For Tommesha Adams, the tax relief money she expects to get this fall from the state will come in handy.
“It helps with the kids’ Christmas,” Adams, a 33-year-old mother of three, said while walking toward the Danville Mall from the parking lot outside JC Penney. “That’s like our Christmas.”
About 2.7 million Virginians are expected to receive the one-time Tax Relief Refund, which should be delivered starting this week and must be mailed to taxpayers by Oct. 15.
Those who filed their income taxes by July 1 could receive as much as $110 if they filed individually and as much as $220 could go to married couples who filed jointly.
The refund is a result of a state tax relief package this year to compensate taxpayers who may have paid more in state taxes as an unforeseen consequence of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by President Donald Trump in 2017.
The General Assembly set aside $450 million for a Virginia Taxpayer Relief Fund to give money back to taxpayers.
But the upcoming refund is no big deal for 67-year-old retired press operator Chuck Luken.
“It’s not like I’m hard-pressed for it,” said Luken, sitting at a table outside Starbucks with his wife, Mary, and their 3-year-old Pembroke Welsh corgi, Dookie. The dog is named after the British royal family’s first corgi, bought in 1933.
“It won’t be anything but a little bit of extra money for us,” Luken added. “I might spend it on my dog. I don’t know.”
Erica Harwell, in the parking lot with Adams, noted she filed as a single person: “I’m just going to pay bills to stay ahead of the game.”
Adams, who inspects merchandise for HanesBrands in Martinsville, filed jointly.
“More is always better,” she said of the anticipated refund, adding she always pays her bills, including rent, three months ahead of time.
The special refund will go to the majority of Virginia taxpayers — except those whose tax liability was met with state tax credits. The state will give the refunds to those who have paid the commonwealth at least the amount of the refund in taxes, after taking into account deductions or tax credits, including the earned income tax credit.
Individuals with a tax liability of at least $110 and married couples with a tax liability of at least $220 are eligible for the refund, regardless of whether they received a regular tax refund earlier this year.
The refunds won’t exceed total tax liability. For example, taxpayers whose liability only was $50 likely would get $50 instead of the full $110 or $220.
In order to be eligible, the taxpayer cannot owe back taxes to their local government, the state, the IRS or any other state agency. For those who do, the money will go to settle those debts, Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, said.
Twenty-two-year-old Trevor Rakes, an IT and software analyst for Carter Bank & Trust’s operations center in Martinsville, plans to hold on to his refund if he gets it.
“Put it into savings is what I’d do,” Rakes said while walking inside Danville Mall.
He has a savings account set up for emergencies and anything else that may come up, he said.
Lynchburg resident Savanah Campbell, 19, said of her possible refund, “It would go towards my car payment or I’d go shopping with it.”
In addition to the special refund, the state standard deduction increases by 50% beginning in tax year 2019, which should provide $86 in tax relief for an individual and $173 for a married couple, Marshall said.
Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.