The 2016 Virginia State Sales Tax
What is the 2016 Virginia Sales Tax Rate?
The Virginia state sales tax rate is 5.3%, and the average VA sales tax after local surtaxes is 5.63%.
- Prescription Drugs and non-prescription drugs are exempt from the Virginia sales tax
- Counties and cities can charge an additional local sales tax of up to 0.7%, for a maximum possible combined sales tax of 6%
- Virginia has 1199 special sales tax jurisdictions with local sales taxes in addition to the state sales tax
- Virginia has a higher state sales tax than 78.8% of states
Virginia recently raised the state sales tax from 5% to 6.5%.
Counties and cities in Virginia are allowed to charge an additional 1% local sales tax on top of the Virginia state sales tax. Fresh produce and groceries are taxed at a reduced rate of 2.5%, and all medicines as well as stamps and gasoline are exempt from the general sales tax.
Counties and cities in Virginia are allowed to charge an additional local sales tax on the sale of prepared food and beverages (up to 4% in counties, or 6.5% in cities).
If you are a Virginia business owner, you can learn more about how to collect and file your Virginia sales tax return at the 2016 Virginia Sales Tax Handbook .
Virginia Sales Tax Exemptions
Virginia doesn't collect sales tax on purchases of most non-prescription drugs and prescription drugs. Groceries is subject to special sales tax rates under Virginia law. In most states, necessities such as groceries, clothes, and drugs are exempted from the sales tax or charged at a lower sales tax rate.
Some items may not be eligible for these reduced sales tax rates, such as expensive clothing, unhealthy food or drinks like soda, and certain non-essential pharmaceuticals. Unlike many states, Virginia treats both candy and soda as groceries for sales tax purposes. Other items including gasoline, alcohol, and cigarettes are subject to various Virginia excise taxes in addition to the sales tax.
Virginia has five sales tax holidays, during which certain items can be purchased sales-tax free. For more details, see the Virginia sales tax holiday calendar.
In some states, items like alcohol and prepared food (including restaurant meals and some premade supermarket items) are charged at a higher sales tax rate. The VA sales tax applicable to the sale of cars, boats, and real estate sales may also vary by jurisdiction. Virginia's sales tax rates for commonly exempted items are as follows:
$100 Restaurant Dinner
$100 of groceries
$100 in clothes
$100 of consumer products
$5.30 sales tax
$2.50 sales tax
$5.30 sales tax
$5.30 sales tax
Virginia Sales Tax Exemption Certificate
Unlike a Value Added Tax (VAT), the Virginia sales tax only applies to end consumers of the product. Individuals and companies who are purchasing goods for resale, improvement, or as raw materials can use a Virginia Sales Tax Exemption Form to buy these goods tax-free.
Companies or individuals who wish to make a qualifying purchase tax-free must have a Virginia state sales tax exemption certificate, which can be obtained from the Virginia Department of Taxation . On making an exempt purchase, Exemption Certificate holders may submit a completed Virginia Sales Tax Exemption Form to the vendor instead of paying sales tax.
Sales tax exemption forms (as well as business sales tax id applications, sales tax returns, and the full Virginia sales tax code) can be downloaded from the Virginia Department of Taxation here .
Virginia Sales Tax Calculator
Whenever you make a purchase at a licensed Virginia retailer, your sales tax will be automatically calculated and added to your bill. To lookup the sales tax due on any purchase, use our Virginia sales tax calculator.
Virginia Use Tax
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If you buy goods and are not charged the Virginia Sales Tax by the retailer, such as with online and out-of-state purchases, you are supposed to pay the 5.3% sales tax (less any foreign sales tax paid) for these items yourself as the Virginia Use Tax.
Your are expected to voluntarily list your liable purchases on a Virginia Use Tax Return, which should be attached with payment to your Virginia Income Tax Return. Historically, compliance rates with with the Virginia Use Tax have been low.
Virginia Local Sales Taxes
Virginia does not allow local jurisdictions like cities or counties to collect a local sales tax. The Virginia state sales tax of 5.3% is applicable statewide. You can view the sales tax rates for various cities in Virginia here.
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