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Media inquiries: Please contact Julie Buchanan, julie.buchanan@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-2292.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 19, 2008
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Protect open space, Chesapeake Bay health with tax dollars

(RICHMOND, VA) ? Virginians can help conserve open space land and prevent pollution from reaching the Chesapeake Bay when completing their tax returns by contributing any or all of their tax refund to funds set up solely for those purposes.

The Open Space Recreation and Conservation Fund and the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund are ?tax check-offs?; contributions to either fund are deductible next year. See instructions on Virginia Schedule ADJ and page two, line 28, of Virginia tax return form 760.

Money designated for the open space fund goes to Virginia localities to acquire land for outdoor recreation. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) uses part of the money to purchase and protect the state?s most significant natural areas. These areas support some of the rarest species and significant natural communities in the state. DCR also uses the funds to develop, maintain and improve state park sites and facilities. For more information on this fund, see DCR?s web site at www.dcr.virginia.gov; click ?Get Involved!?

Bay restoration fund contributions are spent by governments and nonprofit organizations to prevent water pollution and soil erosion and to provide educational programs about the Bay. Conservation projects improve the health of the Bay and Virginia tributaries such as the James, York, Rappahannock, Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, plus the state?s eastern coastal waters.

?In the 2006 Virginia Outdoors Survey, 94 percent of those polled stated that it was important to protect Virginia?s natural and open space resources,? said Joseph H. Maroon, DCR director. ?These tax check-offs are a tangible way for Virginians to do their part to protect these valuable resources.?

When filing returns taxpayers can designate voluntary contributions on line 26 of Schedule ADJ, which goes with the tax return form. To choose the ?Open Space Recreation and Conservation Fund,? write in code numbers 6-8. To choose the ?Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund,? write in code numbers 7-1.

People may actually contribute more than their refund amount, or they can contribute even if they owe a payment. Read the instructions for more detail.

Virginia has another Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund that derives money from citizens purchasing license plates featuring a blue crab. The fund is used for conservation and education projects relating to the Bay and its watershed. The state?s legislative services office manages the fund with help from DCR.

For questions relating to tax check-offs, contact the Virginia Department of Taxation at (804) 367-8031 or online at www.tax.virginia.gov.

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