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This article was fact-checked by our editors and reviewed by CPA candidate Janet Murphy, senior product specialist with Credit Karma Tax®. It has been updated for the 2019 tax year.
West Virginia’s majestic Appalachian Mountains may have inspired John Denver to compare the state to heaven, but many residents still have to pay very down-to-earth taxes on their income.
If you earn income in the Mountain State, you not only get to enjoy its scenic sights and native Golden Delicious apples, but you may also have to file a state income tax return in addition to your federal tax return. Here are some things to know about filing your West Virginia state tax return.
- What are some basics of West Virginia state taxes?
- How do West Virginia exemptions and modifications work?
- What are some West Virginia state tax credits?
- How can I file a West Virginia state tax return?
- What if I owe and can’t pay?
- Can I track a West Virginia tax refund?
The West Virginia State Tax Department administers tax laws and collects taxes in the state. For income tax inquiries, you can search the agency’s online FAQs or call 1-304-558-3333 or 1-800-982-8297.
Filing and payment deadline
West Virginia’s Tax Day is the same as the deadline for filing your federal income tax return — April 15. However, if the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be extended to the following business day.
If you need more time to file and you already obtained an IRS extension on your federal income tax return, you can get an automatic extension with the same deadline for your West Virginia income tax return. When you’re ready to file your state return, you’ll have to enter the same date that your federal extension is due.
If you need more time for only your state return, you must submit a completed WV4868 (formerly Schedule L) to get a six-month extension and avoid paying a late-filing penalty. Remember that you still have to pay any tax you owe by Tax Day to avoid being charged a late-payment penalty (although you may not be charged if you can show a good reason for being late) and interest on the unpaid balance. Filing an extension doesn’t extend your payment due date.
West Virginia recognizes the five federal filing statuses: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household and widow(er) with dependent child.How your tax filing status affects your tax bill
West Virginia income tax rates
West Virginia has a progressive tax system with five tax rates — 3%, 4%, 4.5%, 6% and 6.5% — and corresponding tax brackets. Your tax rate and additional tax amount will depend on your filing status and taxable income. Here are the West Virginia tax rates and tax bracket thresholds.
|2019 West Virginia income tax rates and brackets|
|Tax rate||Single, head of household, married filing jointly or widow(er) with dependent child||Married filing separately|
|3%||$9,999 or less||$4,999 or less|
|6.5%||$60,000 and more||$30,000 and more|
Unlike the federal government and many states, West Virginia doesn’t have a standard deduction or allow you to itemize deductions. Instead, the state uses federal adjusted gross income, or AGI, as the starting point for calculating state taxes. This means that certain types of income you don’t pay taxes on at the federal level (IRA distributions, for example) and federal-level deductions (student loan interest deduction, for example) have already been factored into your state calculations.
Instead of deductions, West Virginia offers exemptions and modifications, some of which reduce the amount of your income that will be subject to state tax.
For 2019, West Virginia taxpayers can take $2,000 for each allowable exemption claimed or $500 if no exemptions were claimed.
State modifications are available for 2019. Eligibility may depend on income, age and other conditions. The amount may be subject to qualifying requirements and caps.
- Autism modification, which allows deduction of any qualifying contribution to a trust for the benefit of a child with autism
- E-ZPass deduction, which allows deduction of payment for amounts more than $25 and up to $1,200 for tolls paid electronically through West Virginia Parkways Authority’s E-ZPass
- Senior citizen or disability deduction
- Qualified contributions to the West Virginia Prepaid Tuition/Savings Plan Trust Funds
- Modifications for benefits received from certain state and federal retirement systems
West Virginia also provides a low-income exclusion for individuals, heads of household and married couples filing jointly who had earned income during the tax year. To qualify filing single, married filing jointly, head of household or widow(er) with dependent child, your federal AGI must be $10,000 or less. Anyone married filing separately must have federal AGI of $5,000 or less to qualify.
Many West Virginia tax credits are aimed at businesses, but a few apply to individual taxpayers. Here are a few.
- Family tax credit — This credit reduces the tax you owe by a certain percentage — up to 100% — of your income tax due. The credit amount is based on your modified federal adjusted gross income, filing status and family size. You’ll need to claim at least one personal exemption on your state tax return and meet income limitations and family size requirements to qualify for this credit. And you can’t get it if you’re subject to the federal minimum alternative tax.
- Nonfamily adoption credit — If you adopt a child, you may be able to claim this one-time credit of $4,000 per child. You’ll need to meet requirements. For example, you can’t be the child’s father, mother or step parent, and the child must be younger than 18.
- Homestead excess property tax credit — If you own and occupy your home, and paid more than 4% of your income toward property taxes, you may qualify for this credit, which maxes at $1,000. You’ll need to meet income requirements and other qualifications to claim the credit.
- Senior citizen tax credit — If you’re a senior citizen and eligible for your county’s Homestead Exemption Program, you may qualify for this refundable credit. Seniors who are eligible for the credit should receive a packet of information in January on how to claim it. You’ll also need to meet requirements on income and number of people in your household to qualify.
- File electronically — You may be able to e-file your West Virginia state tax return for free through online service providers if you meet income, age and other requirements. . Or you can use one of the state’s approved providers, like Credit Karma Tax®, which allows you to file your federal income tax return and your single-state return for free. Some providers may charge fees, so review terms, conditions and costs before making your choice.
- File a paper return — Download tax forms, including IT-140, West Virginia’s equivalent of the federal 1040. If you expect a refund, mail the completed forms to West Virginia State Tax Department, P.O. Box 1071, Charleston, WV 25324-1071. If you owe tax, mail the payments and forms to West Virginia State Tax Department, P.O. Box 3694, Charleston, WV 25336-3694. You can also deliver the forms in person at one of the walk-in Taxpayer Services offices run by the department.
If you owe West Virginia state income tax, you must pay it by the annual April deadline even if you’ve received an extension for filing your return. Otherwise, the state will charge interest on the unpaid balance.
If you can’t pay your tax and meet certain qualifications, you can obtain a six-month payment plan. Or you could apply for a longer installment plan, which allows you to pay in installments for up to 12 months. But keep in mind that if you apply for the longer plan the state will require a tax lien to be filed against you. When you pay your balance, the lien should be withdrawn. Under both installment agreements, interest will accrue on the unpaid balance.
If you paid more tax that you owed and expect a refund, go to the West Virginia State Tax Department website and click the Where’s My Refund? link to help track your West Virginia state tax refund. If it’s been more than 10 weeks since you filed, you can call the Taxpayer Services Division at 1-800-982-8297 or 1-304-558-3333 to check your refund status.
West Virginia’s motto is “Mountaineers are always free,” but you still need to pay your fair share of income tax to the state. The sooner you file your state tax return, the sooner West Virginia might feel like heaven — and you can get back to the enjoying the state’s scenic country roads.
A senior product specialist with Credit Karma Tax®, Janet Murphy is a CPA candidate with more than a decade in the tax industry. She’s worked as a tax analyst, tax product development manager and tax accountant. She has accounting degrees and certifications from Clemson University and the U.S. Career Institute. You can find her on LinkedIn.