State and Local Taxation

Selling Property to Collect Taxes

Selling Property to Colle…

The Supreme Court of Virginia issued an opinion in Emmanuel Worship Center, et al. v. City of Petersburg, Record No. 201322 (January 6, 2022). This case originated with Petersburg attempting to conduct a tax sale of Emmanuel Worship Center’s property to collect delinquent taxes, penalties, interest, and costs. Emmanuel Worship Center filed a bill of review to effectively stop the sale. The Circuit Court dismissed the bill of review. However, the Supreme Court of Virginia agreed with the Emmanuel Worship Center and remanded the case back to circuit court for consideration of the bill of review as it should not have been dismissed. Since the exemption claimed by Emmanuel Worship Center was a self-executing, Virginia constitutional exemption, whether Emmanuel Worship Center owed the taxes in dispute was a question that should have been considered under the bill of review. As Petersburg was not attempting an action at law in selling the property but rather an equitable action, the Court remanded the case back to circuit court for a determination of specifically whether the exemption claimed by Emmanuel Worship Center applies.

This case likely has little effect on most taxpayers. The exemption claimed by Emmanuel Worship Center is guaranteed by the Constitution of Virginia. Furthermore, this case involved a tax sale of property rather than attempts to collect money. What the Supreme Court of Virginia did was clarify that the rules of equity apply to such a tax sale.

Christian Tennant is a Virginia tax attorney and former employee of the Virginia Department of Taxation. Mr. Tennant regularly speaks and writes on Virginia taxation. In his private practice he advises and represents businesses and individuals on a range of tax matters.

Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Tax Law Blog

2022 Virginia Legislation…
May 2nd, 2022
Even though the Virginia General Assembly is not done considering tax issues for the year, a number of bills have been enacted that make changes to the Code of Virginia in areas concerning taxes. A summary of the legislation can be found here. Most o…
2022 Virginia Tax Legisla…
March 18th, 2022
In January, I wrote about various pieces of tax legislation that were introduced in the 2022 session of the Virginia General Assembly. Now the session has adjourned and will be reconvened to handle the budget for the upcoming biennium as well as nume…
What is “use” for cor…
February 14th, 2022
The Supreme Court of Virginia issued an opinion in Virginia Department of Taxation v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Record No. 201263 (February 10, 2022). This case concerned what is considered property for corporate income tax apportionment purposes. C…

Read More Blog Entries