Tax & Revenue

Currently Fairfax County does not have a meals tax and it appears that there won’t be such a tax for the foreseeable future. Cities and towns in Virginia have the authority to enact a meals tax by vote of the jurisdiction’s governing body. However, counties in the Commonwealth, including Fairfax County, can only establish a meals tax if a referendum is approved by voters.

A task force met over several months in Fairfax County to determine the advisability of placing such a referendum on the ballot for voter consideration. The report was delivered to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in June.

Dulles Regional Chamber President Eileen Curtis and Advocacy Chair Dave Cordingley from MainStreet Bank participated in the meals tax task force along with close to fifty representatives of interested groups around the county. Headed by Kate Hanley, former chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and former U.S. Congressman Tom Davis, the task force recognized that there were numerous issues in support of or in opposition to a meals tax. The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce steadfastly opposes the imposition of any single industry tax such as a meals tax.

Those favoring the proposed tax said that it would allow the county to provide a new revenue stream for a budget that is stretched by the needs of infrastructure improvements, education demands and other county services. On the con side, a meals tax sends an anti-business message and impacts the already-fragile restaurant industry, which ultimately could negatively impact jobs in the county.

There were further concerns about the best time to place the question on the ballot. Each of the next three years posed unique problems. If presented in 2014, there would be little time to educate the public on the pros and cons of the issue. In 2015, proponents would face an off-year election, historically yielding low voter turnout. Also the potential revenue from 2014 would be lost. If presented in 2016, two years of potential revenue would be lost and the current board could not bind the future board to such a move.

Ultimately the task force did not make a recommendation regarding the meals tax but did forward a document outlining the positions, nearly equal pro and con, for having a meals tax; the timing in which such an issue might appear as a referendum; and the dedication the new potential revenues could address. Without a firm recommendation there seems to be little interest in presenting a referendum to the voters. According to The Washington Post, Board Chairman Sharon Bulova believes that any meals tax referendum would happen after the 2016 elections at the earliest.

Each year, the IRS sends millions of notices and letters to taxpayers for a variety of reasons. Here are ten things to know in case one shows up in your mailbox.

Don’t panic. You often only need to respond to take care of a notice.

There are many reasons why the IRS may send a letter or notice. It typically is about a specific issue on your federal tax return or tax account. A notice may tell you about changes to your account or ask you for more information. It could also tell you that you must make a payment.

Each notice has specific instructions about what you need to do.

You may get a notice that states the IRS has made a change or correction to your tax return. If you do, review the information and compare it with your original return.

If you agree with the notice, you usually don’t need to reply unless it gives you other instructions or you need to make a payment.

If you do not agree with the notice, it’s important for you to respond. You should write a letter to explain why you disagree. Include any information and documents you want the IRS to consider. Mail your reply with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice. Send it to the address shown in the upper left-hand corner of the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response.

You shouldn’t have to call or visit an IRS office for most notices. If you do have questions, call the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. Have a copy of your tax return and the notice with you when you call. This will help the IRS answer your questions.

Keep copies of any notices you receive with your other tax records.

The IRS sends letters and notices by mail. We do not contact people by email or social media to ask for personal or financial information.

For more on this topic visit IRS.gov. Click on the link 'Responding to a Notice’ at the bottom left of the home page. Also, see Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process. You can get it on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).


Additional IRS Resources:

Tax Topic 651 - Notices – What to Do

Tax Topic 652 - Notice of Unreported Income

Tax Topic 653 - IRS Notices and Bills, Penalties and Interest Charges


IRS YouTube Videos:

Received a Letter from the IRS? – English | Spanish | ASL


Useful Links:

IRS.gov Home


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Two bills regarding unemployment insurance have passed the General Assembly. First, SB 110 (also known as the "work share" bill),  would create a voluntary program that gives businesses the option to reduce workers' hours by as much as 60 percent rather than lay them off during economic downturns.  The program benefits employers by allowing them to retain skilled workers when business is slow. Workers keep their jobs and benefits and collect a prorated share of the unemployment benefits they would have received if they had been laid off.  Work share programs are already an option for businesses in 26 other states.
 
The second, SB 18 (the "trailing military spouses" bill), will provide unemployment benefits to Virginians forced to leave their jobs because their spouses were reassigned by the military. SB 18 will help make Virginia a more military-friendly state. It was supported by the U.S. Department of Defense.

2013 Retail Sales & Use Tax Guidelines

Effective July 1, 2013, House bill 2313 (Acts of Assembly 2013, Chapter 766) increases the rate of the statewide Retail Sales and Use Tax and imposes an additional state Retail Sales and Use Tax in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads Regions.

The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce (DRCC) supports the substantive reform of Virginia’s tax and revenue system to more closely align the source of the Commonwealth’s tax revenues with the spending priorities of state and local governments. DRCC believes that all tax policies must be assessed against the potential impact on Virginia’s economic growth and viability, and not based solely on anticipated revenues.

DRCC believes the state must invest in essential infrastructure that is critical to the economic health of the revenue-producing regions in Virginia in order to enable the success in these regions that benefits the entire Commonwealth. Specifically, DRCC believes high growth areas, like those in Northern Virginia, should have greater access to the income tax revenue generated by its citizens to support the increased costs associated with that growth, such as building new schools and roads, and paying the salaries of teachers and public safety personnel.

DRCC opposes any amendment to the Virginia Constitution permitting the creation of a homestead exemption or similar tax policy that would result in higher commercial real estate taxes through creation of a new class of real property that may be exempted from local taxation.

DRCC supports regulatory policies that emphasize the importance of strong economic growth, while ensuring rules are cost-effective and based on valid scientific and technical data.  DRCC opposes unfunded mandates or policy positions, particularly those that would require Virginia’s businesses and other taxpayers to fund the long-term costs of these mandates.

DRCC opposes arbitrary efforts to limit or suspend growth and economic development, and opposes excessive and inconsistent regulations placed on business development or expansion.  DRCC supports the periodic review and revision of the processes by which state government permits and regulates business activities. Existing requirements that do not contribute to meaningful improvement of the application or proposal under consideration must be streamlined or eliminated where appropriate. DRCC also supports efforts to encourage business growth through streamlining government review processes.