Tax Impacts of City Council's Emergency COVID-19 Ordinance

Page updated on Apr 1, 2020 at 1:57 PM

Modified Public Hours

On Monday, March 29, the Governor of Virginia issued a “stay at home” order, encouraging residents to remain in their homes to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  To help support this directive, the City’s Finance Department will be limiting the hours for in-person transactions.  Beginning on Tuesday, March 31, in-person transactions will only be available from 8 a.m. until noon on Tuesdays and Fridays until further notice.  It is important to note that nearly all transactions can be conducted online, over the phone, through the mail, or through the drop box located at City Hall on Royal Street.  Only in-person hours are reduced, and the Finance Department otherwise remains open for business 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday by telephone, email and online.

The easiest way to interact with the City’s Finance Department is through our website and email.  Information about changes the Finance Department has made in response to the Governor’s order and contact information for our different services can be found at www.alexandriava.gov/Finance.  Staff is monitoring email and phones and is able to set up in-person appoints on Tuesdays and Fridays to handle complex and cash-based transactions.  Online payments can be initiated through the City’s online payment portal at www.alexandriava.gov/Payments.

Tax Impacts of City Council's Emergency COVID-19 Ordinance

At an emergency meeting held on March 24 by telephone in accordance with state law, the Alexandria City Council unanimously adopted an emergency ordinance to enact a temporary moratorium on certain taxes and filing requirements as discussed below, in order to help provide businesses with greater short term flexibility to the extent allowed by law during this health crisis. 

Meals Tax and Transient Lodging Tax

Based on Council’s action, these businesses are now able to defer payment of these taxes from sales made on or after February 1, 2020 until the end of the COVID19 moratorium on June 30, 2020.  Any Meals or Transient Lodging taxes that may be deferred during the moratorium shall be due and payable following the expiration of the moratorium. However, if so requested, the Department of Finance will accept such payment of deferred taxes pursuant to a monthly payment plan, without penalty or interest.  The term of any such payment plan shall be no longer than 12 months.  Any monthly payment of deferred taxes under a payment plan shall be in addition to payment of the current month when due.  Any late payments of the current month taxes due following the expiration of the moratorium on June 30, 2020, shall incur late payment penalties and interest as provided by law.

If a business has already remitted Meals or Transient Lodging taxes based on February sales, you can email Businesstax@alexandriava.gov in order to obtain a temporary refund of this amount in order to take advantage of the COVID19 moratorium.

Late BPOL Taxes for 2020

Tax year 2020 BPOL taxes were due March 1, 2020.  If a business has not yet paid the 2020 liability, payment may be deferred during the COVID19 moratorium, until June 30, 2020.  Payment of the full amount must be paid at the end of the COVID19 moratorium.  While a late payment penalty will not be charged during the moratorium, late interest will continue to accrue as required by state law.  Payment after the moratorium can also be paid according to a payment plan, again with interest.  Refund of taxes already paid on BPOL is not applicable.

BPOL Quarterly Payments for 2020

If a business has elected to pay tax year 2020 taxes on a quarterly basis, the 2ndquarterly payment would normally be due May 1, 2020.  As part of Council’s emergency ordinance, the due date for the 2nd quarterly payment has not been deferred to January 8, 2021 (this is a one time change only).  The 2nd quarterly payment may be made next January without the additional handling fee of 5%.The 3rd quarterly payment will remain due on August 1st, and the 4th payment will be due on November 1st.  Normal handling fees apply.

Business Personal Property (BPP) Filing Form, Deadline Extension

BPP filing forms, that declare the furniture, fixtures and equipment of businesses is normally due by May 1st.  Failure to file on time results in a 5% penalty.  As part of Council’s emergency action, the deadline for filing this form with the Department of Finance has bee extended to July 1, 2020.  No penalty will be incurred as long as the returned is filed by that date.  BPP tax returns not filed online by July 1, 2020, will incur late penalties.

However, in order to give staff time to process these returns in time to generate the 2020 personal property tax bills, Council’s emergency action also requires that all businesses must file this return electronically using Finance’s online Business Tax Portal. If you have already established an online account, you can access your business information through the portal using your unique sign-on information.  The portal can be accessed at www.alexandriava.gov/BusinessTax .  If you have questions, need to obtain your one-time PIN, or do not have computer access from which to file, please contact Businesstax@alexandriava.gov

Tax Relief for the Elderly and Disabled

Whereas applying for tax relief must typically be done by mid-April, Council desires to provide applicants maximum flexibility during this time of social distancing, and applications received through July 1, 2020 will be accepted as being on time.  If applications are not received prior to billing, adjustments can still be made after the fact for the full amount of relief.  If you have already submitted an application, staff will process as normal.  If applicants have any questions, please contact taxrelief@alexandriava.gov, or call 703.746.3914.

Sales TAx

The Commonwealth of Virginia has granted business owners a 30 day extension to remit Sales Tax normally due on March 20. More information can be found on the Virginia Tax Corona Virus page at  www.tax.virginia.gov/news/coronavirus-updates.

Car Taxes

Unpaid Car Taxes are still due and must be paid as required by law.

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