Mayor Stoney, Richmond City Council introduce tax amnesty plan

Mayor Stoney, Richmond City Council, the City Attorney’s office and the Finance Department have proposed a tax amnesty program on penalties and interest applied to certain Admission, Lodging and Meals (ALM) and Real Estate taxes.


The Richmond City Council heard a presentation on the proposed ordinance to establish the program at their January 11 informal meeting. Passage of the ordinance on January 25, 2021 would allow many Richmonders to catch up on their taxes after a challenging year.


The program is designed to offer support to any taxpayers who have accumulated penalties and interest on delinquent taxes.


“We’ve designed this program to help residents and business owners who are still feeling the effects of COVID-19’s economic ramifications,” said Mayor Stoney of the proposed ordinance. “I’m grateful to City Council for their partnership and hopeful we can get this across the finish line and put this compassion into practice.”


Councilmember Trammel, Council Vice President Ellen Robertson, and Council President Cynthia Newbille worked closely with the Department of Finance team and Office of the City Attorney to make the program possible. 


Program participants will see their penalties and interest waived. However, amnesty does not apply to or reduce the principal tax amount due.


The 2021 amnesty program as proposed is expected to have a net positive effect on FY2021 revenue collections.


Application details will be publicized upon passage of the ordinance.


What is tax amnesty?


Amnesty is a power granted to the City of Richmond by the Commonwealth of Virginia. It gives the Director of Finance the opportunity to waive penalties and interest on certain taxes for a certain period of time. 


Interested parties must apply and be approved for tax amnesty. It is not granted to everyone who pays taxes automatically. In this case, the application will be available if the ordinance passes.


Details of the proposed tax amnesty program


The program offers amnesty on real estate taxes and admission, lodging and meals taxes. The amnesty period for these two tax types would be different.

-       2021 Real Estate Tax Amnesty program: March 1 – March 31, 2021

-       2021 Admission, Lodging, and Meals Tax amnesty program: April 1 – April 30, 2021


Real Estate Tax Amnesty


In order to participate, applicants must become current on all taxes due before January 15, 2021 or enrolled in a payment plan by March 31, 2021.


For recipients of tax rehabilitation or tax relief for the elderly or disabled, all 2021 taxes must be received by June 30, 2021. This is regardless of a payment plan.


Admission, Lodging and Meals Tax Amnesty


In order to participate, applicants must become current on all taxes due before April 21, 2021 by the end of April.


Participants cannot have unfiled monthly periods in order to benefit from the program.


If restaurants submit meals taxes after the due date, they will not be eligible for the 3 percent seller’s commission. This is in accordance with city code.


For more information on the proposed program, click here.