Food, Beverage & Transient Occupancy Taxes

About the Taxes


Food and Beverage, and Transient Occupancy taxes (more commonly known as Meals and Room Taxes) are collected monthly from hotels, motels, and restaurants.

Prepared Food & Beverage Tax


This tax must be collected and remitted by restaurants, caterers, food vendors, and others who sell food that is intended for immediate consumption. These businesses must register for monthly meals tax reporting (PDF) when they first apply for a business license (PDF). The tax is 4% of meal and beverage sales, and is collected in addition to state retail sales tax. You must file a coupon (PDF) every month, even if there have been no sales. Nonfilers will be taxed and billed based on an estimate.


Lodging Tax: Transient Occupancy Tax and Additional Transient Occupancy Tax


The 5% Transient Occupancy Tax must be collected and remitted by hotels, motels, rooming houses, bed & breakfasts, vacation rentals, campgrounds, and others who provide lodging for under 30 days. This tax is in addition to the 6% Virginia Retail Sales Tax. Lodging businesses must register for monthly lodging tax (PDF) when they apply for a James City County business license (PDF). They must then file a monthly coupon (PDF), even if there have been no sales that month. Nonfilers will be taxed and billed based on an estimate.

The Additional Transient Lodging Tax (also called the “$2 Rooms Tax”) is collected and remitted by eligible businesses at the rate of $2 per room-night, in addition to the 5% Transient Occupancy Tax and the 6% Virginia Retail Sales Tax. This tax supports area tourism. Eligible businesses are hotels, motels, rooming houses, bed & breakfasts, and vacation rentals, as well as campgrounds that rent cabins. When a business applies for a James City County business license and registers for monthly lodging tax, they will also be registered for this this tax unless exempt. They must then file a monthly coupon (PDF), even if there have been no sales that month. Nonfilers will be taxed and billed based on an estimate.

Due Dates & Penalties


Filing of returns and payment of these taxes are on a monthly basis with the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office. A hardcopy report and payment for each tax should be postmarked by the 20th of the month following the calendar month for which tax is due to avoid a 10% penalty. NOTE:  We do not presently offer online filing of monthly taxes. We also cannot accept faxed or emailed returns.

Tax Registration


Businesses must register for monthly tax reporting when they apply for a business license (PDF). New businesses will be mailed a blank monthly coupon book. Every January, registered businesses will be mailed a customized coupon book. For more information, contact the Commissioner of the Revenue's Office at 757-253-6698.