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Hanshaw: Discussions underway concerning fix for new car tax credit option

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State lawmakers are considering a possible fix to the new state law that allows for a dollar-for-dollar credit for the annual vehicle property tax.

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw

Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed and Gov. Jim Justice signed into law a tax cut plan which includes a credit on the personal property tax paid each year on vehicles.

That part of the law kicks in on Jan. 1, 2024. Personal property tax bills are being sent out now by counties like they are every year. Taxpayers are given the option annually to pay their full taxes this fall or half now and half early next year. As the current law reads, only the half paid in 2024 would be eligible for the first year of the car tax credit.

As the current law reads, state Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy has recommended the bill be paid in two payments.

“You definitely want to pay half. You do not want to pay the full year because when you pay the second half, which is due on April 1, 2024, that will be eligible for the dollar-to-dollar credit,” Hardy told MetroNews last week.

House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw and others have heard from taxpayers in recent days who pay their full tax bill in the fall who are wondering why they would essentially be penalized for paying early. Hanshaw said they make a good point and lawmakers will likely address it.

“The fact that people do the responsible thing and pay their tax bill in full is a good thing. That’s not something that I think that we ever want to intentionally disincentivize,” Hanshaw said Thursday during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”

There could be a special session of the legislature to coincide with monthly interim committee meetings that start Aug. 6 in Charleston. As of now, Gov. Jim Justice hasn’t called lawmakers into special session, but if it happens, Hanshaw said there’s interest in the tax issue.

“I suspect that the next time that we are together as a body we’ll look at this issue in some way,” Hanshaw said. “I’m not prepared to say what the specifics of it would be right now. We would have to have some dialogue with the tax department and the governor’s staff on how we would implement it.”

Hanshaw said it’s important to put all taxpayers on equal ground when it comes to the credit, no matter if you pay your full tax bill now or half now and half in 2024.

“I think it’s fair to say that we want everyone to be eligible and in a position to receive the same benefit, regardless if they make one payment or two,” Hanshaw said.

The credit will appear on the 2024 state tax return that will be filed in early 2025.

The special session seems likely with the ongoing situation with job vacancies in the state’s jails and prisons as a top issue to be addressed.

“We’ve got to get that done. That’s for absolute certain,” Justice said during his Wednesday media briefing.

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