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 mailing, collecting, and posting of monthly and quarterly Trustee Tax Returns as well as the pursuit of any and all delinquent trustee taxes.

 Cigarette Tax

​​​Virginia Beach imposes a tax on the sale of cigarettes. There are two rate depending on the quantity 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

The Virginia communications sales and use tax rate is 5 percent of the amount billed for taxable services . The State E-911 Tax is $0.75 per line. There is no communications sales tax applied to pre-paid wireless services. However, effective January 1, 2011, a Prepaid Wireless E-911 fee of $0.50 is assessed on each retail purchase of prepaid wireless calling service.

Telephone service​​ is subject to a communications tax.  Service​s include but are not limited to:

  • Landline, wireless, and satellite telephone services (including, but not limited to local, intrastate, interstate and international service) including Voice Over Internet Protocol;
  • Teleconferencing services;
  • Private communications services;
  • "Push to talk" services;
  • Pager and beeper services;
  • Automated or partially automated answering services;
  • Facsimile services;
  • 800 number services;
  • Telegraph, telegram, telex and teletypewriter services;
  • Cable television (including but not limited to basic, extended, premium, pay-per-view, video on demand, digital, high definition, video recorder, music services and fees for additional outlets); and
  • Satellite television and satellite radio

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

 Lodging Tax

​Lodging tax, also known as transient occupancy tax, 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:

  • 8% of the total amount paid for lodging or
  • 9.5% of the total amount paid for lodging in the Sandbridge District

Lodging tax is also subject to the Virginia Retail Sales and Use Tax​.  Lodging operators shall report and remit lodging taxes by the 20th of each month for the previous month. A 10% penalty plus daily interest is imposed on late filings.

The Local Transient Occupancy Tax & Online​ Rental Platforms

Transient Lodging Tax Information

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 drink 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 plus daily interest is imposed on late filings.

 Short-Term Rentals

​A 1% short-term rental tax, also know as daily rental is imposed on the gross receipts of rentals of property or light equipment. Heavy equipment short-term rental is taxed at 1.5% of gross receipts. All short-term rental returns are due April 15, July 15, October 15, and January 15. 

 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. ​

Contact Information