Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced a new Department of Taxation telework program in the Danville/Martinsville region.  The 25 new employees, who will work from home with equipment and Internet connections provided by the Tax Department, recently began 12 weeks of training in Martinsville to prepare for their positions.

"The Department of Taxation has been a leader in state government in shifting a large number of its employees to working from home at least one day a week, and this southwest Virginia effort is an extension of that," said Governor Kaine.

The Tax Department hired the 25 new employees after interviewing nearly 400 applicants at a two-day job fair in Danville.  They began training Oct. 1 at Martinsville's New College Institute, which offered the use of its facility and equipment to support the effort.  The new Customer Service Reps will work 30 hours per week and will not receive state benefits.

Fifty-four percent of eligible Tax Department employees currently work from home at least one day a week.  The Department's field audit and collection staffs have been home-based for several years.

"Teleworking has proven to be a great productivity booster for the Tax Department," said Governor Kaine. "They have surveyed teleworking employees and their managers and found that both groups are very pleased with the results."

The Tax Department found some very qualified people in the Danville/Martinsville region, according to Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen.

"This is really the best of both worlds," said Bowen.  "We get 25 new employees working exclusively from home which decreases pollution and increases productivity.  And we are able to do this in an area that has a genuine need for more employment opportunities."
 
The Department of Taxation will hire an additional 30 home-based employees in the same region after the first of the year to key in information during the busy tax-filing season.