Synopsis of the Food and Beverage (Meals) Tax


What is taxed?


The county may levy a tax on food and beverages sold, for human consumption, by a restaurant not to exceed four percent of the amount charged. 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.  37 of 95 counties impose this tax.


What is not taxed?


The tax cannot be levied on food and beverages sold in or at:


        Vending machines


        Boarding houses that do not accommodate transients


        Cafeterias operated by industrial plants for employees only


        Churches, fraternal, school and social organizations, and volunteer fire departments and rescue squads which hold occasional dinners, bazaars, and other fund raisers of one or two days' duration, at which food prepared in the homes of members or in the kitchen of the church, school or organization is offered for sale to the public


        Churches which serve meals for their members as a regular part of their religious observances


        Nonprofit cafeterias in public schools, nursing homes, and hospitals.


        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.


How is this tax imposed?


This tax can be normally levied only if the tax is approved in a referendum within the county.  The counties of Roanoke, Rockbridge, Frederick and Arlington have been granted permission by the legislature to levy the tax by holding a public hearing.  Passage in those localities required a unanimous vote of the governing body. All of these jurisdictions currently impose the tax.


What if an ordinance change is required after adoption?


If you have an approved referendum and adopted an ordinance, subsequent ordinance changes do not require a new referendum. The normal public hearing process is used.


Does this tax apply to the towns?

This tax has the same jurisdictional restrictions as the Business License.  If the town has one or adopts one then the county tax cannot be imposed.


Synopsis of the Admissions Tax


What is taxed?


This tax differs from the meals and lodging in that the governing body may choose among the various classifications of admissions and set different rates for the classifications. There is specific limitation in that the tax shall not exceed 10 percent of the amount of charge for admission to any such event.  There are 5 counties authorized to impose admissions tax. Currently 3 are listed as imposing this tax.


What are the Classifications?

1. Admissions charged for attendance at any event, the gross receipts of which go wholly to charitable purpose or purposes.

2. Admissions charged for attendance at public and private elementary, secondary, and college school-sponsored events, including events sponsored by school-recognized student organizations.

3. Admissions charged for entry into museums, botanical or similar gardens, and zoos.

4. Admissions charged to participants in order to participate in sporting events.

5. Admissions charged for entry into major league baseball games and events at any major league baseball stadium which has seating for at least 40,000 persons.

6. All other admissions.


Can certain events be exempted?

The Board may, by ordinance, elect not to levy an admissions tax on admission to an event, provided that the purpose of the event is solely to raise money for charitable purposes and that the net proceeds derived from the event will be transferred to an entity or entities that are exempt from sales and use tax.


How is this tax imposed?


Admissions tax requires State Law amendment to add Fauquier to the list of counties authorized to levy the tax. The governing body shall prescribe by ordinance the terms, conditions and amount of such tax and may classify between events conducted for charitable and those conducted for non-charitable purposes.


Does this tax apply to the towns?


There does not appear to be a specific prohibition from imposing this tax on events occurring within the corporate limits of the towns.