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Official Opinions


August 2005 Opinions
Please click on Opinion number to view entire opinion.

Opinion # Requestor



Mr. J. Thompson Shrader
County Attorney for Amherst County
Authority for locality to impose greater threshold amount of gross receipts for purposes of BPOL tax than statutory minimum; locality may create subclassification of BPOL business classification and apply different threshold of gross receipts, provided threshold is greater than applicable statutory threshold and reasonable municipal policy exists to justify classifications.

Mr. Bernard A. Pishko
City Attorney for the City of Norfolk

Violation of uniformity of taxation provision of Constitution of Virginia for locality to impose progressive tax rate on residential real estate based upon assessed value.

The Honorable Vincent F. Callahan, Jr.
Member, House of Delegates

Fact that lands of one or few taxpayers are assessed at differing percentages of fair market value is not, per se, violation of legal requirements; redress may be had at locality’s board of equalization or by judicial appeal. Material, systematic, and intentional discrimination against individual taxpayers or group of taxpayers may violate Virginia and federal constitutional requirements.


The Honorable Phillip C. Steele
Commonwealth’s Attorney for Giles County

Game laws establish procedure used to forfeit firearm used by person convicted of shooting firearm in or across road or street. Court convicting such violator may declare forfeiture of firearm used in crime. Commonwealth’s attorney of county or city wherein forfeiture was incurred must file an information to enforce forfeiture in his circuit court.



The Honorable Jean R. Jensen
Secretary, State Board of Elections
No conflict between federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 and specific requirement for completion of voter statement on absentee ballot; federal act would not preempt Commonwealth from requiring such statement. Authority for State Board of Elections to adopt standards and instructions for use by local election officials to determine what constitutes error or omission in completion of such statement.
05-055 The Honorable Mark S. Davis
Judge, Third Judicial Circuit
Circuit Court of the City of Portsmouth
Delaying divorce petition brought by incarcerated complainant until his release is inadvisable; where transportation of incarcerated complainant is inappropriate, authorized alternatives are available.