Thursday, 18 April 2019

Letters to the editor: week of 1/30/19 | Opinion –

Defining fairness to all parties with tax system

After recently receiving a letter from the Commissioner of the Revenue, I thought that I had better recheck my understanding of what “fairness” is. It seems that a new tax management software system has been implemented that now, for some reason, needs an established minimum assessed taxable value of $300 for all taxable items of personal property. The letter continues that after a review of my 2018 personal tax billings I do, in fact, have an item with an assessed value below $300.

The letter continues … “In the interest of fairness we have corrected your bill …”

So, in the interest of fairness, the assessed value of an almost 20-year-old utility trailer has been raised from $265 to the new minimum of $300. Hmmm, an appreciated value of 13.2%. I might note that I doubt if the trailer even cost $300 back in 2000.

What is fair about setting a “new minimum value”? Could not the new software have been programmed for, say, a $100 or $200 minimum assessed value? I also noticed that the letter wasn’t actually “signed” by the Commissioner. Yep, to be fair, I wouldn’t have signed it either.

And, as long as I’m on the “fairness” issue … how about the fact that our legislators have not done anything to address the discrepancy we Virginia taxpayers will face when filing this year? With President Trump’s new tax regulations, most middle income taxpayers will not itemize their Federal return and under current Virginia law how you file federally will be how you must file for state. This little glitch will mean approximately $500 to $600 million windfall for Virginia, with most coming from the pockets of individual taxpayers. Is this fair?

Our Governor apparently has already made plans for this extra state revenue and it’s not going to be in the form of a refund, but instead there’s talk that it will go to low income workers in the form of cash grants. I might point out that these low income workers most likely have a zero tax burden.

Ah, yes, income redistribution at its best. What could possibly be fairer than that?

Chuck Williamson


Taxpayer Appreciation Day nears

Don’t forget, Feb. 5, 2019, is first half personal property tax due date, but, more importantly, is that Feb. 5 also is Taxpayer Appreciation Day, a day set aside so government employees can show some sign of appreciation, a chest bump, a high five or just a hug for the taxpayers whose tax money makes their government employment journey, profitable, enjoyable and stress-free.

Benefits such as lots of paid holidays, sick days, vacation days, no layoffs, no termination, early retirement, great health and life insurance, and other perks to name a few, are all results of taxpayer dollars.

And more good news, there will be more tax dollars coming your way due to the newly-increased real estate assessments.

This Taxpayer Appreciation Day is not like the Hot Dog or Hamburger Appreciation Days where you just walk in a store anytime of the day and grab one. The taxpayers are working during the daylight hours and to catch one to hug, chest bump or high five will have to be done before 7 a.m. or after 5 p.m.

In case anyone feels uncomfortable showing their appreciation in public, there is a solution. Take a taxpayer with you and go through the drive-thru car wash on Chamberlayne Avenue. The tunnel atmosphere, soapy water and brushes will insure no one will see, hear, or know how much you really care.

Sounds like a nice gesture to me since there certainly is no lack of wanting appreciation from us by government employees for simply doing a job being paid to do.

Old Church


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