Tax commissioner Janie Bowen dies unexpectedly

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Virginia Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen, who devoted her entire working life to the Department of Taxation, died unexpectedly Tuesday morning.

Bowen was a classic example of an employee who steadily worked her way up through the ranks, from taking phone calls to leading one of the largest revenue departments in the nation.

During her term as Tax Commissioner she was the driving force behind many accomplishments that helped the agency better serve employees and the citizens of Virginia.   These included developing the Commonwealth's model telework program, developing an Intranet so agency staff could communicate more efficiently, beginning a program called Tax Academy where new hires were trained in a variety of jobs so they could work in several roles as needed, and spearheading a visioning process that helped focus the agency on the future.

She earned her bachelor's degree in political science and government at the University of Georgia before returning to Charlottesville, where she was born and raised, to complete her master's degree at the University of Virginia.

She went to work at the agency in 1978 as a Tax Examiner handling sales tax phone calls and correspondence.  She also served as Director of Tax Policy, Assistant Commissioner for Customer Service, and then as Executive Commissioner for Policy and Administration.  She also served briefly as Deputy Secretary of Finance before then Governor Tim Kaine appointed her Tax Commissioner in May of 2005.

Last week, Bowen was elected president of the Federation of Tax Administrators, which helps all 50 states with training, research and keeps a close eye on federal legislation affecting state tax revenues.  Last week she also earned an award from the Telework Exchange organization for being the "driver" behind the Tax Department's telework program.

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