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Virginia Tax Law

There are many taxes you’ll have to consider as a Virginia resident, like income and property taxes, taxes on utilities and water and plenty of other essential service taxes. Your bill may start adding up, but maybe there are exemptions or credits you can qualify for to reduce it?

Whether you live in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake or Richmond, you’ll need to account for the various state and federal taxes in your budget, including everyday sales and gasoline taxes. It can be easy to get lost in all of the taxes you’ll owe, so use the information in LawInfo’s Virginia tax law articles to become familiar with them and to avoid penalties.

Virginia Progressive Income Taxes

Taxpayers in Virginia don’t all pay the same state income tax rate. Not only does the tax percentage rate increase for higher taxable incomes, but taxpayers with an income of above $3,000 must pay a flat dollar amount in addition to their rate. Virginia has a progressive income tax system, which you can calculate like this for individuals or married taxpayers filing separately (based on 2016 rates):

  • If your income is $0 to $3,000, your rate is two percent.
  • If your income is $3,001 to $5,000, your rate is three percent of the excess over $3,000 plus $60.
  • If your income is $5,001 to $17,000, your rate is five percent of the excess over $5,000 plus $120.
  • If your income more than $17,000, your rate is 5.75 percent of the excess over $17,000 plus $720.

Virginia’s Department of Taxation provides a tax rate schedule that gives you an approximate tax dollar amount based on your income for easy reference.

Virginia Sales and Use Taxes

Virginia imposes a general sales and use tax of 5.3 percent on all goods and services sold within the state. The use tax is applied to the purchase of goods or services used in the state but purchased from out-of-state vendors who don’t pay Virginia’s sales tax. The following cities and counties impose a sales and use tax rate of six percent:

  • Alexandria
  • Arlington County
  • Chesapeake
  • Fairfax
  • Fairfax County
  • Falls Church
  • Franklin
  • Hampton
  • Isle of White County
  • James City County
  • Loudoun
  • Manassas
  • Manassas Park
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Poquoson
  • Portsmouth
  • Prince William County
  • Southampton County
  • Suffolk
  • Virginia Beach
  • Williamsburg
  • York County

Virginia Sin Taxes

“Sin” taxes are levied on consumer products like alcohol and tobacco wherever these things are legalized. They act as additional sales taxes (a.k.a. excise taxes) for products or services that are culturally perceived as vices. Sin taxes are meant to dissuade consumers from purchasing or using the taxed products or services without making them illegal.

Virginia imposes the following tobacco sin taxes:

  • $0.015/cigarette or $0.30/pack of 20 cigarettes.
  • $0.18/ounce of moist snuff tobacco.
  • Loose leaf tobacco is taxed at:
    • $0.21/unit of less than four ounces.
    • $0.40/unit weighing between four and eight ounces.
    • $0.70/unit weighing between eight and 24 ounces.
    • $0.63/unit weighing more than 24 ounces plus $0.21 for every four ounces beyond 24 ounces.
  • 10 percent of the manufacturer’s sale price for all other tobacco products.
  • $0.02 for malt beverages (including beer) up to seven ounces.
  • $0.0265 for malt beverages between seven and 12 ounces.
  • Tax rates for malt beverages increase sporadically past 12 ounces.
  • $0.40/liter of wine.
  • $0.08/liter of cider.
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