Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 58.1. Taxation
Chapter 2. Department of Taxation

Chapter 2. Department of Taxation.

§ 58.1-200. Tax Commissioner.

The Tax Commissioner shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, if in session when such appointment is made, and, if not in session, then at its next succeeding session. He shall hold office at the pleasure of the Governor for a term coincident with that of each governor making the appointment, or until his successor shall be appointed and qualified. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as original appointments are made. No person shall be appointed Tax Commissioner unless he is a person of proved executive ability and knowledge of taxation. He shall devote his full time to his duties and shall receive such compensation for his services as provided by law.

Code 1950, § 58-28; 1976, c. 728; 1984, cc. 675, 720.

§ 58.1-201. Oath and bond.

Before entering upon the discharge of his duties, the Tax Commissioner shall take an oath that he will faithfully and honestly execute the duties of the office during his continuance therein and he shall give bond in such amount as may be fixed by the Governor, conditioned upon the faithful discharge of his duties. The premium on such bond shall be paid out of the moneys appropriated to the Department.

Code 1950, § 58-29; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-202. General powers and duties of Tax Commissioner.

In addition to the powers conferred and the duties imposed elsewhere by law upon the Tax Commissioner, he shall:

1. Supervise the administration of the tax laws of the Commonwealth, insofar as they relate to taxable state subjects and assessments thereon, with a view to ascertaining the best methods of reaching all such property, of effecting equitable assessments and of avoiding conflicts and duplication of taxation of the same property.

2. Recommend to the Governor and the General Assembly measures to promote uniform assessments, just rates and harmony and cooperation among all officials connected with the revenue system of the Commonwealth.

3. Exercise general supervision over all commissioners of the revenue so far as the duties of such officers pertain to state revenues, and confer with, instruct and advise all such officers in the performance of their duties to the extent stated.

4. Investigate at any time the assessment and collection of state taxes in any county or city and when the assessment is found unreasonable and unjust take steps to correct the same in the manner provided by law.

5. Institute proceedings by motion in writing in the proper court for the removal or suspension of commissioners of the revenue for incompetency, neglect or other official misconduct and order the Comptroller to withhold compensation from any commissioner of the revenue who fails to comply with any law governing the duties or any lawful instruction of the Tax Commissioner, until such commissioner of the revenue complies with such law or instruction.

6. Provide commissioners of the revenue with information and assistance in the assessment of personal property, including the maintenance of a reference library and the conduct of instructional programs.

7. Prescribe the forms of books, schedules and blanks to be used in the assessment and collection of state taxes and call for and prescribe the forms of such statistical reports, notices and other papers as he may deem necessary to the proper administration of the law, and prescribe and install uniform systems to be used by assessing officials.

8. Direct such proceedings, actions and prosecutions to be instituted as may be needful to enforce the revenue laws of the Commonwealth and call on the Attorney General or other proper officer to prosecute such actions and proceedings.

9. Intervene, by petition or otherwise, whenever deemed advisable in any action or proceeding pending in any court wherein the constitutionality or construction of any state tax or revenue statute or the validity of any state tax is in question. The court wherein such action or proceeding is pending may, by order entered therein, make the Tax Commissioner a party thereto whenever deemed necessary.

10. Upon request by any local governing body, local board of equalization or any ten citizens and taxpayers of the locality, render advisory aid and assistance to such board in the matter of equalizing the assessments of real estate and tangible personal property as among property owners of the locality.

11. Annually make available to every county and city and, where appropriate, towns, a general reassessment procedures manual which provides the legal requirements for conducting general reassessments, and guidelines suggesting the broad range of factors in addition to market data that are appropriate for consideration in the determination of fair market value of both rural and urban land and structures.

12. Issue an annual report to the members of the House Appropriations Committee, the House Finance Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee detailing procedures used in the collections process and how the Virginia Taxpayer Bill of Rights (§ 58.1-1845) is implemented to assist with such collections.

13. Ensure that employees of the Department are not paid, evaluated, or promoted on the basis of the amount of assessments or collections from taxpayers.

14. Issue an annual report to the members of the General Assembly and post such report on the Department's website that details the total amount of corporate income tax relief provided in the Commonwealth during the second preceding tax year. The report shall (i) include the total dollar amount of income tax subtractions, deductions, exclusions, and exemptions claimed cumulatively by corporations; (ii) identify all tax credits claimed; (iii) provide an analysis of the fiscal impact of the corporate tax relief; and (iv) provide summary information regarding the types of taxpayers who claim the tax relief. The report shall also provide information on the number of companies that have qualified for the major business facility job tax credit established under § 58.1-439 and the amount of such credits. The report shall be submitted by October 1 of each year.

15. Obtain information from each income tax taxpayer as to whether the taxpayer claimed a federal earned income tax credit and the amount claimed, unless such information can be calculated based on other information in the taxpayer's return.

Code 1950, §§ 58-33, 58-33.4; 1980, c. 744; 1983, c. 304; 1984, c. 675; 1996, c. 634; 2005, c. 216; 2006, cc. 159, 590; 2009, c. 24; 2010, c. 379.

§ 58.1-202.1. Payment of taxes by electronic funds transfer.

A. In accordance with the limitations contained in subsection B, the Tax Commissioner shall have the authority to require, consistent with the cash management policies of the Department of Treasury and the Department of Accounts, taxpayers subject to the taxes imposed pursuant to Articles 10 (§ 58.1-400 et seq.) and 16 (§ 58.1-460 et seq.) of Chapter 3 of this title and Chapter 6 (§ 58.1-600 et seq.) of this title to remit taxes by electronic funds transfer. Electronic funds transfer shall be made by automated clearinghouse debit transactions; however, the Tax Commissioner may authorize the use of any other means which ensures the availability of such funds to the Commonwealth on or before the due date of the tax.

B. A taxpayer required to remit any of the taxes enumerated in subsection A of this section shall be required to remit such taxes by electronic funds transfer if the average monthly liability for such taxes exceeds $20,000. The $20,000 threshold will apply to each of the taxes on a separate basis. The Tax Commissioner shall promulgate guidelines to determine eligibility criteria and periods. In developing such guidelines, the Department shall seek the counsel of interested groups including tax practitioners and representatives of the business community.

C. All persons who act on a taxpayer's behalf to remit the tax imposed pursuant to Article 16 (§ 58.1-460 et seq.) of Chapter 3 of this title shall be required to remit such withholding by electronic funds transfer if the payment of individual income tax withholding is made on behalf of 100 or more taxpayers. For the purposes of this subsection, electronic funds transfer shall be made by automated clearinghouse credit payment transactions; however, the Tax Commissioner may authorize the use of any other means that ensures the availability of such funds to the Commonwealth on or before the due date of the tax.

1996, cc. 370, 449; 1997, c. 193; 2003, cc. 36, 39.

§ 58.1-202.2. Public-private partnerships; Public Private Partnership Oversight Committee.

A. The Tax Commissioner is hereby authorized through the Department of General Services in accordance with the Virginia Public Procurement Act to enter into public-private partnership contracts to finance agency technology needs. The Tax Commissioner may issue a request for information to seek out potential private partners interested in providing programs pursuant to an agreement under this section. The compensation for such services shall be computed with reference to and paid from the increased revenue attributable to the successful implementation of the technology program for the period specified in the contract.

B. The Public Private Partnership Oversight Committee, hereinafter referred to as the "Committee" is established as an advisory committee in the executive branch of state government to review and approve the terms of contracts under this section relating to the measurement of the revenue attributable to the technology program. The Committee shall consist of five members as follows: one legislative employee appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules after the consideration of the recommendation of the President pro tempore of the Senate, if any; one legislative employee appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates; and the State Comptroller, the Director of the Department of Planning and Budget, and the State Inspector General, as ex officio voting members. All members shall be citizens of the Commonwealth.

Ex officio members shall serve terms coincident with their terms of office. Legislative employee members shall be appointed for a term of two years and may be reappointed for successive terms. Appointments to fill vacancies, other than by expiration of a term, shall be for the unexpired terms. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.

The Tax Commissioner shall preside over the meetings of the Committee. The Committee may select an alternative to preside in the absence of the Tax Commissioner. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum. The meetings of the Committee shall be held at the call of the Tax Commissioner or whenever the majority of the members so request.

The Tax Commissioner shall submit an annual executive summary and report no later than November 30 to the Governor and General Assembly on all agreements under this section, describing each technology program, its progress, revenue impact, and such other information as may be relevant. The executive summary and report shall be submitted as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.

C. The Tax Commissioner shall determine annually the total amount of increased revenue attributable to the successful implementation of a technology program under this section and such amount shall be deposited in a special fund known as the Technology Partnership Fund (the Fund). The Tax Commissioner is authorized to use moneys deposited in the Fund to pay private partners pursuant to the terms of contracts under this section. All moneys in excess of that required to be paid to private partners, as determined by the Department, shall be reported to the Comptroller and transferred to the appropriate general or nongeneral fund.

1996, cc. 643, 653; 2004, c. 1000; 2011, cc. 798, 871.

§ 58.1-202.3. Fillable tax forms.

The Tax Commissioner shall ensure that all required state tax forms are fillable forms in a portable document format for taxable periods beginning on and after January 1, 2012, and are available on the Department of Taxation's website. The Tax Commissioner shall begin making fillable forms available no later than January 1, 2012, and shall make all fillable forms available no later than March 1, 2013.

The Tax Commissioner shall develop guidelines for using such forms and publish them on the Department's website.

Nothing in this section shall replace, supersede, modify, duplicate, or compete with the Virginia Free File program in its provision of online interactive tax software and filing products and services for Virginia taxpayers.

2011, c. 680.

§ 58.1-203. Regulations and rulings.

A. The Tax Commissioner shall have the power to issue regulations relating to the interpretation and enforcement of the laws of this Commonwealth governing taxes administered by the Department. Such regulations shall not be inconsistent with the Constitutions and applicable laws of this Commonwealth and of the United States. Such regulations shall take precedence over any rules or regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States or his delegate which are in conflict therewith.

B. In promulgating regulations, the Tax Commissioner shall follow the applicable provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), except that notice of a proposed regulation shall appear at least sixty days in advance of the date prescribed for submittals. The Tax Commissioner may prescribe the extent, if any, to which any ruling or regulation shall be applied without retroactive effect.

C. Rulings in individual cases shall not be subject to the Administrative Process Act.

Code 1950, § 58-48.6; 1980, c. 633; 1983, c. 551; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-204. Publication of rulings, decisions, orders and regulations.

A. The Department shall publish the following documents:

1. Regulations finally adopted by the Tax Commissioner as provided in § 58.1-203;

2. Orders of the Tax Commissioner under §§ 58.1-1822 and 58.1-1824;

3. Final orders entered by a circuit court under § 58.1-1826 or 58.1-1827, and any written opinion or memorandum of the court;

4. Tax bulletins, guidelines, and any written ruling or other interpretation of Virginia law which the Tax Commissioner believes may be of interest to taxpayers and practitioners.

B. Notwithstanding § 58.1-4 or any other provision of law, the Tax Commissioner may publish the documents described above with such changes of name, alterations and deletions as he deems necessary to preserve privileged taxpayer information.

C. For purposes of this section, documents shall be deemed to be published if they are (i) compiled at regular intervals not exceeding three months, (ii) made available for inspection and copying at the Department, and (iii) published on the Department's website as the Tax Commissioner deems necessary to inform taxpayers and practitioners.

Code 1950, § 58-48.7; 1980, c. 633; 1984, c. 675; 2011, c. 800.

§ 58.1-205. Effect of regulations, rulings, etc., and administrative interpretations.

In any proceeding relating to the interpretation or enforcement of the tax laws of this Commonwealth, the following rules shall apply:

1. Any assessment of a tax by the Department shall be deemed prima facie correct.

2. Any regulation promulgated as provided by subsection B of § 58.1-203 shall be sustained unless unreasonable or plainly inconsistent with applicable provisions of law.

3. Rulings issued in conformity with § 58.1-203, tax bulletins, guidelines, and other documents published as provided in § 58.1-204, and guidance documents listed in the Virginia Register of Regulations as provided in § 2.2-4103.1 shall be accorded judicial notice.

4. In any proceeding commenced under § 58.1-1821, 58.1-1824 or 58.1-1825, rulings and administrative interpretations other than those described in subdivisions 2 and 3 shall not be admitted into evidence and shall be accorded no weight, except that an assessment made pursuant to any such ruling or interpretation shall be entitled to the presumption of correctness specified in subdivision 1.

Code 1950, § 58-48.8; 1980, c. 633; 1984, c. 675; 2011, c. 800; 2017, c. 488.

§ 58.1-206. Continuing education program for assessing officers and boards of equalization.

There shall be established within the Department a program of continuing education for county, city and town officers responsible for the assessment of real estate, and for members and prospective members of boards of assessors and boards of equalization. Such program shall be composed of basic courses embodying the fundamental instruction essential for the equitable assessment of real estate or tangible personal property and an advanced course designed basically to meet the requirements for full certification by the International Association of Assessing Officers. Such assessing officers and board members attending shall be reimbursed for the actual expenses incurred by their attendance at such program.

Code 1950, § 58-33.1; 1975, c. 616; 1979, cc. 576, 577; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-207. Collection and publication of property tax data.

A. The Tax Commissioner annually shall make and issue comprehensive assessment sales ratio studies for each major class of real property in each county or city in the Commonwealth. In order to determine the degree of assessment uniformity in the assessment of major classes of property within each county or city, the Tax Commissioner shall compute measures of central tendency and dispersion in accordance with appropriate standard statistical techniques.

B. The Tax Commissioner shall construct and maintain a system for the collection and analysis of real property tax facts so as to enable him to make intrajurisdictional comparisons as well as intercounty and intercity comparisons based on assessment sales ratio data.

C. The Tax Commissioner shall publish annually the findings of the assessment sales ratio studies.

D. The appropriate county or city assessing officer shall post annually in his office the assessment sales ratio studies as published by the Tax Commissioner.

Code 1950, § 58-33.2; 1975, c. 617; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-208. Classifications of real property.

The Tax Commissioner shall establish a classification system of real property appropriate for inclusion on local land books. Such classification shall be placed on the local land books or the land books shall be organized in a manner appropriate for identification of the classifications by the Tax Commissioner in conducting the annual sales ratio studies. The local assessing officer of any county, city, or town may subdivide such classifications into lesser included classifications should he deem such subclassification desirable.

The Tax Commissioner shall cooperate with and seek the counsel of local assessing officers in establishing such classification system.

Code 1950, § 58-33.3; 1975, c. 623; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-209. Disclosure of social security account numbers.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Department may require disclosure of the social security account number of a taxpayer for any purpose relating to taxes administered by the Department, including verification of the identity of any individual. Such numbers shall be regarded as confidential tax information pursuant to the provisions of § 58.1-3.

Code 1950, § 58-46.3; 1976, c. 663; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-210. Publication showing rates of local levies.

The Department shall annually publish a pamphlet giving the then current rates of local levies. Every tax assessing officer of a county, city or town shall send to the Department, on forms to be prescribed and furnished by the Department, the information as to his county, city or town necessary to enable the Department to publish such pamphlet. Such information shall be so furnished by such tax assessing officers as soon as it is available after request by the Department. If any such assessing officer fails, without good cause, to furnish the same to the Department, on demand, he shall be guilty of nonfeasance in office. The Department shall furnish to any taxpayer, upon application in writing, a copy of such pamphlet so published.

Code 1950, § 58-47; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-211. Department to advise Comptroller of amounts to be charged state collecting officers.

Whenever the Department has information concerning amounts properly chargeable to any collecting or receiving officer by reason of the fact that such collecting officer has been delivered an assessment of state taxes for collection, or otherwise, the Department shall as soon as practicable advise the Comptroller thereof so that he may make the proper entries in his books.

Code 1950, § 58-48; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-212. Office of Tax Commissioner; sessions and investigations elsewhere.

The office of the Tax Commissioner shall be in the City of Richmond and suitable space shall be provided by the Governor for its offices. The Tax Commissioner, however, may hold sessions and conduct investigations and hearings at any other place when necessary for the proper performance of the duties prescribed by law.

Code 1950, § 58-32; 1960, c. 339; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-213. Assistants and clerks.

The Tax Commissioner may, subject to the provisions of the Virginia Personnel Act (§ 2.2-2900 et seq.), employ and remove such assistants and clerks as may from time to time be necessary, prescribe their duties and fix their compensation.

Code 1950, §§ 58-30, 58-441.42; 1966, c. 151; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-214. Promulgation and distribution of tax forms.

To ensure a full collection and accounting for all taxes administered by the Department, it shall design, prepare, print and, upon request, distribute all forms and instructions necessary for filing any return required by this subtitle. In addition, all instructions shall include, in bold type, the address and telephone number of the Department of Taxation and, if available, its e-mail and Internet addresses.

The failure of a taxpayer to receive or procure such forms or instructions shall not, however, relieve such taxpayer from the payment of the tax at the time and in the manner prescribed by law.

Code 1950, § 58-441.44; 1966, c. 151; 1984, c. 675; 1996, c. 316.

§ 58.1-215. Charge for sale of publications.

The Tax Commissioner is authorized to impose a charge for the sale of reprints of this title, or portions thereof, for copies of rules and regulations promulgated by the Tax Commissioner and for other publications of the Department. Receipts from such sales shall be credited to the Department for reimbursement of printing expenses. No charge shall be made for state tax forms or instructions.

Code 1950, §§ 58-31, 58-441.44; 1966, c. 151; 1972, c. 291; 1973, c. 281; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-216. Writs, notices, processes, and orders.

A. The Tax Commissioner may, in all matters within his jurisdiction, award and issue and have served, executed and returned any writ, notice, process, order or order of publication which may by law be awarded, issued, served, executed or returned by or to any court in this Commonwealth for the purpose of compelling the attendance of witnesses, the production of books and papers and the enforcement and execution of his findings, orders and judgments. Such a summons to any witness or to produce any document may be personally served by an employee of the Department or served in the manner provided by § 58.1-217. But all memoranda of liens for the collection of taxes shall issue under the provisions of § 58.1-1805 or § 58.1-1806.

B. Any person summoned as a witness, or summoned to produce books and papers, or both, who fails or refuses to attend, or to produce such books and papers, or both, may be proceeded against in the circuit court of the city or of the county in which such person resides by a rule or attachment issued on motion of the Tax Commissioner in the name of the Commonwealth to compel such person to attend as a witness, or to produce such books and papers, or both, at such time and place as may be designated by the court.

C. The Tax Commissioner and such other officers or employees of the Department as the Tax Commissioner may authorize in writing may administer oaths in the performance of their duties.

Code 1950, §§ 58-35, 58-36, 58-426; 1952, c. 414; 1960, c. 508; 1984, c. 675; 1992, c. 763.

§ 58.1-217. Form of writs, processes and orders; how served.

All writs, processes and orders of the Tax Commissioner shall run in the name of the Commonwealth, shall be signed by the Tax Commissioner, and shall be directed to the sheriff or constable of the county or city wherein such writ, process or order is to be executed. All writs, notices, processes or orders of the Tax Commissioner may be executed and returned in like manner and upon like persons or property as the processes, writs, notices or orders of the courts of record of this Commonwealth and when so served, executed and returned shall have the same legal effect. The officer serving or executing any writ, notice, process or order of the Tax Commissioner shall receive the same fees allowed by law for the like services to sheriffs of the counties and cities. Any officer who fails to execute and return any writ, process, notice or order of the Tax Commissioner shall be subject to the same penalties provided by law for the failure to execute and return the process of any court, which penalties, after due notice to the officer so failing, may be enforced by the judgment of the Tax Commissioner.

Code 1950, § 58-37; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 155; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-218. Fees and mileage of witnesses.

The Tax Commissioner shall make such allowances for fees and mileage of witnesses summoned before him as are allowed by law for witnesses summoned by the Commonwealth in felony cases, to be paid out of the funds at the disposal of the Tax Commissioner.

Code 1950, § 58-38; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-219. Examination of books and records of taxpayers.

The Tax Commissioner may, in any case, in lieu of proceeding under § 58.1-216, cause the books and records of any taxpayer containing information concerning the tax liability of such taxpayer to be examined by one of his authorized auditors or agents in order that the tax and revenue laws of the Commonwealth may be enforced; but, in any such case, if any taxpayer refuses to submit his books and records for examination, as aforesaid, the Department may proceed under § 58.1-216.

Code 1950, § 58-39; 1984, c. 675.

§ 58.1-220. Waiver of time limitation on assessment of omitted or additional state taxes.

Where before the expiration of the time prescribed for the assessment of an omitted or additional state tax, both the Tax Commissioner and the taxpayer have consented in writing to its assessment after such time, the tax may be assessed at any time prior to the expiration of the period agreed upon. The period so agreed upon may be extended by subsequent agreements in writing made before the expiration of the period previously agreed upon.

Code 1950, § 58-1162.1; 1954, c. 509; 1984, c. 675.