Advertisement

Local taxpayers will get much of their school levy taxes back

Mar. 30—By GREG JORDAN

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — West Virginia's taxpayers will get much of their personal property tax refunded thanks to a new state law that went into effect this year, and this money will include the excess school levy on this year's May Primary Election ballot.

State taxpayers will get back the money they pay this year in personal property taxes for their vehicles, campers, motorcycles and other such property, County Assessor Lyle Cottle said Friday.

"Well, what we finally realized and I don't know why we didn't see it earlier, is that when you pay your personal property tax now — after they passed the new law that went into effect Jan. 1 of 2024 — when you pay personal property tax which is your vehicles, campers, motor homes, trucks, anything like that, in January of 2025 when you file your state taxes, you get 100% of that money back," Cottle said. "Which 100% of that money on your personal property includes the excess levy, so actually that part, your personal property part, is free."

"So you're not actually paying a levy," he said. "You get a full refund for that. All you're doing more or less is loaning the school board that money for a year. And at the end of the year, you get a full refund."

The West Virginia Legislature passed this law last year and it went into effect Jan. 1, Cottle said. He described the residential property and personal property tax system and how the school levy is connected to it.

"Each year you get two tax tickets. You get one for your home, residential tax ticket, for your property and your house," he said. "You get one tax ticket for your vehicles, campers, trucks, motorcycles, whatever you own personal property. So the governor in 2023 came up with a bill that was passed by the Legislature to give back all personal property money to the citizens of West Virginia. And that's just a tax break."

"So your excess levy, over here on your personal property when you're paying on your car and truck, the excess levy is on that ticket also. It's on every ticket. At the end of the year when you apply for your refund, for your personal property, they're refunding your excess levy also," Cottle said.

To get the refunds, the residential and the personal property taxes must be paid on time.

"As long as it's paid on time you get 100% refund, Cottle said. "By doing that, if the excess levy is included in those taxes, you're getting 100% refund (of the levy), so you're actually not paying anything, nothing out of your pocket for personal property taxes."

"On the (residential) property side, on your home, you still pay it, but that's still getting 50% back," Cottle said. "And veterans, disabled veterans, get that back also. If you're a disabled veteran, actually 90 to 100% (disability), they get back all the taxes on their home."

As a result, a veteran who is 90 to 100% disabled pays no excess levy, he said.

Superintendent Edward Toman said the county's school system relies on the excess levy.

"Absolutely. There's just so many things that the levy supports and again, we want to keep moving forward and taking care of our staff, our students, and that's our number one priority in our community," Toman said. "All that out of the levy is a huge opportunity to provide what's best for our kids."

The excess school levy supports extra-curricular activities such as athletics, cheerleading, choir, band, field trips, coaches' salaries, buying uniforms and equipment, and transportation to away games and competitions. It also helps pay for school resource officers, prevention resource officers and security cameras.

Toman said the excess levy helps with recruiting additional teachers, professional student support personnel, service personnel and substitutes. State funding is linked to enrollment, so that decreases when students leave the county.

"When we have kids leave, that hurts our funding," he said. "If you look at our utilities and maintenance costs, every year there's a hike that jacks up there and again we've got to build that budget and do what we need to do."

The Primary Election is May 14.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com