Chapter 5.05
BUSINESS, PROFESSIONAL, OCCUPATION AND OTHER LICENSE TAXES*

Sections:

5.05.010    Overriding conflicting ordinances.

Article I. General

5.05.020    License required – Penalty.

5.05.030    Omitted taxes or levies.

5.05.040    Half and quarter licenses.

5.05.050    Transfer of licenses – Display of license.

5.05.060    Zoning.

5.05.070    Subjects not mentioned in chapter.

5.05.080    Proration of license taxes.

5.05.090    Definitions.

5.05.100    License requirement.

5.05.110    Situs of gross receipts.

5.05.120    Limitations and extensions.

5.05.130    Appeals and rulings.

5.05.140    Recordkeeping and audits.

5.05.150    Exclusions and deductions from “gross receipts.”

5.05.160    Exemption from license taxes.

Article II. Business, Professional and Occupational Taxes

5.05.170    License fee and tax.

Article III. Other License Taxes

5.05.180    Alcoholic beverages.

5.05.190    State license required.

5.05.200    Delivery.

5.05.210    License in addition to other license requirements.

5.05.220    Public utilities and public service companies.

5.05.230    Short-term rental property tax.

5.05.240    Going out of business permits.

*State law references § 58.1-3700 – § 58-1-3735; § 4.1-205; § 4.1-233 of the Code of Virginia.

5.05.010 Overriding conflicting ordinances.

Except as may be otherwise provided by the laws of the commonwealth of Virginia, and notwithstanding any other current ordinances or resolutions enacted by this governing body, whether or not compiled in the code of this jurisdiction, to the extent of any conflict, the following provisions shall be applicable to the levy, assessment, and collection of licenses required and taxes imposed on businesses, trades, professions and callings and upon the persons, firms and corporations engaged therein within this locality. (Code 1985, Ch. 12, Art. XVII).

Article I. General

5.05.020 License required – Penalty.

(1) Whenever a license is required herein, it shall be unlawful to engage in such business, employment, or profession without first obtaining the required license. A violation of this requirement shall constitute a Class 4 misdemeanor.

(2) No business license under this chapter shall be issued until the applicant has produced satisfactory evidence that all delinquent business license, personal property, meals, transient occupancy, severance, and admissions taxes owed by the applicant (or the business) to the city of Staunton, Virginia, have been paid which have been properly assessed against the applicant (or the business) by the city.

(3) Any person, firm, corporation, partnership, or business who engages in business without obtaining a license required hereunder, or after being refused a license, shall not be relieved of the tax imposed by this chapter. (Code 1985, § 12-230).

5.05.030 Omitted taxes or levies.

If the commissioner of revenue for the city ascertains that any local tax has not been assessed for any tax year of the three preceding tax years, or that the same has been assessed at less than the law required for any one or more of such years, or that the taxes for any cause have not been realized, the commissioner of the revenue shall list and assess the same with taxes at the rate or rates prescribed for that year, adding thereto penalty and interest at the rate provided for under Sections 58.1-3916 and 58.1-3918 of the Code of Virginia. Interest may be computed upon the taxes and penalty from the first day following the due date in the year in which such taxes should have been paid and shall accrue thereon from such date until payment; provided, if such assessment was necessitated through no fault of the taxpayer, such penalty and interest shall accrue after 30 days from the date of assessment until payment. (Code 1985, § 12-231).

5.05.040 Half and quarter licenses.

(1) A license (other than a license for which the certificate of a court is required by law before it can be granted, and other than a license which the law imposing the same provides shall not be prorated), the tax on which would be $150.00, or $300.00 in the case of wholesale merchants, or more were it issued for the period of one year, may be issued for a period of less than one year, and shall expire on June 30th or December 31st, whichever shall happen first after it is issued, and the tax on such license shall be one-half of the tax required were the license issued for a year; provided, if the time between the date of issue of the license to the end of the half-year is less than six months, the tax thereon shall be abated proportionately to the amount chargeable for six months, unless the license is of such character that no proration thereof is allowable.

(2) If the tax for one year would be $300.00, or $600.00 in the case of wholesale merchants, or more, the license may be issued for a period of less than one year and shall expire on March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, or December 31st, whichever shall happen first after it is issued, and the tax on such license shall be one-quarter of the tax required were the license issued for a year; provided, if the time between the date of issue of the license to the end of the quarter year is less than three months, the tax thereon shall be abated proportionately to the amount chargeable for three months, unless the license is of such character that no proration thereof is allowable. (Code 1985, § 12-232).

5.05.050 Transfer of licenses – Display of license.

(1) Licenses issued under this chapter, which have been paid in full, except where otherwise provided, shall be transferable to the assignees or successors in interest of any licensee, but in no event are such license taxes refundable. In no case shall any transfer of the license be legal, or valid, unless and until notice in writing of such transfer shall have been given to the commissioner and he shall have approved said transfer in writing on said license; the said notice shall state the time of the transfer and the place of business and the name of the person to whom transferred. A fee of $5.00 shall be paid for each transfer.

(2) The license receipt or other certificates showing the payment of license taxes whenever imposed by this chapter shall be displayed in a conspicuous place at the regular place of business or profession of the licensee, in order that any officer of the city may inspect the same at all reasonable times. All licensees who have or maintain no regular place of business shall either carry with them on their person or have affixed or attached to their truck, automobile or other vehicle the license receipt or certificate and promptly display the same when called upon by any officer of the city to do so. (Code 1985, § 12-233).

5.05.060 Zoning.

The commissioner of the revenue shall not issue a license for conducting any business at a location where the conducting of such business is prohibited by the zoning ordinance of the city. The granting of any license under this chapter in no way relieves the licensee from complying with any and all present and future zoning restrictions. (Code 1985, § 12-234).

5.05.070 Subjects not mentioned in article.

Nothing in this chapter contained shall be construed to repeal any tax imposed by ordinance upon motor vehicles and other vehicles, persons, property, admissions, charges for utility services, or any subject not herein in this chapter mentioned. (Code 1985, § 12-235).

5.05.080 Proration of license taxes.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, general or special, and regardless of the basis or method of measurement or computation, the city shall not impose a license tax based on gross receipts on a business, trade, profession, occupation or calling, or upon a person, firm, or corporation for any fraction of a year during which such person, firm, or corporation has permanently ceased to engage in such business, trade, profession, occupation, or calling within the city. In the event a person, firm, or corporation ceases to engage in a business, trade, profession, or calling within the city during a year for which a license tax based on gross receipts has already been paid, the taxpayer shall be entitled upon application to a refund for that portion of the license tax already paid, prorated on a monthly basis so as to ensure that the licensed privilege is taxed only for that fraction of the year during which it is exercised within the city. The city may elect to remit any refunds in the ensuing fiscal year and may offset against such refund any amount of past-due taxes owed by the same taxpayer. In no event shall the city be required to refund any part of a flat fee or minimum flat tax. (Code 1985, § 12-236).

5.05.090 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, unless otherwise required by the context:

“Affiliated group” means:

(1) One or more chains of includable corporations connected through stock ownership with a common parent corporation which is an includable corporation if:

(a) Stock possessing at least 80 percent of the voting power of all classes of stock and at least 80 percent of each class of the nonvoting stock of each of the includable corporations, except the common parent corporation, is owned directly by one or more of the other includable corporations; and

(b) The common parent corporation directly owns stock possessing at least 80 percent of the voting power of all classes of stock and at least 80 percent of each class of the nonvoting stock of at least one of the other includable corporations. As used in this section, the term “stock” does not include nonvoting stock which is limited and preferred as to dividends. The term “includable corporation” means any corporation within the affiliated group irrespective of the state or country of its incorporation; and the term “receipts” includes gross receipts and gross income.

(2) Two or more corporations if five or fewer persons who are individuals, estates or trusts own stock possessing:

(a) At least 80 percent of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock entitled to vote or at least 80 percent of the total value of shares of all classes of the stock of each corporation; and

(b) More than 50 percent of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock entitled to vote or more than 50 percent of the total value of shares of all classes of stock of each corporation, taking into account the stock ownership of each such person only to the extent such stock ownership is identical with respect to each such corporation.

(3) When one or more of the includable corporations, including the common parent corporation, is a nonstock corporation, the term “stock” as used in this section shall refer to the nonstock corporation membership or membership voting rights, as is appropriate to the context.

“Assessment” means a determination as to the proper rate of tax, the measure to which the tax rate is applied, and ultimately the amount of tax, including additional or omitted tax, that is due. An assessment shall include a written assessment made pursuant to notice by the assessing official or a self-assessment made by a taxpayer upon the filing of a return or otherwise not pursuant to notice. Assessments shall be deemed made by an assessing official when a written notice of assessment is delivered to the taxpayer by the assessing official or an employee of the assessing official, or mailed to the taxpayer at his last known address. Self-assessments shall be deemed made when a return is filed, or if no return is required, when the tax is paid. A return filed or tax paid before the last day prescribed by ordinance for the filing or payment thereof shall be deemed to be filed or paid on the last day specified for the filing of a return or the payment of tax, as the case may be.

“Assessor” or “assessing official” means the commissioner of revenue of this jurisdiction.

“Base year” means the calendar year preceding the license year, except for contractors subject to the provisions of Section 58.1-3715 of the Code of Virginia.

“Business” means a course of dealing which requires the time, attention and labor of the person so engaged for the purpose of earning a livelihood or profit. It implies a continuous and regular course of dealing, rather than an irregular or isolated transaction. A person may be engaged in more than one business. The following acts shall create a rebuttable presumption that a person is engaged in a business: (1) advertising or otherwise holding oneself out to the public as being engaged in a particular business; or (2) filing tax returns, schedules, and documents that are required only of persons engaged in a trade or business.

“Contractor” shall have the meaning prescribed in Section 58.1-3714.B of the Code of Virginia, as amended, whether such work is done or offered to be done by day labor, general contract, or subcontract.

“Definite place of business” means an office or a location at which occurs a regular and continuous course of dealing for 30 consecutive days or more. A definite place of business for a person engaged in business may include a location leased or otherwise obtained from another person on a temporary or seasonal basis; and real property leased to another. A person’s residence shall be deemed to be a definite place of business if there is no definite place of business maintained elsewhere and the person is not licensable as a peddler or itinerant merchant.

“Financial services” means the buying, selling, handling, managing, investing, and providing of advice regarding money, credit, securities, and other investments and shall include the service for compensation by a credit agency, an investment company, a broker or dealer in securities and commodities or a security or commodity exchange, unless such service is otherwise provided for in this chapter.

“Broker” shall mean an agent of a buyer or a seller who buys or sells stocks, bonds, commodities, or services, usually on a commission basis.

“Commodity” shall mean staples such as wool, cotton, etc., which are traded on a commodity exchange and on which there is trading in futures.

“Dealer,” for purposes of this chapter, shall mean any person engaged in the business of buying and selling securities for his own account, but does not include a bank, or any person insofar as he buys or sells securities for his own account, either individually or in some fiduciary capacity, but not as part of a regular business.

“Security,” for purposes of this chapter, shall have the same meaning as in the Securities Act (Section 13.1-501 et seq.) of the Code of Virginia, or in similar laws of the United States regulating the sale of securities.

Those engaged in rendering financial services include, but without limitation, the following:

Buying installment receivables

Chattel mortgage financing

Consumer financing

Credit card services

Credit unions

Factors

Financing accounts receivable

Industrial loan companies

Installment financing

Inventory financing

Loan or mortgage brokers

Loan or mortgage companies

Safety deposit box companies

Security and commodity brokers and services

Stockbrokers

Working capital financing

“Gross receipts” means the whole, entire, total receipts attributable to the licensed privilege, without deduction, except as may be limited by the provisions of Chapter 37 of Title 58.1 of the Code of Virginia.

“License year” means the calendar year for which a license is issued for the privilege of engaging in business.

“Personal services” shall mean rendering for compensation any repair, personal, business or other services not specifically classified as “financial, real estate or professional service” under this chapter, or rendered in any other business or occupation not specifically classified in this chapter unless exempted from local license tax by Title 58.1 of the Code of Virginia.

“Professional services” means services performed by architects, attorneys-at-law, certified public accountants, dentists, engineers, land surveyors, surgeons, veterinarians, and practitioners of the healing arts (the arts and sciences dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure or alleviation of human physical or mental ailments, conditions, diseases, pain or infirmities) and such occupations, and not others, as the Virginia Department of Taxation may list in the BPOL guidelines promulgated pursuant to Section 58.1-3701 of the Code of Virginia. The Department shall identify and list each occupation or vocation in which a professed knowledge of some department of science or learning, gained by a prolonged course of specialized instruction and study, is used by its practical application to the affairs of others, either advising, guiding, or teaching them, and in serving their interests or welfare in the practice of an art or science founded on it. The word “profession” implies attainments in professional knowledge as distinguished from mere skill, and the application of knowledge to uses for others rather than for personal profit.

“Purchases” shall mean all goods, wares and merchandise received for sale at each definite place of business of a wholesale merchant. The term shall also include the cost of manufacture of all goods, wares and merchandise manufactured by any wholesaler or wholesale merchant and sold or offered for sale. Such merchant may elect to report the gross receipts from the sale of manufactured goods, wares and merchandise if it cannot determine, or chooses not to disclose, the cost of manufacture.

“Real estate services” shall mean rendering a service for compensation as lessor, buyer, seller, agent or broker and providing a real estate service, unless the service is otherwise specifically provided for in this chapter, and such services include, but are not limited to, the following:

Appraisers of real estate

Escrow agents, real estate

Fiduciaries, real estate

Lessors of real property

Real estate agents, brokers, and managers

Real estate selling agents

Rental agents for real estate

“Retailer” or “Retail merchant” shall mean any person or merchant who sells goods, wares and merchandise for use or consumption by the purchaser or for any purpose other than resale by the purchaser, but does not include sales at wholesale to institutional, commercial and industrial users.

“Services” shall mean things purchased by a customer which do not have physical characteristics, or which are not goods, wares, or merchandise.

“Wholesaler” or “Wholesale merchant” shall mean any person or merchant who sells wares and merchandise for resale by the purchaser, including sales when the goods, wares and merchandise will be incorporated into goods and services for sale, and also includes sales to institutional, commercial, government and industrial users which, because of the quantity, price, or other terms, indicate that they are consistent with sales at wholesale. (Code 1985, § 12-237).

5.05.100 License requirement.

(1) Every person engaging in the city of Staunton in any business, trade, profession, occupation or calling (collectively hereinafter “a business”) as defined in this chapter, unless otherwise exempted by law, shall apply for a license for each such business if (a) such person maintains a definite place of business in the city of Staunton; (b) such person does not maintain a definite office anywhere but does maintain an abode in the city of Staunton, which abode for the purposes of this chapter shall be deemed a definite place of business; or (c) there is no definite place of business but such person operates amusement machines, is engaged as a peddler or itinerant merchant, carnival or circus, as specified in Sections 58.1-3717, 3718, or 3728, respectively, of the Code of Virginia, or is a contractor subject to Section 58.1-3715 of the Code of Virginia, or is a public service corporation subject to Section 58.1-3731 of the Code of Virginia. A separate license shall be required for each definite place of business. A person engaged in two or more businesses or professions carried on at the same place of business may elect to obtain one license for all such businesses and professions if all of the following criteria are satisfied: (a) each business or profession is licensable at the location and has satisfied any requirements imposed by state law or other provisions of the ordinances of this jurisdiction; (b) all of the businesses or professions are subject to the same tax rate, or, if subject to different tax rates, the licensee agrees to be taxed on all businesses and professions at the highest rate; and (c) the taxpayer agrees to supply such information as the assessor may require concerning the nature of the several businesses and their gross receipts.

(2) Each person subject to a license tax shall apply for a license prior to beginning business if he was not subject to licensing in the city of Staunton on or before January 1st of the license year, or no later than March 1st of the current license year if he had been issued a license for the preceding license year. The application shall be on forms prescribed by the assessing official.

(3) The tax shall be paid with the application in the case of any license not based on gross receipts. If the tax is measured by the gross receipts of the business, the tax shall be paid on or before March 1st of the year concerned.

(4) The assessing official may grant an extension of time, not to exceed 90 days, in which to file an application for a license, for cause. The extension shall be conditioned upon the timely payment of a reasonable estimate of the appropriate tax, subject to adjustment to the correct tax at the end of the extension, together with interest from the due date until the date paid and, if the estimate submitted with the extension is found to be unreasonable under the circumstances, a penalty of 10 percent of the portion paid after the due date.

(5) A penalty of 10 percent of the tax may be imposed upon the failure to file an application or the failure to pay the tax by the appropriate due date. Only the late filing penalty shall be imposed by the assessing official if both the application and payment are late; however, both penalties may be assessed if the assessing official determines that the taxpayer has a history of noncompliance. In the case of an assessment of additional tax made by the assessing official, if the application and, if applicable, the return were made in good faith and the understatement of the tax was not due to any fraud, reckless or intentional disregard of the law by the taxpayer, there shall be no late payment penalty assessed with the additional tax. If any assessment of tax by the assessing official is not paid within 30 days, the treasurer may impose a 10 percent late payment penalty. The penalties shall not be imposed, or if imposed, shall be abated by the official who assessed them, if the failure to file or pay was not the fault of the taxpayer. In order to demonstrate lack of fault, the taxpayer must show that he acted responsibly and that the failure was due to events beyond his control.

“Acted responsibly” means that: (a) the taxpayer exercised the level of reasonable care that a prudent person would exercise under the circumstances in determining the filing obligations for the business, and (b) the taxpayer undertook significant steps to avoid or mitigate the failure, such as requesting appropriate extensions (where applicable), attempting to prevent a foreseeable impediment, acting to remove an impediment once it occurred, and promptly rectifying a failure once the impediment was removed or the failure discovered.

“Events beyond the taxpayer’s control” include, but are not limited to, the unavailability of records due to fire or other casualty; the unavoidable absence (e.g., due to death or serious illness) of the person with the sole responsibility for tax compliance; or the taxpayer’s reasonable reliance in good faith upon erroneous written information from the assessing official, who was aware of the relevant facts relating to the taxpayer’s business when he provided the erroneous information.

(6) Interest shall be charged on the late payment of the tax from the due date until the date paid without regard to fault or other reason for the late payment. Whenever an assessment of additional or omitted tax by the assessing official is found to be erroneous, all interest and penalties charged and collected on the amount of the assessment found to be erroneous shall be refunded together with interest on the refund from the date of payment or the due date, whichever is later. Interest shall be paid on the refund of any tax paid under this chapter from the date of payment or due date, whichever is later, whether attributable to an amended return or other reason. Interest on any refund shall be paid at the same rate charged under Section 58.1-3916 of the Code of Virginia.

No interest shall accrue on an adjustment of estimated tax liability to actual liability at the conclusion of a base year. No interest shall be paid on a refund or charged on a late payment, in event of such adjustment, provided the refund or the late payment is made not more than 30 days from (a) the date of the payment that created the refund, or (b) the due date of the tax, whichever is later.

In the case of an applicant whose license is based on gross receipts and who was not subject to licensing in the city on or before January 1st of the license year, the applicant shall pay the tax with the application based on estimated gross receipts for the balance of the calendar year of the license. (Code 1985, § 12-238).

5.05.110 Situs of gross receipts.

(1) General rule. Whenever the tax imposed by this chapter is measured by gross receipts, the gross receipts included in the taxable measure shall be only those gross receipts attributed to the exercise of a licensable privilege at a definite place of business within the city of Staunton. In the case of activities conducted outside of a definite place of business such as during a visit to a customer location, the gross receipts shall be attributed to the definite place of business from which such activities are initiated, directed, or controlled. The situs of gross receipts for different classifications of business shall be attributed to one or more definite places of business or offices, as follows:

(a) The gross receipts of a contractor shall be attributed to the definite place of business at which his services are performed, or if his services are not performed at any definite place of business, then the definite place of business from which his services are directed or controlled, unless the contractor is subject to the provisions of Section 58.1-3715 of the Code of Virginia.

(b) The gross receipts of a retailer or wholesaler shall be attributed to the definite place of business at which sales solicitation activities occur, or if sales solicitation activities do not occur at any definite place of business, then the definite place of business from which sales solicitation activities are directed or controlled; however, a wholesaler or distribution house subject to a license tax measured by purchases shall determine the situs of its purchases by the definite place of business at which or from which deliveries of the purchased goods, wares and merchandise are made to customers. Any wholesaler who is subject to license tax in two or more localities and who is subject to multiple taxation because the localities use different measures, may apply to the Department of Taxation for a determination as to the proper measure of purchases and gross receipts subject to license tax in each locality.

(c) The gross receipts of a business renting tangible personal property shall be attributed to the definite place of business from which the tangible personal property is rented or, if the property is not rented from any definite place of business, then the definite place of business at which the rental of such property is managed.

(d) The gross receipts from the performance of services shall be attributed to the definite place of business at which the services are performed or, if not performed at any definite place of business, then the definite place of business from which the services are directed or controlled.

(2) Apportionment. If the licensee has more than one definite place of business and it is impractical or impossible to determine to which definite place of business gross receipts should be attributed under the general rule (and the affected jurisdictions are unable to reach an apportionment agreement), except as to circumstances set forth in Section 58.1-3709 of the Code of Virginia, the gross receipts of the business shall be apportioned between the definite places of businesses on the basis of payroll. Gross receipts shall not be apportioned to a definite place of business unless some activities under the applicable general rule occurred at, or were controlled from, such definite place of business. Gross receipts attributable to a definite place of business in another jurisdiction shall not be attributed to the city of Staunton solely because the other jurisdiction does not impose a tax on the gross receipts attributable to the definite place of business in such other jurisdiction.

(3) Agreements. The assessor may enter into agreements with any other political subdivision of Virginia concerning the manner in which gross receipts shall be apportioned among definite places of business. However, the sum of the gross receipts apportioned by the agreement shall not exceed the total gross receipts attributable to all of the definite places of business affected by the agreement. Upon being notified by a taxpayer that its method of attributing gross receipts is fundamentally inconsistent with the method of one or more political subdivisions in which the taxpayer is licensed to engage in business and that the difference has, or is likely to, result in taxes on more than 100 percent of its gross receipts from all locations in the affected jurisdictions, the assessor shall make a good faith effort to reach an apportionment agreement with the other political subdivisions involved. (Code 1985, § 12-239).

5.05.120 Limitations and extensions.

(1) Where, before the expiration of the time prescribed for the assessment of any license tax imposed pursuant to this chapter, both the assessing official and the taxpayer have consented in writing to its assessment after such time, the tax may be assessed at any time prior to the expiration of the period agreed upon. The period so agreed upon may be extended by subsequent agreements in writing made before the expiration of the period previously agreed upon.

(2) Notwithstanding Section 58.1-3903 of the Code of Virginia and SCC 5.05.030, the assessing official shall assess the local license tax omitted because of fraud or failure to apply for a license for the current license year and the six preceding years.

(3) The period for collecting any local license tax shall not expire prior to the period specified in Section 58.1-3940 of the Code of Virginia, two years after the date of assessment if the period for assessment has been extended pursuant to this section, two years after the final determination of an appeal for which collection has been stayed pursuant to SCC 5.05.130(2) or (4), or two years after the final decision in a court application pursuant to Section 58.1-3984 of the Code of Virginia or similar law for which collection has been stayed, whichever is later. (Code 1985, § 12-240).

5.05.130 Appeals and rulings.

(1) Any person assessed with a licensing tax under this chapter as the result of an audit may apply within 90 days from the date of the assessment to the assessing official for a correction of the assessment. The application must be filed in good faith and sufficiently identify the taxpayer, audit period, remedy sought, each alleged error in the assessment, the grounds upon which the taxpayer relies, and any other facts relevant to the taxpayer’s contention. The assessor may hold a conference with the taxpayer if requested by the taxpayer, or require submission of additional information and documents, further audit, or other evidence deemed necessary for a proper and equitable determination of the applications. The assessment shall be deemed prima facie correct. The assessor shall undertake a full review of the taxpayer’s claims and issue a determination to the taxpayer setting forth its position. Every assessment pursuant to an audit shall be accompanied by a written explanation of the taxpayer’s right to seek correction and the specific procedure to be followed in the jurisdiction (e.g., the name and address to which an application should be directed).

(2) Provided an application is made within 90 days of an assessment, collection activity shall be suspended until a final determination is issued by the assessor, unless the assessor determines that collection would be jeopardized by delay or that the taxpayer has not responded to a request for relevant information after a reasonable time. Interest shall accrue in accordance with the provisions of SCC 5.05.100(6), but no further penalty shall be imposed while collection action is suspended. The term “jeopardized by delay” includes a finding that the application is frivolous, or that a taxpayer desires (a) to depart quickly from the locality, (b) to remove his property therefrom, (c) to conceal himself or his property therein, or (d) to do any other act tending to prejudice, or to render wholly or partially ineffectual, proceedings to collect the tax for the period in question.

(3) Any person assessed with a license tax under this chapter as a result of an audit may apply within 90 days of the determination by the assessing official on an application pursuant to subsection (1) of this section to the Tax Commissioner for correction of such assessment. The Tax Commissioner shall issue a determination to the taxpayer within 90 days of receipt of the taxpayer’s application, unless the taxpayer and the assessing official are notified that a longer period will be required. The application shall be treated as an application pursuant to Section 58.1-1821 of the Code of Virginia, and the Tax Commissioner may issue an order correcting such assessment pursuant to Section 58.1-1822 of the Code of Virginia. Following such an order, either the taxpayer or the assessing official may apply to the appropriate circuit court pursuant to Section 58.1-3984 of the Code of Virginia. However, the burden shall be on the party making the application to show that the ruling of the Tax Commissioner is erroneous. Neither the Tax Commissioner nor the Department of Taxation shall be made a party to an application to correct an assessment merely because the Tax Commissioner has ruled on it.

(4) On receipt of a notice of intent to file an appeal to the Tax Commissioner under subsection (3) of this section, the assessing official shall further suspend collection activity until a final determination is issued by the Tax Commissioner, unless the assessor determines that collection would be jeopardized by delay or that the taxpayer has not responded to a request for relevant information after a reasonable time. Interest shall accrue in accordance with the provisions of SCC 5.05.100(6), but no further penalty shall be imposed while collection action is suspended. The term “jeopardized by delay” shall have the same meaning as set forth in subsection (2) of this section.

(5) Any taxpayer may request a written ruling regarding the application of the tax to a specific situation from the assessor. Any person requesting such a ruling must provide all the relevant facts for the situation and may present a rationale for the basis of an interpretation of the law most favorable to the taxpayer. Any misrepresentation or change in the applicable law or the factual situation as presented in the ruling request shall invalidate any such ruling issued. A written ruling may be revoked or amended prospectively if (a) there is a change in the law, a court decision, or (b) the assessor notifies the taxpayer of a change in the policy or interpretation upon which the ruling was based. However, any person who acts on a written ruling which later becomes invalid shall be deemed to have acted in good faith during the period in which such ruling was in effect. (Code 1985, § 12-241).

5.05.140 Recordkeeping and audits.

Every person who is assessable with a license tax shall keep sufficient records to enable the assessor to verify the correctness of the tax paid for the license years assessable and to enable the assessor to ascertain what is the correct amount of tax that was assessable for each of those years. All such records, books of accounts and other information shall be open to inspection and examination by the assessor in order to allow the assessor to establish whether a particular receipt is directly attributable to the taxable privilege exercised within this jurisdiction. The assessor shall provide the taxpayer with the option to conduct the audit in the taxpayer’s local business office, if the records are maintained there. In the event the records are maintained outside this jurisdiction, copies of the appropriate books and records shall be sent to the assessor’s office upon demand. (Code 1985, § 12-242).

5.05.150 Exclusions and deductions from “gross receipts.”

(1) General Rule. Gross receipts for license tax purposes shall not include any amount not derived from the exercise of the licensed privilege to engage in a business or profession in the ordinary course of the business or profession.

(2) The following items shall be excluded from gross receipts:

(a) Amounts received and paid to the United States, the commonwealth or any county, city or town for the Virginia retail sales or use tax, or for any local sales tax or any local excise tax on cigarettes, for any federal or state excise taxes on motor fuels.

(b) Any amount representing the liquidation of a debt or conversion of another asset to the extent that the amount is attributable to a transaction previously taxed (e.g., the factoring of accounts receivable created by sales which have been included in taxable receipts even though the creation of such debt and factoring are a regular part of its business).

(c) Any amount representing returns and allowances granted by the business to its customer.

(d) Receipts which are the proceeds of a loan transaction in which the licensee is the obligor.

(e) Receipts representing the return of principal of a loan transaction in which the licensee is the creditor, or the return of principal or basis upon the sale of a capital asset.

(f) Rebates and discounts taken or received on account of purchases by the licensee. A rebate or other incentive offered to induce the recipient to purchase certain goods or services from a person other than the offeror, and which the recipient assigns to the licensee in consideration of the sale of goods and services shall not be considered a rebate or discount to the licensee, but shall be included in the licensee’s gross receipts together with any handling or other fees related to the incentive.

(g) Withdrawals from inventory for purposes other than sale or distribution and for which no consideration is received and the occasional sale or exchange of assets other than inventory, whether or not a gain or loss is recognized for federal income tax purposes.

(h) Investment income not directly related to the privilege exercised by a licensable business not classified as rendering financial services. This exclusion shall apply to interest on bank accounts of the business, and to interest, dividends and other income derived from the investment of its own funds in securities and other types of investments unrelated to the licensed privilege. This exclusion shall not apply to interest, late fees, and similar income attributable to an installment sale or other transaction that occurred in the regular course of business.

(i) Gross receipts of real estate brokers shall not include amounts received by a broker which arise from real estate sales transactions to the extent that such amounts are paid to a real estate agent as a commission on any real estate sales transaction and the real estate agent is subject to the business license tax on such receipts. The broker claiming the exemption shall identify on its license application each agent to whom the excluded receipts have been paid and the jurisdiction of the commonwealth of Virginia to which the agent is subject to business license taxes.

(j) Gross receipts for license tax purposes under this chapter shall not include the license and admission taxes established under Sections 59.1-392 and 59.1-393 of the Code of Virginia, respectively, nor shall it include pari-mutuel wagering pools as established under Section 59.1-392 of the Code of Virginia.

(k) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 58.1-605 of the Code of Virginia with respect to a license tax applicable to motor vehicle dealers measured by the gross receipts of such dealer, the dealer may separately state the amount of tax applicable to each sale of a motor vehicle and add such tax to the sales price of the motor vehicle. The failure of such merchant to recover the tax from the purchaser shall not relieve such merchant from the obligation to pay the tax to the city.

(l) (i) No omitted taxes may be assessed against any motor vehicle dealer which calculated its gross receipts for license tax purposes by excluding the value of any vehicle accepted as a trade-in for periods of time prior to January 1, 1991.

(ii) Whenever a motor vehicle dealer accepts a trade-in as part of a sale of a motor vehicle, the dealer’s gross receipts for license tax purposes shall not include the amount of the trade-in.

(3) The following shall be deducted from gross receipts or gross purchases that would otherwise be taxable:

(a) Any amount paid for computer hardware and software that are sold to a United States federal or state government entity; provided, that such property was purchased within two years of the sale to said entity by the original purchaser who shall have been contractually obligated at the time of purchase to resell such property to a state or federal government entity. This deduction shall not occur until the time of resale and shall apply to only the original cost of the property and not to its resale price, and the deduction shall not apply to any of the tangible personal property which was the subject of the original resale contract if it is not resold to a state or federal government entity in accordance with the original contract obligation.

(b) Any receipts attributable to business conducted in another state or foreign country in which the taxpayer is liable for an income or other tax based upon income. (Code 1985, § 12-243).

5.05.160 Exemption from license taxes.

(1) All nonprofit businesses which are exempt from the payment of federal taxes by the Internal Revenue Service are hereby exempt from business license taxes and fees imposed by this chapter. This exemption does not apply to a business endeavor conducted by such nonprofit business, the proceeds of which are taxable by the Internal Revenue Service.

(2) Those activities and business enterprises set forth in Section 58.1-3703(C) of the Code of Virginia, as amended from time to time, are exempt from the license taxes or fees imposed by this chapter.

(3) The license tax imposed on peddlers or itinerant merchants or on peddlers at wholesale shall not apply to those activities or businesses set forth in Section 58.1-3719 of the Code of Virginia, as amended from time to time.

(4) No license tax shall be imposed upon itinerant merchants or to peddlers or to those who sell or offer for sale in person or by their employees ice, wood, charcoal, meats, milk, butter, eggs, poultry, game, vegetables, fruits or other family supplies of a perishable nature or farm products grown or produced by them and not purchased for them for sale.

(5) No license tax shall be imposed upon the sale of goods, wares and merchandise by an assignee, trustee, executor, fiduciary, officer in bankruptcy or other officer appointed by any court of the commonwealth or of the United States. (Code 1985, § 12-244; Ord. 3-26-98).

Article II. Business, Professional and Occupational Taxes

5.05.170 License fee and tax.

Every person or business subject to licensure under this chapter shall be assessed and required to pay annually:

(1) Except as may be otherwise provided in Sections 58.1-3712, 58.1-3712.1 and 58.1-3713 of the Code of Virginia, every such person or business shall be assessed and required to pay annually a license tax on all the gross receipts of such persons includable as provided in this chapter at a rate set forth below for the class of enterprise listed:

(a) For contractors and persons constructing for their own account for sale, $0.16 per $100.00 of gross receipts;

(b) For retailers, $0.20 per $100.00 of gross receipts;

(c) For financial, real estate and professional services, $0.40 per $100.00 of gross receipts;

(d) For repair, personal and business services and all other businesses and occupations not specifically listed or exempted in this chapter or otherwise by law, $0.36 per $100.00 of gross receipts;

(e) For wholesalers (based on purchases at cost):

(i) Zero dollars to $10,000 – $100.00 tax;

(ii) Ten thousand one dollars to $50,000 – $100.00 tax plus $0.50 per $100.00 of purchases at cost exceeding $10,000;

(iii) Fifty thousand one dollars and up – $300.00 tax plus $0.12 per $100.00 of purchases at cost exceeding $50,000.

(f) For carnivals, circuses and speedways, $200.00 for each performance held in this jurisdiction;

(g) For fortune tellers, clairvoyants and practitioners of palmistry, $1,000 per year;

(h) For massage parlors, $1,000 per year;

(i) For itinerant merchants or peddlers as defined in Section 58.1-3717 of the Code of Virginia:

(i) For each show or sale sponsored by a nonprofit organization, at which goods are sold by vendors not otherwise exempted from a license tax herein, the sponsoring organization shall obtain a promoter’s license from the commissioner of revenue for the dates said show or sale is to be held. Upon completion of said show or sale, the sponsoring organization shall remit to the commissioner of revenue a fee of $5.00 for each separate itinerant vendor taking part therein. A separate promoter’s license shall be obtained for each event held or conducted by such organization. As used herein and in subsequent sections, “event” shall mean a show or sale lasting no more than 72 continuous hours. The fee of $5.00 to be remitted shall apply to an itinerant merchant taking part in said event, either for a part of the event or for all of the event, without proration. The remittance of such fees shall be made to the commissioner of revenue within seven days of the conclusion of the event.

(ii) Itinerant merchant (balloons, souvenirs, trinkets, pennants and similar articles during parades, festivals, merchant promotions and similar events) $50.00 license fee, for each separate event.

(iii) Itinerant merchant (furniture, appliances, rugs, jewelry, audio/video sets, clothing, auto supplies, crafts, scenic art and similar goods, ware and merchandise) $200.00 license fee for each separate event.

(iv) Itinerant merchant (fruits, vegetables, seafood, meats, eggs, ice cream, popcorn, sandwiches, beverages, flowers, plants, Christmas trees or family supplies of perishable nature not produced by them) $50.00 license fee;

(j) For photographers, as defined in Section 58.1-3727 of the Code of Virginia, $30.00 per year;

(k) For permanent coliseums, arenas or auditoriums having a maximum capacity in excess of 10,000 persons, open to the public, $1,000 per year;

(l) For savings and loan associations and credit unions, $50.00 per year;

(m) For direct sellers as defined in Section 58.1-3719.1 of the Code of Virginia with total annual sales in excess of $4,000, $0.20 per $100.00 of total annual retail sales or $0.05 per $100.00 of total annual wholesale sales, whichever is applicable.

(n) For commission merchants as defined in Section 58.1-3733 of the Code of Virginia, $0.36 per $100.00 of commission income.

(o) For amusement machines and amusement operators as follows:

(i) A license tax on the operator of 10 or more coin-operated amusement machines in the amount of $200.00.

(ii) A license tax on the operation of less than 10 coin-operated amusement machines in the amount of $150.00.

(iii) In addition, a gross receipts tax on the share of receipts actually received by the operator at the rate of $0.36 per $100.00 of such receipts.

(iv) The term “amusement operator” as used herein is defined by Section 58.1-3720(A) of the Code of Virginia.

(v) The exemptions provided in Section 58.1-3721 of the Code of Virginia are adopted herein.

(vi) The commissioner of revenue for the city shall prepare and issue a license, which, when signed by the commissioner, shall evidence the payment of the license tax. Every operator shall furnish to the commissioner of revenue for the city a complete list of all machines on location and the address of each location on or before January 31st of each year. Each machine shall have conspicuously located thereon a decal, sticker, or other adhesive label, no less than one by two inches in size, clearly denoting the operator’s name and address.

(vii) Any person, firm, or corporation providing any such coin machines or other devices and failing to procure a license therefor, as provided herein, shall be in violation of law, and, if convicted, shall be subject to the penalties imposed for a Class 4 misdemeanor for each offense, and the machine or other device shall become forfeited to the city of Staunton, Virginia. (Code 1985, § 12-250; Ord. 3-26-98; Ord. 7-23-98).

Article III. Other License Taxes

5.05.180 Alcoholic beverages.

(1) Every person engaged in the manufacture, bottling or selling of alcoholic beverages within the city shall pay for the privilege an annual license tax as follows:

(a) Alcoholic Beverages. For each:

(i) Distiller’s license: $1,000; no local license shall be required for any person who manufactures not more than 5,000 gallons of alcohol or spirits, or both, during such license year;

(ii) Fruit distiller’s license: $1,500;

(iii) Bed and breakfast establishment license: $40.00;

(iv) Museum license: $10.00;

(v) Tasting license: $5.00 per license granted;

(vi) Equine sporting event license: $10.00;

(vii) Day spa license: $20.00; and

(viii) Meal-assembly kitchen license: $20.00.

(b) Beer. For each:

(i) Brewery license: $250.00;

(ii) Bottler’s license: $500.00;

(iii) Wholesale beer license: $250.00;

(iv) Retail on-premises beer license for a hotel, restaurant or club and for each retail off-premises beer license: $100.00; and

(v) Beer shipper’s license: $10.00.

(c) Wine. For each:

(i) Winery license: $50.00;

(ii) Wholesale wine license: $50.00;

(iii) Farm winery license: $50.00; and

(iv) Wine shipper’s license: $10.00.

(d) Wine and Beer. For each:

(i) Retail on-premises wine and beer license for a hotel, restaurant or club; and for each retail off-premises wine and beer license, including each gift shop, gourmet shop and convenience grocery store license: $150.00;

(ii) Hospital license: $10.00;

(iii) Banquet license: $5.00 for each license granted, except for banquet licenses granted by the board pursuant to Section 4.1-215(A) of the Code of Virginia, for events occurring on more than one day, which shall be $20.00 per license;

(iv) Gourmet brewing shop license: $150.00;

(v) Wine and beer shipper’s license: $10.00; and

(vi) Annual banquet license: $15.00.

(e) Mixed Beverages. For each:

(i) Mixed beverage restaurant license, including restaurants located on the premises of and operated by hotels or motels, or other persons:

(A) With a seating capacity at tables for up to 100 persons: $200.00;

(B) With a seating capacity at tables for more than 100 but not more than 150 persons: $350.00; and

(C) With a seating capacity at tables for more than 150 persons: $500.00;

(ii) Private, nonprofit club operating a restaurant located on the premises of such club: $350.00;

(iii) Mixed beverage caterer’s license: $100.00;

(iv) Mixed beverage limited caterer’s license: $100.00;

(v) Mixed beverage special events licenses: $10.00 for each day of each event;

(vi) Mixed beverage club events licenses: $10.00 for each day of each event;

(vii) Annual mixed beverage amphitheater license: $300.00;

(viii) Annual mixed beverage motor sports race track license: $300.00;

(ix) Annual mixed beverage banquet license: $75.00; and

(x) Limited mixed beverage restaurant license:

(A) With a seating capacity at tables for up to 100 persons: $100.00;

(B) With a seating capacity at tables for more than 100 but not more than 150 persons: $250.00; and

(C) With a seating capacity at tables for more than 150 persons: $400.00.

(2) In ascertaining the liability of a beer wholesaler to local merchants’ license taxation, and in computing the local wholesale merchants’ license tax on such beer wholesaler, purchases of beer up to a stated amount shall be disregarded, which stated amount shall be the amount of beer purchases which would be necessary to produce a local wholesale merchants’ license tax equal to the local wholesale beer license tax paid by such wholesaler under SCC 5.05.170 and a wholesale wine licensee to local merchants’ license taxation, and in computing the local wholesale merchants’ license tax on such wholesale wine licensee, purchases of wine up to a stated amount shall be disregarded, which stated amount shall be the amount of wine purchases which would be necessary to produce a local wholesale merchants’ license tax equal to the local wholesale wine licensee license tax paid by such wholesale wine licensee under SCC 5.05.170.

(3) As relevant, the definitions found in Section 4.1-100 of the Virginia Code or successor provisions shall apply mutatis mutandis to the same terms used in this section. (Ord. 2013-15; Ord. 2011-20; Ord. 2005-02. Code 1985, § 12-251).

5.05.190 State license required.

No such license shall be issued to any person, unless the applicant shall have shown to the satisfaction of the commissioner of the revenue that the applicants hold or shall secure simultaneously therewith the proper state license provided for in Chapter 1, Title 4.1 of the Code of Virginia (1950), as amended. (Code 1985, § 12-252).

5.05.200 Delivery.

Nothing herein shall be construed so as to require any person to obtain a city license where such person is a wholesaler or distributor who maintains no place of business within the city, but merely delivers alcoholic beverages in the city. (Code 1985, § 12-253).

5.05.210 License in addition to other license requirements.

No alcoholic beverage license authorized by this chapter shall be construed as exempting any licensee from any merchant’s or restaurant’s license, and no such license shall be transferable. (Code 1985, § 12-254).

5.05.220 Public utilities and public service companies.

(1) Telephone Companies. All persons engaged in the business of providing telephone communication in the city shall pay for the privilege an annual license tax equal to one-half of one percent of the gross receipts for such company accruing from sales to the ultimate consumer in the city.

(2) As used in this section, the term “gross receipts,” in the case of telephone companies, shall not include charges for long-distance calls, and for all entities shall not include any amount not derived from the exercise of the licensed business in the ordinary course of business and as limited by Section 58.1-3732 of the Code of Virginia, et seq.

(3) Telegraph Companies. On every telegraph company, agent or officer thereof, the tax shall be $100.00 for the privilege of carrying on telegraph business between this and other points in the state of Virginia, except, where the gross receipts amount to $3,000 or less, the tax shall be $60.00.

(4) Heat, Light, and Power and Gas Companies. All persons engaged in the business of furnishing electricity or gas, or furnishing heat, light or power by means of electric current or gas in the city shall pay for the privilege an annual license tax of one-half of one percent of the gross receipts derived during the preceding calendar year; excluding, however, such services furnished to federal, state and local authorities and sales for resale to other electric or gas companies.

(5) Any public utility company engaged in retail sales shall pay the same license as required by retailers under SCC 5.05.170. (Code 1985, § 12-255).

5.05.230 Short-term rental property tax.

(1) Levied Amount. Pursuant to Section 58.1-3510.6 of the Code of Virginia, there is hereby assessed and imposed on every person engaged in the short-term rental business a tax as follows:

(a) A tax of one percent on the gross proceeds of such business as defined in subsection (3)(a) of this section; and

(b) A tax of one-and-one-half percent on the gross proceeds of such business as defined in subsection (3)(b) of this section.

Such tax shall be in addition to the tax levied pursuant to Section 58.1-605 of the Code of Virginia. For purposes of this section, “gross proceeds” means the total amount charged to each person for the rental of daily rental property, excluding any state and local sales tax paid pursuant to the Virginia Retail Sales and Use Tax Act.

(2) Short-Term Rental Property – Defined. For purposes of this section, “short-term rental property” means all tangible personal property held for rental and owned by a person certified to engage in the short-term rental business, except as to trailers, as defined in Section 46.2-100 of the Code of Virginia, and other tangible personal property required to be licensed or registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, or the Department of Aviation.

(3) Short-Term Rental Business, Defined. A person is engaged in the short-term rental business if:

(a) Not less than 80 percent of the gross rental receipts of such business in the preceding year arose from transactions involving the rental of short-term rental property, other than heavy equipment property as defined below, for periods of 92 consecutive days or less, including all extensions and renewals to the same person or a person affiliated with the lessee; or

(b) Not less than 60 percent of the gross rental receipts of such business during the preceding year arose from transactions involving the rental of heavy equipment property for periods of 270 consecutive days or less, including all extensions and renewals to the same person or a person affiliated with the lessee. For the purposes of this subsection, “heavy equipment property” means rental property of an industry that is described under Section 532412 or 532490 of the 2002 North American Industry Classification System as published by the United States Census Bureau, excluding office furniture, office equipment, and programmable computer equipment and peripherals as defined in Section 58.1-3503(A)(16) of the Code of Virginia.

(c) For purposes of determining whether a person is engaged in the short-term rental business as defined in subsections (3)(a) and (b) of this section:

(i) A person is “affiliated” with the lessee of rental property if such person is an officer, director, partner, member, shareholder, parent or subsidiary of the lessee, or if such person and the lessee have any common ownership interest in excess of five percent;

(ii) Any rental to a person affiliated with the lessee shall be treated as rental receipts but shall not qualify for purposes of the 80 percent requirement of subsection (3)(a) of this section or the 60 percent requirement of subsection (3)(b) of this section; and

(iii) Any rental of personal property which also involves the provision of personal services for the operation of the personal property rented shall not be treated as gross receipts from rental; provided, however, that the delivery and installation of tangible personal property shall not mean operation for the purposes of this subsection.

(d) A person who has not previously been engaged in the short-term rental business who applies for a certificate of registration pursuant to Section 58.1-3510.5 of the Virginia Code shall be eligible for registration upon the person’s certification that the person anticipates meeting the requirements of subsection (3)(a) or (b) of this section, designated by the applicant at the time of application, during the year for which registration is sought.

(e) In the event that the commissioner of the revenue makes a written determination that a rental business previously certified as short-term rental business pursuant to Section 58.1-3510.5 of the Virginia Code has failed to meet either of the tests set forth in subsection (3)(a) or (b) of this section during a preceding tax year, such business shall lose its certification as a short-term rental business and shall be subject to the business personal property tax with respect to all rental property for the tax year in which such certification is lost and any subsequent tax years until such time as the rental business obtains recertification pursuant to Section 58.1-3510.5 of the Virginia Code. In the event that a rental business loses its certification as a short-term rental business pursuant to this subsection, such business shall not be required to refund to customers short-term rental property taxes previously collected in good faith and shall not be subject to assessment for business personal property taxes with respect to rental property for tax years preceding the year in which the certification is lost unless the commissioner makes a written determination that the business obtained its certification by knowingly making materially false statements in its application, in which case the commissioner may assess the taxpayer the amount of the difference between short-term rental property taxes remitted by such business during the period in which the taxpayer wrongfully held certification and the business personal property taxes that would have been due during such period but for the certification obtained by the making of the materially false statements. Any such assessment, and any determination not to certify or to decertify a rental business as a short-term rental business as defined in this subsection, may be appealed pursuant to the procedures and requirements set forth in Section 58.1-3983.1 of the Virginia Code for appeals of local business taxes, which shall apply mutatis mutandis to such assessments and certification decisions.

(f) A rental business that has been decertified pursuant to the provisions of subsection (3)(e) of this section shall be eligible for recertification for a subsequent tax year upon a showing that it has met one of the tests provided in subsection (3)(a) or (b) of this section for at least 10 months of operations during the present tax year.

(4) Taxation of Rental Property That Is Not Short-Term Rental Property. Except for short-term rental passenger cars, rental property that is not short-term rental property shall be classified for taxation pursuant to Section 58.1-3503 of the Code of Virginia.

(5) Collection, Return, and Remittance of Tax. Every person engaged in the short-term rental business shall collect the rental tax from the lessee of the short-term rental property at the time of the rental. The lessor of the short-term rental property shall transmit a quarterly return to the commissioner of revenue, indicating the gross proceeds derived from the short-term rental business, and shall remit therewith the payment of such tax as is due for the quarter. The quarterly returns and payment of tax shall be filed with the commissioner of revenue on or before the twentieth day of each of the months of April, July, October, and January, representing, respectively, the gross proceeds and taxes collected during the preceding quarters ending March 31st, June 30th, September 30th and December 31st. The return shall be upon such forms and setting forth such information as the commissioner of revenue may require, showing the amount of gross receipts and the tax required to be collected. The taxes required to be collected under this chapter shall be deemed to be held in trust by the person required to collect such taxes until remitted as required in this section.

(6) Procedure upon Failure to Collect, Report, or Remit Taxes. If any person, whose duty it is so to do, shall fail or refuse to collect the tax imposed under this section and to make, within the time provided in this section, the returns and remittances required in this section, the commissioner of revenue shall proceed in such manner as he may deem best to obtain facts and information on which to base his estimate of the tax due. As soon as the commissioner of revenue shall procure such facts and information as he is able to obtain upon which to base the assessment of any tax payable by any person who has failed or refused to collect such tax and to make such return and remittance, he shall proceed to determine and assess against such person the tax, penalty, and interest provided for by this section and shall notify such person, by registered mail, sent to his last known place of address, of the total amount of such tax, penalty, and interest, and the total amount thereof shall be payable within 10 days from the date of such notice. In the event such tax is not paid within 10 days from the date of the notice, the treasurer shall proceed to collect same in accordance with Chapter 9 of Title 58.1 of the Code of Virginia.

(7) Penalty and Interest. If any person, whose duty it is so to do, shall fail or refuse to remit to the commissioner of revenue the tax required to be collected and paid under this section within the time specified in the section, there shall be added to such tax a penalty in the amount of 10 percent of the tax past due or the sum of $10.00, whichever is the greater. The assessment of such penalty shall not be deemed a defense to any criminal prosecution for failing to make any return or remittance, as required in this section. Additionally, interest on late payments of all taxes due shall be added at the rate of 10 percent per year. Penalty and interest for failure to pay the tax assessed pursuant to this section shall be assessed on the first day following the day such quarterly installment payment is due.

(8) Exclusions and Exemptions. No tax shall be collected or assessed on (a) rentals by the commonwealth, any political subdivision of the commonwealth, or the United States; or (b) any rental of durable medical equipment, as defined in subdivision 10 of Section 58-1-609.10 of the Code of Virginia. Additionally, all exemptions applicable in Chapter 6 of Title 58.1 of the Code of Virginia (Section 58.1600 et seq.) shall apply mutatis mutandis to the short-term rental property tax.

(9) Renter’s Certificate of Registration. Every person engaging in the business of short-term rental of tangible personal property shall file an application for a certificate of registration with the commissioner of revenue. The application shall be on a form prescribed by the commissioner of revenue and shall set forth the name under which the applicant intends to operate the rental business, the location, and such other information as the commissioner may require.

Each applicant shall sign the application as owner of the rental business. If the rental business is owned by an association, partnership, or corporation, the application shall be signed by a member, partner, executive officer, or other personnel specifically authorized by the association, partnership, or corporation to sign.

Upon approval of the application by the commissioner of revenue, a certificate of registration shall be issued. The certificate shall be conspicuously displayed at all times at the place of business for which it is issued.

The certificate is not assignable and shall be valid only for the person in whose name it has been issued and the place of business designated.

(10) Criminal Penalties for Violation of Section. Any person violating or failing to comply with any provision of this section shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. Provided, however, if the amount of tax due and unpaid for any quarterly installment exceeds $1,000, any person failing to remit payment when due shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(11) License Tax Provisions. Every person engaged in the short-term rental business as defined herein shall be classified in the category of retail sales and shall pay a license tax equal to that imposed on retail merchants at the rate of $0.20 per $100.00 of gross receipts, as defined herein. (Ord. 2011-21. Code 1985, § 12-256).

5.05.240 Going out of business permits.

(1) Any person, firm, or corporation, prior to advertising or conducting a sale for the purpose of discontinuing a retail business, or to modify the word “sale” in any advertisement with the words “going out of business” or any other words which tend to insinuate that the retail business is to be discontinued and the merchandise liquidated, shall obtain a permit to conduct such sale from the commissioner of revenue for the city of Staunton, Virginia, if said sale or any portion thereof is to be conducted within the city of Staunton, Virginia.

(2) All applications for special sale permits required hereunder shall be accompanied by an inventory, including the kind and quantity of all goods which are to be offered for sale during the sale, and only the goods specified in the inventory list may be advertised at a reduced price or sold at a reduced price during the sale period. Goods not included on the inventory of special sale goods shall not be commingled with or added to the special sale goods.

Each special sale permit issued hereunder shall be valid for a period no longer than 60 days, and any extension of that time shall constitute a new special sale and shall require an additional permit and inventory. A maximum of two additional permits beyond the initial 60-day permit shall be granted upon application by the seller, solely for the purpose of liquidating only those goods contained in the initial inventory list and which remain unsold.

Any person, firm, or corporation who advertises such sale shall conspicuously include in the advertisement the permit number assigned for the sale by the commissioner of revenue for the city of Staunton and the effective dates of the sale, as authorized in the permit.

(3) Upon the issuance of such permit, the commissioner of revenue for the city of Staunton shall collect a fee to be paid by the applicant in the amount of $65.00 for each permit issued hereunder. Such permit fee is an addition to, and not in lieu of, any other applicable taxes or fees set forth in Article I of this chapter. (Code 1985, § 12-257; Ord. 11-14-96).