Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


The Board of Supervisors will hold a two-day retreat on Monday and Tuesday at the Workhouse at Lorton Arts Foundation in the southern part of the county. The entire Board was re-elected last November, so the retreat, which is open to the public, will not be a “getting to know you” meeting, but rather the opportunity to review priorities and develop goals for the coming term. This will be the last time the Board will be able to call on the expertise of County Executive Tony Griffin, who has announced his retirement, effective at the end of April. The Workhouse has numerous artists-in-residence and many galleries displaying painting, woodworking, pottery, fabric arts, sculpture, and glass. The Workhouse, part of the former District of Columbia prison farm that was transferred to Fairfax County in the 1990s, also has a new children’s theatre and workshop. Surrounded by all that creativity, the Board is sure to have successful and stimulating retreat discussions.

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote that “in this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.” While we may not be able to control the former, now’s the time to focus on the latter. By now, most households have received W-2 forms, 1099s, interest income, annuity distribution information, and all the various pieces of information taxpayers need to file their 2011 state and federal income taxes – all the information except for the state and federal forms and instructions! Those forms are available on-line, via www.tax.virginia.gov for state forms, and www.irs.gov for federal forms. A victory for the electronic age, I guess, but consternation for older constituents, especially, who may not have easy on-line accessibility to locate and print the forms. Fairfax County Public Library branches have computers for public use by residents, so please check with your local branch for assistance.

Once again this year, AARP volunteers are offering free tax help at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Because April 15 falls on a Sunday, and Emancipation Day (a holiday observed in the District of Columbia) is on April 16 this year, the deadline for federal taxes is extended to April 17. The Virginia tax deadline still is May 1. AARP will provide walk-in service from February 1 – April 17: Mondays and Thursdays from 1 – 8 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. All returns are filed electronically. Remember to bring documents, such as last year’s tax return, a photo ID, Social Security card, and all the information I mentioned above. For more information about AARP Tax-Aide, visit www.aarp.org/money/taxaide, or call 1-888-227-7669.

More than one hundred years after Ben Franklin, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., opined that “taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” I try to keep that sentiment in mind during the annual springtime tradition – filing income tax returns.

Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov


  • Penny Gross

    Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov