The West Virginia State Tax Department administers the local taxes displayed in the chart below. Local sales tax applies to retail sales made and taxable services provided within the local taxing area. The tax applies to the same items West Virginia sales and use tax law outlines.
To calculate the tax, combine the state tax rate and the local rate(s). Apply the combined rate to the taxable sales price and round to the nearest full cent.
Report local taxes when you electronically file your West Virginia sales and use tax. The numbers are reported separately from state taxes.
Who is required to collect?
All retailers who are registered to collect West Virginia sales taxes and are doing business in an area with a local tax must be registered with the State Tax Department to collect local taxes. Those include sellers from outside the locality that:
Have an office, distribution, sales, sample or warehouse location or other place of business in the local area either directly or by a subsidiary;
Have a representative, agent, salesperson, canvasser or solicitor in the local area – on either a permanent or temporary basis – who operates under the authority of the retailer or its subsidiary for any purpose, such as repairing, selling or installing orders for the retailer’s goods or services or leasing tangible personal property in the local area;
Ship or deliver tangible personal property to the local area; or
Perform taxable services in the local area.
Local tax applies to sales made or services performed within city limits only. Zip codes help to determine the taxing area but don’t always correspond exactly with city or county limits, so part of a zip code may be outside the city.
Local Use Tax
Local use tax applies when you buy items or services for use, storage, distribution or consumption in the local area without paying local sales tax to the seller. Use tax is similar to the sales tax and the rates are identical. It is based on your cost of taxable purchases. Common examples of when use tax is due are when:
You buy items outside the local area, the seller doesn’t charge local sales tax and you use or store the item in the local area.
You buy a taxable item from an out-of-state seller who does not charge local sales tax.
When to Charge a Local Tax
As a general rule, charge local sales tax on all sales made in a local taxing area that are subject to the West Virginia state sales tax.
Charge local sales tax to customers from outside the city who pick up items in the local area for business or personal use, even if the items are taken out of the local area.
Charge local sales tax to customers from outside the local area if you perform taxable services in the local area. For example, charge local tax if you repair a roof in an area with a local tax.
Do not charge local sales tax on sales of taxable items when:
Your customer gives you a fully completed Certificate of Exemption for state sales tax;
You ship or deliver the items to your customer outside the local area; or
You sell direct-to-home satellite (DBS) services (not cable). These services are subject to state sales taxes, but not local sales taxes. This is a federal preemption from the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Federal government agencies often are exempt from state and local sales and use taxes, but in situations where they are exempt, they must claim the exemption by presenting a properly-executed exemption certificate. (See
TSD-300 Sales and Use Tax Exemptions.)
State and local agencies (including cities, towns, counties, instrumentalities, political subdivisions, commissions, special districts and governmental boards) claiming exemption, like federal agencies, must present the exemption certificate or direct pay permit number. (See
TSD-300 Sales and Use Tax Exemptions.)
Some West Virginia state agencies have Direct Pay authorization when buying tangible items.
Vehicles and Leases
Local sales tax does not apply to sales or leasing of motor vehicles.
In these examples, West Virginia state taxes always apply, and local taxes apply where indicated.
A Charleston company sells tires to a Williamstown company. The Charleston company delivers the tires to Williamstown in its own truck. The Charleston company is required to collect the Williamstown sales tax.
A Williamstown company picks up windows from a Parkersburg supplier for use in Williamstown. Since the Williamstown company begins using the windows in Williamstown, the company is expected to pay a use tax. The Parkersburg supplier would not collect the Williamstown sales tax.
A contractor buys and picks up wood in a city with a local tax for use in an area without a local tax. Since the wood is picked up in the city with a local tax, that city’s local sales tax applies. If the materials are delivered by the seller to the construction site, no local tax is due.
An Ohio contractor buys materials in Ohio and pays the Ohio tax. The materials are brought into West Virginia to be used at a construction site in Williamstown. Williamstown local use tax is due. And since the Ohio sales tax rate is lower than West Virginia’s rate, the difference is also due as West Virginia state use tax.
A person sells clothing at an event located in a city with a local tax, and the customers take possession of the items in that city. Since the sales are being made in a city with a local tax, the seller must collect the local tax. This is true even if the seller is from outside the city.
A photographer takes pictures at a site where there is no local tax. The customer picks up the photos at the photographer’s studio in a city with a local tax. Local tax is due because the customer takes possession of the photos in a city with a local tax. If the photographer mails the photos to an area with no local tax, no local tax is due.
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The information obtained herein is accurate to the best of our knowledge and is not a substitute for tax laws or regulations.
The State is not liable for any damages resulting from any information that unintentionally may be inaccurate or untimely.
Copyright 2015 State of West Virginia. All rights reserved.