RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- Virginia taxpayers will likely get some money back later this year.
The General Assembly is expected to approve one-time rebates to eligible state income tax filers but lawmakers are still debating how much.
Unlike some tax policy proposals, this campaign promise from Governor Glenn Youngkin has won broad bipartisan support. Governor Ralph Northam proposed his own version of the plan with a smaller price tag before leaving office.
“We want to have the largest tax rebate in the history of Virginia,” Youngkin reiterated in a speech to ChamberRVA on Monday. “All of these tax cuts are designed to help Virginians who need it most, to get our cost of living down, to enable Virginia to compete with the states around us who are lowering their tax burdens while we sit here and have lunch.”
Delegate Roxann Robinson (R-Chesterfield) is carrying the version of the bill supported by Governor Glenn Youngkin. It would pay individuals up to $300 and married couples up to $600. A more modest Senate plan features the amount proposed by Northam at $250 maximum for individuals and $500 for married couples.
According to the House bill’s fiscal impact statement, the larger rebates would remove $1.251 billion in General Fund revenue in FY 2023. That’s $202.8 million more than the smaller proposal that would otherwise go towards spending priorities like mental health and behavioral health services.
Robinson said she intends to stand by her proposal.
“We have an excess amount of money in the budget. The state has been very prosperous over the last year,” Robinson said.
Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta), a lead Republican budget negotiator who sponsored the Senate’s version of the bill, said the debate will come down to balancing tax reform and new spending. He said his preference is to defer action on some of Youngkin’s ongoing tax cuts in favor of more one-time relief.
“I would support an even larger amount if we leave some of the tax reform on the table,” Hanger said. “I would prefer that we give money back to the taxpayers. At the same time we’re addressing our pressing needs on the spending side rather than obligating ourselves out into the future where there is an uncertain revenue flow.”
Governor Youngkin will still have a chance to make changes after the House and Senate decide on an amount in budget negotiations. The General Assembly will vote on his amendments during an April veto session.
It means taxpayers should expect to wait several months for these one-time payments.
Robinson isn’t sure exactly how they will be delivered. She said it may be a mailed check or direct deposit.
“The refunds will happen probably sometime between July through November so that late filers will get their money,” Robinson said.
To be eligible for the rebate, Virginians are required to file their final 2021 income tax return on or before November 1, 2022.
Individuals and married couples may get less than the maximum depending on the application of any deductions, subtractions or credits.
For example, Hanger said Virginians who owe less on their state tax bill than the rebate’s maximum will not get the entire amount.
“So if your tax liability is only 200 dollars, that is all you would be forgiven,” Hanger said. “If you do not have a tax liability at all, if that is zero, and there are a lot of people that fall into that category, then you will not get a refund.”
During tax filing season, Robinson said she doesn’t know of any specific additional steps Virginians need to take to make sure they receive a payment.
“It will just be automatic through the Virginia Department of Taxation so I don’t think there is anything you can do unless you don’t receive a check and feel you’re entitled to one,” Robinson said.