Virginia: Sales Tax Handbook
What purchases are exempt from the Virginia sales tax?
While the Virginia sales tax of 4.3% applies to most transactions, there are certain items that may be exempt from taxation. This page discusses various sales tax exemptions in Virginia.
Sales Tax Exemptions in Virginia
In Virginia, certain items may be exempt from the sales tax to all consumers, not just tax-exempt purchasers.
Several exceptions to the state sales tax are certain types of protective clothing, certain assistive medical devices, any learning institute's textbooks, and any software and data center equipment. Goods which are intended for further manufacture or for resale are also considered to be exempt. Usually exempt in local jurisdictions is food which has been bought from a grocery store, the majority of agricultural supplies, and prescription medicines.
Many states have special, lowered sales tax rates for certain types of staple goods - such as groceries, clothing and medicines. Restaurant meals may also have a special sales tax rate. Here are the special category rates for Virginia:
These categories may have some further qualifications before the special rate applies, such as a price cap on clothing items. Groceries are generally defined as "unprepared food", while pre-prepared food may be subject to the restaurant food tax rate.
Candy and soda may be included or excluded from any preferential tax rate depending on whether or not the state considers them to be a "grocery":
Are services, shipping, installation, etc taxable in Virginia?
The taxability of transactions involving services, shipping, and installation of tangible goods can be slightly complicated with various laws applying to slightly different situations. To learn more about how these transactions, and other more complicated situations, are subject to the Virginia sales tax see the Virginia sales taxability FAQ page.
Other tax-exempt items in Virginia
This table lists a number of additional categories of goods and services that are exempt from Virginia's sales tax. For a list that also shows taxable items, see the list of taxable and nontaxable items in Virginia.
|Manufacturing and Machinery|
|Utilities & Fuel||EXEMPT|
|Medical Goods and Services|
|General Occasional Sales||EXEMPT *|
|Motor Vehicles||EXEMPT *|
|Optional Maintenance Contracts|
|General Optional Maintenance Contracts||EXEMPT *|
|Parts Purchased for Use in Performing Service Under Optional Maintenance Contracts||EXEMPT|
|Transportation Services||EXEMPT *|
|Software and Digital Products|
|Canned Software - Downloaded||EXEMPT *|
|Custom Software - Delivered on Tangible Media||EXEMPT *|
|Custom Software - Downloaded||EXEMPT *|
* See notes in category taxability page for details
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