Monday, April 7, 2008

Loudoun County Announces Guidelines for Refund of NVTA Congestion Relief Fees

Okay, so here goes the explanation according to the Loudoun County Web site...
The 2007 General Assembly passed legislation authorizing certain fees and taxes to be imposed by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (“NVTA”). The Supreme Court of Virginia declared these fees and taxes unconstitutional in its decision dated February 29, 2008.

The 2008 General Assembly passed House Bill 1578, Chapter 652 of the Acts of the Assembly, which became effective on March 25, 2008, when the Governor signed the legislation. Chapter 652 establishes a process for providing refunds to citizens who had paid these fees and taxes, declared to be invalid. One of the fees and taxes declared invalid was the “congestion relief fee”, imposed by NVTA pursuant to § 58.1-802.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Congestion relief fees are similar to “grantor’s taxes”, generally paid by sellers of real estate, collected at a “real estate closing” and disbursed by a “settlement agent” in accordance with a settlement statement.

The settlement agent sends a check to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, along with the deed transferring the real estate to the purchaser for recordation, which includes the congestion relief fee. The Clerk records the deed, processes the check and provides a receipt back to the settlement agent. In accordance with the 2007 law, the Clerk then forwarded the congestion relief fee to the NVTA to help fund transportation improvements in Northern Virginia.

The Loudoun County Clerk of the Circuit Court guidelines for the refund of the NVTA Congestion Relief Fees can be found on the county's Web site. The guidelines go into further detail on how the refunds will be handled.

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