Virginia Sales & Use Tax Exemptions

The County of Spotsylvania, as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, qualifies for the Virginia retail sales and use tax exemption on purchases of tangible personal property for the use or consumption by the County. Therefore, all purchases made on behalf of the County must be made using a Commonwealth of Virginia Sales and Use Tax Certificate of Exemption (Form ST-12), regardless of the method of payment or funds used. It is the responsibility of the individual initiating the purchase to alert the vendor to our tax-exempt status at the time of purchase, otherwise sales tax may be charged and the vendor is not required to provide a refund after the sale has occurred. Any sales tax charged and not refunded by the vendor will be the responsibility of the County purchaser.


Our sales and use tax exemption applies to all County funds. The tax exemption applies regardless of the method of payment whether by check, small purchase charge card, or electronic payment.

Purchases made for the County by an employee with their personal funds, who is later reimbursed, do not qualify for the exemption and will be charged sales tax. The sales tax on purchases made by employees will not be reimbursed, even if the purchase would have been exempt if paid with direct County funds.


Effective April 22, 2016, the Commonwealth of Virginia now allows the County a sales and use tax exemption on purchases of prepared foods, catering and related services provided in connection with the sale of food. In order to qualify for an exemption, the purchases must demonstrate the following:

  • The provision of the applicable prepared meals, catering or services furthers a function, mission, service or purpose of the County; and
  • The charge for the food, meals or catering is billed to and paid for by the County claiming exemption from the tax with payment drawn from the County’s account, rather than using cash or an individual’s account; and
  • The County claiming the exemption determines to whom, when and how the meals or food are served and consumed.


Our Virginia sales and use tax exemption does not apply to the following:

  • Occupancy taxes on hotel/motel lodging.
  • Purchases made for the County by an employee with their personal funds, who is later reimbursed

We encourage departments to contact the Finance Department for assistance on determining the applicability of sales tax when needed. 

Virginia Certificate of Exemption Requests

All tax questions and requests for certificates of tax exemption must be sent to [email protected]. Please include the vendor name and address with your request.

When using a County purchasing card, a wallet sized substitute ST-12 Certificate of Exemption is available on our intranet which contains all the information you should need to obtain the exemption.  Please be advised that the vendor reserves the right to refuse the substitute ST-12.  While this should be rare, we recommend you contact the vendor in advance to avoid any issues.