RICHMOND, VA – Gov. Glenn Youngkin has signed a bill that allows local governments to offer tax relief for surviving spouses of U.S. Armed Forces members who died in the line of duty.

House Bill 957 was signed on April 5, Gold Star Spouses Day. The day is dedicated to spouses of U.S. military people who were killed in combat or as a result of service-related disabilities after returning home.

The legislation will provide localities with the option to declare real property owned by a surviving spouse to be a separate class of property for local taxation purposes.

According to the bill, a surviving spouse is eligible so long as the “spouse occupies the real property as his principal place of residence and does not remarry.”

The service member’s death must also be verified by the U.S. Department of Defense and confirmed that the death was not the result of criminal conduct.

“By taking care of our Gold Star Families, we honor the legacy of our service men and women, who gave their lives to protect our freedom,” Youngkin said. “This legislation enables local governments to give something back to families who have sacrificed so much on behalf of this country.”

The bill’s patron was Del. Kathy Tran and it passed unanimously by the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia.

The bill specifies that the tax rate must be “greater than zero” and “[must] not exceed the rate of tax on the general class of real property.” It would become effective July 1, 2022, for taxable years beginning on and after January 1, 2022.