Who Pays the Most? A Breakdown of Local Tax Rates in Virginia

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Benjamin Franklin may have been correct when he wrote, “… in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes,” but Virginians might be less certain about how their tax rates stack up to those of their neighbors.

A regular publication by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center clears up any confusion on how tax rates range from place to place in Virginia. The center recently published “Virginia Local Tax Rates: 2016,” the 35th annual edition of its definitive guide to local tax rates across the state.

The detailed book includes tax information for Virginia’s 38 cities, 95 counties and for 137 of the commonwealth’s 192 incorporated towns. It is an important resource for local government officials and business leaders, and it offers the average taxpayer a better idea of how their locality prioritizes certain initiatives through taxes. The diverse needs of Virginia residents lead to a remarkable level of variation in local taxes from region to region.

Below, UVA Today has highlighted some of the standout tax facts from the 2016 fiscal year. Readers interested in reviewing the full book can purchase it through lexisnexis.com.


Text reads: Fast Facts on Local Tax Rates in Virginia.  The Meals Tax accounts for 22.8% of total
Text reads: 108 Localities have a meals tax higher than 4%.  The highest Meals tax rate is in Covington 8%
Text reads: The highest base rate of real property tax is in Manassas park $1.55 per $100.  Select a locality below to view local tax rates
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Text reads: The highest effective tax rate on motor vehicles is shared by Alexandria, Falls Church, Greensville $4.35 per $100
Text reads: The highest transient occupancy tax rate is in Emporia 11% Alexandria has the highest tax on Cigarettes $1.15 per pack of 20
Text reads: Some areas of Accomack, Chesapeake & Gloucester have special tax levies to pay for Mosquito control

Gilligan lays out newly cleaned pages of Carter’s original volume.

Text reads: Collect and additional real estate tax not to exceed 2 cents per $100 to pay for playgrounds and other recreation areas

For more information, visit www.coopercenter.org

Media Contact

Katie McNally

Office of University Communications