Code of Virginia

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

§ 58.1-3833. County food and beverage tax.

A. 1. Any county is hereby authorized to levy a tax on food and beverages sold, for human consumption, by a restaurant, as such term is defined in § 35.1-1, not to exceed six percent of the amount charged for such food and beverages. Such tax shall not be levied on food and beverages sold through vending machines or by (i) boardinghouses that do not accommodate transients; (ii) cafeterias operated by industrial plants for employees only; (iii) restaurants to their employees as part of their compensation when no charge is made to the employee; (iv) 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 food and beverages (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; (v) churches that serve meals for their members as a regular part of their religious observances; (vi) public or private elementary or secondary schools or institutions of higher education to their students or employees; (vii) hospitals, medical clinics, convalescent homes, nursing homes, or other extended care facilities to patients or residents thereof; (viii) day care centers; (ix) homes for aged or infirm individuals, individuals with disabilities, battered women, narcotic addicts, or alcoholics; (x) 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 (xi) 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 (xi), 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 food and beverages: (a) when used or consumed and paid for by the Commonwealth, any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or the United States; (b) 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 (c) 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.

2. Grocery stores and convenience stores selling prepared foods ready for human consumption at a delicatessen counter shall be subject to the tax, for that portion of the grocery store or convenience store selling such items.

The term "beverage" as set forth herein means alcoholic beverages as defined in § 4.1-100 and nonalcoholic beverages served as part of a meal. The tax shall be in addition to the sales tax currently imposed by the county pursuant to the authority of Chapter 6 (§ 58.1-600 et seq.). Collection of such tax shall be in a manner prescribed by the governing body.

B. Nothing herein contained shall affect any authority heretofore granted to any county, city, or town to levy a meals tax. The county tax limitations imposed pursuant to § 58.1-3711 shall apply to any tax levied under this section, mutatis mutandis. All food and beverage tax collections and all meals tax collections shall be deemed to be held in trust for the county, city, or town imposing the applicable tax. The wrongful and fraudulent use of such collections other than remittance of the same as provided by law shall constitute embezzlement pursuant to § 18.2-111.

C. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, no locality shall levy any tax under this section upon (i) that portion of the amount paid by the purchaser as a discretionary gratuity in addition to the sales price; (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, but only to the extent that such mandatory gratuity or service charge does not exceed 20 percent of the sales price; or (iii) 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.

1988, c. 847; 1989, c. 391; 1990, cc. 846, 862; 1992, c. 263; 1993, c. 866; 1999, c. 366; 2000, c. 626; 2001, c. 619; 2003, c. 792; 2004, c. 610; 2004, Sp. Sess. I, c. 3; 2005, c. 915; 2006, cc. 568, 602; 2009, c. 415; 2014, c. 673; 2015, cc. 502, 503; 2017, c. 833; 2018, cc. 450, 730; 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.