Governor Northam signs tax legislation, income tax return processing begins

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RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Department of Taxation will begin processing individual income tax returns for Virginians after Governor Ralph Northam signed tax relief legislation Friday.

The legislation would provide nearly $1 billion in tax relief for Virginia taxpayers and conform Virginia’s tax laws to the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“I am proud that we were able to work together to give Virginians the clarity they deserve during tax season,” said Governor Northam. “Now, because of this important compromise, Virginia taxpayers can properly prepare and file their taxes and our state personnel can start processing tax returns.”

The deal will provide a tax refund of $110 for individuals and $220 for married couples.

The standard deduction will increase by 50 percent beginning in tax year 2019. It’s the first standard deduction increase since 2005. The increase will give $4,500 for an individual and $9,000 for a married couple.

However, tax conformity legislation has been criticized by advocacy organizations that say the deal will cut funding for programs that disproportionately affect minority communities.

For example, the legislation would cut $133 million in support to public schools and specifically for programs serving at-risk youth, said James Fedderman, vice president of the Virginia Education Association, in a recent Capital News Service article.

“The greater the proportion of students of color a school division has, the more they stand to lose from the funding provisions,” Fedderman said. “Unless these budget provisions are corrected, many of the school divisions with the highest need will lose out.”

The advocates urged state officials to revise the tax bills to address such issues to no avail.

Now that Gov. Northam has signed the legislation 2018 individual income tax returns can be processed.

Tax Commissioner Craig M. Burns said they will process the returns in order so filers should expect a significant backlog and may experience slower turnaround times for refunds than in years past.

Once your return is processed, you can check the status of your refund by using the Where’s My Refund application on the Department of Taxation website.

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