Governor Glenn Youngkin has signed a bill that gives Gold Star spouses an opportunity for tax relief.
The bill (HB 957) previously was passed unanimously by the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia. Youngkin has now signed it into law on Gold Star Spouses Day.
The Governor's office said the bill gives local governments the opportunity to offer tax relief for surviving spouses of a member of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty. The legislation gives the option to declare real property that is owned by a surviving spouse of a member of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty as a separate class of property for local taxation purposes.
Traci Voelke's husband Paul died on a deployment in 2012. He was an infantry officer in the Army, a West Point graduate, and a father to two young boys.
"Our service members put on that uniform, and were willing to risk their lives for our country, and they didn’t come home,” Voelke said.
The exact amount of the exemption will vary by locality, but Voelke said anything helps.
“We’ve lost that extra income," Voelke said. "It’s really hard to make all the ends meet on one salary.”
To qualify, the spouse must not be remarried and the service member's death must be verified by the U.S. DoD and confirmed that the death was not the result of criminal conduct.
“By taking care of our Gold Star Families, we honor the legacy of our service men and women, who gave their lives to protect our freedom,” said Governor Youngkin. “This legislation enables local governments to give something back to families who have sacrificed so much on behalf of this country.”
The bill outlines that the tax rate must be greater than zero and less than the rate on the general class of real property. This bill would become effective July 1, 2022, for taxable years beginning on and after January 1, 2022, the Governor's office said.