Proposed 2016 Meals Tax Referendum
May 10, 2016
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote June 7 on placing a meals tax referendum on the Nov. 8 election ballot. If the Board votes to move forward with the referendum, voters will vote yes or no on a (up to 4 percent) meals tax that would become effective July 1, 2017.
The following is preliminary information to enable residents and stakeholders to understand the process and the details of the proposed meals tax referendum.
Where Will Funds From the Proposed Meals Tax Go?
At the May 10 Budget Committee meeting, the Board of Supervisors discussed that an estimated $96 million generated in revenue from a 4 percent meals tax would be distributed as noted below. The Board of Supervisors will vote on the proposed funds distribution at the June 7 meeting.
- Fairfax County Public Schools: 70 percent
County Services, Capital Improvements and Property Tax
Relief: 30 percent
(Examples of capital improvements include renovations and updates as well as new construction of schools, fire and police stations, libraries, among other county facilities.)
May 10 Board of Supervisors Budget Committee Meeting Documents
- Meals Tax Draft Ballot Questions
- Possible Schedule of Events for Board-Initiated Petition for Meals Tax Referendum on Nov. 8, 2016
- Draft Meals Tax Resolution
What is a Meals Tax?
A meals tax is a tax on prepared food and beverages (ready-to-eat) at restaurants, lunchrooms, cafeterias, coffee shops, cafes, taverns, delis, push cart operations and hot dog stands
- Includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages served with a meal.
- Does not apply to groceries. Grocery and convenience stores only collect the tax on ready-to-eat foods, such as the deli or salad bar.
- Does not apply to food purchased at vending machines.
Proposed Meals Tax Referendum Timeline
June 7: Board of Supervisors scheduled to vote on including a meals tax question on the county’s Nov. 8 election ballot.
Nov. 8: Election Day.
February 2017: If the meals tax referendum is on the Nov. 8 ballot and passed by voters, the Board will hold a public hearing to adopt an ordinance establishing the rate and terms of the meals tax.
July 1, 2017: If the proposed meals tax referendum passes, it would become effective at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2018.
Meals Tax Rates in Surrounding Jurisdictions
Counties in Virginia, including Fairfax County, can only establish a meals tax if a referendum is approved by voters. Examples of local jurisdictions that have a meals tax in place include:
Alexandria: 4 percent
Arlington: 4 percent
Falls Church: 4 percent
Fairfax City: 4 percent
Herndon: 2.5 percent
Vienna: 3 percent
District of Columbia: 10 percent
2014 Task Force to Consider a Meals Tax Referendum
- Final Report Presented to Board of Supervisors on June 17, 2014
April 22, 2014
Board Matter From Sharon Bulova, Chairman of the Board of
- Task Force Co-Chairs and Members
More Information on the County's Budget and Taxes