The main function is to screen, review, and process all incoming tax returns. A local filing helps to ensure that the return will be accurate, in composition and mathematics, before being sent to the Department of Taxation in Richmond.
Upon receipt, locally filed tax returns are processed and immediately entered on the Commissioner's Office computer system, allowing quick access for inquiries and the ability to send it back to the taxpayer for correction if necessary. An automated tracking system enables us to quickly inform the citizen at what stage of processing their return is located. All accelerated refunds are processed daily through an on-line computer link with the Virginia Department of Taxation. Tax due payments and initial estimated income tax payments are posted and transmitted to the Portsmouth Treasurer for deposit.
Accessibility is another advantage of locally filed returns. Besides the greater speed in processing of a taxpayer's return, filing locally makes it more convenient for our staff to personally interact with the citizen or tax preparer to correct any errors that have been made. If citizens do not receive their state income tax refunds within an expected time frame, they can contact their local Commissioner's office and speak with a trained staff member regarding the delay. Advice can be rendered as to how best to correct any problems and speed the refund along. Long-distance telephone calls to Richmond do not have to be made.
Last year, approximately 37,000 state income tax returns were filed locally. Over 11,000 citizens were assisted with their questions and over 1,900 state income tax returns were prepared upon request at no charge.