Trustee, Communications, Utility, & VA Retail Sales Taxes

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Trustee Taxes, also called Fiduciary Taxes, are collected and remitted by an individual or business on behalf of the consumer. The business or individual collects the tax and serves as the trustee or agent holding the funds in trust until they are finally remitted to the taxing authority. The Commissioner of the Revenue creates trustee tax accounts during the application process, assesses the tax, and audits local businesses collecting trustee taxes. The Treasurer's Office​ handles the mailing, collecting, and posting of monthly and quarterly Trustee Tax Returns and the pursuit of all delinquent trustee taxes.

 Admissions & Participatory Sports Tax

Admissions Tax Rate- 10%

Per Code of Virginia, § 58.1-3817, the City of Virginia Beach levies a tax on events to which admission is charged. Per the provisions of Article X, Section 1 of the Constitution of Virginia, events to which admission is charged shall be divided into the following classes for taxation:

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

Participatory Sports Tax Rate - 5%

Participatory sports. A tax of five (5) percent of the amount charged to persons actively participating in sporting events or athletic contests or activities.

 Cigarette Tax

​​​Virginia Beach imposes a tax on the sale of cigarettes. There are two rates depending on the number of cigarettes in each pack:
      • ​​​​20 pack - $0.75 per pack
      • 25 pack - $0.93 per pack
The tax is paid by sellers who purchase cigarette stamps from the Commissioner of the Revenue. Stamps are then affixed and are required on each individual pack of cigarettes prior to their sale. Sellers purchase stamps from the Business Taxpayers Division. Stamps may be purchased in person or by submitting orders with payment directly to Business Taxpayers. Stamps purchased by mail are shipped by UPS or FedEx using the purchaser's shipping account. 

Revenue Investigators conduct spot-checks and sweeps of local businesses selling cigarettes to ensure compliance with Virginia Beach's cigarette stamp ordinance. Violators may face confiscation of illegal packs, fines, and/or imprisonment

Cigarettes are also subject to State and Federal taxes. More information and order forms for State or Virginia Beach Cigarette tax stamps may be obtained by contacting Business Taxpayers.

 Communications Tax

​​​Telephone Service (Commercial and Residential) - Imposed and collected by the Department of Taxation

Service providers or the Department of Taxation can answer questions regarding communications taxes. Further details can also be found on the Virginia Department of Taxation​'s website​.

 Transient Occupancy Tax "TOT"

Effective May 1, 2021, General Assembly imposed an additional 1% Lodging Tax for the Transporation District within Hampton Roads. Lodging Tax Additional 1 Percent Transporation District 05012021. 

In 2020 the General Assembly passed legislation imposing a transient lodging tax of 1% beginning May 1, 2021, for six Hampton Roads cities: Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach. The money will be used for regional transportation projects within these localities. The localities are charged with administering and collecting this state tax. The city treasurer will remit funds to the state treasury. 

It is the responsibility of those renting houses and rooms to collect the additional 1% tax beginning May 1, 2021. The initial reporting and payment date is June 20, 2021, and every month thereafter. 

The Commissioner’s office mailed letters the week of 3/29/2021 to all lodging establishments notifying them of the 1% state lodging tax.  The city treasurer has also put an insert in the March lodging tax filing. 

​Lodging tax, also known as a transient occupancy tax "TOT," is based on the gross receipts of any public or private lodging place offering lodging to "transient occupants" on a "transient basis" (90 consecutive days or less). Lodging is defined as and includes apartments, hostels, hotels, inns, motels, and any other place of lodging. 

The lodging tax amount is equal to $2​ for each night of lodging plus:

  • 9% of the total amount paid for lodging or
  • 10.5% of the total amount paid for lodging in the Sandbridge District

The TOT  is also subject to the Sales Virginia Retail Sales and Use Tax. Select the last blue tab above to read about the tax.  Lodging operators shall report and remit TOT by the 20th of each month for the previous month. A 10% penalty is imposed on late filings.

Transient Lodging Tax Information and Definitions

News Release - Lodging Tax Rate Change Ordinance Amended - January 2017

Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance 35-169​

​Read the ODU Short-Term Rentals Study

 Meals or Restaurant Tax

​Virginia Beach imposes a 5.5% tax on all prepared meals and drinks sold ready for consumption either on or off of the seller's premises. Prepared meals are often ​sold from bars, restaurants, drugstores, grocery stores, cafes, convenience stores, grills, diners, fairgrounds, event houses, and any other eating or drinking, fast food, drive-in, or take-out establishment. Meals and restaurant tax is also subject to VA Retail Sales and Use Tax.

Sellers shall report and submit meals tax by the 20th of each month for the previous month. A 10% penalty is imposed on late filings.

 Short-Term Rentals of Equipment

​A 1% short-term rental tax, also known as a daily rental tax, is imposed on the gross receipts of rentals of property or light equipment. Heavy equipment short-term rental is taxed quarterly at 1.5% of gross receipts. All short-term rental returns are due April 15, July 15, October 15, and January 15. A ten percent (10%) penalty is imposed on late filings.

 Utility Tax

​Utility tax is charged based on the total amount used by a consumer and the cost varies by type of utility.  See the Utility Tax Tab of the Tax Rates, Important Dates & Deadlines page for specific tax information.

 VA Retail Sales Tax

​In Virginia Beach, Virginia Sales Tax is imposed on gross retail sales receipts, or items purchased for use by the consumer. The seller collects the tax from the consumer at the rate of 6% (5% State and 1% Local). Sales tax may also apply to the furnishing of transient accommodations and the lease or rental of personal property​. 

Sales of certain types of food items are subject to a lower sales tax rate of 2.5 percent (1.5 percent state tax and 1 percent local tax). Eligible food items include food purchased for home consumption including most staple grocery food items and cold prepared foods packaged for home consumption. Specifically excluded from this are alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and prepared hot foods sold for immediate consumption on and off the premises. The reduced Sales and Use Tax rate also does not apply to seeds and plants that produce food for human consumption​.

Virginia Retail Sales Tax is due monthly by the 20th of the month after the sales occurred. A return must be filed with the Department of Taxation for each period, even if there are no sales to report. ​