Richmond VA > Finance > Home

Last Updated: 2019-07-15

Important Tax Notices

Cigarette Tax - Effective July 1, 2019

Chapter 26 of the City Code was amended on May 13, 2019 via City Council’s Ordinance No. 2019-059 which adds a new article XVIII concerning the levy of a cigarette tax, for the purpose of imposing a new tax on the sale of cigarettes.

Effective July 1, 2019 a levy of $0.025 per-cigarette will be imposed – resulting in a $0.50 per 20 pack tax. The tax imposed by this article shall be paid by affixing or causing to be affixed a stamp or stamps, of proper denominational or face value, to each package of cigarettes sold within the city.

Every dealer and seller in the city shall have the right to buy such stamps from the Department of Finance and to affix the same to packages of cigarettes. These stamps can be purchased via mail using the distributor or retailer form or can be purchased in person from the following location:

  • City Hall – 900 E. Broad Street, Room 102

Failure by cigarette retailers to comply with article XVIII will result in a penalty for nonpayment of ten percent and interest payments of nine percent per year, upon any tax found to be overdue and unpaid.

For more information regarding the cigarette tax, including all necessary forms and FAQs, please visit our Cigarette Tax Description Page.

Sellers Commission - Effective July 1, 2019

Effective July 1, 2019, Ordinance 2019-124, the Seller's Commission will increase from 1.5% to 3%. The Seller's Commission is for businesses remitting their meals taxes in full and on time by the 20th of the subsequent month. As such, while the rate is effective July 1, 2019 it will first be reflected in meals tax payments remitted by the August 20th covering the month of July.

Business License Tax Amendment - Effective January 1, 2019

Section 26-892 of the Code of the City of Richmond has been amended. Effective January 1, 2019, all Business License payments will be due March 1, 2019. Effective January 1, 2019, installment payments for Business Licenses will be eliminated. Payments must be received by or before March 1, 2019.

Effective January 1, 2019, both 2019 Business License and Business Tangible Personal Property Renewal forms must be filed on or before March 1, 2019. Business License Renewal payments must be received on or before March 1, 2019 in order for your 2019 Business License Renewal to be processed. Renewal Application for City of Richmond Business License Form BLR-19 and 2019 and Return of Business Tangible Personal Property.

Payments received after the March 1, 2019 due date will be assessed a 10% late penalty and will accrue interest charges at a rate of 10% per annum. Payments postmarked March 1, 2019 will be considered on time.

For your convenience, you may pay online or you may pay via telephone at 1-866-890-5269. A convenience fee may be charged for use of these payment options.

You may also pay in person Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at any of the following locations:

  • City Hall - 900 E. Broad Street, Room 102
  • Southside Office - 4100 Hull Street
  • East District Initiative - 701 N. 25th Street

You may also deposit your payment in the drop boxes which can be found at each location.

New Business License

If you are starting a new business in the city of Richmond, you need to complete a new business application. New businesses in the city must obtain a license within 30 days of the date of opening. The business license identifies the business and serves as base for imposing business taxes.

Owners of businesses within the Richmond city limits are required to obtain a Richmond business license annually. Before you can renew the business license, you must obtain your "Certificate of Zoning Compliance". Contact Planning and Development Review for more information.

If you have questions, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) or contact the Business License Unit.

Tax and Fee Rate Changes Effective July 1, 2018

The City of Richmond's meals (also known as prepared food) tax is increasing from 6.0% to 7.5%, effective July 1, 2018. This change is per Ordinance 2018-017, which also directs the revenues from the rate increase to the renovation and replacement of public school facilities in the city. Further, Ordinance 2018-142, also effective July 1st, establishes a seller’s commission for businesses remitting their meals taxes on time (by the 20th of the subsequent month). A new tax remittance coupon for admission, lodging, and meals taxes is being finalized and will be made available to taxpayers and posted on Finance's website by August 1st, as related to taxable sales occurring on or after July 1, 2018.

Vehicle license fees are also increasing effective July 1, 2018, per Ordinance 2018-143. The fee changes are as follows:

  • The fee for vehicles less than 4,001 pounds increased from $33.00 to $40.74.
  • The fee for vehicles between 4,001 and 7,501 pounds increased from $38.00 to $45.74.
  • The fee for motorcycles from $18.00 to $28.74.

2019 Personal Property Taxes Are Due to June 5, 2019

The Personal Property Tax due date was changed to June 5, 2019 by an ordinance adopted by Richmond City Council on March 25, 2013. The change in the due date is applicable to all personal property taxes, including vehicles, business personal property and machinery and tools taxes.

The Property Tax Relief rate for qualifying vehicles for 2019 is not yet determined.

For a more detailed explanation of the Personal Property Tax Relief Act, read the bottom of page 2 of this FAQ for vehicle property taxes.

Personal Property Tax and vehicle license payments are due June 5, 2019. Contact the Customer Care Center at (804)646-7000 or call locally 311 with questions regarding your bill or should you not receive a bill for any vehicle(s) you own.

Additional information regarding vehicle personal property taxes

2019 Business Personal Property Taxes

Filing and payment of Business personal property taxes is now a two-step process.

Step 1: Submit a listing of property subject to 2019 business personal property taxes on the form provided by the Finance Department by March 1, 2019. Upon receipt of this information, you will be issued a tax bill that is due on June 5, 2019. A payment is not due with this filing.

Step 2: Submit your payment for the 2019 tax year on or before June 5, 2019. Upon receipt of your information in Step 1, you will be issued a tax bill that is due on June 5, 2019. Contact the Tax Assessment Office at (804)646-7000 with questions regarding your bill or should you not receive the form necessary for Step 1 or a bill to submit your payment in Step 2.

Additional information regarding business personal property taxes and renewals

2019 Returns

Ordinance No. 2007-299-261 was adopted by City Council for more details regarding business personal property taxes in 2009.

Real Estate Taxes Are Due In Two Equal Payments

Real estate taxes are due in two equal payments on January 14, 2019 and June 14, 2019. Any tax exemptions, e.g. tax relief for the elderly and disabled or tax rehabilitation exemptions, will be credited to each tax bill in one-half increments as well for those participating in these programs in 2015.

Disabled Veterans, or their surviving spouses, who believe they may be eligible for the real estate tax exemption effective January 1, 2011, as a result of an amendment to the Virginia Constitution and subsequent legislation enacted by the Virginia General Assembly, should contact the City Assessor's Office at (804) 646-7500 to obtain further information.

Real Estate Tax Exemption Program for Elderly and Disabled Simplified

Elderly and Disabled Tax Relief Assistance Available

The real estate tax exemption program for the elderly and permanently disabled has been simplified. The tax exemption amount for which the elderly or disabled property owner is qualified will be based solely on the income of the property owner and others living in the household.

Those currently participating in the program will receive one-half of their exemption amount applied to their first half tax bill due January 14, 2019. Re-certifications and applications, where necessary, will still need to be completed and returned by the March 31, 2019 due date to have the second half exemption amount applied to the tax bill due June 14, 2019.

Those applying to participate in the program for the first time in 2019 will need to complete and file their application by the March 31, 2019 due date. First time applicants will be billed the full, first half, tax amount due January 14, 2019.

Once their application has been reviewed and the exemption amount for which they are qualified is determined, one-half of the exemption will be applied to the January 17th tax bill that has been paid and the taxpayer will receive a refund for the amount of the first half exemption for which they remitted a payment on or before January 14, 2019.

The Director of Finance may also approve applicants for tax relief for the elderly and disabled due to Extreme Financial Hardship. The taxpayer must have experienced an extreme financial hardship in the immediate past tax year or be actively experiencing an extreme hardship in the current tax year. Examples of extreme financial hardship include illness, accident or loss of property, death of a spouse, or other extraordinary circumstance beyond the taxpayer's control. In these types of circumstances, the Department of Finance will give consideration to the Application for Tax Relief.

One-half of the exemption amount will be applied to the second half bill due June 14, 2019. For those eligible for 100% tax relief, the second half bill will show a zero ($0.00) balance due.

To retain the tax exemption for the 2019 tax year, the taxpayer must remit the portion for which they are responsible by the January and June due dates. Failure to do so may result in the loss of the tax exemption for the 2019 tax year.

To obtain a copy of the 2019 Tax Relief Application or a copy of the Authorization Form for someone other than the property owner to communicate with Finance regarding tax relief issues on behalf of the taxpayer, select the appropriate link noted below:

For more information, please call (804) 646-6015.

Renter Exemption from Solid Waste and Recycling Fees

Renters who are elderly and disabled and meet certain income, net worth, and other criteria are eligible for an exemption from solid waste and recycling fees, per City Code Section 23-42(e).

Please see the application form below for more information and details regarding how to apply for this exemption from the Department of Public Works.

Real Estate Tax Exemption for Rehabilitated Properties

In 2015, the exemptions for properties that are qualified for the residential and commercial & industrial tax rehabilitation exemptions will receive one-half of the exemption amount applied to the first half tax bill due January 14, 2019 and one-half applied to the second half tax bill due June 14, 2019.

Properties with pending tax rehabilitation applications will receive a tax bill for the full first half payment due on January 14, 2019. These property owners will also receive a letter from Finance indicating there is a pending tax rehabilitation application for their property.

Once the tax rehabilitation process has been completed and a final determination made by the City Assessor's Office, the property owner will receive a letter from Finance that will advise the taxpayer of the amount of the rehabilitation exemption applied to their first half tax bill. The taxpayer will be provided an additional 30 days to pay any remaining balance due from the first half tax bill. The second half tax bill due June 14, 2019 will include one-half of the tax rehabilitation exemption.

To retain the 2019 tax rehabilitation exemption for the property, the taxpayer must remit the total amount for which they are responsible by each respective due date. Failure to do so may result in a loss of the tax exemption for the 2019 tax year.

False Alarm Fees

The city of Richmond has been actively outsourcing the administration, billing, and collections of false alarms.

These enhanced services are designed to increase customer service and raise awareness regarding the importance of reducing false alarms and the impact it has on emergency responders. Citizens may register their alarms for free through the online service ensuring accurate and updated contact information. The new website also includes key information regarding the city code, FAQs, and Alarm Prevention Tips. The city is even offering a false alarm reduction online class at no cost to citizens.

Along with these new services, all false-alarm-related fees can be paid by check and mailed in for processing. As an added convenience, web payments can be made online with any major credit card. Payments for false alarms will no longer be taken in person at City Hall or other locations.

To check out the new site, register your alarm, or make a payment, visit To contact customer service regarding questions about your false alarm bill, call toll-free 1-877-893-5267.

Starting a Business in Richmond?

Are you interested in starting a business in the city of Richmond? The Office of Minority Business Development can assist you in making good decisions about your business plans.

Independent Municipal Advisor Exemption

By publicly posting the following written disclosure, the city of Richmond, Virginia intends that market participants receive and use it for purposes of the independent registered municipal advisor exemption to the SEC Municipal Advisor Rule.

The city of Richmond, Virginia has retained an independent registered municipal advisor. The city of Richmond, Virginia is represented by and will rely on its municipal advisor, Davenport & Company LLC, to provide advice on proposals from financial services firms concerning the issuance of municipal securities and municipal financial products (including investments of bond proceeds and escrow investments (if applicable)). This certificate may be relied upon until May 23, 2020.

Proposals may be addressed to:

City of Richmond
Attn: Procurement
900 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219

If the proposal received will be seriously considered by the city of Richmond, Virginia, the city will share the document with its municipal advisor. Please note that aside from regulatory-mandated correspondence between an underwriter and municipal advisor, the underwriter should not share or discuss proposals with the municipal advisor unless they already have been provided to the city of Richmond, Virginia.

This is a print version of the webpage. The navigation of the site has been removed through the print css. If you require a printout of the page as it looks in your browser, please use screen capture.