In general, all sales, leases, and rentals of tangible personal property in or for use in Virginia, as well as accommodations and certain taxable services, are subject to Virginia sales and use tax, unless an exemption or exception is established.
Sales Tax Rates
To look up a rate for a specific address, or in a specific city or county in Virginia, use our sales tax rate lookup.
The sales tax rate for most locations in Virginia is 5.3%. Several areas have an additional regional or local tax as outlined below. In all of Virginia, food for home consumption (e.g. grocery items) and certain essential personal hygiene items are taxed at a reduced rate of 1%.
|General Sales Tax Rate||In these locations|
|Food & Personal Hygiene Items|
Sales of aircraft, watercraft, and motor vehicles are taxed at different rates than those listed above. For more information about the motor vehicle sales tax, visit the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Do you need to register to collect sales tax?
If you sell, lease, distribute, or rent tangible personal property to customers in Virginia, or otherwise meet the definition of a “dealer,” and have “sufficient activity” in Virginia, you have nexus as defined in Va. Code § 58.1-612, and must register to collect and pay sales tax in Virginia.
- In-state dealers: generally individuals and businesses making sales with, or at, one or more physical locations in Virginia (like an office, warehouse, fulfillment center, or similar place of business) must register to collect sales tax as an in-state dealer.
- Out-of-state dealers: generally individuals and businesses located outside of Virginia, but with sufficient physical or economic presence to establish nexus in Virginia, must register to collect sales tax as an out-of-state dealer. Starting July 1, 2019, this includes remote sellers or online retailers that make more than $100,000 in annual Virginia gross sales or 200 or more transactions to Virginia customers. Learn more about economic nexus requirements for remote sellers.
- Marketplace facilitators and remote sellers that have economic nexus in Virginia (i.e. more than $100,000 in annual Virginia gross sales or 200 or more transactions to Virginia customers) must register to collect and pay sales tax starting July 1, 2019. Generally, businesses without a physical location in Virginia that meet the economic nexus threshold should register as an out-of-state dealer, and businesses with a physical location should register as an in-state dealer. Marketplace facilitators must indicate that they are a marketplace facilitator when registering. Learn more.
Do you sell through a marketplace facilitator's platform? Starting July 1, 2019, you generally do not need to collect sales tax on your sales through the platform. You may still need to register to collect sales tax on your own sales outside of the platform. Learn more about registration and collection requirements as a marketplace seller.
How to register
You can register online or by mail. Use our checklist to make sure you have what you need.
- Register for sales tax online as an in-state or out-of-state dealer, or
- Complete the Business Registration Form (Form R-1).
If you are already registered with us, update your registration to add sales tax as a new tax type. Log into your business online services account or fill out the retail sales and use section on Form R-1.
When you complete your registration, you'll receive your 15-digit sales tax account number and your Sales Tax Certificate of Registration (Form ST-4). Be sure to save both.
Sales Tax Certificates (Form ST-4)
Your certificate must be displayed prominently at your registered location. If you need an additional or replacement copy, you can print one through your Business Online Services Account. If you don't have an account, enroll here. You can also get a copy by calling Customer Services at 804.367.8037.
Filing and Paying
Based on your tax liability, we'll determine your filing frequency - either monthly or quarterly. Returns are due on the 20th of the month following the close of the filing period. Quarterly filing periods end March 31, June 30, Sept. 30 and Dec. 31. You have to file a return for each period, even if you don’t owe any tax.
We may change your filing frequency based on your tax liability. If we change your filing frequency, we'll send you a letter notifying you of the change prior to the effective date.
How to File
There are several different ways to electronically file and pay your sales tax. If you are unable to file and pay electronically, you must submit an electronic filing waiver request.
- In-state dealers file Form ST-9 and collect sales tax based on the rate at your business location (point-of-sale).
- Out-of-state dealers file Form ST-8 and collect sales tax based on the rate at the destination of the shipment or delivery (destination-based sales tax).
In-state marketplace facilitators that are unable to associate an order with a physical place of business in Virginia may use destination-based sourcing to determine sales tax rates.
Dealer Discount: If you file and pay the amount owed on time, the dealer discount allows you to keep a portion of the tax collected. The discount is not allowed on the local portion of the tax.
Direct Payment Permit
Direct Payment Permits are typically issued to manufacturers, contractors, or mine operators that store tangible personal property within the Commonwealth for use both in and outside of Virginia. A Direct Payment Permit allows eligible companies to purchase goods without paying the sales or use tax at the time of purchase. These companies agree to pay the tax due directly to Virginia Tax, and allocate the local tax so that no county or city will lose any revenue. Businesses who meet the qualifications set forth in Va. Code § 58.1-624 may apply to the Tax Commissioner for a permit. If approved, you will file Form ST-6.
Penalty and Interest
If you fail to file or pay the full amount of sales tax due by the due date, a penalty of 6% per month is added to the tax owed. The maximum penalty is 30%. The minimum penalty is $10. The minimum penalty applies to late returns even if there is no tax owed.
Interest is added at the federal underpayment rate plus 2% and accrues on the tax until paid.
Consumer's Use Tax for Businesses
The consumer's use tax applies to tangible items used, consumed, or stored in Virginia when the Virginia sales or use tax was not paid at the time of purchase. The use tax is computed on the cost price of the property, which is the total amount for which the property was purchased, including any services that are a part of the purchase, valued in money or otherwise, and includes any amount for which credit is given the purchaser or lessee by the seller.
Returns are due on the 20th day of the month after the filing period. You don’t have to file for any periods that you don’t owe tax. File by including the taxable items on your regular sales tax return, or you can file using the eForm ST-7.
Sales Tax Exemptions and Exceptions
In many cases, in order to sell, lease, or rent tangible personal property without charging sales tax, a seller must obtain a certificate of exemption from the buyer. The sales-for-resale exemption prevents tax from being charged multiple times on the same item. The sales tax should be applied on the final retail sale to the consumer. The exemption prevents the tax being applied on goods as they are distributed before being sold at retail.
A dealer who makes a sale without charging applicable sales tax must retain a copy of the exemption certificate on file to substantiate the sale was tax exempt under the law.
- Full list of sales tax exemptions
- Download exemption certificates
- Learn more about exemptions for nonprofit organizations
- To apply for a cigarette resale exemption certificate (ST-10C) or to learn more about the process, go to Cigarette Resale Exemption Certificates.
Virginia Sales and Use Tax Dealer Lookup
If your business is registered as a retail sales tax dealer with us, you can use the Virginia Sales and Use Tax Dealer Lookup through your online business account to verify that a business providing you with a sales tax exemption certificate is currently registered as a retail sales tax dealer in Virginia. If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one to use the tool. You can also call Customer Services at 804.367.8037 to check.
Other Sales Taxes
- Motor Vehicle Rental Tax
- Communications Taxes
- Aircraft and Watercraft Taxes
- Cigarette and Tobacco Taxes
- Disposable Plastic Bag Tax
- Other Sales and Use Taxes: Vending Machine Sales Tax; Tire Recycling Fee; Digital Media Fee; and Public Facilities