By Stephen Smoot
In the spring session of the West Virginia State Legislature, the State Senate on one hand and the House of Delegates and Governor Jim Justice on the other, battled over ways to reduce the burden on taxpayers.
One of the provisions of tax reform hinged on finding the best way to provide taxpayers relief on their vehicle taxes. Vehicle tax money goes to support county governments. One proposal called for simply eliminating the tax and creating a state fund to compensate the counties for the difference.
Local elected officials, including the Pendleton County Commission, expressed fears at the time about that proposal. If bad economic times hit the state, it might affect the established fund and cause that revenue stream to dwindle or disappear.
The governor and state legislators eventually compromised. Vehicle property taxes would continue to be paid to counties while the state would give a rebate back to the taxpayer for taxes paid, with some restrictions.
Hoppy Kercheval, from West Virginia Metro News, called the issue “confusing” for many taxpayers. He added, “I suspect many taxpayers just do not know about the credit or are not going to bother with it, but it can be real savings. The state has allocated $140 million for a full year of the credits.”
Additionally, others may lose the credit because they do not know that taxes must be paid on time for the taxpayer to qualify for it. This provides incentive for tax payers to satisfy their burdens to the county in a timely fashion.
Dave Hardy, state revenue secretary, revealed that taxpayers should pay only the first half of their vehicle taxes this year and wait to pay the second half when it comes due in the spring. That way, a taxpayer can add more tax payment to what can be rebated from their 2024 tax return and see more money given back to them in 2025.
According to the West Virginia Tax Division, “beginning January 1, 2024, taxpayers are eligible to claim a Motor Vehicle Property Tax Adjustment Credit.” It goes on to say that “the first opportunity to claim this credit will be on a 2024 WV income tax return.”
Individuals, partnerships, S-corporations, LLCs, and C-corporations qualify for the credit. Companies that lease out cars must pass on the savings to their customers.