A guidance document is defined as "...any document developed by a state agency or staff that provides information or guidance of general applicability to the staff or public to interpret or implement statutes or the agency's rules or regulations..." Agencies are required to maintain a complete, current list of all guidance documents and make the full text of such documents available to the public. By law, these Guidance Documents are published on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall site.
However, because of the volume, the Department's rulings, tax bulletins, forms, and publications are published on the Department’s website in the Laws, Rules & Decisions section, while other types of guidance documents, such as internal memoranda and agreements with other agencies or states, are published on the Town Hall.
Under Va. Code § 58.1-205, a court is required to sustain a regulation unless unreasonable or plainly inconsistent with applicable provisions of law, while tax bulletins, guidelines and other documents are accorded judicial notice only. Under Virginia case law, when a matter is judicially noted, it is taken as true without the offering of evidence by the party who should have ordinarily done so, but the opponent is not prevented from disputing the matter. Therefore, guidance documents are not given the great weight accorded to regulations that have been promulgated under the Administrative Process Act. The Department’s regulations may be found in the Virginia Administrative Code.
The following types of guidance documents have been published by the Department:
- Guidelines (instructions for taxpayers related to specific events or tax-related subjects). Guidelines currently in effect are listed below and available on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall. Information on guidelines currently under development may be found on the Department’s website.
- Manuals (instructions for the Department's staff) are listed below and available on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall.
- Rulings (advisory opinions of the Tax Commissioner and final determinations of appeals) are available in the Laws, Rules & Decisions section of the Department's website.
- Tax Bulletins (information of an urgent or temporary nature, e.g., quarterly interest rates) are available in the Laws, Rules & Decisions section of the Department's website.
- Forms and related instructions are available on the Department’s website.
- Publications (reports routinely issued by the Department that include information on economic, demographic and procedural topics) are available on the Department’s website.
Other types of guidance documents are available on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall.
Guidelines Currently Under Development
- Guidelines for Certain Retail Sales and Use Tax Refund Claims
- ABLE Act Contribution Deduction Guidelines
- Guidelines for the Virginia Tax Amnesty Program
- Automobile Repair Shop Supplies
- Guidelines for the Cigarette Resale Exemption Certificate
- Real Property Contractor Guidance Document
Recently Developed Guidelines
The following links provide background information about certain guidelines that have been recently developed or updated by the Department.
- Major Research and Development Expenses Tax Credit Guidelines (issued April 19, 2017)
- Research and Development Expenses Tax Credit Guidelines (updated April 19, 2017)
- Recyclable Materials Processing Equipment Tax Credit Guidelines (issued April 3, 2017)
- Food Crop Donation Tax Credit Guidelines (updated December 16, 2016)
- Crowdfunding Guidelines (issued October 3, 2016)
- Pass-Through Entity Withholding Guidelines (updated December 22, 2015)
- Motion Picture Production Tax Credit Guidelines (updated March 23, 2015)
- First-Time Home Buyer Savings Accounts Guidelines (issued January 7, 2015)
- Port Tax Credit Guidelines (updated September 5, 2014)
- Guidelines and Rules for the Tobacco Products Tax (issued July 30, 2014)
- Insurance Premiums License Tax Guidelines (updated July 1, 2013)
- Single Sales Factor Guidelines (issued January 7, 2013)
Guidelines and Manuals Currently in Effect
The following guidelines can be found on the Virginia Town Hall and, in most cases, in Laws, Rules & Decisions section of the Department's as a public document.
Income Tax Guidelines
- Pass-Through Entity Withholding (updated December 22, 2015)
- Qualified Appraisals (for Land Preservation Income Tax Credit)
- Motion Picture Production Tax Credit (updated March 23, 2015)
- Barge and Rail Usage Tax Credit (updated September 5, 2014)
- International Trade Facility Tax Credit (updated September 5, 2014)
- Port Volume Increase Tax Credit (updated September 5, 2014)
Sales Tax Guidelines
- Accelerated Sales Tax Guidelines (updated May 3, 2017)
- Combined Sales Tax Holiday Guidelines
- Virginia Retail Sales and Use Tax Rate Increase
- Public Service Corporation Exemption Repeal
- Food Tax Rate Reduction
- Motor Vehicle Fuel Sales Tax
- HB 2313 Retail Sales and Use Tax Changes
Miscellaneous Tax Guidelines
- Incentive Payments To Small Tobacco Product Manufacturers
- Virginia Communications Taxes
- Local Business Tax
- Appealing Local Mobile Property Taxes
- Cigarette Tax Rate Increase
- Idle Machinery and Tools
- 2009 Virginia Tax Amnesty Program
- Addendum to the 2009 Virginia Tax Amnesty Guidelines
- Cigarette Tax Enforcement
- Prepaid Wireless E-911 Fee
- Insurance Premiums License Tax (updated July 1, 2013)
- Rental Tax Guidelines
- Guidelines and Rules for the Tobacco Products Tax