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The Voice of the

Commonwealth's Counties

Finance Roundup

In addition to several bills considered by the General Assembly dealing with local taxes on which VACo has reported in detail, a number of other finance-related bills have been considered.  Below is an update on the status of these bills.

HB 148 (Runion)/SB 684 (Mason) allow a political subdivision responsible for administering water, wastewater, stormwater, or solid waste management facilities or system to certify pollution control equipment and facilities being used for the operation of water, wastewater, stormwater, or solid waste management facilities or systems to the Department of Taxation so that the property may qualify for a sales tax exemption.  Currently, this certification must be obtained from the State Water Control Board or the Virginia Department of Health for water projects, or from the State Water Control Board for waste disposal facilities.  These bills, which VACo supported, streamline this process in order to expedite projects.  HB 148 has been approved by the Governor and SB 684 is headed to the Governor’s desk.

HB 199 (Webert) allows a locality to provide by ordinance that a parcel of real property that is part of a land use program may not be removed from the program due to taxes being delinquent if the taxes are paid no later than December 31 (current Code provides that if taxes for any prior year are delinquent on April 1, the property owner must be notified, and if the taxes remain unpaid on June 1, the parcel is to be removed from the program).  The bill also provides that no parcel of real property shall be removed from the land use program for delinquent taxes if the taxes become delinquent during a state of emergency declared by the Governor due to a disaster, the treasurer determines that the disaster giving rise to the state of emergency has caused hardship for the taxpayer, and the delinquent taxes are paid no later than 90 days after the deadline.  The bill has passed the House and is headed to the Senate floor.

HB 200 (Webert) provides that the tax exemption for an organization that is tax exempt by classification extends to the property of a single member limited liability company whose sole member is an organization that would be tax-exempt under this category.

HB 226 (Coyner) makes technical and clarifying changes to the procedure for appeals of local tax assessments to the circuit court.

HB 267 (McNamara)/SB 12 (Suetterlein) allow localities to provide by ordinance for returning surplus personal property tax revenues to taxpayers in any year in which the locality reports a surplus.  Current law allows for such authority for real property tax revenues.  HB 267 is on the Senate floor and SB 12 has passed both chambers.

HB 368 (Williams Graves) increases the maximum amount that the governing body of a locality may authorize its treasurer to issue for a refund of taxes paid as a result of an erroneous tax assessment.  In 2020, this maximum amount was increased from $2500 to $5000; HB 368 further increases the amount to $10,000.  This bill has passed both chambers.

HB 791 (McNamara)/SB 513 (McPike) provide that if data center fixtures are taxed as real property, they must be assessed using the cost approach, defined in the bill as “assessing value by determining the cost to construct a reproduction or suitable replacement of fixtures and deducting physical, functional, and economic depreciation sustained by such fixtures.”  These bills have passed both chambers.

HB 911 (Orrock) enables the governing body of any county, city, or town to provide a credit against taxes and fees imposed by the locality to an individual who provides approved volunteer services in the locality.  Approved volunteer services are defined to include volunteer firefighting and fire prevention services, emergency medical and ambulance services, auxiliary police services, and emergency rescue services that operate exclusively for the benefit of the general public on behalf of nonprofit organizations, or other locally approved services.  Credits would not be allowed to be applied to real property taxes, service charges imposed in lieu of real property taxes, or personal property taxes.  This bill has passed both chambers.

HB 951 (Hodges)/SB 77 (Norment) allow a county to conduct a general reassessment of real estate every three years if determined by majority vote of the board of supervisors.  Both bills have passed both chambers.

HB 996 (Webert) allows the owner of a majority interest in a parcel of real estate that is eligible for land use assessment to file an application for land assessment for the property on behalf of himself or herself and the other owners of the property.  Under current law, an owner representing a majority interest could apply upon submitting an affidavit that the other owners are minors or cannot be located.  This bill has passed the House and is headed to the Senate floor.

HB 1084 (Leftwich)/SB 385 (McDougle) bar a locality from imposing BPOL taxes on a director of a bank or trust company that is subject to the bank franchise tax.  HB 1084 has passed the House and is headed to the Senate floor; SB 385 has passed both chambers.

HB 1239 (Scott, P.) and SB 771 (Stuart) are similar bills that seek to allow local governing bodies some flexibility in the tax rates that may be imposed on cars and similar passenger vehicles.  HB 1239 would create a new class of tangible personal property for rate purposes, which would include most automobiles, passenger trucks, motor vehicles with specially-designed equipment for use by individuals with disabilities, motorcycles, mopeds, all-terrain vehicles, and off-road motorcycles, campers, and other recreational vehicles.  Localities would have the authority to impose a tax rate on this new class of property at a different rate than other personal property.  This bill has an emergency clause.  SB 771 is similar but does not include an emergency clause and contains a sunset clause making the bill’s provisions applicable for tax years beginning January 1, 2022, and before January 1, 2024.  These bills are expected to be placed in conference to resolve the differences in their language.

SB 648 (McPike) allows localities to accept affidavits or other documentation from applicants for local tax exemption or deferral programs for residents 65 years of age or older or residents with disabilities on a rolling basis.  Current law provides for these application materials to be filed after January 1 of each year but before April 1, or by a later date as provided by ordinance.

VACo Contact:  Katie Boyle

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