Higher Filing Thresholds Mean Some Virginians Can Avoid Filing Taxes

RICHMOND, Va. -- If you are single and earned less than $7,000 in 2005, or you and your spouse together made less than $14,000, you are not required to file a state tax return this year.

Higher filing thresholds were part of a new tax structure proposed by former Gov. Mark R. Warner and approved by the 2004 General Assembly. The adopted tax-reform package also included two key changes to the withholding tax tables that determine take-home pay, as well as the tables used to compute one?s income tax liability.

Along with higher filing thresholds, which mark the minimum income at which taxpayers are required to file a state income tax return, the General Assembly also approved an increase in the personal exemption, and raised the standard deduction for married taxpayers.

The personal exemption increases from $800 to $900 beginning with 2005 taxes filed this year. This increase does not apply to the additional personal exemptions allowed for taxpayers age 65 and over or for the blind, which remain at $800.

The standard deduction increases from $5,000 to $6,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, while the standard deduction for married taxpayers filing separately goes from $2,500 to $3,000. The standard deduction for single taxpayers remains at $3,000.

"The changes in the filing thresholds will provide some tax relief for Virginians who need it the most," said Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson. "Increasing the personal exemption will benefit all those who file state individual income taxes in the Commonwealth. The changes in the standard deduction and the filing thresholds mean Virginia has now eliminated the so-called marriage penalty."

The previous filing thresholds for filing income taxes were $5,000 for individuals and $8,000 for married taxpayers.

Filing thresholds are based on Virginia adjusted gross income (VAGI), not on Virginia taxable income. The adjusted gross income is computed first, before deductions and exemptions are subtracted to determine taxable income. Beginning last year, taxpayers who anticipated their VAGI would be below the new filing thresholds could choose not to have withholding deducted from their wages.

However, taxpayers whose VAGI for 2005 was below the filing thresholds, but had withholding deducted from their checks, should file a Virginia return to receive a full refund of their withholding.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 11/02/2005
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507

Tax Relief Granted for Victims of Hurricane Wilma

RICHMOND, VA - Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson announced today that special relief would be granted to Virginia taxpayers directly affected by Hurricane Wilma's destruction in Florida.

A filing-deadline extension has been granted until Feb. 28, 2006 for returns and payments due on or after Oct. 23, 2005. This extension will apply to returns and payments for sales, withholding and other taxes due during this period, income tax returns under an extension that expires during this period, and to estimated income tax payments due during this period. The Feb. 28, 2006 extension date is the same date granted recently to Virginia taxpayers affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

To qualify for this special filing extension, taxpayers must be unable to meet their Virginia filing obligations because the financial books and records they need to file their taxes are located in one or more of the areas in Florida designated as eligible for individual and public federal disaster assistance. In addition, all relief workers affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization assisting in the relief activities in the covered disaster area are also eligible for relief.

"This mirrors relief granted by the Internal Revenue Service and primarily affects multistate businesses with headquarters, financial accounting centers, or major operations in the affected areas," said Thorson. "We will continue to monitor the situation, as well as any relief provided by the IRS, and will resolve other Virginia tax-administration issues as they arise."

To receive the special Feb. 28, 2006 filing extension, taxpayers should write "Hurricane Wilma" in red at the top of their returns. The Virginia Department of Taxation will abate interest and any late-filing or late-payment penalties that would otherwise apply.

The Florida counties included in the federal disaster area are: Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Indian River, Lee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk, St. Lucie and Sarasota.

Individual income tax filers who have questions should contact the Department of Taxation at (804) 367-8031. Business taxpayers should call (804) 367-8037 for assistance.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 09/27/2005
Contact: JOEL

Tax Commissioner Grants Filing Extensions For Rita, Extends Filing Due Dates for Katrina

RICHMOND, VA - Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson announced today that special relief would be granted to Virginia taxpayers directly affected by the devastation of Hurricane Rita.

A filing-deadline extension has been granted until Feb. 28, 2006 for returns and payments due on or after Sept. 23, 2005. This extension will apply to returns and payments for sales, withholding and other taxes due during this period, income tax returns under an extension that expires during this period, and to estimated income tax payments due during this period.

To qualify for this special filing extension, taxpayers must be unable to meet their filing obligations because the financial books and records they need to file their taxes are located in those counties and parishes designated as eligible for individual and public federal disaster assistance in Texas and Louisiana.

"This primarily affects multistate businesses with headquarters, financial accounting centers, or major operations in the affected areas," said Thorson. "We will continue to monitor the situation in the Gulf Coast area, as well as any relief provided by the IRS, and will resolve other Virginia tax-administration issues as they arise."

To receive the special Feb. 28, 2006 filing extension, taxpayers should write "Hurricane Rita" in red at the top of their returns. The Virginia Department of Taxation will abate interest and any late-filing or late-payment penalties that would otherwise apply.

To check the specific locations that have been declared eligible for federal disaster assistance, go to http://www.irs.gov/, then click on "Help for Hurricane Victims" for information.

In addition, the due dates for victims of Hurricane Katrina, previously extended to Jan. 3, 2006, are similarly extended to Feb. 28, 2006.

Individual income tax filers who have questions should contact the Department at (804) 367-8031; business taxpayers should call (804) 367-8037 for assistance.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 09/16/2005
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507

Katrina Victims Not Taxed on Relief Card Purchases

RICHMOND, VA - Essential items purchased by Hurricane Katrina victims using debit cards and vouchers issued by the American Red Cross and the federal government will not be subject to Virginia sales tax, Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson announced today.

Under a Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) pilot program, many adult victims of Hurricane Katrina have been issued debit cards for buying food, transportation, clothes, gas and other essentials. The Red Cross is also assisting Katrina refugees by handing out vouchers and its own debit cards, called "Client Assistance Cards," to many Katrina victims. The debit cards may be used at any retail location that accepts bankcards, or at any automated teller machine (ATM).

FEMA has also provided additional help by issuing checks and making direct deposits into some victims' personal bank accounts.

Whenever the special debit cards or vouchers are used to purchase essential items in Virginia, the transactions will not be subject to state or local sales tax. This exemption applies only when a purchase is made directly with one of these debit cards or vouchers. It does not apply when a card is used to withdraw cash from an ATM for making a purchase. The exemption also does not apply when a purchase is made with funds drawn from a personal bank account, even if the funds represent contributions received entirely from the government.

"We understand that there are now more than 12,000 people in Virginia who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina and who have registered for assistance here," said Thorson. "Many Katrina victims are sure to have these special debit cards and vouchers, and removing the sales tax for direct purchases will help make the money go a little further in buying the things they need to survive."

Virginia law also lets businesses donate inventory items, such as bottled water, nonperishable food, clothing or building supplies, to qualifying nonprofit organizations without incurring a sales tax liability.

The Virginia Department of Taxation is issuing a Tax Bulletin with additional details for retailers on how to handle the transactions.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 09/12/2005
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507

Tax Commissioner Grants Katrina Filing Extensions

 

Relief Applies Mostly to Multistate Businesses


RICHMOND, VA - Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson announced today that special relief would be granted to Virginia taxpayers directly affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

A filing-deadline extension has been granted until Jan. 3, 2006 for returns and payments due on or after Aug. 29, 2005. This extension will apply to returns and payments for sales, withholding and other taxes due during this period, income tax returns under an extension that expires during this period, and to estimated income tax payments due during this period.

To qualify for this special filing extension, taxpayers must be unable to meet their filing obligations because the financial books and records they need to file their taxes are located in those counties and parishes designated as Presidential Disaster Areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

"This primarily affects multistate businesses with headquarters, financial accounting centers, or major operations in the affected areas," said Thorson. "If the IRS further extends these deadlines in the future, we will almost certainly follow suit to help these taxpayers."

To receive the special Jan. 3, 2006 filing extension, taxpayers should write "Hurricane Katrina" at the top of their returns. The Virginia Department of Taxation will abate interest and any late-filing or late-payment penalties that would otherwise apply.

To check the specific locations that have been declared Presidential Disaster Areas, go tohttp://www.irs.gov/, click on "Helping Hurricane Katrina Victims" and then click on the heading "Tax Relief and Other Assistance for Hurricane Victims" for information.

Individual income tax filers who have questions should contact the Department at (804) 367-8031; business taxpayers should call (804) 367-8037 for assistance.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 06/17/2005
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507

Bowen Earns National Honor for Leadership, Service

RICHMOND, VA. - The Federation of Tax Administrators has singled out a key leader in the Virginia Department of Taxation for a national honor.

Janie Bowen, Executive Commissioner of the Office of Policy and Administration, received the FTA's 2005 Award for Leadership and Service on Monday, June 13, at its Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

The award is given each year to an individual "who has demonstrated sustained and significant service in the administration of state taxes," according to the FTA. It lauded Bowen for devoting "her entire professional career to public service" at the Department of Taxation and for being the lead spokesperson for the agency before the Virginia General Assembly.

"Janie's expansive knowledge and experience have served us well at Tax, and helped the department distinguish itself as one of the most forward-thinking tax agencies in the country," said Kenneth W. Thorson, Tax Commissioner. "We, as well as the citizens of the Commonwealth, are indeed very fortunate to have Janie here at Tax."

FTA judges cited Bowen for her contributions to both tax policy and flexibility within tax administration. They noted that she has managed or held executive oversight for virtually every function in the agency, with the exception of information technology and processing. On two different occasions, Bowen held two executive level positions at the same time.

"This is truly a wonderful honor," said Bowen. "Over the years, I have had the good fortune to work with many talented and dedicated state employees and they are really deserving of this recognition."

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For Immediate Release
Date: 03/30/2005
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507

'Son of Boss' Program Paying Off for Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia's partnership efforts with the Internal Revenue Service in identifying and collecting from taxpayers involved in an abusive tax shelter known as "Son of Boss" are paying off for the Commonwealth.

Last year, Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson signed an agreement with the IRS for the sharing of federal tax agency information with Virginia on Son of Boss audits and other tax shelter abuses. The intent was to crack down on tax evaders who were generating artificial paper losses on their tax returns through basis shifting on bond and option sales. The scheme was marketed in the 1990s to entrepreneurs and companies seeking to shelter large gains from the sale of a business or capital assets and sometimes was used with executive stock options. The IRS declared the transactions illegal in 2000. "Son of Boss" is a spinoff of an older tax shelter called "Boss."

This compliance initiative has already resulted in tax assessments totaling $10.8 million in Virginia, plus another $4 million in state penalties and interest, and more than $515,000 resulting from amended returns voluntarily submitted by taxpayers who had declared the artificial losses. Of this $15.3 million assessed, $11.3 million has already been collected for the Commonwealth, so far. The effort has also prevented another $188 million in Son of Boss "losses" from being declared on Virginia state tax returns.

"This is another good example of how cooperation and information sharing between the IRS and Virginia in rooting out abusive tax-avoidance schemes benefits the Commonwealth," said Thorson. "We will continue to be aggressive in dealing with those who look for ways to avoid paying their fair share of the tax burden."

Along with Virginia, several other states have also signed on to the IRS initiative and assessed more than $34 million in taxes, interest and penalties. These states are Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Utah. Only one state - Maryland with $17.4 million in "Son of Boss" assessments - has topped Virginia's $15.3 million.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 03/22/2005
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507

Virginia Department of Taxation Collects $25 Million in Delinquent Tax Debts Via Touch-Tone Telephone

RICHMOND, Va. - Governor Mark R. Warner today praised the efforts of the Virginia Department of Taxation for collecting over $25 million in delinquent state tax debts through a self-service, telephone-based collection tool.

"The Virginia Department of Taxation continues to leverage technology both to provide more convenient services for its customers and to increase state revenue," Gov. Warner said.

The program, dubbed Teleplan, allows individual and business taxpayers who owe taxes to the Commonwealth to set up payment plans by touch-tone telephone through an automated response system that does not require direct contact with a department employee. Not only does this reduce the number of calls handled by customer service representatives, Teleplan is also available to taxpayers 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling (804) 440-5100.

Re-engineering business processes and replacing obsolete technology to increase voluntary compliance is one of the leading goals of the Tax Department's ongoing public-private partnership with CGI-AMS, Inc. Implemented in December 2001, Teleplan is part of the department's new tax-collection system.

"Since inception, more than 44,500 customers have used Teleplan's automated software to arrange for payment of nearly $48 million in tax debts," said Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson. "Those customers have now paid over $25 million toward those debts.

"We anticipated that Teleplan might have to handle as many as 100 payment plans daily, but the system has been so successful, we have actually processed as many as 1,460 calls and set up 463 plans in a single day, averaging about $1,000 per plan," added Commissioner Thorson.

Teleplan continues to grow, with 64 percent more payment plans created during fiscal year 2005 than for the same period during fiscal year 2004. It recorded its first million-dollar month of collections last August, posting $1,004,212.

A taxpayer may arrange monthly or semimonthly payments through Teleplan if the amount owed, including penalties and interest, is between $25 and $50,000. Other restrictions for using Teleplan stipulate that there be no pending liens, criminal investigations, or collection efforts already underway. Individuals and businesses that contact Teleplan, but do not qualify to use the tool, will automatically be referred to the proper employee for negotiation of a payment arrangement, if possible.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 03/07/2005
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507

Numbers Growing for Electronic iFile Program

Free Tax Service Is Easy to Use

RICHMOND, Va., March 7, 2005 - Virginia taxpayers are finding a lot to like about iFile, the Department of Taxation's electronic filing service.  That's not hard to understand because iFile is easy to use, accurate, secure and free.
 
By early March, more than 82,000 individual income tax returns had been received by the department through iFile, or about 23 percent more than last year at this time.  The Internet filing service became available in 2001 and its use has grown every year.  This year, the department anticipates receiving at least 200,000 returns through iFile. 
 
Filing tax returns electronically has a number of advantages for the taxpayer. 
 
"Not only does electronic filing make it easier for taxpayers to file their taxes, it also speeds up processing, cuts the error rate substantially, and gets refunds in the taxpayers' hands much sooner," said Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson of the Department of Taxation. 
 
In order to use iFile, a taxpayer must have previously filed taxes in Virginia -  either in paper or electronic form - anytime from 1999-2003.  There are a few other restrictions for using iFile, including not being able to file the following: Schedule CR (for most credits), a 760PY form for part-year residents, a 763 form for nonresidents, a 770 form for fiduciary income, or amended returns.  
 
But most individual Virginia taxpayers can use iFile.  To find out more, go to the agency's Web site at www.tax.virginia.gov and click on the iFile icon.
 
Once taxpayers finish filing their taxes via iFile, they have the option of filling out an anonymous survey about their experience.  The vast majority of comments are positive.  Here is a sampling:  "This service is so easy to use!  It takes a lot of the stress out of filing taxes." "I was able not only to file my taxes on-line, but got information on past years' taxes, too." "It couldn't have been any easier.  Thanks for making our lives a little simpler!"

  • Want more information on iFile?
  • Want to schedule a newspaper, radio or TV interview (anywhere in the state)?  

CONTACT:     JOEL DAVISON, PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER
                     (804) 786-3507 JOEL.DAVISON@TAX.VIRGINIA.GOV

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For Immediate Release
Date: 10/28/2004
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507

Another Virginia County Designated for Tax Relief Due to Hurricane Jeanne

RICHMOND, Va. -- Another Virginia county has been added to a list of localities already designated for special tax-relief provisions due to the effects of Hurricane Jeanne, according to Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson.

"Affected residents and businesses" in Botetourt County are now eligible for relief. "Affected residents and businesses" include only those taxpayers whose principal residence or principal place of business is located in one of the designated localities, taxpayers whose tax records are located in these areas, and relief workers.

The previously announced areas designated for relief from Hurricane Jeanne are the independent cities of Salem and Roanoke, and the counties of Alleghany, Craig, Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Patrick and Roanoke.

If the President declares additional localities as disaster areas, they will also qualify for the relief granted by the Tax Commissioner. Please check our Web site for updates.

For complete information on the special tax relief granted by the Tax Commissioner, please read the original press release relating to Hurricane Jeanne, dated Oct. 26, 2004.

Individual income tax filers who have questions should contact the Department of Taxation at (804) 367-8031; business taxpayers should call (804) 367-8037.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 10/26/2004
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507

Two Cities, 7 Counties Designated for Special Tax Relief

RICHMOND, Va. -- Several state localities struck by the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne have been designated for special tax relief by the Virginia Department of Taxation, according to Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson. The two independent cities and seven counties have also qualified for federal tax relief.

"Affected residents and businesses" in the cities of Salem and Roanoke, and the counties of Alleghany, Craig, Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Patrick and Roanoke are eligible for state tax relief. "Affected residents and businesses" include only those taxpayers whose principal residence or principal place of business is located in one of the designated localities, taxpayers whose tax records are located in these areas, and relief workers. Additional Designated Counties.

Sales and Use Tax Returns: An extension is granted until Dec. 20, 2004 for taxpayers in the affected areas to file their returns and payments for the period ended Sept. 30, 2004 (normally due on Oct. 20).

Withholding Tax Returns: An extension is granted until Dec. 20, 2004 for taxpayers in the affected areas to file their monthly and quarterly returns and payments for the period ended Sept. 30, 2004 (normally due on Oct. 31).

Estimated Tax Payments and Income Tax Returns: Individual, fiduciary and corporate income tax filers whose returns and payments are due on or after Sept. 27, 2004 are granted an extension until Dec. 20, 2004 for filing and payment of the tax.

Other State Taxes Administered by the Department of Taxation: An automatic extension until Dec. 20, 2004 is granted for filing and paying any other state tax return due on or after Sept. 27, 2004.

The extensions also apply to filers who use electronic funds transfer (EFT) for payment. EFT filers in the affected areas should contact the Department of Taxation at (804) 367-8037 if they receive notices of penalty or interest.

Taxpayers in the affected areas DO NOT need to file an extension request. To obtain an automatic extension, taxpayers should write "Hurricane Jeanne" in bold print at the top of each return and file the return with full payment for the tax due on or before the extended due date. No penalty or interest will apply to returns filed on or before the extended due date.

If the President declares additional localities as disaster areas, they will also qualify for the relief granted by the Tax Commissioner. Please check our Web site for updates.

Additional extensions may be granted in hardship cases. Written requests for additional extensions should be emailed to taxes@tax.virginia.gov, or directed to:

Virginia Department of Taxation
Customer Service Section
Hurricane Jeanne Relief Extension
P.O. Box 1115
Richmond, VA 23218-1115

The Department of Taxation will work with taxpayers in the affected areas to minimize the impact of any collection enforcement activities that may be initiated through Dec. 20, 2004. Taxpayers notified of pending actions should contact the Department at (804) 367-8045 to discuss relief from actions that will create additional hardship in their recovery from the effects of the storm damages. The suspension of enforcement actions will not stop the accrual of interest on delinquent accounts.

Individual income tax filers who have questions should contact the Department at (804) 367-8031; business taxpayers should call (804) 367-8037 for assistance. Information is also available through the agency?s website at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/.

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For Release
Date: 09/24/2004
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507

Three More Virginia Counties Designated for Disaster Relief

RICHMOND, Va. - Three additional Virginia counties have been added to a list of localities already designated for special tax-relief provisions, due to the devastating effects of Tropical Depression Gaston and subsequent flooding, according to Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson.

"Affected residents and businesses" in Charles City, King William and New Kent counties are now eligible for relief."Affected residents and businesses" includes only those taxpayers whose principal residence or principal place of business is located in one of the designated localities, taxpayers whose tax records are located in these areas, and relief workers.

The other, previously announced areas designated for relief are the cities of Richmond, Hopewell, Colonial Heights and Petersburg, and the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Hanover, Henrico, and Prince George.

If the President declares additional localities as disaster areas, they will also qualify for the relief granted by the Tax Commissioner. Please check our Web site for updates.

For complete information on the special tax relief granted by the Tax Commissioner, please read the original press release relating to Tropical Depression Gaston, dated Sept. 10, 2004.

Individual income tax filers who have questions should contact the Department of Taxation at (804) 367-8031; business taxpayers should call (804) 367-8037.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 09/10/2004
Contact: Joel Davison, Public Relations Manager (804) 786-3507

Tax Commissioner Announces Flood Relief Provisions for Central Virginia

Following the designation of several localities in Central Virginia as federal disaster areas, Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson has announced special tax relief provisions for affected residents and businesses in the cities of Richmond, Hopewell, Colonial Heights and Petersburg, and the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Hanover, Henrico, and Prince George. These localities suffered extensive damage from Tropical Storm Gaston on August 30, 2004, and from subsequent flooding caused by the storm. Additional Designated Counties.

"Affected residents and businesses" includes only those taxpayers whose principal residence or principal place of business is located in one of the designated cities or counties, taxpayers whose tax records are located in those localities, and relief workers. The provisions for relief include:

Sales and Use Tax Returns: An extension is granted until November 20, 2004 for taxpayers in the affected areas to file their returns and payments for the periods ended August 31, 2004 (normally due on September 20), and September 30, 2004 (normally due on October 20).

Withholding Tax Returns: An extension is granted until November 20, 2004 for taxpayers in the affected areas to file their monthly and quarterly returns and payments for the periods ended August 31, 2004 (normally due on September 20), and September 30, 2004 (normally due on November 1). Semiweekly filers in those areas who had payments due on or after August 30, 2004 are granted an extension until September 30 to make their payments.

Estimated Tax Payments and Income Tax Returns: Individual, fiduciary and corporate income tax filers whose returns and payments are due on September 15, 2004 are granted an extension until November 20, 2004 for filing and payment of the tax.

Other State Taxes Administered by the Department of Taxation: An automatic extension until November 20, 2004 is granted for filing and paying any other state tax return due between August 30, 2004 and November 14, 2004.

The extensions also apply to filers who use electronic funds transfer (EFT) for payment. EFT filers in the affected areas should contact the Department of Taxation at (804) 367-8037 if they receive notices of penalty or interest.

Taxpayers in the designated areas do NOT need to file an extension request for the items noted above. To obtain an automatic extension, taxpayers should write "Tropical Storm Gaston Relief" in bold print at the top of each return and file the return with full payment for the tax due on or before the extended due date. No penalty or interest will apply to returns filed on or before the extended due date.

Additional extensions may be granted in hardship cases. Written requests for additional extensions should be emailed to taxes@tax.virginia.gov, or directed to:

Virginia Department of Taxation

Customer Service Section

Tropical Storm Gaston Relief Extension

P.O. Box 1115

Richmond, VA 23218-1115

The Department of Taxation will work with taxpayers in the affected areas to minimize the impact of any collection enforcement activities that may be initiated through November 20, 2004. Taxpayers notified of pending actions should contact the Department at (804) 367-8045 to discuss relief from actions that will create additional hardship in their recovery from the effects of the storm damages. The suspension of enforcement actions will not stop the accrual of interest on delinquent accounts.

Individual income tax filers who have questions should contact the Department at (804) 367-8031; business taxpayers should call (804) 367-8037 for assistance. Information is also available through the agency's website at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 05/26/2004
Contact: Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach (804) 786-3345

Virginia Department of Taxation Wins Three International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Awards

Virginia's Department of Taxation (TAX) recently captured international recognition for its highly successful advertising and public relations campaign to educate Virginia taxpayers on availability and features of the tax amnesty program conducted last fall. The tributes, two first place and one merit award, came from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) for the Virginia Tax Amnesty public awareness media campaign.

IABC presented the awards jointly to the Virginia Department of Taxation and CGI-AMS, formerly AMS, which co-managed the Amnesty program with TAX in collaboration with Barber Martin Advertising and The Hodges Partnership.

TAX and CGI-AMS entered three categories of the competition and received recognition in all three. IABC announced the coveted first place Gold Quill award to the Amnesty partners in each of two classes, the Marketing Communications and the Economic, Social & Environmental Development categories. Finally, for the category of Multi-Audience Communications, the Amnesty effort roped in a runner-up Merit Award for the team.

Awards were extended in 20 categories by the prestigious IABC organization with membership of more than 13,000 in 60 countries. For 25 years, a Gold Quill award has been considered the highest honor that business communicators can bestow on their peers to recognize excellence in communications. Both public and private organizations participate.

Tasked with the responsibility to educate delinquent taxpayers and the public about the availability and terms of the Amnesty Program, the campaign also was charged with motivating delinquents to catch up on their taxes. Primarily the handiwork of Barber Martin Advertising and The Hodges Partnership, the campaign was cleverly designed around the Tax Letterman icon, and integrated advertising, media relations, public relations, online WEB applications, and employee communications.

The revenue goal for the program was $48.5 million. Collections far exceeded the goal with an estimated $98.3 million in Amnesty payments above normal delinquent collections for the period - 202 percent of the target.

Tax Commissioner Ken Thorson commented that "the employees of the Virginia Department of Taxation, and its private sector partners - CGI-AMS, Barber Martin Advertising and The Hodges Partnership -- are all very excited that the IABC acknowledged and saluted the success of the Commonwealth's Amnesty Program. To be recognized along with other very prominent public and private organizations is truly an honor."

Award winners will be recognized in the June-July issue of Communicator magazine and at the IABC annual conference in June in Los Angeles. IABC is a not-for-profit international network of professionals committed to improving the effectiveness of organizations through strategic interactive and integrated business communication management.

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For Release
Date: 05/04/2004
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455

Deadline for Tax Amnesty Partial Payment Agreement Participants

Midnight, Tuesday, May 4th

Pay Now...or Pay A Lot More Later

Taxpayers who qualified for the Amnesty Program last fall and are meeting their obligations under a partial payment agreement (PPA) must make full payment of their Amnesty balance no later than midnight, Tuesday, May 4th in order to receive maximum Amnesty benefits. Taxpayers with PPA?s entered into prior to the Amnesty program may also gain Amnesty benefits if their plan is still in good standing and they make a balloon payment by midnight to satisfy the Amnesty balance on their account.

Payments by the deadline will ensure that taxpayers avoid the 20% post-Amnesty penalty on satisfied Amnesty-eligible bills. To be fair to all taxpayers, no additional time can be granted to make payments and secure Amnesty benefits.

To help meet the midnight deadline, Amnesty payments can be made in a number of ways:

  • use QuickPay on TAX Amnesty's web site at http://www.vataxamnesty.com/. It allows a secure payment through electronic funds transfer from a savings or checking account
  • mail payments (postmarked by May 4)
  • by credit card by using the Official Payments web site at http://www.officialpayments.com/. Even with the convenience fee charged by using a credit card, taxpayers may be able to save money if their Amnesty payment helps avoid large penalties.

Even if taxpayers are unable to pay their account in full, they should pay as much as they can, as each bill satisfied by an Amnesty payment will receive full Amnesty benefits. Taxpayers with existing PPA?s, who are unable to pay their Amnesty balance at this time, should continue making normal timely payments to avoid the 20% post-Amnesty penalty.

This is not a new opportunity to participate in the Amnesty Program that ended last November. It is only a reminder to taxpayers who arranged, before the end of the program, to extend their Amnesty payments. May 4th is the final day to pay in full, or they will lose Amnesty benefits on unpaid bills. Taxpayers with questions about their Amnesty eligible accounts should call the Department at (804) 367-8045.

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For Release
Date: 04/20/2004
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455

May 3 Deadline for Filing Virginia Individual Income Tax - Go Electronic

Richmond, VA - The deadline for filing 2003 Virginia individual income taxes is May 3 (because May 1 falls on a weekend). For taxpayers who have not yet filed their returns, Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson has a suggestion - go electronic.

"As the filing deadline nears, using the Department of Taxation's iFile online electronic filing program is clearly the way to go. It is fast, free, simple and practically error free," said Thorson. Because the iFile program checks computations as you go through the return, the error rate on these returns is less than 1%. "An error free return, coupled with choosing to have your refund electronically deposited in your bank account, means you will have your money sooner".

Through April 10, over 1 million Virginia income tax returns were filed electronically, an increase of 15% over the same period in 2003. The system is becoming increasingly popular because it provides a quick and reliable process for filing returns, regardless of whether a taxpayer is owed a refund or needs to make a tax payment.

To access the iFile program, go to the Department of Taxation's website at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/ and click on the big iFile logo. Taxpayers can also file extensions and make extension payments through iFile.

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For Release
Date: 03/04/2004
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455

Tax Commissioner Announces Partnership With Other States In Combating Abusive Tax Avoidance Transactions

RICHMOND, VA - Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Virginia TAX and 34 states plus New York City. These agencies signed a joint agreement to share information among themselves on abusive tax shelters and illegal tax avoidance transactions, a move intended to strengthen their fight against this complex problem. Abusive tax avoidance transactions include any scheme specifically designed to illegally avoid or evade taxes.

Historically, Virginia and other states have exchanged information and data on specific individuals or businesses suspected of tax evasion. However, these exchanges did not focus on whole groups of taxpayers or businesses evading tax liabilities all using a common scheme. This agreement is a proactive step among states to focus shared resources, information, investigative tools, and training aids for identifying and unraveling increasingly complex webs of transactions used by taxpayers and their promoters to evade paying their fair share of state tax revenue.

"Virginia strongly supports this agreement among states to combat abusive tax avoidance transactions," said Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson. "Over the past several years, Virginia has strengthened its efforts to protect the integrity of our system of voluntary tax compliance. This new agreement between states furthers our ability not only to share information but to learn from the common experiences of our sister states and to counter cross-border abusive schemes."

"Most of our Virginia citizens pay their taxes. We expect that all individuals and businesses that benefit from services paid with our tax dollars to comply fully with the tax laws of Virginia," said Commissioner Thorson. "I am proud to say that most individuals and businesses do comply with the law. Yet, we are all aware that there are those who do not pay their fair share. In fact, some develop schemes either to pay less taxes, or not pay taxes at all. Still, they enjoy the benefits of our tax dollars and they are getting a 'free ride'. With this agreement we are turning up the heat and are working nationwide, hand in hand with other states to find and penalize those individuals and companies."

Commissioner Thorson continued, "This initiative also complements Governor Warner's efforts in the General Assembly to address corporate loopholes and to provide the Department with the tools to trace business income that escapes taxation by the use of complicated ownership structures and intricate transfers of assets and income between related companies. These structures are often devised to avoid state taxation among corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, and other pass-through entities. Today's agreement, along with our proposed tax reforms, would provide Virginia new tools to detect these schemes and, together with our sister states, trace their breadth and scope across the country."

The new agreement complements one signed last September between the IRS, Virginia, and 44 other states, the District of Columbia and New York City. Under the terms of the Abusive Tax Avoidance Transactions (ATAT) partnership, the federal and state governments agreed to coordinate their efforts and share data on illegal schemes to evade both federal and state taxes. However, this new interstate agreement does not permit the sharing of confidential federal information between states, except with the express written permission of the IRS.

The states that signed today's MOA are as follows. Additional states are expected to sign in coming weeks:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. California
  5. Colorado
  6. Connecticut
  7. Delaware
  8. Hawaii
  9. Idaho
  10. Illinois
  11. Indiana
  12. Iowa
  13. Kansas
  14. Louisiana
  15. Maine
  16. Minnesota
  17. Missouri
  18. Nebraska
  19. New Jersey
  20. New Mexico
  21. New York
  22. North Carolina
  23. Ohio
  24. Oklahoma
  25. Pennsylvania
  26. Rhode Island
  27. South Carolina
  28. Tennessee
  29. Utah
  30. Vermont
  31. Virginia
  32. Washington
  33. West Virginia
  34. Wisconsin

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For Release
Date: 12/29/2003
Contact:

Virginia Tax Amnesty Program Nets Twice Projected Revenue

$98.3 million in back taxes committed during nine-week amnesty

RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 29, 2003 -- Close to 100,000 delinquent taxpayers -- about one in four of those eligible -- participated in Virginia's tax amnesty, netting $98.3 million, more than double the program's initial goal.

A total of 70,502 individuals and 24,758 businesses -- from among 386,000 targeted delinquents -- took advantage of the Commonwealth's first amnesty offer in 13 years --one that waived penalties and halved the interest accrued on most back taxes owed to the state. The incentive appeared to be twice as attractive as originally anticipated, far exceeding targeted collections of $48.5 million.

"The counting is complete, and the results are impressive," commented Gov. Mark R. Warner, who signed legislation authorizing the amnesty program following the 2003 legislative session. "While amnesty is clearly a one-time benefit, its success will help provide critical revenue for sustaining vital public programs. The Virginia Department of Taxation is to be commended for planning and executing an exemplary tax amnesty program."

The nine-week amnesty, which was supported by a statewide advertising and direct mail campaign, was intended to accelerate the collection of delinquent state taxes. Total collections of $98.3 million include $89.5 million for the Commonwealth's general fund -- a net increase of $33.7 million above what was projected for the program in FY 2004. The funds have been included in Governor Mark Warner's proposed budget. Local governments and the Transportation Trust Fund will also receive a combined $4.6 million in additional Amnesty revenue.

Unlike Virginia's 1990 program that collected a total of $32 million, this year's amnesty included innovative payment features, including an online QuickPay option and the capacity to extend amnesty payments on particular tax bills into the future. Approximately 7 percent of participating taxpayers (6,951) set up payment plans with the department. Those taxpayers are assured the benefits of tax amnesty so long as they adhere to their payment plan. If they fail to honor their commitment, their liability will revert to the unpaid balance and a 20 percent penalty will be tacked on to the balance of the tax owed.

The Amnesty campaign was administered under an ongoing public-private partnership between the department and American Management Systems, Inc. (AMS) in Fairfax, Virginia. The partnership brings together AMS' expertise in technology with the department's knowledge of taxes to implement large-scale projects successfully. Other private-sector companies involved in the Amnesty campaign included Outsourcing Solutions, Inc. for call-center operations, the Barber-Martin Agency for creative advertising and media buys, and the Hodges Partnership for public and media relations.

"The final numbers speak for themselves," said Kenneth W. Thorson, Virginia's tax commissioner. "Collections for this year's amnesty reached a level that seemed unattainable, far exceeding our expectations. I take great pride in the extraordinary effort turned in by hundreds of dedicated employees of the tax department and extend my thanks to our private partners for their valuable help and expertise. We all worked tirelessly for many months putting together what I believe was the most well run amnesty program in the country combining user-friendly filing and payment options for taxpayers with a cleverly crafted public awareness and outreach campaign."

Thorson noted that the department's work continues, turning from administering amnesty to stepping up enforcement and collection activity. Delinquent taxpayers who did not take advantage of amnesty already have had an additional 20 percent penalty attached to their tax bills, and they could face the seizure of assets, liens against property and criminal warrants.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 11/07/2003
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455

Virginia Tax Amnesty Closes With a Flurry

Final Tally Expected by Early December

Richmond, Va., Nov. 5 -- Virginia's 63-day tax amnesty program concluded Monday, but not before a deluge of delinquent taxpayers descended on tax department service centers, lit up toll-free hotlines and inundated the amnesty web site. The total number of taxpayers who made it in under the wire will not be known for some time.

In all, the department received more than 315,000 Amnesty contacts from individuals and businesses , with as many as 45,000 reaching out on the final day. In addition, the Virginia Department of Taxation placed more than 377,000 outbound calls to eligible taxpayers during the amnesty program.

Demand for walk-in service on the final day was so heavy and parking made so scarce at the department's Richmond headquarters that a makeshift drive-through service was set up in the parking lot. Over 1,000 drive-through payments were dropped off by nightfall. One person drove up with income tax returns for 13 consecutive years. Other taxpayers chose to stand in long lines waiting for their tax returns to be prepared before the deadline. About 500 walk-ins in Richmond, 300 in Norfolk, and 120 in Hampton were served on the final day. Satellite offices in Arlington and Fairfax stayed open until 6:00 p.m., well after the advertised time.

At midnight 20 callers were still trying to reach the department on the Amnesty hotline and 4 taxpayers were still making payments on the Amnesty web site. The hotline stayed open until 12:20 am. The last payment was taken on the web site at 2:30 a.m.

"Amnesty is over, and it is time to compile and analyze the results," said Kenneth W. Thorson, Virginia's tax commissioner. "We expect amnesty tallies to be completed by early December."

According to Thorson, the tax department's focus now turns from amnesty to a stepped-up enforcement program. As of today, taxpayers who failed to take advantage of amnesty will automatically receive a 20 percent penalty added on to their existing tax bills. The department, which has hired more than 100 new collection agents, auditors and customer service representatives, also will be wielding other enforcement tools provided under current law, including garnishing wages, seizing assets and IRS refunds and filing criminal warrants.

Virginia's tax amnesty program waived all penalties and half the interest on most state taxes, providing the outstanding bills were paid during the nine-week amnesty period. The goal for amnesty was $48 million.

In the aftermath of the extraordinary surge of activity brought on by the end of the amnesty program, Commissioner Thorson had high praise for department employees.

"I am especially proud of this department," Thorson said. "They did an exceptional job in planning and preparation for amnesty, including the development of innovative, breakthrough technology. And, employees worked tirelessly in the execution of the amnesty program. There is, of course, much more to do, and I am confident that we will bring tax amnesty to a successful conclusion."

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For Immediate Release
Date: 10/28/2003
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455

Response to Tax Amnesty Surging in Closing Days

New Satellite Offices and Extended Customer Service Hours Helping Accommodate Last-Minute Rush

Richmond, Va., Oct. 28, 2003 With Virginia's tax amnesty ticking down to its final seven days, delinquent taxpayers from across the Commonwealth are scurrying to meet a Nov. 3 deadline, the date after which the Department of Taxation substitutes the helping hand of Amnesty with the firmer hand of tax enforcement.

Over the first eight weeks of the nine-week amnesty, the taxation department has received almost 220,000 telephone and online inquiries about the program. In just the last few days, daily contacts have increased by sixty per cent. With the surge of activity expected to continue through the final week, the state is staffing seven local offices and extending phone hours in order to handle the increased volume.

"We are in the home stretch and, as expected, there has been a noticeable up-tick in activity, both in terms of collections and inquiries, in recent days," said Kenneth W. Thorson, Tax Commissioner. "And we expect this pace to continue, if not accelerate. We are well equipped to accommodate the last-minute rush, just as we are prepared to implement a new wave of enforcement following the completion of the amnesty period."

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Tax Amnesty Enters Final Week Page 2

Virginia's amnesty program waives all penalties and half of the accrued interest on most back taxes owed to the Commonwealth, providing they are paid - or arrangements made for them to be paid - during the amnesty period. Delinquent taxpayers may be able to take advantage of amnesty, even if they cannot fully pay all of their tax obligations by Nov. 3, by arranging for a partial payment plan.

At the conclusion of the program, the Department of Taxation will launch an aggressive enforcement program, beginning with the assessment of an additional 20 percent penalty on top of what is currently owed. The department, which recently hired more than 100 new collection agents, auditors and customer service representatives, also will be wielding other enforcement tools, including garnishing wages, seizing assets and IRS refunds and filing criminal warrants.

"Over the next week, citizens from throughout the Commonwealth will be exercising their civic duty by voting in statewide elections," said Thorson. "It is a time to remember that each of us has another civic obligation - to pay our fair share of taxes. Taxpayers who neglect to meet this responsibility will witness the department?s prompt and strict enforcement of the tax laws."

Live customer support is available through the amnesty hotline at 1-877-VATAX-77 from 8:30 AM to 8 PM, Monday-Thursday, from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM on Friday and Saturday, and for the first time, on Sunday, Nov. 2 from 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM. For the last day of amnesty, Nov. 3, telephone customer service will be extended until midnight. The amnesty hotline also provides automated telephone information 24 hours a day. The Virginia tax amnesty web site and free online payment service also is available 24 hours a day at http://www.vataxamnesty.com/.

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Tax Amnesty Enters Final Week - Page 3

Walk-in customer service is now available weekdays at the following local offices and the existing Richmond and Norfolk offices as follows:

Virginia Department of Taxation
3610 W. Broad Street
Richmond, VA
8 AM to 4:30 PM Mon-Fri
1-877-VATAX-77
Virginia Department of Taxation
Interstate Corporate Center (formerly Koger Center)
6340 Center Drive, Building 7, Suite 101
Norfolk, VA 22201
8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Mon-Fri
1-877-VATAX-77

Local Offices:

Fairfax County
Department of Tax Administration
12000 Government Center Parkway, Room 223
Fairfax, VA 22035
8 AM to 4:30 PM Mon-Fri
Call for directions only: (703) 324-3804
Arlington County
Commissioner of Revenue
2100 Clarenden Blvd., Room 200
Arlington, VA 22201
8 AM to 5:00 PM Mon-Fri
Call for directions only: (703) 228-3021
City of Harrisonburg
Commissioner of Revenue
City Municipal Building
345 S. Main Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
8 AM to 5:00 PM Mon-Fri
Call for directions only:(540) 432-7704
City of Roanoke
Commissioner of Revenue
215 Church Ave., S.W.
Noel Taylor Municipal Building, Room 251
Roanoke, VA 24011
8 AM to 5:00 PM Mon-Fri
Call for directions only: (540) 853-2521
City of Hampton
Commissioner of Revenue
One Franklin Street, Suite 101
Hampton, VA 23669
8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Mon-Fri
Call for directions only: (757) 727-6183
City of Danville
Commissioner of Revenue
Charles Harris Financial Building
311 Memorial Drive
Danville, VA 24541
8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Mon-Fri
Call for directions only: (434) 799-5145
City of Bristol
Commissioner of the Revenue
497 Cumberland Street, Room 101
Bristol, VA 24201
8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Mon-Fri
Call for directions only: (276) 645-7316

[Please note: while department officials note that the amnesty is on pace to meet its expected goal, final figures on the total amount collected are not expected until December.]

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For Immediate Release
Date: 10/15/2003
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455

Tax Amnesty Collections Near $10 Million

Program on Pace to Hit $48 Million Target

Richmond, VA, October 15, 2003 -- Virginia's Tax Amnesty program, which seeks to spur the collection of $48 million in delinquent state taxes, collected almost $10 million in the first four weeks ending Sept. 30, a total that Department of Taxation officials say puts the program ahead of at a pace for success.

"Based on historic collection recent trends in sister states' amnesties, the Commonwealth's amnesty program isahead of on schedule," said Kenneth W. Thorson, Tax Commissioner. "Given the fact that, traditionally, most amnesty participants are expected to delay payment until the final two weeks, I am confident that we will meet our collection target."

The Department has received more than 100,000 inquiries - phone calls and web site visits - since the beginning of the program, and officials anticipate that collections will continue to accelerate. With a total of 78,000 phone calls and 37,000 visits to the special amnesty web site, response to the 63-day amnesty among the state's delinquent taxpayers has been steady.

But Thorson cautions against waiting too long. "The department is well prepared to handle the volume of taxpayers who want to take advantage of amnesty," he said. "But the pipeline in the closing days will have only so much capacity to accommodate the rush of last-minute participants. Taxpayers run the risk of missing out on amnesty if they delay making their payment too long. That miss could be costly, especially with the addition of the 20% penalty that will be added on delinquent bills not paid during amnesty."

Many Amnesty participants are taking advantage of an innovative on-line payment option, the first in the nation just like it. Called QuickPay, the service allows qualified taxpayers to make their amnesty payment directly from their bank account. Payments can also be "warehoused," meaning that the electronic transfer of funds from the taxpayer's account does not take place immediately, giving taxpayers the ability to plan and schedule a payment in the future. But what makes QuickPay truly unique is its ability to display a taxpayer's Amnesty-eligible bills and automatically calculate the Amnesty savings for any or all bills a taxpayer chooses to pay.

"No other state that we are aware of gives taxpayers this level of flexibility - the kind of options that certain private bill-paying services offer customers, but often with a fee," said Kenneth W. Thorson, Tax Commissioner. "QuickPay is available at no cost and is absolutely secure. It is a state-of-the-art feature, and we believe it will help many more taxpayers take advantage of amnesty." According to Thorson, the Department plans to continue offering the QuickPay option after the conclusion of the amnesty period for regular tax bills.

Authorized earlier this year by the Virginia General Assembly, the tax amnesty program waives all penalties and half of the accrued interest on most back taxes owed to the Commonwealth by individual and business taxpayers, providing that the delinquent taxes are paid during the amnesty period, which runs from Sept. 2 to Nov. 3 of this year.

Taxpayers who are interested in finding out more information about the amnesty program can call 1-877-VATAX-77 or visit the amnesty web site at http://www.vataxamnesty.com/.

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For Release
Date: 09/30/2003
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455

Tax Commissioner Announces Additional Relief for Individual and Corporate Return Filers Affected by Hurricane Isabel

Updated

On September 23, 2003 following the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Isabel, Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson announced that the Virginia Department of Taxation will grant relief to individuals and corporate taxpayers in the cities and counties declared disaster areas because of Hurricane Isabel.

Today Commissioner Thorson announced additional relief for individual and corporate income taxpayers. ?Because individual and corporate taxpayers usually need information from their federal returns to prepare their state returns, it is appropriate to make the state filing deadlines consistent with the recently announced federal deadlines,? Commissioner Thorson said.

The relief announced today includes:

Individual Income Tax Returns: Taxpayers in the affected areas whose individual income tax return is due from September 19 through November 17, 2003, are granted an extension until November 18, 2003.

Corporate Income Tax Returns: Taxpayers in the affected areas whose corporate income tax return is due from September 19 through November 17, 2003 are granted an extension until November 18, 2003.

As of September 26, 2003 the following cities and counties have been declared disaster areas:

CITIES: Alexandria, Bedford, Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Chesapeake, Colonial Heights, Danville, Emporia, Fairfax, Falls Church, Franklin, Fredericksburg, Hampton, Harrisonburg, Hopewell, Lynchburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, Newport News, Norfolk, Petersburg, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Richmond, Staunton, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Waynesboro, Williamsburg and Winchester.

COUNTIES: Accomack, Albemarle, Amelia, Amherst, Appomattox, Arlington, Augusta, Bedford, Brunswick, Buckingham, Caroline, Charles City, Campbell, Charlotte, Chesterfield, Clarke, Culpeper, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Essex, Fairfax, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Frederick, Gloucester, Goochland, Greene, Greensville, Halifax, Hanover, Henrico, Isle of Wight, James City, King George, King William, King and Queen, Lancaster, Louisa, Loudoun, Lunenburg, Madison, Mathews, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, Nelson, New Kent, Northampton, Northumberland, Nottoway, Orange, Page, Pittsylvania, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince George, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Southampton, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Surry, Sussex, Warren, Westmoreland and York.

The relief provisions will also apply to taxpayers in any other Virginia city or county that is subsequently declared a disaster area, as well as in designated disaster areas in other states.

The relief previously announced by Commissioner Thorson on September 23, 2003 for victims of Hurricane Isabel that is unchanged by this update includes the following provisions:

  • Sales and Use Tax Returns: Monthly filers in the affected areas whose August returns are due on September 22, 2003 are granted an extension until October 20, 2003 for filing and payment of the tax.
  • Withholding Tax Returns: Monthly filers in the affected areas whose August returns are due on September 22, 2003 are granted an extension until October 20, 2003 for filing and payment of the tax. Semiweekly filers in those areas who had payments due on or after September 19 are granted an extension until September 30 to make their payments.
  • Other State Taxes Administered by the Department of Taxation: An automatic extension of 30 days is granted for the filing of any other state tax returns and payments with a due date falling from September 19 through September 30, 2003.

Taxpayers in the designated disaster areas do NOT need to file extension requests for the affected returns. To obtain an automatic extension, print ?Hurricane Isabel? at the top of the return, and file the return with full payment for the tax due by the extended due date. No penalty or interest charges will apply to returns filed under the relief provisions. These provisions do not apply to tax returns due on or before September 18, 2003.

The extensions for sales and withholding tax returns also apply to persons who use electronic funds transfer (EFT) for payments. EFT filers in the affected areas who receive penalty or interest assessments associated with returns and payments for which relief has been granted should contact the Department at (804) 367-8037.

Taxpayers who have experienced extreme hardship due to the effects of Hurricane Isabel may request consideration for an additional extension by writing to:

Department of Taxation
Customer Services
Hurricane Extension
Post Office Box 1115
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1115

The Department will suspend collection enforcement activities in the designated disaster areas through October 1, 2003. The suspension of enforcement actions will not stop the accrual of interest on delinquent accounts.

The Department of Taxation does not plan to extend the Virginia Tax Amnesty Program, which is scheduled to end on November 3, 2003.

Taxpayers who have questions should contact the Department of Taxation at (804) 367-8031 for individual accounts or (804) 367-8037 for business accounts, or visit the agency's website at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/.

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For Release
Date: 08/29/2003
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455

Virginia Tax Amnesty Window Opens Today

Nine-Week Program to Encourage Payment of Back Taxes

RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 2, 2003 -- The Virginia Department of Taxation today begins a 63-day countdown, dangling a forgiving carrot in front of delinquent taxpayers before they are met with a hefty stick.

The Virginia 2003 Tax Amnesty Program, which kicks off today and runs through
Nov. 3, provides an opportunity for qualified individuals and businesses to catch up on their state taxes. The program waives all penalties and half of the accrued interest on most back taxes paid during the amnesty period. Delinquent taxpayers who do not take advantage of the amnesty will be assessed an additional 20 percent penalty on any unpaid tax balance.

Proposed by Governor Mark R. Warner and authorized earlier this year by the Virginia General Assembly, the tax amnesty is designed to provide an incentive to business and individual taxpayers who have fallen behind on their state taxes. The program, the first in the Commonwealth since a total of $32 million was collected in 1990, is expected to generate an estimated $48 million in revenue.

"Most Virginians pay their taxes on time, but there are occasions when financial circumstances leave some citizens temporarily unable to meet their tax obligations," Governor Warner said. "Amnesty gives delinquent taxpayers opportunities to get a fresh start and to avoid substantial new penalties down the road. Tax amnesty also benefits the Commonwealth. Amnesty programs elsewhere have proven to be effective in accelerating the collection of revenue, a feature that is particularly important in the current fiscal environment."

Individuals and businesses can participate in tax amnesty to clear tax bills that are at least 90 days old as of Sept. 2, 2003. Taxpayers also can take advantage of tax amnesty to file individual and corporate income tax returns for taxable years 2001 and earlier, and other business tax returns for periods through April 2003.

Most taxpayers eligible for amnesty will receive notifications by mail; many will also receive telephone calls from the amnesty call center. Television and outdoor advertising - featuring the "Tax Letter Man" icon - will run throughout the program to increase citizen awareness and encourage participation. An amnesty web site (http://www.vataxamnesty.com/), and a toll-free hotline (1-877-VATAX77) are also available to provide additional information.

Amnesty features several convenient payment options: QuickPay, a secure and free online payment method at http://www.vataxamnesty.com/ that allows for electronic transfer of funds; a check mailed and postmarked by Nov. 3; or a credit card by calling 1-800-2PayTax. (A fee will apply for payment by credit card.) If taxpayers owe multiple bills, they may elect to participate in amnesty on a bill-by-bill basis.

To qualify for amnesty, payment for outstanding tax bills must be made by Nov. 3. Eligible delinquent returns also must be filed by that date. Officials at the Department of Taxation caution, however, that waiting until the final days to take part in the amnesty could jeopardize a taxpayer's participation.

"We encourage taxpayers interested in amnesty to call us or their tax professional as soon as possible," said Kenneth W. Thorson, Tax Commissioner. "We recognize that people may be inclined to wait until the final days of the amnesty program to begin the payment process, but doing so runs the risk that the window of opportunity may close before these taxpayers are able to complete the amnesty process. We urge all taxpayers who are considering taking advantage of the amnesty to begin making the necessary plans right away, especially if they have questions about their correct tax liability."

Thorson also issued warning to delinquent taxpayers who fail to take advantage of the amnesty. Along with an additional penalty of 20 percent that will be assessed on all amnesty-eligible, unpaid tax bills, the Department of Taxation is stepping up enforcement efforts through a variety of means, including hiring more than 110 new auditors, collectors and other tax employees.

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For Release
Date: 08/01/2003
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455

Commonwealth to Offer Tax Amnesty

The Virginia Department of Taxation today announced that a statewide tax amnesty program will begin Sept. 2 and run through Nov. 3, 2003. The 63-day program was proposed this past session by Governor Mark Warner and approved by the General Assembly.

Under the terms of the Virginia Tax Amnesty Program, the Commonwealth's first such program since 1990, individuals and businesses that owe certain state taxes may qualify to have their existing penalties and half of their accrued interest waived, provided that the taxes and the other half of the interest are paid during the amnesty period. If delinquent taxpayers do not take advantage of the amnesty, they will be assessed an additional 20 percent penalty on the taxes owed.

"Programs like this one, that have been well-received in other states, provide an attractive incentive to those who, for whatever reason, are behind on their state taxes," said Kenneth W. Thorson, Tax Commissioner. "Amnesty is projected to generate an additional $48 million in tax revenue and is an important effort in balancing the budget for fiscal year 2004."

More details of the program will be available after Labor Day as part of an extensive public education campaign. Outreach by the Virginia Department of Taxation will include a notice mailed to taxpayers with eligible bills and delinquent returns on September 2nd, with information and instructions. At the same time, a special Virginia Tax Amnesty toll-free number will be activated to provide support to individuals, businesses and tax professionals, whether or not they receive formal notice, and to answer specific questions about their account and the program. Until then, additional information is available at the program's web site, www.VaTaxAmnesty.com.

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For Release
Date: 04/04/2003
Contact:

Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Extensions

Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson has announced that Virginia will provide extensions and other tax benefits to members of the Armed Forces serving in the Middle East, including the air space above or related naval operations in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, and members of the Armed Forces serving in or around Afghanistan, including the air space above or related naval operations in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

For taxable year 2002, members of the Armed Forces serving in either Operation IRAQI FREEDOM or Operation ENDURING FREEDOM will receive either the same individual income tax filing and payment extensions as given to them by the IRS, plus an additional fifteen days, OR a one year extension (until May 1, 2004, for 2002 returns), whichever date is later.

Combat pay will be totally excluded for both enlisted personnel and officers, unlike federal law. Under current federal law, enlisted military personnel can exclude amounts received as compensation for active duty service in a "combat zone" pursuant to Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §112. Commissioned officers, however, receive a limited exclusion.

Virginia estimated taxes and installment payments are not required of individuals during the period of their filing and payment extension. Virginia will suspend collection activities during these extension periods. No penalty and interest will accrue during the extension period.

All extensions also apply to spouses of military personnel. Service families may wish, however, to file their individual income tax returns before the extension deadlines to receive refunds. "IRAQI FREEDOM" or "ENDURING FREEDOM," whichever is appropriate, should be written on the top of tax returns, as well as any notice issued to combat zone personnel regarding tax collection or examination, and on the outside of the return envelopes used to mail the return. For more information see Tax Bulletin 03-5.

For more information about these extensions or to obtain forms, individuals should contact either their local Commissioner of the Revenue, Director of Finance or Director of Tax Administration, or the Department of Taxation's Office of Customer Services at (804) 367-8031.

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For Release
Date: 04/03/2003
Contact:

IMPORTANT INFORMATION for VIRGINIA TAXPAYERS PARTICIPATING in the IRS OFFSHORE VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE INITIATIVE

RICHMOND, VA - Taxpayers participating in the recently announced Internal Revenue Service Offshore Voluntary Compliance Initiative (OVCI) are also encouraged to amend their Virginia income tax returns to avoid state prosecution and fraud penalties, according to Virginia Tax Commissioner, Kenneth W. Thorson. Thorson announced today the terms that will govern Virginia's response to the federal initiative.

The IRS program targets taxpayers that used offshore payment cards or other offshore financial arrangements to underreport their income and tax liability. The IRS is offering these taxpayers a chance to avoid civil fraud penalties and criminal prosecution by voluntarily correcting their income tax returns and paying the tax, penalties and interest due.

"We do not want fear of Virginia's tax fraud and criminal provisions to be a barrier to taxpayers participating in the IRS Offshore Initiative OVCI, so long as they also disclose their liability to the Commonwealth," said Thorson. "This is an opportunity to make amends with both the state and federal tax authorities."

To participate in the OVCI with the IRS, a taxpayer must file a request with the IRS by April 15, 2003 as detailed in IRS Rev. Proc. 2003-11. The IRS will acknowledge the request and provide up to 150 days to file amended federal tax returns, make payments, and disclose details of their offshore financial arrangements.

The Virginia Department of Taxation is now providing assurances to taxpayers who cooperate with the IRS and file federal income tax returns under the OVCI, that they will avoid Virginia civil fraud penalties and criminal prosecution. To qualify, taxpayers must file the appropriate Virginia returns within 90 days of filing their federal returns. All tax, ordinary penalty, and interest due must be paid with the returns.

To participate in the Virginia program, a taxpayer must mark each Virginia return with "OVCI" in the top margin and send the return to the following address:

Virginia Department of Taxation

Voluntary Disclosure Program, MSC4

P. O. Box 5640

Richmond, VA 23220

For more information on the federal OVCI program, please visit the IRS Web site at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=108106,00.html

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For Release
Date: 04/01/2003
Contact:

Governor Warner Proclaims April Electronic Filing Month

~Virginia Dept. of Taxation is more than 160,000 electronically filed returns ahead of last year~

RICHMOND -- Governor Mark R. Warner today proclaimed April "Electronic Filing Month," urging Virginians who have not yet filed their individual income tax returns to use one of the Virginia Department of Taxation's electronic filing options. Electronic filing has already proven to be more popular this year than last year. Year to date, over 55% of returns have been electronically processed compared to 49% last year.

Electronic filing of individual income tax returns will result in a speedier refund. . To date, 670,136 refunds were issued from electronically processed returns with almost 99% issued within 10 days or fewer. This timeframe can be further compressed with the selection of the direct deposit payment option. In contrast, paper refund return processing can take up to 28 days during peak filing periods.

"The Virginia Department of Taxation's electronic filing options make tax time easier, get customers' refunds back to them quickly," Governor Warner said. "Electronic filing is accurate, fast, and customer friendly. E-Government is the direction we're going in Virginia."

Customers can locate electronic filing information on the Department's Web site at the "Electronic Filing Options" page.

Customers can review electronic filing options and choose one that is best for them.

  • iFile -- iFile is the Department's free online filing program for Virginia's individual income tax return. Clicking on the iFile logo on TAX's homepage takes the user directly to iFile.
  • e-file -- e-file provides an electronic way to file both federal and state individual income tax returns. Customers have several e-file choices.
  • Choose from the list of companies that provide direct on-line filing on their own Web site (click on e-file Partners).
  • Use an approved tax preparation software package widely available in retail stores.
  • Use a commercial tax preparer that provides this service.
  • Free File -- The IRS offers electronic filing through their Free File program at http://www.irs.gov/. Generally, eligibility for the Free File program is based on factors such as age, adjusted gross income, eligibility to file Form 1040EZ, eligibility to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, state residency, and active duty military status (if applicable). Some Free File vendors offer electronic filing of state returns in addition to federal returns.

Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson said, "Electronic filing is gaining in popularity each filing season. Because our customers use technology in many other aspects of their lives, it is natural for them to expect TAX to use technology to make a tedious process easier. And, that is exactly what we have done. Electronic filing is a win-win situation for our customers and for Virginia. Our goal is to increase the number of tax returns filed electronically each year."

The deadline for filing Virginia individual income tax returns is Thursday, May 1, 2003.

ELECTRONIC FILING MONTH PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia offers citizens several options for submitting individual income tax returns, including filing them electronically; and

WHEREAS, Virginians may submit electronic individual income tax returns by participating in the joint Federal/State electronic filing program (e-file), by telephone for selected taxpayers (Telefile), and via the Internet (iFile) at www.tax.virginia.gov; and

WHEREAS, electronic filing of individual income tax returns has become increasingly popular throughout the Commonwealth, it is expected more than 1.1 million individual income tax returns will be electronically filed in 2003; and

WHEREAS, electronic filing of individual income tax returns is the fastest and most efficient method of filing individual income tax returns; and

WHEREAS, electronically filed individual income tax returns are generally more accurate than paper filed tax returns because they greatly reduce the risk of human error, resulting in much faster and more accurate processing; and

WHEREAS, individual income tax refunds for electronically filed income tax returns are routinely deposited into taxpayers' bank accounts in as few as five days when the direct deposit payment option is exercised; and

WHEREAS, the Virginia Department of Taxation anticipates receiving over one million paper filed individual income tax returns during April 2003; and

WHEREAS, every citizen required to file an individual income tax return in Virginia can contribute to enhancing the timeliness of tax return filing and refund payment processing and increasing our government's overall efficiency and effectiveness by filing individual income tax returns electronically;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mark R. Warner, do hereby recognize April 2003 as ELECTRONIC FILING MONTH in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

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For Release
Date: 03/03/2003
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455

Virginia Taxpayers Take Advantage of Electronic Filing and Receive Refunds Faster

Richmond, VA - Overall, 30% more taxpayers have filed their state income tax returns electronically this year than last year! Through February 22, 2003, TAX had processed 682,272 individual income tax returns - an increase of over 15% from last year. Electronically filed returns account for almost 75% or 507,334 of all returns processed. Joint federal/state filed (e-file) returns totaled 415,185 - up 46%; iFile returns, (TAX's free state income tax online filing) totaled 39,846 - up 49%; and, Telefile (TAX's telephone filing system) returns totaled 52,303 - down 37%. TAX expects that many taxpayers eligible to use Telefile are now using one of their other electronic filing alternatives.

Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson said, "Taxpayers who file electronically routinely receive their refunds in as little as 10 days. Refund processing times for error free paper returns can be as long as 28 days during our peak periods." To date, 612,063 refunds have been issued - up 3.6% from last year.

Virginia's website makes electronic filing easy and convenient. Anyone who filed a Virginia resident income tax return for tax year 1999, 2000, or 2001 can use VATAX Online. Commissioner Thorson said, "If you have access to a personal computer and the Internet you can take advantage of the easiest way to file your Virginia tax return - iFile, and it's free." iFile can be found on TAX's web page at www.tax.virginia.gov. Click on iFile and sign up for VATAX Online. "Although federal returns cannot be filed using iFile," Commissioner Thorson adds, "TAX maintains links from its website to approved commercial software providers who offer customers the option of filing both federal and state returns together. For individual income tax, local Commissioners of the Revenue provide face-to-face assistance to walk-ins.

" I encourage Virginia taxpayers to visit our website, and to take advantage of the many services that we now offer online," said Commissioner Thorson. " I believe that once they use our electronic services, they will never want to go back to using paper, which is a win-win for us at TAX and for our customers."

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For Immediate Release
Date: 02/18/2003
Contact:

Electronic Filing

Governor Mark Warner Today Signed New Legislation

That Allows Many Virginians to Take Advantage of Federal Law Changes

Richmond, Va.- Governor Mark Warner today signed legislation that he proposed to allow many Virginians to take advantage of federal tax law changes enacted in 2002. Because many taxpayers are now filing their 2002 Virginia income tax returns, it is important that they be aware of how this legislation will affect them.

The most significant effects of this change are: 1) to allow Virginia families affected by the Victims of Terrorism Act to take full advantage of those aspects of the federal law that flow down to Virginia returns, including preferential estate tax provisions and the ability to deduct certain death benefits; and (2) to allow Virginia's teachers to take advantage of the federal deduction for their personal expenditures for school supplies. This is a provision that would not have been available to Virginia teachers without this legislation.

To protect Virginia from the loss of over $300 million from 2002 federal tax reform legislation, the 2002 session of the General Assembly stopped Virginia's automatic conformity with the Internal Revenue Code, instead fixing it at December 31, 2001. The result was that Virginia taxpayers were universally excluded from reaping state tax benefits from federal law changes, particularly those included in the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act and the Victims of Terrorism Act.

This year's legislation moves the date of conformity forward one year, to December 31, 2002, while still protecting the Commonwealth against those federal provisions that would create a significant revenue loss. The 2002 federal business provisions relating to bonus depreciation and net operating loss deductions will continue to be unavailable in Virginia.

More detailed information about how taxpayers who qualify for these benefits should file Virginia individual income tax returns is available in Tax Bulletin 03-1.

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For Release
Date: 12/06/2002
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455

TAX Announces Toll-Free Service, District Offices, Distribution of Tax Forms, and Extended Hours Impacted by Initial Budget Reductions

TAX's Online Services and Localities Will Continue to Play a Major Role In Maintaining a High Level of Customer Service

Richmond, VA - The Virginia Department of Taxation's toll-free telephone service, six district offices, distribution of tax forms to public libraries, and extended customer service hours are some of the Department's operations affected by recent budget reductions. Tax Commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson said, "One of our goals was to reduce our budget in areas that would have the least effect on our customers. We concentrated on areas that allow alternative avenues of getting the job done while providing quality customer service. Many of those avenues are already in place."

"For individual income tax, local Commissioners of the Revenue provide face-to-face assistance to walk-ins and can answer customers' questions over the telephone. In addition, we have many web-based services, for both individual and business customers, that can be accessed from their home, office, or public library. These services are fast, free, and customer friendly." Taxpayers can find the answers to many questions on TAX's website at www.tax.virginia.gov

The following are some of the changes:

  • Toll Free Service

    All toll-free service, except for Telefile, was eliminated December 1, 2002. TAX has never had an 800 number for individual taxpayers to call. There was a plan to introduce such a service this year but the budget situation has postponed those plans. All other numbers, except for those previously toll-free, remain unchanged. Following are some of the most frequently used numbers.

    • Individual Income Tax - 804-367-8031
    • Business Taxes (sales, withholding, corporate income) - 804-367-8037
    • Collections -- 804-367-8045
    • Practitioner/Locality Hotline -- 804-367-9286
    • TelePlan (used to set up payment plans) -- 804-440-5100
    • TeleTax - Tax Refund Check, Tax Information and Fax-back service - 804-367-2486
  • District Offices

    Six of TAX's seven district offices will be closed. The Norfolk District Office will not close because it serves as TAX's back-up call center. Customer service staff and support positions will be eliminated. Compliance employees who perform audit and collection functions will be home based. The district offices that will close, together with the closing dates, are:

    1. Bristol District Office -- Bristol, Virginia March 1, 2003
    2. Danville District Office -- Danville, Virginia March 1, 2003
    3. Fairfax District Office -- Fairfax, Virginia July 1, 2003
    4. Valley District Office -- Harrisonburg, Virginia March 1, 2003
    5. Richmond District Office -- Richmond, Virginia July 1, 2003
    6. Roanoke District Office -- Roanoke, Virginia March 1, 2003
  • Distribution of Forms

    Bulk distribution of paper tax forms to public libraries has been eliminated. Each library branch will receive a Package X that contains reproducible copies of individual tax forms. Customers can file their taxes online at www.tax.virginia.gov. Online filing is fast, easy, secure and free. In addition, there are other methods of obtaining tax forms:

    • pick up forms from a local Commissioner of the Revenue
    • download forms on TAX's website from home or in a library
    • copy the forms located in local libraries
    • order forms from TAX by telephone at 804-236-2760, 804-236-2761, or 804-236-2762
    • have forms faxed to you by calling Tele-Tax at 804-367-2486
  • Extended Hours

    Extended hours for telephone and walk-in assistance during income tax filing season have been eliminated. Customers can still receive assistance Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. by telephone or by visiting TAX's offices located at 3610 West Broad Street in Richmond.

  • Additional Resources for Assistance

    • City or County Commissioners of the Revenue are a good source of help.
    • TAX's online filing makes it very simple to file.
    • Commercial tax preparation software and services are widely available.
    • For taxpayers on tight budgets who need assistance resolving tax issues with TAX or the IRS, the Richmond-based Community Tax Law Project serves all of Virginia, 1-800-295-0110; this program operates with low-income eligibility limitations. It does not offer assistance with the normal process of filing individual tax returns.
    • Telefile, filing a return by telephone, where the taxpayer has a very simple return with no itemized deductions, is available to those who qualify. Customers who qualify for Telefile will receive their packets in the mail.

    Federal assistance is available at VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), some areas may also render assistance with state returns, but this is primarily a federal return service.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 10/11/2002
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455 fax (804) 786-3536

VIRGINIA'S BEST YEAR EVER IN COLLECTING DELINQUENT DEBTS YIELDS ALMOST $30 MILLION

Setoff Debt Collection Program checks tax refunds, lottery winnings for money owed to state

RICHMOND-Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that the Virginia Department of Taxation has collected $29.9 million in delinquent debts owed to state and local governments for the 2002 fiscal year. Last year's collections exceeded all prior years since the inception of the program in 1983. The next highest year was 1999 at $25.8 million.

"In these difficult fiscal times, Virginia's Setoff Debt Collection Program is a great example of government cooperation to collect much-needed funds for the Commonwealth, courts, and our localities," Governor Warner said. "Over the last few weeks, I have been reviewing agency spending cuts in excruciating detail - making some tough choices, between programs that make a difference in people's lives, and jobs that support families. I can tell you with some precision what 30 million dollars will provide in services to the average Virginian, and to the Virginians who need those services most."

The Virginia Setoff Debt Collection Program checks income tax refunds and lottery winnings, and ensures that vendors requesting payment from the state do not have debts outstanding to state agencies. If a debt is owed to a state or local agency, the amount of the debt is withheld from the check.

Currently, 118 state agencies, 101 social service offices, 328 courts, and 251 local offices participate in the program. The program has produced a total of $282.9 million in revenue for the state and local governments from fiscal year 1983 through the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002.

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For Release
Date: 08/06/2002
Contact:

State Amnesty Programs

State Amnesty Programs - Click here for further information about State sponsored amnesty programs.

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For Release
Date: 08/01/2002
Contact:

Food Tax Reduction Scheduled for April 1, 2002 Will NOT Take Effect

Food Tax Reduction Scheduled for April 1, 2002 Will NOT Take Effect -- click on this link for more information

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For Release
Date: 03/28/2002
Contact:

April Electronic Filing Month

iFile.

GOVERNOR WARNER PROCLAIMS APRIL "ELECTRONIC FILING MONTH" ~ Tax department is almost 267,000 returns ahead of last year ~

RICHMOND -- Governor Mark R. Warner today proclaimed April "Electronic Filing Month," urging Virginians who have not yet filed their individual income tax returns to use the Virginia Department of Taxation's free Internet filing service called iFile.

Electronic filing of individual income tax returns can result in a speedier refund. Almost 99 percent of this year's refund payments have been issued in fewer than 12 days, a goal Governor Warner set for the Department of Taxation. This year, 1,136,868 current refund payments have been made, compared with 870,095 at the same point last year.

"Although we all dread tax time, the Virginia Department of Taxation's iFile program can take some of the headaches out of this process by speeding up tax filing and getting refunds back to taxpayers more quickly," Governor Warner said. "This program is free and uses technology to help make the process much more customer-friendly and accurate."

The Department of Taxation debuted iFile in 2001, becoming one of 23 states out of 41 with a state income tax to allow residents to offer online filing of individual tax returns.

Ninety percent of taxpayers who filed their returns by paper in the last filing season are eligible to use iFile, according to Danny M. Payne, Virginia's tax commissioner. With little promotion last year, more than 20,600 taxpayers filed their 2000 individual income taxes using iFile for individuals. Those taxpayers who used the online service said they would do so again.

Already this year, 598,800 Virginians have filed their income tax returns electronically, compared with 416,413 at this same time last year.

Virginia has taken the lead in developing online services to its taxpayers, offering citizens a wide range of options such as direct deposit of returns, direct payment of taxes through the taxpayer's bank account and the ability to check on the status of a refund online. Taxpayers can file both federal and state income tax returns electronically at the same time. Virginia also offers Telefile, which allows taxpayers to use a toll-free telephone call that lasts about seven minutes to file tax returns. About 700,000 people were eligible to use Telefile to file their 2000 tax returns last year, and more than 24 percent of those eligible used the program.

Military personnel worldwide are also encouraged to use iFile. The tax department offers tax tips targeted to military personnel and their spouses with Internet access, enabling them to file their returns more easily, more quickly and for free.

The deadline for filing income tax returns in Virginia is May 1.

Those interested in filing 760 income tax returns online can visit the tax department's website at www.tax.virginia.gov and click on the iFile icon.

ELECTRONIC FILING MONTH

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia offers citizens several options for submitting individual income tax returns, including filing them electronically; and

WHEREAS, Virginians may submit electronic individual income tax returns by participating in the joint Federal/State electronic filing program (e-file), by telephone for selected taxpayers (telefile), and via the Internet (i-file) at www.tax.virginia.gov; and

WHEREAS, electronic filing of individual income tax returns is the fastest and most efficient method of filing individual income tax returns; and

WHEREAS, electronically filed individual income tax returns are generally more accurate than paper filed tax returns because they greatly reduce the risk of human error, resulting in much faster and more accurate processing; and

WHEREAS, individual income tax refunds for electronically filed income tax returns are routinely deposited into taxpayers' bank accounts in as few as five days when the direct deposit payment option is exercised; and

WHEREAS, the Virginia Department of Taxation anticipates receiving over one million paper filed individual income tax returns during April 2002; and

WHEREAS, every citizen required to file an individual income tax return in Virginia can contribute to enhancing the timeliness of tax return filing and refund payment processing and increasing our government's overall efficiency and effectiveness by filing individual income tax returns electronically;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mark R. Warner, do hereby recognize April 2002 as ELECTRONIC FILING MONTH in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

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For Release
Date: 01/29/2002
Contact:

iFile - free Internet filing of Virginia 760 Income Tax Returns

Richmond, VA - Tax Commissioner Danny M. Payne announced a new electronic service for the Virginia Department of Taxation's customers: iFile - free Internet filing of Virginia 760 Income Tax Returns.

iFile can be found on TAX's Web site at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/, by clicking on iFile.

"As part of an initiative to provide customers more choices and more convenience in filing state taxes, the Virginia Department of Taxation has developed free Internet filing of state taxes. Ninety percent of those taxpayers that filed their returns by paper last filing season are eligible to use TAX's free Internet filing this filing season," said Tax Commissioner Danny M.Payne. "Last filing season, although free Internet filing was available on TAX's Web site, it was not promoted. TAX wanted to use the first year as a 'pilot program'. Without any promotion, more than 20,300 taxpayers filed their 2000 individual income taxes using iFile for individuals. The enthusiasm for this new electronic method of filing is very high. Over 99% of iFile customers say they would use iFile again."

iFile for Individuals

The iFile for Individuals application allows taxpayers to file their Virginia 760 individual income tax returns over the Internet free. This application provides a level of interactive customer service that is new in Virginia.

Some advantages of filing your taxes online:

  • Refunds can be deposited directly into a taxpayer's bank account. Most taxpayers who combined filing with iFile and direct deposit of their refunds had their refunds in the bank in only five days or less!
  • Internet filing does relevant mathematical calculations for taxpayers, and includes a series of edits that help ensure that the return is completed correctly.
  • These features significantly reduce the frequency of errors, so that once completed the taxpayer can be comfortable that the return has been filed correctly; subject only to the accuracy of the information provided.
  • iFile applications support delayed payments, a feature that allows the return to be filed at any time during the relevant filing period, while payment can be made separately and delayed until the final due date for filing the return.
  • Payments can be made by check, credit card, or by direct payment from the taxpayer's bank account.
  • Taxpayers can not only file and pay their taxes; but, they can also make name and address changes and can conduct other simple account management functions without the need to contact a customer service representative or file a form.
  • All taxpayers, regardless of how they have filed their annual return, can check the status of their refund using this application.

There are other electronic filing methods available:

e-File - Federal/State Electronic Filing

Taxpayers can file both their federal and state personal income tax returns electronically at the same time. Taxpayers can contact an e-file participating tax practitioner, purchase e-file software, go to a vendor's Web site that offers e-file, or contact their local Commissioner of the Revenue who may offer e-file as a filing option.

Telefile

Telefile replaced the Virginia Resident Form 760S short form and Telefile packets are mailed to eligible individuals. Nearly 700,000 taxpayers were eligible to use the Telefile program for filing their 2000 tax returns, and more than 24% of those eligible used the Telefile program to file their taxes. This application is a simple way to file taxes, with the average toll free telephone call lasting just seven minutes. Direct deposit of refunds also makes this application an effective way to file and have your refund available in the shortest possible amount of time for those who qualify for the program.

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For Release
Date: 10/01/2001
Contact:

Telecommuting

Telecommuting "Mobile Office" Pilot Program Begins

  • Telecommuting "Mobile Office" Pilot Program Begins
  • Peninsula and Springfield Offices Close Today - October 1, 2001
  • Customers Will Continue To Receive Quality Service from Other TAX Locations

Richmond, VA -- The Virginia Department of Taxation is introducing a telecommuting pilot program, named the "Mobile Office," in both their Springfield and Peninsula District Offices. Under the Mobile Office pilot program, both the Peninsula and Springfield Offices will close effective October 1, 2001

The Mobile Office concept was first developed at the Department of Taxation in the fall of 1999 as part of their continuing efforts to provide efficient service delivery at the agency. The majority of personnel and operational functions supported by the District Offices involve field audit and collections activities. The Department's business process review determined that maintaining a district office did not necessarily enhance their ability to provide service in these areas. The Mobile Office design concept has two business objectives: to increase productivity for field audit and collections personnel; and to attract and retain employees by developing flexible workspace and telecommuting options.

"The Mobile Office presents a tremendous opportunity to employ new technologies to efficiently provide state government services," Commissioner Danny M. Payne said. " We are implementing new technologies to allow a greater degree of self-service for the taxpayer and our ultimate goal is to make available every customer service that is currently provided in the district offices through an alternative self-service channel such as the Internet."

Commissioner Payne continued, "If the pilot program is successful, consideration will be given to expanding this program to other district offices throughout the Commonwealth. As always, customer service is the primary focus of the Department and we are very enthusiastic for the promise that innovative programs such as this holds for both the citizens of Virginia and the employees of the Commonwealth."

The Peninsula and Springfield offices were carefully chosen for this pilot program to mitigate the risks to customer service. To ensure that the transition is a smooth one, the Department is partnering with the Virginia Employment Commission to lease space at one of their facilities in Newport News where customers needing walk-in assistance can meet with representatives from the Department by appointment. The Springfield office does not provide direct customer service and, therefore, similar arrangements were not necessary. Telephone calls and correspondence to the Peninsula Office will be automatically routed to our Central Office in Richmond for response. Callers to the Springfield number will be asked to call the Fairfax Office and walk-in service will be available at the Fairfax Office. Correspondence from Springfield customers should be addressed to the Post Office Box listed below. In addition, the full service district offices in Norfolk and Fairfax will continue to operate as normal. The Department anticipates no degradation of service for taxpayers previously served by the Peninsula or Springfield offices.

Customers in the Northern Virginia area have been serviced and will continue to be serviced by the Fairfax District Office staff.

Springfield & other Northern Virginia areas

Telephone assistance: 703-359-6715

Walk-in service: Customers should go to the Fairfax Office located
11166 Main Street, Suite 300
Fairfax, Virginia

Correspondence:
Virginia Department of Taxation
11166 Main Street, Suite 300
Fairfax, Virginia 22030-5017

Peninsula area

In the Peninsula area, the Department will close the current office but continue to service customers by appointment.

Telephone assistance and appointments: 757-594-7482

Correspondence:
Virginia Department of Taxation
P.O. Box 1115
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1115

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For Release
Date: 09/17/2001
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Tax Commissioner Announces Filing Extensions

Tax Commissioner Announces Filing Extensions

RICHMOND, VA - Tax Commissioner Danny M. Payne announced today that the Virginia Department of Taxation, pursuant to authority granted in the Code of Virginia, Section 58.1-112 (B.), will grant initial administrative extensions for individual and business taxpayers who are unable to meet their state obligations because they were affected by Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

The filing extensions apply to all taxpayers - regardless of where they reside - who are directly affected by the terrorist attacks. For example, this includes relief workers, the victims on the airplanes, any taxpayer whose place of employment is in a disaster area, taxpayers with records maintained in a disaster area, and commercial airlines. In addition, the filing extensions will apply to all taxpayers in the five boroughs of New York City and Arlington County that were declared disaster areas by the President.

We will continue to work with the taxpayers, businesses, and practitioners to resolve additional tax administrative problems as they are identified. In an effort to make this easy and convenient for our customers, wherever possible, we have coincided our extended deadlines with those of the IRS.

Provisions include:

  • Estimated Tax Payment: Affected individual, fiduciary, and corporate income tax filers whose estimated tax payments are due September 17, 2001 are granted an extension until January 15, 2002
  • Income Tax Returns: Affected individual, fiduciary, and corporate income tax fiscal year filers whose returns are due between September 17 and October 31, 2001 are granted an extension of six months plus 120 days.
  • Current Filing Extensions: Affected taxpayers who are currently on an extension that expires between September 11 and November 30, 2001 will have an additional 120 days to file.
  • Sales and Use Tax Returns: Affected filers whose returns are due between September 20 and October 31, 2001 are granted an extension until November 15, 2001 for filing and payment of the tax.
  • Withholding Tax Returns: Affected filers whose returns and payments are due between September 20 and October 31, 2001 are granted an extension until November 15, 2001 for filing and payment of the tax.
  • Other State Taxes Administered by the Virginia Department of Taxation: An automatic extension of November 15, 2001 is granted to affected filers for any other state tax return due to the Department of Taxation between September 20 and October 31, 2001.

Affected taxpayers who are entitled to the extensions described above do NOT need to file an extension request for the items noted above. To obtain an automatic extension, taxpayers should write in red ink at the tops of returns they file: "September 11, 2001 - Terrorist Attack." If they receive a notice from the Department of Taxation, they should contact the Department as indicated on the notice to explain why they are entitled to the extension.

Additional extensions may be granted in hardship cases. Written requests for additional extensions should be directed to:

Virginia Department of Taxation
Customer Services
September 11- Terrorist Attack
P.O. Box 1115
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1115

In addition, any taxpayer with a return due or payment due on September 17 and September 20, 2001 will be considered filed timely if they are postmarked on or before September 25, 2001.

Collection Enforcement activities will be suspended on a case by case basis. Customers who have questions should call the Department at 804-367-8031 (individuals) and 804-367-8037 (businesses).

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For Release
Date: 07/23/2001
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IRS Rebate Payments

IRS Rebate Payments

FOR RELEASE:
Date: July 23, 2001

IRS Rebate Payments

The IRS Rebate Payment checks that many Virginia taxpayers will be receiving, will not be adjusted by any existing Virginia state tax liability. In addition, since this is a reduction of tax, it is not taxable income on the federal form and, therefore, will not be considered as taxable income in Virginia.

The Internal Revenue Service is sending taxpayers a letter describing the check amount of the advance payments they will begin sending later this summer under a new tax law passed by Congress and signed by President Bush. On the bottom of the IRS letter there is the following statement "NOTE: Please be aware that the government is required to adjust these checks if you owe past due Federal or state income tax, other federal debts, or past due child support."

As stated above, this adjustment does not apply to Virginia state tax liabilities. However, the Virginia Department of Social Services will be adjusting the IRS rebate payments for past due child support payments.

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For Release
Date: 05/07/2001
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Duplicate Tax Refund Checks Issued

DUPLICATE TAX REFUND CHECKS ISSUED

Approximately 14,000 duplicate Virginia income tax refund checks were issued by the Virginia Department of the Treasury late last week. All affected checks are dated May 3, 2001. The Commonwealth of Virginia, its banking network and individual taxpayers are protected by a system that allows only one check to be honored by the bank upon which they are drawn, First Union. Area banks have been notified and notices are being mailed to all affected taxpayers.

The Treasury Department processes more than eight million checks each year. Treasury officials state that anyone receiving duplicate refund checks should deposit or otherwise negotiate one of the checks and destroy the other. Duplicate checks also may be returned to the Department of the Treasury, Attn: Kristin A. Reiter, P. O. Box 1879, Richmond, Virginia 23218-1879. Controls with the banking community are in place to prevent the honoring of both checks. If both checks already have been deposited, the duplicate will not be honored and will be returned to the bank or vendor which cashed or deposited the check. In the rare instance that an individual incurs bank charges, the Department of the Treasury will reimburse individuals for these charges.

State Treasurer Mary G. Morris stated "I regret any inconvenience caused to citizens by this processing error. Treasury processes more than 8 million checks annually for the Commonwealth and has many procedures in place to ensure the timely and accurate distribution of those checks. We will do everything possible to minimize the impact on recipients."

Anyone having questions about the May 3, 2001 refund checks should contact the Tax Department at 804-367-8031.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 01/04/2001
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455 fax (804) 786-3536

New Individual Income Tax Forms for Virginia Residents

New Individual Income Tax Forms for Virginia Residents

  • Over 3 million Virginia Residents will Receive New Tax Form and Simple Instructions
  • Over 670,000 Qualify to File by Phone!

Richmond, VA - Tax Commissioner Danny M. Payne announced today that Virginia has made major changes to Form 760 and residents will be receiving the new Form 760 with simplified Instructions in a few days. The new Form 760 will be the only form used by full-year residents. The Form 760 "short form" used in past years has been eliminated, and most of those who formerly filed a "short form" will receive a Telefile packet, which allows them to file by telephone. Telefile packets will be mailed to over 670,000 taxpayers.

The new Form 760 is a single-column form. This represents a significant design change that eliminates the Commonwealth's filing status 4, married filing separately on a combined form. A Spouse Tax Adjustment replaces filing status 4 and provides the equivalent benefit to taxpayers.

Commissioner Payne said, "This new Form 760 was developed as part of the public-private Partnership with American Management Systems, Inc. With the phased in implementation of scanning and imaging technology, the form required a redesign in order to be readable by our new equipment. Our primary goal was to design a return that was simple and easy to complete.

For some years, we have wanted to redesign the Form 760 and simplify the filing instructions; this is the first major rewrite since 1972. We decided to take advantage of this opportunity when it presented itself. We conducted focus groups to test changes in the forms and instructions. The idea of using one column in place of two came directly from a customer. As a result of our form redesign, over 75% of taxpayers filing a paper return will now need to complete only one form to fully file their Virginia individual income taxes. We believe that this new Form 760, simple Instructions, and expanded Telefile will help ease the burden on Virginia taxpayers during the upcoming filing season."

This year it is very important that taxpayers begin early and not wait until late April to begin preparing their return.

FORM 760 and Instructions Redesign

FORM 760

Why Redesign the Form?

  • Make the new form as simple as possible
  • Create a filing process which is less burdensome for taxpayers
  • Eliminate the requirement for taxpayers to file schedules in situations where the data is already available to TAX from other sources
  • Eliminate cumbersome two-column format
  • Allow TAX to automate manual processing functions and store returns on digital images rather than paper facilitating quick responses to customer inquiries

As a result, over 75% of taxpayers will now need to complete only one form to fully file their Virginia individual income taxes.

2. How was the New Form Designed?

  • Guided by extensive market research; input was instrumental in redesign
  • Focus groups were conducted with taxpayers, tax preparers, and local Commissioners of the Revenue and Treasurers
  • TAX maintained close communications with tax preparation software vendors
  • Final product significantly better as result of suggestions from customers, preparers and local officials

3. What is Different about the New Form 760?

  • The new Form 760 is a single-column that eliminates the Commonwealth's filing status 4, married filing separately on a combined form
  • A Spouse Tax Adjustment replaces filing status 4 and provides the equivalent benefit to taxpayers
  • Larger font sizes, a one-column layout, and more white space to make it easier for taxpayers to use the form
  • Placement of frequently used line items on the main Form 760 allows taxpayers to file using a single form

4. Are There Any Other New Features?

  • Payments can be made by credit card
  • Refunds can be directly deposited into bank account
  • Taxpayers can check a box authorizing TAX to discuss the return with their preparer
  • Instruction booklet totally redesigned and reformatted for ease of reading and use.

Telefile - Filing by Telephone

1. What is "Telefile"?

  • Telefile is a telephone filing program for individual income tax
  • Approximately 24% of Virginia taxpayers with simple returns will be able to use Telefile
  • Telefile program was piloted last year and is being made available statewide for this filing season
  • Customer response to the pilot indicated a 98% rate of satisfaction
  • Most taxpayers who filed a 760S, "short form" for taxable year 1999 will receive a Telefile package in lieu of a full 760 package
  • Anticipate that 670,000 taxpayers will receive Telefile package
  • Taxpayers who do not wish to use Telefile can download a 760 package by visiting TAX's website at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/ or by calling 1-888-268-2829.

 

For more information or questions about these new forms, individuals should go to our website at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/ or contact either the Department of Taxation's Office of Customer Services at (804) 367-8031, or their local Commissioner of the Revenue, Director of Finance or Director of Tax Administration for their city or county.

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For Immediate Release
Date: 03/30/2000
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455 fax (804) 786-3536

Individual Tax Assistance Hours Extended Beginning April 1

Individual Tax Assistance Hours Extended Beginning April 1

Taxpayers Can Get Assistance After Normal Business Hours from April 1 - May 1

What: The Virginia Department of Taxation has extended its hours for Customer Service Assistance
When: Beginning Saturday, April 1, 2000 until Monday, May 1, 2000
Schedule:

Extended Walk-in Service at 3610 West Broad Street
(new location - moved from 2220 W. Broad St.)

Monday - Friday 8:30 A.M. - 6:30 P.M.
Saturday 8:30 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.

Extended Telephone Hours

Monday - Friday 8:30 A.M. - 7:00 P.M.
Saturday 8:30 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.

(804) 367-8031

Toll-Free 24 Hour A Day Automated Information Services:
1-888-268-2829 (outside Richmond) and 367-2486 (in the Richmond area)

 

Reminder

Walk-in Assistance in Richmond has moved from 2220 West Broad Street to 3610 West Broad Street

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For Immediate Release
Date: 03/30/2000
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455 fax (804) 786-3536

Delinquent Taxpayers Posted On Web Site

ELECTRONIC FILING NUMBERS HAVE SURPASSED LAST YEAR'S ....ARE YOU MISSING OUT?

Refunds and Tax Dues Qualify

Richmond, VA - Tax Commissioner Danny M. Payne announced today that 327,011 individual state tax returns have been electronically received by the Department as of March 24, 2000. This is a 30% increase over returns electronically received at this time last year and 5.9% more than all electronically received returns in 1999.

Of the 327,011 electronically filed returns:

312,118 are refund returns representing $77,928,599

14,893 are tax due returns representing $3,996,907
 

Who can file through the Federal/State "Electronic Filing" program?

- taxpayers who owe money
- taxpayers who are due a refund
- taxpayers who file part-year (760PY) returns
- taxpayers who file non-resident (763) returns

How taxpayers can file electronically?

-contact their tax preparers for information
-contact their local Commissioner of the Revenue to see if they offer electronic filing

REMINDER

Walk-in Assistance in Richmond has moved from 2220 West Broad Street to 3610 West Broad Street (Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

Customer Service Representatives - (804) 367-8031 (Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

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For Release
Date: 02/24/2000
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455 fax (804) 786-3536

Tax Commissioner Receives Ruling on Tobacco Settlement Payments

Tax Commissioner Receives Ruling on Tobacco Settlement Payments

Richmond, VA. -Virginia Tax Commissioner Danny M. Payne announced today that he has received advice from the Internal Revenue Service on payments made under the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Payne sought the advice to clear up questions surrounding the year in which the payments are taxable.

Payments to tobacco growers and quota owners were mailed on December 30, 1999. Therefore, the payments were not actually received until January 2000. Most cash based taxpayers assumed that the income would not be taxable until taxable year 2000. However, the growers and quota owners received a Form 1099 indicating that the income was received and taxable for 1999.

The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that payments mailed in 1999 but not received until 2000 are not taxable for 1999 for cash basis taxpayers. Therefore, despite having received a Form 1099 identifying the payments as taxable year 1999 income, growers and quota owners do not have to report this income on their 1999 tax returns.

Commissioner Payne said, "I am pleased that we were able to work through this issue with the Internal Revenue Service so quickly. I hope that this will resolve the questions of Virginia's tobacco growers and quota owners."

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For Release
Date: 12/21/1999
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455 fax (804) 786-3536

Virginia Department of Taxation To Relocate Customer Services on Monday, December 27, 1999

Richmond, Virginia - On Monday, December 27, 1999, the Virginia Department of Taxation will relocate its walk-in Customer Services' office from the present location at 2220 West Broad Street to 3610 West Broad Street (in the 3600 Centre Building, 1 mile west from its present location). The entrance to this new location is at street level on West Broad Street. Visitors' parking is located in back of the building.

The following Customer Services assistance can be found at this new location *8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday: CUSTOMER SERVICES OFFICE

Walk-In Assistance

Receiving of Customer Payments

Sale of Tobacco Stamps to Wholesalers

Customers can call (804) 367-8031 for Individual Income Tax assistance and (804) 367-8037 for Business Tax assistance. They may also call either number for directions to the new location.

* Extended hours for Individual Income Tax walk-in assistance will be April 1 - May 1, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

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For Release
Date: 10/25/1999
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455 fax (804) 786-3536

Tax Commissioner Grants Filing Extensions For Hurricane Floyd Victims

Tax Commissioner Danny M. Payne announced today that the Virginia Department of Taxation will extend the relief granted to taxpayers on September 16, 1999 due to Hurricane Floyd. Additional extensions of time to file state tax returns and make payments will be available to filers in the most severely affected areas. This extended relief will assist those taxpayers where the damage from Hurricane Floyd has been widespread. We want to help reduce the immediate pressure of tax issues, at this time of personal crisis for many Virginians.

The extended relief will be available for the following cities and counties:

  • The cities of Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, and Portsmouth
  • The counties of Accomack, Isle of Wight, and Southampton

Provisions for relief include:

Sales and Use Tax Returns: Monthly filers in the affected areas whose returns are due on or after September 20, 1999 are granted an extension until January 31, 2000 for filing and payment of tax.

Withholding Tax Returns: Taxpayers in the affected areas whose returns are due on or after September 20, 1999 are granted an extension until January 31, 2000 for filing and payment of the tax.

Estimated Tax Returns: Individual, fiduciary, and corporate income tax filers whose returns are due on or after September 20, 1999 are granted an extension until January 31, 2000.

Other State Taxes Administered by the Department of Taxation: An automatic extension until January 31, 2000 is granted for filing and paying any other state tax return due to the Department of Taxation between September 20, 1999 and January 31, 2000.

The extensions for sales and withholding tax returns also apply to persons who utilize electronic funds transfer (EFT) for payments. EFT filers who are located in the disaster areas named above should contact the Department of Taxation at (804) 367-8037 if they receive a notice of penalty or interest.

Taxpayers in the designated disaster areas do NOT need to file an extension request for the items noted above. To obtain an automatic extension, taxpayers should write "Hurricane Floyd" in bold print at the top of each return and file the return with full payment for the tax due on or before the extended due date. No penalty or interest will apply to returns filed on or before the extended due date.

Additional extensions may be granted in hardship cases. Written requests for additional extensions should be directed to:

Department of Taxation
E-Mail: taxes@tax.virginia.gov
Customer Services
Hurricane Extension
P. O. Box 1115
Richmond, VA 23218-1115

The department will also suspend collection enforcement activities in the designated disaster areas through January 31, 2000. The suspension of enforcement actions will not stop the accrual of interest on delinquent accounts. Customers who have questions should call the department at (804) 367-8031 for individuals and (804) 367-8037 for businesses.

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For Release
Date: 07/28/1998
Contact: Dianne Lee DeLoach, Public Relations Coordinator (804) 786-3455 fax (804) 786-3536

American Management Systems and the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Taxation Partner to Reengineer Tax Operations

Improved Taxpayer Services and Increased Operating Efficiencies Will Result From Five-Year "Benefits Funded" Initiative

Richmond, VA - American Management Systems, Incorporated (AMS) and the Commonwealth of Virginia announced today that they have signed a five-year partnership contract for a comprehensive reengineering initiative which will enable the Department of Taxation (TAX) to deliver better service to its customers. The Partnership Project will introduce new customer services, organizational improvements and operational efficiencies as well as provide a foundation for TAX to enhance performance and service well into the next century. The contract, which is valued at $122.9 million excluding interest, is being financed by the Commonwealth of Virginia and AMS using a benefits funding model whereby AMS will fund the project and be paid as results are achieved and incremental tax revenues are generated.

Customer-Focused Government: A Familiar Subject in Virginia

With a statewide population of over 6.5 million and annual tax revenues of approximately $9 billion, Virginia is nationally recognized for providing an exceptionally high level of services for its customers, while balancing a rapidly growing residential and business environment. But, the state is not complacent in its success.

"Today marks the beginning of a new era in tax administration in Virginia," said Danny M. Payne, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Taxation. "This reengineering effort will help us realize our goal of becoming the leading revenue agency in the nation and delivering "best in practice" customer-focused services to the citizens of Virginia. One key objective is to create a dynamic environment that makes it easier for all taxpayers to understand tax requirements and to file and pay in a timely, efficient manner."

"AMS is pleased to partner with the Virginia Department of Taxation on this reengineering initiative, which is among the most comprehensive in the nation." said Paul A. Brands, AMS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Taxpayers will benefit from having access to new services and an enhanced service orientation, while the Department of Taxation will dramatically improve the operational effectiveness of tax administration." Through this initiative, Tax's customer service representatives will have immediate access to information to better serve their customers. Individual and business taxpayers will be able to use a variety of secure, technology-based tools that will simplify how and when they interact with TAX. By leveraging advancements in computer and telephone technologies, it will be easier for taxpayers to file their taxes, while allowing more rapid remittance of refunds and resolution of taxpayer questions. Using AMS's "Fast Track" approach, AMS and the Commonwealth will deliver a series of rapid program results, while simultaneously focusing on the longer-term vision of implementing new business processes and enabling technologies that will result in a more efficient, customer-focused organization.

Pay For Performance - Proven Benefits Funding Model

The Commonwealth and AMS are using a novel, but proven, partnership approach known as benefits funding to cover the project costs. Initially, AMS will finance the project; then, the Commonwealth will pay AMS from incremental revenues generated by the effort. The project's cost will not be supported by the Commonwealth's biennial budget. New revenue from state-of-the-art case management techniques, better audit productivity and selection, enhanced discovery capabilities, and streamlined collection processes will pay for the project. At the same time, use of these tools will reduce the burden of unnecessary inquiries and production of tax records on compliant taxpayers. AMS is already seeing breakthroughs with this performance-based approach through its work with Kansas and California. These states quickly generated incremental tax revenues to cover project costs and pay AMS. "We are willing to assume a large portion of the underlying project risk not only because of AMS' track for delivering a complex business solutions that generate measurable results, but also because our partner, the Virginia Department of Taxation, has earned a reputation for being an innovative, forward-thinking and well-managed organization," said Mr. Brands.

About AMS

AMS, headquartered in Fairfax County, Virginia, is a leader in state and local government industry, and provides business solutions to help government agencies improve service and performance. With more than 20 years of experience in the state and local government market, the company brings deep expertise in financial, procurement and human resource management; tax and revenue management; human services administration; environmental management; public safety; and motor vehicle administration. AMS is currently working with government leaders from 30 states, seven of the top 10 cities, as well as counties and school districts nationwide.

AMS is an international business and information technology consulting firm that provides a full range of services: business reengineering, change management, systems integration, and systems development and intelligent use of information technology. AMS has offices in 55 cities worldwide. AMS has grown for 28 consecutive years by establishing solid, long-standing partnerships with clients through the ability to provide thought leadership and the ability to deliver results. AMS, one of the 20 largest consulting firms worldwide, had 1997 revenues of $872 million.

AMS can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.amsinc.com/

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