Commissioner of the Revenue
Over the past 4 years as Commissioner of the Revenue for Montgomery County, Helen Royal has significantly improved efficiency, accuracy, fairness and service to taxpayers:
Through 2015 and for the next 4 years, Helen Royal will continue improving the accuracy and fairness of the Montgomery County property tax process.
Her primary objective is to stop assessing motor vehicles on an annual basis, and instead assess their value much more accurately with a proportional system called "proration."
The purpose for the change is to start taking into account moving into and out of state, the sale of vehicles, and other changes in status that happen all year round. Assessing motor vehicle personal property taxes proportionally ensures that each taxpayer's assessment reflects the actual time vehicles are owned and used in Virginia.
Changing to a proportional system is a big job, requiring Board approval and many careful changes to office procedures.
She says, "Proportional assessment is the fair way to pay personal property taxes -- you pay for what you own, only during the time you own it."
Royal also wants to give taxpayers online access to their personal property information, with the ability to enter status changes online. Estimated savings to Montgomery County are in the tens of thousands of dollars a year. Online returns will also make the process simpler and more convenient for taxpayers.
These and many smaller initiatives boil down to Royal's simple vision:
Find ways to use technology to save the county time and money, and make things more convenient for taxpayers.
Helen Royal began her career in county finance 28 years ago, in the County Treasurer's office. She has worked in the Commissioner of the Revenue's office for 23 years, as Commissioner since 2011. Nearly 3 decades of service have given Helen Royal a broad view of the county's fiscal operations and a solid working relationship with all departments at the Government Center.
"I truly want to thank the voters of Montgomery County for electing me Commissioner, because they have given me a chance to make the service improvements I have always wanted to make." - Helen Royal
Royal was an early adopter of computer methods, training on each new software package as soon as possible. She has completed Montgomery County's Supervisor Training, and completed state courses on topics like income tax and taxing personal property as well as business personal property.
She hosted career development classes for Commissioners from around the state in 2014 and 2015, easily filling all available seats.
In 2015 she will complete the requirements to become a Master Commissioner. This entails a 4-year series of courses in topics including Taxation of Businesses, Personal Property II, Tax Exemptions in Virginia, Lawful Employment, Customer Service, State and Federal Income Tax, and Land Use.
Royal has been a member of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce since 2012, and is now an active participant in an offshoot organization called WLC Connect.
She is also a member of the Commissioners of the Revenue Association of Virginia (CORVA), Southwest Commissioners of the Revenue (SCR), Virginia Association of Local Tax Auditors (VALTA), Virginia Association of Local Elected Constitutional Officers (VALECO), Virginia Association of Assessing Officers (VAAO), and has served on the education committee of the VAAO for past 2 years.
She lives in Christiansburg with her husband Chip, and has two children and 3 grandchildren.
You can donate to Helen Royal's campaign for Commissioner of the Revenue in one of two ways: