New Virginia Laws Effective July 1, 2017

Several new laws, which impact the retail industry, came out of the 2017 General Assembly Session. Most of these will go into effect July 1, 2017. Below is a list of new laws that impact our members.

Sales Tax Nexus

Storage of inventory in the Commonwealth of Virginia will create sufficient nexus to require out-of-state businesses to collect sales and use tax on sales to customers in Virginia. This will bring us one step closer to leveling the playing field for brick and mortar retailers and online retailers in the Commonwealth, which is great news for VRF members.

Sales Tax Holiday

The sunset of the Sales Tax Holiday weekend was extended for an additional five years. This means that retailers and consumers across the Commonwealth are able to continue to participate in this successful weekend in August.

ABC Delivery Privileges

Delivery privileges will be extended to allow a person holding wine and beer licenses to deliver wine/beer, in closed containers, for off-premises consumption, to a person’s vehicle if located in designated parking area of a retailer’s premises where such person has electronically ordered wine or beer in advance of delivery.

This means that consumers will now be able to order wine/beer online with their grocery orders and pick it up from the grocery store when they pick up the rest of their grocery order.

ABC Applications for Retail License

Applicants for ABC Retail Licenses in establishments that serve food or are otherwise required to obtain a food establishment permit from the DOH or an inspection by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services must provide a copy of such permit, proof of inspection, or proof of pending request for such permit or inspection. If such documentation is provided, a license authorizing the purchase of alcoholic beverages may be issued to the applicant.

However, if the license was granted on the basis of a pending request for permit or inspection, the licensee will not be able to sell and/or serve alcoholic beverages until a permit is issued or an inspection is completed.

This change in the law allows retailers to go ahead and purchase the alcohol if they have a pending permit or inspection. Meaning they will be able to open as soon as said permit is granted or inspection is passed.


Localities may adopt an ordinance requiring the registration of persons offering property for short term rental. Short term rental is defined as the provision of a room or space suitable for sleeping or lodging for less than 30 consecutive days in exchange for a charge for the occupancy.

Localities may impose penalties, not to exceed $500 per violation, on persons who violate the ordinance. Certain property rented on a short-term basis is considered a bed and breakfast establishment for purposes of ABC licensing, and therefore the exception from ABC licensing for serving alcoholic beverages to guests in a residence does not apply if the guest is a short-term lessee of the residence.

Background Check

Supreme Court and any other court clerk may provide online access to court records of nonconfidential criminal case information to confirm complete date of birth (DOB) of the defendant.

This permits a narrow exception to the prohibition in existing law for access to DOBs on the Internet for the sole purpose of allowing someone who already has the DOB of an individual to enter a person’s name, SSN and DOB into the Office of Executive Secretary case management system to determine if the individual has pending criminal charges. This will be beneficial to VRF members because it streamlines the background screening process for employers in Virginia.

Sales and Use Tax, Collection of Taxes from Consuming Contractors

Removes exemption that persons selling certain products, such as window shades, kitchen equipment and countertops, are retailers and not consuming contractors for purposes of collecting sales and use tax – even if they intend to install such items for contractors.

This clarifies a section of the tax code which caused confusion for many retailers when applying the sales and use tax to the specific items listed above. The confusion is alleviated by removing the special treatment of said items from the code. These items will now be treated the same as every other item sold and installed by contractors; eliminating the need for retailers to become tax experts in order to determine how to apply tax to these specific items.

NRF Retail Advocates Summit – July 17-19, 2017

Your VRF team will represent your interests again this year during the NRF’s Annual Retail Advocates Summit in Washington, DC. We will make sure the voice of retailers in the Commonwealth of Virginia is heard on important federal issues that impact the industry. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter so that you can receive timely updates on what we are discussing. In addition, we will provide a wrap-up of our trip via our Retail Advocate E-Newsletter.

Sales Tax Holiday Weekend – August 4-6, 2017

Don’t forget about the Sales Tax Holiday weekend that begins Friday, August 4th at 12:01am and ends Sunday, August 6th at 11:59pm. During this time, retailers may sell qualifying items without having to collect sales tax.

Qualifying items include: school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star™ and WaterSense™ products. Be on the lookout for an Advocate E-Newsletter with more details on this issue closer to the date of the holiday.

For advocacy-related questions, please contact:

Kate Baker

Jodi Roth