SB533: Sales and use tax; exemption for certain nonprofit entities.

SENATE BILL NO. 533

Offered January 13, 2016
Prefiled January 13, 2016
A BILL to amend and reenact §§ 58.1-609.11 and 58.1-3703 of the Code of Virginia, relating to local license tax and sales and use tax exemptions; certain nonprofit organizations.
Patron-- Surovell

Referred to Committee on Finance

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That §§ 58.1-609.11 and 58.1-3703 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 58.1-609.11. Exemptions for nonprofit entities.

A. Any nonprofit organization that holds a valid certificate of exemption from the Department of Taxation, or any nonprofit church that holds a valid self-executing certificate of exemption, that exempts it from collecting or paying state and local retail sales or use taxes as of June 30, 2003, pursuant to § 58.1-609.4, 58.1-609.7, 58.1-609.8, 58.1-609.9, or 58.1-609.10, as such sections are in effect on June 30, 2003, shall remain exempt from the collection or payment of such taxes under the same terms and conditions as provided under such sections as such sections existed on June 30, 2003, until: (i) July 1, 2007, for such entities that were exempt under § 58.1-609.4; (ii) July 1, 2008, for such entities that were exempt under § 58.1-609.7; (iii) July 1, 2004, for the first one-half of such entities that were exempt under § 58.1-609.8, except churches, which will remain exempt under the same criteria and procedures in effect for churches on June 30, 2003; (iv) July 1, 2005, for the second one-half of such entities that were exempt under § 58.1-609.8; and (v) July 1, 2006, for such entities that were exempt under § 58.1-609.9 or under § 58.1-609.10. At the end of the applicable period of such exemptions, to maintain or renew an exemption for the period of time set forth in subsection E, each entity must follow the procedures set forth in subsection B and meet the criteria set forth in subsection C. Provided, however, that any entity that was exempt from collecting sales and use tax shall continue to be exempt from such collection, and any entity that was exempt from paying sales and use tax for the purchase of services, as of June 30, 2003, shall continue to be exempt from such payment, provided that it follows the other procedures set forth in subsection B and meets the criteria set forth in subsection C. Provided further, however, that an educational institution doing business in the Commonwealth which provides a face-to-face educational experience in American government and was exempt pursuant to subdivision 4 of § 58.1-609.4 from paying sales and use tax for the purchase of services, as of June 30, 2003, shall continue to be exempt from such payment, provided that it follows the other procedures set forth in subsection B and meets the criteria set forth in subsection C.

B. On and after July 1, 2004, in addition to the organizations described in subsection A, the tax imposed by this chapter or pursuant to the authority granted in §§ 58.1-605 and 58.1-606 shall not apply to purchases of tangible personal property for use or consumption by any nonprofit entity that, pursuant to this section, (i) files an appropriate application with the Department of Taxation, (ii) meets the applicable criteria, and (iii) is issued a certificate of exemption from the Department of Taxation for the period of time covered by the certificate.

C. To qualify for the exemption under subsection B, a nonprofit entity must meet the applicable criteria under this subsection as follows:

1. a. The entity is exempt from federal income taxation (i) under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or; (ii) under § 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and, if it is exempt under § 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, it is organized for a charitable purpose; or (iii) under § 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code; or

b. The entity has annual gross receipts less than $5,000, and the entity is organized for at least one of the purposes set forth in § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or one of the charitable purposes set forth in § 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, or one of the purposes set forth in § 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code; and

2. The entity is in compliance with all applicable state solicitation laws, and where applicable, provides appropriate verification of such compliance; and

3. The entity's annual general administrative costs, including salaries and fundraising, relative to its annual gross revenue, under generally accepted accounting principles, is not greater than 40 percent; and

4. If the entity's gross annual revenue was at least $750,000 in the previous year, then the entity must provide a financial review performed by an independent certified public accountant. However, for any entity with gross annual revenue of at least $1 million in the previous year, the Department may require that the entity provide a financial audit performed by an independent certified public accountant. If the Department specifically requires an entity with gross annual revenue of at least $1 million in the previous year to provide a financial audit performed by an independent certified public accountant, then the entity shall provide such audit in order to qualify for the exemption under this section, which audit shall be in lieu of the financial review; and

5. If the entity filed a federal 990 or 990 EZ tax form, or the successor forms to such forms, with the Internal Revenue Service, then it must provide a copy of such form to the Department of Taxation; and

6. If the entity did not file a federal 990 or 990 EZ tax form, or the successor forms to such forms, with the Internal Revenue Service, then the entity must provide the following information:

a. A list of the Board of Directors or other responsible agents of the entity, composed of at least two individuals, with names and addresses where the individuals physically can be found; and

b. The location where the financial records of the entity are available for public inspection.

D. On and after July 1, 2004, in addition to the criteria set forth in subsection C, the Department of Taxation shall ask each entity for the total taxable purchases made in the preceding year, unless such records are not available through no fault of the entity. If the records are not available through no fault of the entity, then the entity must provide such information to the Department the following year. No information provided pursuant to this subsection (except the failure to provide available information) shall be a basis for the Department of Taxation to refuse to exempt an entity.

E. Any entity that is determined under subsections B, C, and D by the Department of Taxation to be exempt from paying sales and use tax shall also be exempt from collecting sales and use tax, at its election, if (i) the entity is within the same class of organization of any entity that was exempt from collecting sales and use tax on June 30, 2003, or (ii) the entity is organized exclusively to foster, sponsor, and promote physical education, athletic programs, and contests for youths in the Commonwealth.

F. The duration of each exemption granted by the Department of Taxation shall be no less than five years and no greater than seven years. During the period of such exemption, the failure of an exempt entity to maintain compliance with the applicable criteria set forth in subsection C shall constitute grounds for revocation of the exemption by the Department. At the end of the period of such exemption, to maintain or renew the exemption, each entity must provide the Department of Taxation the same information as required upon initial exemption and meet the same criteria.

G. For purposes of this section, the Department of Taxation and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall be allowed to share information when necessary to supplement the information required.

§ 58.1-3703. Counties, cities and towns may impose local license taxes and fees; limitation of authority.

A. The governing body of any county, city or town may charge a fee for issuing a license in an amount not to exceed $100 for any locality with a population greater than 50,000, $50 for any locality with a population of 25,000 but no more than 50,000 and $30 for any locality with a population smaller than 25,000. For purposes of this section, population may be based on the most current final population estimates of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service of the University of Virginia. Such governing body may levy and provide for the assessment and collection of county, city or town license taxes on businesses, trades, professions, occupations and callings and upon the persons, firms and corporations engaged therein within the county, city or town subject to the limitations in (i) subsection C and (ii) subsection A of § 58.1-3706, provided such tax shall not be assessed and collected on any amount of gross receipts of each business upon which a license fee is charged. Any county, city or town with a population greater than 50,000 shall reduce the fee to an amount not to exceed $50 by January 1, 2000. The ordinance imposing such license fees and levying such license taxes shall include the provisions of § 58.1-3703.1.

B. Any county, city or town by ordinance may exempt in whole or in part from the license tax (i) the design, development or other creation of computer software for lease, sale or license and (ii) private businesses and industries entering into agreements for the establishment, installation, renovation, remodeling, or construction of satellite classrooms for grades kindergarten through three on a site owned by the business or industry and leased to the school board at no costs pursuant to § 22.1-26.1.

C. No county, city, or town shall impose a license fee or levy any license tax:

1. On any public service corporation or any motor carrier, common carrier, or other carrier of passengers or property formerly certified by the Interstate Commerce Commission or presently registered for insurance purposes with the Surface Transportation Board of the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, except as provided in § 58.1-3731 or as permitted by other provisions of law;

2. For selling farm or domestic products or nursery products, ornamental or otherwise, or for the planting of nursery products, as an incident to the sale thereof, outside of the regular market houses and sheds of such county, city or town, provided such products are grown or produced by the person offering them for sale;

3. Upon the privilege or right of printing or publishing any newspaper, magazine, newsletter or other publication issued daily or regularly at average intervals not exceeding three months, provided the publication's subscription sales are exempt from state sales tax, or for the privilege or right of operating or conducting any radio or television broadcasting station or service;

4. On a manufacturer for the privilege of manufacturing and selling goods, wares and merchandise at wholesale at the place of manufacture;

5. On a person engaged in the business of severing minerals from the earth for the privilege of selling the severed mineral at wholesale at the place of severance, except as provided in §§ 58.1-3712 and 58.1-3713;

6. Upon a wholesaler for the privilege of selling goods, wares and merchandise to other persons for resale unless such wholesaler has a definite place of business or store in such county, city or town. This subdivision shall not be construed as prohibiting any county, city or town from imposing a local license tax on a peddler at wholesale pursuant to § 58.1-3718;

7. Upon any person, firm or corporation for engaging in the business of renting, as the owner of such property, real property other than hotels, motels, motor lodges, auto courts, tourist courts, travel trailer parks, campgrounds, bed and breakfast establishments, lodging houses, rooming houses, and boardinghouses; however, any county, city or town imposing such a license tax on January 1, 1974, shall not be precluded from the levy of such tax by the provisions of this subdivision;

8. [Repealed.]

9. On or measured by receipts for management, accounting, or administrative services provided on a group basis under a nonprofit cost-sharing agreement by a corporation which is an agricultural cooperative association under the provisions of Article 2 (§ 13.1-312 et seq.) of Chapter 3 of Title 13.1, or a member or subsidiary or affiliated association thereof, to other members of the same group. This exemption shall not exempt any such corporation from such license or other tax measured by receipts from outside the group;

10. On or measured by receipts or purchases by an entity which is a member of an affiliated group of entities from other members of the same affiliated group. This exclusion shall not exempt affiliated entities from such license or other tax measured by receipts or purchases from outside the affiliated group. This exclusion also shall not preclude a locality from levying a wholesale merchant's license tax on an affiliated entity on those sales by the affiliated entity to a nonaffiliated entity, notwithstanding the fact that the wholesale merchant's license tax would be based upon purchases from an affiliated entity. Such tax shall be based on the purchase price of the goods sold to the nonaffiliated entity. As used in this subdivision, the term "sales by the affiliated entity to a nonaffiliated entity" means sales by the affiliated entity to a nonaffiliated entity where goods sold by the affiliated entity or its agent are manufactured or stored in the Commonwealth prior to their delivery to the nonaffiliated entity;

11. On any insurance company subject to taxation under Chapter 25 (§ 58.1-2500 et seq.) of this title or on any agent of such company;

12. On any bank or trust company subject to taxation in Chapter 12 (§ 58.1-1200 et seq.) of this title;

13. Upon a taxicab driver, if the locality has imposed a license tax upon the taxicab company for which the taxicab driver operates;

14. On any blind person operating a vending stand or other business enterprise under the jurisdiction of the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, or a nominee of the Department, as set forth in § 51.5-98;

15. [Expired.]

16. [Repealed.]

17. On an accredited religious practitioner in the practice of the religious tenets of any church or religious denomination. "Accredited religious practitioner" shall be defined as one who is engaged solely in praying for others upon accreditation by such church or religious denomination;

18. (a) a. On or measured by receipts of a charitable nonprofit organization described in Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) except to the extent the organization has receipts from an unrelated trade or business the income of which is taxable under Internal Revenue Code § 511 et seq. For the purpose of this subdivision, "charitable nonprofit organization" means an organization which that is described in Internal Revenue Code § 501(c) (3) 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19), and to which contributions are deductible by the contributor under Internal Revenue Code § 170, except that educational institutions exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) shall be limited to schools, colleges, and other similar institutions of learning.

(b) b. On or measured by gifts, contributions, and membership dues of a nonprofit organization. Activities conducted for consideration which that are similar to activities conducted for consideration by for-profit businesses shall be presumed to be activities that are part of a business subject to licensure. For the purpose of this subdivision, "nonprofit organization" means an organization exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code § 501 other than charitable the nonprofit organizations described in subdivision a;

19. On any venture capital fund or other investment fund, except commissions and fees of such funds. Gross receipts from the sale and rental of real estate and buildings remain taxable by the locality in which the real estate is located provided the locality is otherwise authorized to tax such businesses and rental of real estate;

20. On total assessments paid by condominium unit owners for common expenses. "Common expenses" and "unit owner" have the same meanings as in § 55-79.41; or

21. On or measured by receipts of a qualifying transportation facility directly or indirectly owned or title to which is held by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof or by the United States as described in § 58.1-3606.1 and developed and/or operated pursuant to a concession under the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 (§ 33.2-1800 et seq.) or similar federal law.

D. Any county, city or town may establish by ordinance a business license incentive program for "qualifying businesses." For purposes of this subsection, a "qualifying business" is a business that locates for the first time in the locality adopting such ordinance. A business shall not be deemed to locate in such locality for the first time based on merger, acquisition, similar business combination, name change, or a change in business form. Any incentive established pursuant to this subsection may extend for a period not to exceed two years from the date the business locates in such locality. The business license incentive program may include (i) an exemption, in whole or in part, of license taxes for any qualifying business; (ii) a refund or rebate, in whole or in part, of license taxes paid by a qualifying business; or (iii) other relief from license taxes for a qualifying business not prohibited by state or federal law.

E. For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2012, any locality may exempt, by ordinance, license fees or license taxes on any business that does not have an after-tax profit for the taxable year and offers the income tax return of the business as proof to the local commissioner of the revenue. Eligibility for this exemption shall be determined annually and it shall be the obligation of the business owner to submit the applicable income tax return to the local commissioner of the revenue.