Letter: Commissioners can take on additional tasks
Your locally elected Commissioner of the Revenue is your first line of contact to assist you with both state and local tax issues. Consumer-friendly offices are staffed to help both individuals and businesses with their real estate and personal property taxes, including the personal property tax relief program. In many localities, the commissioner’s office may also operate as a DMV office, providing a convenient one-stop shop for both state and local vehicle license registration and personal property tax assistance.
Your commissioner also administers taxes adopted by the local governing body for businesses in the areas of license, consumer utility, machinery and tool taxes, merchant’s capital taxes, and meals, lodging and cigarettes taxes. They also oversee the special tax relief and land usage programs.
As a Commissioner of the Revenue, I, like so many other commissioners, believe there are more opportunities for the state and local governments to work together to serve your needs and make the best use of our limited tax resources. Two examples would be:
—Allow for local DMV vehicle registration concurrently with personal property registration. Every citizen is required to register their vehicles both locally and with the state for tax purposes. The information required for both is nearly identical. Combine the two. Commissioners of the Revenue have the ability, the space and the willingness to do this while potentially reducing the total number of DMV employees and allowing DMV to focus on the issuance of driver’s licenses, and;
—Allow for local registration of state sales tax concurrently with the local business license. The vast majority of businesses in Virginia are small, locally owned and well known to local Commissioners of the Revenue. These businesses should be able to complete all organizational and tax registration requirements at the local level. This would ensure that all that should be registered are being registered. The Georgia Department of Revenue recently discovered, through a joint audit with a local county tax commissioner, 1,000 businesses had properly registered for local business licenses but had not registered with the Georgia Department of Revenue for Georgia sales tax. According to estimates, in this one county alone, the loss in state sales tax revenue amounted to $250 million.
Local Commissioners of the Revenue are well suited to provide these tax-saving measures. We are linked electronically with the state, which assures that taxes due the state accurately reach the state. All of this can be completed in a consumer-friendly manner with real people to help you. Visit our offices to see what we can provide for you.
William Page Johnson II
President, Commissioner of the Revenue
Association of Virginia