Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 58.1. Taxation
Chapter 38. Miscellaneous Taxes

§ 58.1-3840. Certain excise taxes permitted.

A. The provisions of Chapter 6 (§ 58.1-600 et seq.) to the contrary notwithstanding, any city or town having general taxing powers established by charter pursuant to or consistent with the provisions of § 15.2-1104 and, to the extent authorized in this chapter, any county may impose excise taxes on cigarettes, admissions, transient room rentals, meals, and travel campgrounds. No such taxes on meals may be imposed on (i) that portion of the amount paid by the purchaser as a discretionary gratuity in addition to the sales price of the meal; (ii) that portion of the amount paid by the purchaser as a mandatory gratuity or service charge added by the restaurant in addition to the sales price of the meal, but only to the extent that such mandatory gratuity or service charge does not exceed 20 percent of the sales price; or (iii) food and beverages sold through vending machines or on any tangible personal property purchased with food coupons issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Food Stamp Program or drafts issued through the Virginia Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children. No such taxes on meals may be imposed when sold or provided by (a) restaurants, as such term is defined in § 35.1-1, to their employees as part of their compensation when no charge is made to the employee; (b) volunteer fire departments and volunteer emergency medical services agencies; nonprofit churches or other religious bodies; or educational, charitable, fraternal, or benevolent organizations, the first three times per calendar year and, beginning with the fourth time, on the first $100,000 of gross receipts per calendar year from sales of meals (excluding gross receipts from the first three times), as a fundraising activity, the gross proceeds of which are to be used by such church, religious body or organization exclusively for nonprofit educational, charitable, benevolent, or religious purposes; (c) churches that serve meals for their members as a regular part of their religious observances; (d) public or private elementary or secondary schools or institutions of higher education to their students or employees; (e) hospitals, medical clinics, convalescent homes, nursing homes, or other extended care facilities to patients or residents thereof; (f) day care centers; (g) homes for aged or infirm individuals, individuals with disabilities, battered women, narcotic addicts, or alcoholics; (h) age-restricted apartment complexes or residences with restaurants, not open to the public, where meals are served and fees are charged for such food and beverages and are included in rental fees; or (i) sellers at local farmers markets and roadside stands, when such sellers' annual income from such sales does not exceed $2,500. For the exemption described in clause (i), the sellers' annual income shall include income from sales at all local farmers markets and roadside stands, not just those sales occurring in the locality imposing the tax.

Also, the tax shall not be levied on meals: (1) when used or consumed and paid for by the Commonwealth, any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or the United States; (2) provided by a public or private nonprofit charitable organization or establishment to elderly, infirm, or needy individuals or individuals with blindness or other disabilities in their homes or at central locations; or (3) provided by private establishments that contract with the appropriate agency of the Commonwealth to offer food, food products, or beverages for immediate consumption at concession prices to elderly, infirm, or needy individuals or individuals with blindness or other disabilities in their homes or at central locations.

In addition, as set forth in § 51.5-98, no blind person operating a vending stand or other business enterprise under the jurisdiction of the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired and located on property acquired and used by the United States for any military or naval purpose shall be required to collect and remit meals taxes.

B. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, no city or town shall levy any tax under this section upon alcoholic beverages sold in factory sealed containers and purchased for off-premises consumption or food purchased for human consumption as "food" is defined in the Food Stamp Act of 1977, 7 U.S.C. § 2012, as amended, and federal regulations adopted pursuant to that act, except for the following items: sandwiches, salad bar items sold from a salad bar, prepackaged single-serving salads consisting primarily of an assortment of vegetables, and nonfactory sealed beverages.

C. Any city or town that is authorized to levy a tax on admissions may levy the tax on admissions paid for any event held at facilities that are not owned by the city or town at a lower rate than the rate levied on admissions paid for any event held at its city- or town-owned civic centers, stadiums, and amphitheaters.

D. Expired.

1984, c. 675; 1986, cc. 545, 605; 1989, cc. 314, 391; 1999, c. 366; 2000, c. 626; 2003, c. 12; 2005, c. 106; 2006, cc. 568, 602; 2009, c. 415; 2014, c. 673; 2015, cc. 502, 503; 2020, cc. 241, 1214, 1263; 2023, cc. 148, 149.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.