Consumer's Use Tax for Individuals

Goods are subject to either sales or use tax, not both. You pay consumer's use tax on the use of goods in Virginia when you didn't pay sales tax at the time of purchase. 

When do you owe consumer's use?

Generally, you owe consumer's use tax on tangible items you rent, lease, or buy that you didn’t have to pay sales tax for when you purchased them. Common examples:

  • You bought something on the internet or through a mail order catalog and didn’t pay Virginia sales tax. Most online retailers collect Virginia sales tax, but if you order from a company that doesn’t, you need to pay use tax.
  • You bought something in another state that doesn’t charge sales tax, but brought the items back to Virginia to use here.   

Items exempt from sales tax in Virginia are also exempt from consumer's use tax.

Common exemptions: 

  • Nonprescription drugs and medicines you buy for the cure, easing, treatment, or prevention of disease in human beings 
  • Other durable medical devices and equipment that is suitable for home use (Va. Code § 58.1-609.10(9)-(11)) 
  • Magazine and newspaper subscriptions (Va. Code § 58.1-609.6(3))
  • Purchases from out-of-state mail order catalog(s) totaling $100 or less for the calendar year. If you spent more than $100 on these items, then you must report the purchases and pay consumer use tax on the total cost.  

Consumer's use tax rates:

The use tax rate is the same as your sales tax rate :

  • 6% in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads regions
  • 5.3% anywhere else in Virginia
  • 2.5% on eligible food items (generally staple foods and cold foods packaged for home consumption, such as from a grocery store. Does not include hot, prepared food meant to be eaten immediately, such as food from a restaurant. More information on eligible food items)

How to file and pay consumer's use tax:

  • Report and pay any tax due when you file your individual income tax return (line 35 if filing on paper). If you don’t owe any tax, you will need to enter “00” on the return.
  • File Form CU-7 , Virginia Consumer’s Use Tax Return for Individuals, if you don’t need to file an individual income tax return, but owe consumer’s use tax. 

When is the tax due? 

Calendar-year filers: May 1

Fiscal-year filers: 15th day of the 4th month after the close of your taxable year

*If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, you have until the next business day to file and pay your tax

Penalty and interest will apply if the return or payment is late.