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City of Richmond Makes Progress on Meal Tax Review

City of Richmond Makes Progress on Meal Tax Review 

Announces Penalties and Interest Freeze for Cases Under Review

Today the City of Richmond announced a penalties and interest freeze (PIF) as part of its review of the collection and application of payment for Meals Taxes.

While the city strives to review all meals tax accounts, the cases that will take priority are those that are currently delinquent. The objective of the Department of Finance’s review is to ensure tax collections are being conducted accurately and in accordance with the applicable tax laws and regulations.

Meals Tax accounts with existing delinquencies as of March 1, 2024, will receive notice by mail that their account is under review. The review will be conducted by the Department of Finance’s Payment Allocation Review Committee and the results communicated to each business owner. The Department of Finance’s goal is to complete this review process by July 1, 2024. However, if the Department is not able to complete an account review by July 1st, a new review timeline will be communicated directly to the business owner. So that no business receives additional costs due to this review period, penalties and interest will be frozen for cases under review.

However, businesses must continue to collect and remit their monthly meals tax payments per state and city law. The city cannot commit to waive penalty and interest on future late payments.

Business owners who have additional questions are invited to file a request with the Department of Finance by submitting a Meals Tax Inquiry Form available at https://www.rva.gov/finance/forms. You can also email your request to mealstax@rva.gov. If you chose to email, do not include personal identifiable information because email is not always secure.

The goal of the city is to work collaboratively with business owners to achieve an accurate result, therefore, please note the following: 

  • Until the city has completed its transition to a new collection system (RVA Pay), the review will be a manual process performed by the Department of Finance which will take time.
  • Each case is different, and therefore, outcomes are determined case-by-case. During the review, we may request access to relevant financial records, receipts, and other related documentation.
  • If you receive a delinquent notice while your account is under review, please contact mealstax@rva.gov for further information.

We are committed to ensuring minimal disruption to businesses daily operations during this process. Should there be a specific concern, please do not hesitate to contact mealstax@rva.gov. Additionally, to receive updates or notifications, businesses should make sure the Department of Finance has your current contact information.

“The City of Richmond is hard at work to ensure restaurants have the ability to thrive in the City of Richmond,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “While this is just the start, we remain committed to creating a more efficient and customer friendly environment for all. The Department of Finance has made progress and resolved several businesses’ cases and is committed to implementing a better collections system, reviewing delinquent accounts, and opening new communications channels with restaurant owners.”

ONGOING EFFORTS

  • Collaborative Communications: Identify and communicate with businesses as part of the city’s review of the collection and application of payment for Meals Taxes.

  • Business Café’s: The city plans to host a series of Business Cafés that will include subject matter experts to answer questions in real-time and assist businesses with other immediate issues.
  • Career Fair: Apply for vacant positions within the Department of Finance on Thursday, March 7, 2024, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Bon Secours Training.
  • Implement RVA Pay: Transition from the previous payment and collection system to a modern automated system called RVA Pay. Implementation of this system will allow businesses and residents to view their accounts, make payments, and get billing information in real time. Converting to this system will remove many of the manual and time intensive processes the city currently has to administer taxes.

CHANGES MADE

  • Established a secure website for appeals form submission:
  • Established a Meals Tax email address for businesses to communicate concerns to the Department of Finance: 
  • Established a Payment Allocation Review Committee to evaluate cases. 
  • Changed hours for the City Hall Finance Office (1st floor) to allow additional time for manual review of cases. The City Hall Finance Office will be closed on Wednesdays at noon beginning February 28, 2024.

This modified schedule will help the department address pending items, perform important work related to RVA Pay, and focus on improving customer satisfaction. The modified hours will allow the staff to concentrate on addressing tax issues, which will help ensure better communication and timely and accurate billing.

Please note the Southside Plaza location (4100 Hull Street) and the East District Initiative (701 North 25th Street) remain open.

 

 

City Hall Finance Office To Begin Modified Business Hours On Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Starting from Wednesday, February 28, there will be changes to the working hours of the Finance Department's City Hall Finance Office located on the first floor. Every Wednesday, the office will close at noon. This schedule alteration will allow the staff to handle pending items more efficiently and work on the transition to RVAPay.

If you want to request a callback, please email us at mealstax@rva.gov. In the subject field, type "ESCALATED," and in the body of the email, provide a brief description of your issue. This will help us prioritize your request for completion. One of our team members will contact you on the first Wednesday following your request between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm. If you have a preferred day and time, please let us know. 

Both the Southside Plaza location (4100 Hull Street) and the East District Initiative location (701 North 25th Street) remain open and available to taxpayers wanting to pay in person.

This information will be updated on the City's website, shared on social media, and communicated to neighborhoods via Nextdoor. 

 

Release:

City of Richmond City Hall Finance Office to start modified operating schedule Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Richmond, VA – Beginning on Wednesday, February 28, the City of Richmond City Hall Finance Office will begin a modified operating schedule – closing at 12 noon each Wednesday.

Starting on February 28, 2024, the department will operate on a modified schedule through Wednesday, December 18, 2024. This modified schedule will help the department to address pending items, perform important work related to RVAPay, and focus on improving customer satisfaction. The modified hours will allow the staff to concentrate on addressing tax issues, which will help ensure better communication and timely and accurate billing.

If you want to request a callback, please email us at mealstax@rva.gov. In the subject field, type "ESCALATED," and in the body of the email, provide a brief description of your issue. This will help us prioritize your request for completion. One of our team members will contact you on the first Wednesday following your request between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm. If you have a preferred day and time, please let us know. 

According to Finance Director Sheila White, the department's goal is to provide timely and correct bills to the public. Given the amount of work required, along with the migration to RVAPay, a modified schedule will allow the team to focus on service, address immediate issues, and do the necessary work to ensure RVAPay is up and running effectively and efficiently. The department recognizes that its work is essential for the community and asks for patience from the public.

Both the Southside Plaza location (4100 Hull Street) and the East District Initiative location (701 North 25th Street) remain open and available to taxpayers wanting to pay in person.

For more information and updates on the department's plans to improve customer service levels, please visit the following link:

 

CivStart Announces Startup Challenge & Pitchfest in Collaboration with Five Participating Municipalities

The Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD) is participating in the National League of Cities (NLC) CivStart CIE Program.  The NLC is promoting and recruiting startups for their Pitchfest which takes place on April 30th in Kansas City, Kansas.  Minority businesses/entrepreneurs here in Richmond, Virginia will have the opportunity to apply to participate.  Please contact Patricia Foster at Patricia.foster@rva.gov to participate and receive more information. Also, please read release below for additional information.

CivStart Announces Startup Challenge & Pitchfest in Collaboration with Five Participating Municipalities

Pitchfest to Take Place on April 30th, 2024, at the Kauffman Foundation Building in Kansas City, MO

WASHINGTON, DC – Jan 22, 2024 – CivStart, a leading organization in civic innovation and entrepreneurship, announced the launch of the 2024 Government Innovation Challenge and Pitchfest, an exciting initiative in collaboration with five participating municipalities: Miami-Dade County, Los Altos Hills CA, Richmond VA, Arlington VA, and Houston TX. The program is conducted as a part of the NationalLeague of Cities’ (NLC) City Inclusive Ecosystems Program, supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The Challenge, scheduled to culminate in a Pitchfest on April 30th, 2024, at the Kauffman Foundation Building in Kansas City, MO, aims to address critical issues faced by local entrepreneurs and residents. With a focus on supporting ecosystem-building, access to local government resources, workforce development, and data for decision-making, the Challenge is an integral part of CivStart's mission to foster innovation and collaboration within local communities.

“By engaging with this transformative event, we are dedicated to redefining the landscape of government support for entrepreneurs, demonstrating our commitment to innovation and collaboration,” said City of Houston Office of Business Opportunity Director, Marsha E. Murray in a statement. “Through the NLC Technology PitchFest, we are not only championing small businesses but also propelling local entrepreneurs toward a future of unprecedented success.”

CivStart is currently accepting startup applications to be a part of the pitchfest at civstart.org/challenges

For more information on the details of the program municipalities participate in as part of the 2024 Government Innovation Challenge and Pitchfest, visit civstart.org/cie.

Municipal leaders participating in the program may be available for interview upon request. For more information, contact Nick Lyell at nick@civstart.org or (608) 234-2166.

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