The Town of Leesburg will follow the example of its neighbors and, in 2022, will begin collecting meals tax from its food and beverage establishments on a monthly basis.
During this week’s council meeting, Town Council members voted to pass a series of batch amendments to its Zoning Ordinance. Among those is a move to require monthly, rather than quarterly, filing of meals taxes from its businesses.
Meals taxes represent more than $8 million in annual revenue for the town government, said Lisa Haley, the town’s treasurer and the deputy director of Finance and Administrative Services. The move to monthly filing will help the town streamline its operations and, perhaps most notably in the wake of COVID-19, provide a timely and key business economic indicator for the town government.
The change could be just as helpful for businesses, she added.
“One of the main lessons learned from the pandemic is that the trust tax that businesses manage on behalf of the town is a bit burdensome,” she said. “Moving to monthly collection can reduce that burden.”
Haley said monthly filing could also allow more businesses to take advantage of a 5% discount given to businesses who file their taxes in a timely manner. For those businesses that are struggling, it also allows town staff to intervene more quickly if they are having trouble paying on time, and potentially offer a payment plan.
The town will also move its deadline for collection of Business, Professional and Occupational License tax from May 1 to March 1 beginning in 2022. The annual filing is based on a business’ prior calendar year gross receipts.
In both changes, Leesburg will mirror its neighbors. Purcellville, Lovettsville, Middleburg, Vienna, and Herndon already collect meals taxes on a monthly basis, and all but Lovettsville also have a BPOL filing date of March 1. That is also when Loudoun County collects its BPOL taxes.
The vote to approve the changes passed by a 6-0-1 vote, with Councilwoman Kari Nacy absent.