A bill aimed at taxing recreational vehicles and boats parked inside self-storage businesses has passed the Virginia General Assembly.
Del. Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge County, said he sponsored the measure because many of the stored vehicles were not being taxed because the owners live in other states, according to The News & Advance, Lynchburg.
One Amherst County resident who followed the progress of HB 2289 said she was worried that the soon-to-be law could discourage many of her friends who normally vacation in campgrounds at Virginia resorts.
“I have good friends who come from Ohio, from Pennsylvania, or from Canada, and they store their units” near Virginia Beach, said Claudette Hatfield, of Amherst.
Those friends, who with Hatfield are members of a camping club, find they can save on fuel costs by renting storage space, she said. “Now they will have to pay resident taxes when they are not a resident, so it’s not really fair,” she said.
Cline said the taxes are fair, because Virginians who own RVs and boats are taxed on their vehicles.
The bill was approved by both houses of the Assembly this week, with the Senate’s final approval coming on Wednesday (Feb. 25).
The measure would become effective July 1 if Gov. Timothy M. Kaine signs it. Vehicles parked in Virginia storage lots next Jan. 1 would be subject to the tax.
Cline said commissioners of revenue in several of the state’s travel-destination localities had asked for a law requiring owners of the storage sites to provide the names and addresses of the vehicles’ owners.
The list of names is necessary because the commissioners can’t go inside the storage facilities to collect license-plate numbers and other information about the vehicles, which they can see from the outside of a locked fence, Cline said.
Some out-of-state campers leave their vehicles parked at campgrounds, and commissioners of revenue are able to tax them under existing law, Cline said, because those campgrounds are accessible to the public.