Booking a hotel or motel room, campground space, and other similar short-term lodgings is subject to Virginia sales tax.

The tax applies to the total charge for the accommodation. Fees charged by booking agents and other companies that handle accommodation reservations are also subject to sales and use tax.

The tax is collected by either the accommodations provider or the accommodations intermediary, depending on whom the room was booked through.

Who is an “accommodations provider”?

The business or individual providing the lodging is the “accommodations provider.” This includes:

  • Hotels and motels
  • Inns and bed and breakfasts
  • Campgrounds
  • Any other person or business providing similar short-term lodgings
Who is an “accommodations intermediary”?

In general, a business who handles reservations for the accommodations provider is an “accommodations intermediary.” This includes:

  • Online travel companies
  • Travel agents
  •  Any other similar business facilitating the booking of accommodations.

If an accommodations provider is operating under a trademark, trade mark, or service mark owned by the booking company or other type of accommodations intermediary, that company is not considered an accommodations intermediary with respect to those transactions.

What happens when the reservation is made directly with the accommodations provider?

The provider will collect the tax based upon the total charge for the room or lodging. They will report this on their Virginia sales tax return. See our Retail Sales and Use Tax page for more information about filing this return.

What happens when the reservation is made through an accommodations intermediary?

The intermediary will collect the tax based upon the total charge for the room or lodging, including any fees charged by the intermediary. 

If the accommodations are at a hotel/motel/campground type of lodging, the intermediary will:

  • Report the portion of the tax related to the intermediary’s fees on their Virginia sales tax return. See our Retail Sales and Use Tax page for more information about filing this return.
  • Send the portion of the tax related to the room fee to the accommodations provider. The provider will report this on their Virginia sales tax return.

If the accommodations are at any other type of lodging, including a short-term rental, then the intermediary will:

  • Report the sales tax on the entire transaction on their Virginia sales tax return. See our Retail Sales and Use Tax page for more information about filing this return.

For more information, see our Guidelines for the Application of the Retail Sales and Use Tax to Sales of Accommodations Facilitated by Accommodations Intermediaries, published on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall.