Are there any exemptions to the Meals Tax?

Yes.  There are several, but the following are the most common types of purchases that are exempt from the Meals Tax:

  • Food and beverages furnished by food establishments to employees as part of their compensation when no charge is made to the employee.*
  • Meals when used or consumed and paid for directly out of public funds by the Commonwealth of Virginia, any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or the United States.**
  • Any sale of a meal which is exempt from taxation under the Virginia Retail Sales and Use Tax Act

In addition to the most common ones listed above, the following purchases of food and beverages are exempt from the Meals Tax:

  • Food and beverages sold by day care centers, public or private elementary or secondary schools or food sold by any college or university to its students served on site and paid for as a part of a tuition, meal or similar plan.
  • Food and beverages furnished by a hospital, medical clinic, convalescent home, nursing home, home for the aged, infirm, handicapped, battered women, narcotic addicts or alcoholics; or other extended care facility to patients or residents thereof and the spouses and children of such persons.
  • Food and beverages furnished by a public or private nonprofit charitable organization or establishment or a private establishment that contracts with the appropriate agency of the Commonwealth to offer meals at concession prices to elderly, infirm, blind, handicapped or needy persons in their homes or at central locations.
  • Food and beverages sold on an occasional basis, not exceeding six times per calendar year, by a nonprofit educational, charitable or benevolent organization; church; or religious body as a fundraising activity, the gross proceeds of which are to be used by such organization exclusively for nonprofit educational, charitable, benevolent or religious purposes.
  • Food and beverages sold through vending machines.

The following items, when served exclusively for off-premise consumption, are exempt from the Meals Tax:

(1) Factory-prepackaged candy, gum, nuts and other items of essentially the same nature.

(2) Pastry, dairy and snack food items, such as doughnuts, ice cream sold in greater than single serving quantities, crackers, nabs, chips, cookies, and the like and items of essentially the same nature.

(3) Food sold in bulk.

(4) Alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages sold in factory-sealed containers.

(5) Any food or food product purchased with food coupons issued by the United States Department of Agriculture under the Food Stamp Program or drafts issued through the state special supplemental food program for women, infants, and children.

(6) Any food or food product purchased for home consumption as defined in the federal Food Stamp Act of 1977, 7 USC 2012, as amended, except hot food or hot food products ready for immediate consumption.  The following items, whether or not purchased for immediate consumption, are excluded from the definition of food in the federal Food Stamp Act:  sandwiches, salad bar items sold from a salad bar, prepackaged single-serving salads consisting primarily of an assortment of vegetables, and nonfactory-sealed beverages.  Items (3), (4) & (5) are not affected by this item.

The following businesses are not subject to the Meals Tax, except for any portion or section of the business that contains prepared food and beverage operations:

  • grocery stores
  • supermarkets
  • convenience stores

Show All Answers

1. What is considered a “restaurant”?
2. What is considered a “meal” that is subject to the Meals Tax?
3. How is meals tax filed and assessed? When is Meals Tax due?
4. Can I file and pay online?
5. What is the Seller’s Discount?
6. Does the meal, or prepared food, have to be consumed on the premises of the business where it is purchased to be taxable?
7. Does a caterer have to collect and remit Meals Taxes to the City of Charlottesville?
8. Are beverages such as soda, beer, water and others that are in a can, bottle or other factory sealed container subject to the meals tax?
9. Are there any exemptions to the Meals Tax?
10. How do I claim exempt sales?
11. Examples of documentation:
12. Are gratuities subject to the Meals Tax?