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Campgrounds

The following information is to help campground operators correctly collect, remit, and pay various Vermont taxes. The information below provides links to further guidance and legal resources. For additional information, we suggest closely reading Technical Bulletin TB-50 which relates directly to campgrounds.

Vermont Meals and Rooms Tax

Campgrounds often provide sleeping accommodations, meals, and prepared food. Campground operators should know and understand the law and regulations relating to the Vermont Meals and Rooms Tax by reviewing the following:

Rooms Tax

Rentals That Are Taxable

Rentals of sleeping accommodations are subject to rooms tax. Cabins, tents, and other structures used for sleeping are “sleeping accommodations.” See Reg. §1.9202(3)-2.

Rentals That Are NOT Taxable

Bare land for customer-provided tents or recreational vehicles, as well as tent platforms, are not “sleeping accommodations.” The campground may supply electrical, water, or sewerage hook-up for those who rent space. If these are included in the charge for the plot of land, they are not taxable.

Rentals for Less Than 30 Days

A campground that rents to a customer for 30 consecutive days or less must charge rooms tax on the charge for the accommodation. The customer is considered a temporary resident.

If the customer is still renting after 30 consecutive days, the campground may no longer charge rooms tax going forward as the customer is then considered a permanent resident. See Reg. §1.9202(7)-1.

Leases for at Least 30 Days

If the campground leases a sleeping accommodation to a tenant that covers at least 30 consecutive days, the tenant is considered a permanent resident. As long as the lease is in place prior to occupancy, the charge is not subject to rooms tax. However, if the lease is broken, and the tenant does not occupy the accommodation for at least 30 consecutive days (or less than 28 days in the calendar month for February), the tenant is not considered a permanent resident, and the campground must charge rooms tax. See Reg. §1.9202-7)-(1)(B).

Meals Tax

A campground must collect meals tax if it sells food or beverages in a “restaurant” (such as a dining room, diner, café, cafeteria, lunch counter, food truck, or snack bar). Most food and beverages sold by a restaurant are subject to meals tax (see below for the few exceptions). See Meals Tax for Businesses FS-1020 and Reg. § 1.9202(15) to learn more about what qualifies as a restaurant.

These items are always subject to meals tax, even when sold apart from a restaurant:

  • Sandwiches of any kind, except frozen
  • Food or beverage furnished from a salad bar
  • Heated food or beverage. This includes single servings of tea, where the customer must combine the tea bag and hot water. See 32 V.S.A. § 9202(13).

These items are not subject to meals tax, even when sold by a restaurant:

  • Self-serve, bulk, non-prepackaged grocery items such as fruit, vegetables, candy, flour, nuts, coffee beans
  • Grocery-type items furnished for take-out such as the following:
  • Whole pies or cakes and loaves of bread
  • Whole uncooked pizzas
  • Delicatessen and non-prepackaged candy sales by weight or measure (except party platters)
  • Pint or larger closed containers of ice cream or frozen confection
  • Eight-ounce or larger containers of salad dressing or sauces
  • Maple syrup
  • Quart or larger containers of cider or milk
  • Single bakery items sold in quantities of three or more (sometimes referred to as the “three donut rule,” the rule applies to all similar baked goods)

A grocery or convenience store becomes a “restaurant” if 80 percent or more of its gross receipts are from food, beverages, or alcohol served for immediate consumption. See Reg. § 1.9202(15).

Sales and Use Tax

Vermont Sales and Use Tax applies to sales and rentals of tangible personal property. There are various situations in which a campground must collect sales tax. Some common transactions subject to sales tax include:

  • The campground charges an additional fee to rent tangible personal property. This includes sports and recreational equipment, such as canoes, bicycles, and life jackets.
  • The campground charges an additional fee for places of amusement. See below for more details.

Campground operators should know and understand Vermont laws and regulations relating to sales and use tax by reviewing the following:

Alcoholic Beverages

Campgrounds may sell alcoholic beverages in a camp store or restaurant. They are subject to either the Vermont Alcoholic Beverage Tax or Vermont Sales and Use Tax.

Vermont Alcoholic Beverage Tax

Alcoholic beverages are subject to the Vermont Meals and Rooms Tax at a 10% tax rate when served for immediate consumption.

Vermont Sales and Use Tax

Alcoholic beverages not served for immediate consumption (sold by grocery stores or convenience stores) are subject to the 6% Vermont Sales and Use Tax.

Other Taxable Transactions at Campgrounds

Selling Food and Beverage as Grocery Items

Food is not generally taxable when sold as a grocery item. However, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and ice are subject to sales tax. Non-food items, such as soap, detergents, and sponges are subject to sales tax. See Reg. §1.9741(13) and TB-50 Campgrounds.

Vending Machines

Vending machine operators must collect and remit meals tax for food and beverages. Non-food items, such as toiletries, are subject to sales tax. See TB-50 Campgrounds.

Selling Propane Tanks and Filling Customer-Owned Propane Tanks

Campgrounds that sell propane and/or propane in free-standing containers should apply Vermont Sales and Use Tax as follows:

  • When a customer buys a new container with propane.
  • When a customer exchanges an empty container for a full container.

Do not charge sales tax when a container that the customer owns is refilled. See 32 V.S.A. § 9741(26).

Charges for a “Place of Amusement”

Some campgrounds charge for “places of amusement,” such as a day-use fee, movies, theater performances, museums, sporting events, or other types of amusement. Admission charges are subject to sales tax.  

Included in “places of amusement” are charges to use gymnasiums, tennis or handball courts, swimming pools, saunas, hot tubs and steam baths, skating rinks, shooting ranges, golf courses, driving ranges and practice greens, batting cages, bowling alleys, billiard halls, campgrounds, and ski areas. Note that rental charges for tangible personal property relating to these activities are also subject to sales tax.  

If access to an amusement is included in the cost of a tent or RV site, the entire charge becomes subject to sales tax, unless they are separately itemized on the bill or receipt. See Reg. §1.9771(4)-1 and TB-50 Campgrounds.

Clothing

Generally, clothing is not subject to sales tax. Clothing accessories, protective equipment, and sports equipment, however, are not considered clothing in Vermont and are subject to tax. See a list of what is taxable and exempt.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Charges for over-the-counter drugs are not subject to tax. Charges for grooming products, such as shampoo or toothpaste, are subject to sales tax. See Reg. §1.9741(2).

Newspapers and Magazines

Newspapers are not subject to tax. Magazines are subject to sales tax. See Reg. §1.9741(15).

Coin-Operated Washing Facilities

Charges for coin-operated washing machines and dryers are not subject to sales tax.

Laundry Service and Linens

Sales tax applies to rentals of linens. Laundry service is not taxable if it is to clean property owned by the customer. See rental and cleaning of linens.

Nonprofits

Whether the campground is operated as a nonprofit organization or rents to nonprofits, operators should know and understand Vermont law and regulation.

Nonprofit organizations are generally exempt from collecting meals tax on their own premises and from collecting sales tax for admissions to amusements. However, there are specific rules and requirements for every exemption.

For more information on nonprofit organizations, visit the following:

Local Option Tax May Apply

Some Vermont municipalities impose a local option tax of 1% in addition to state meals, alcohol, and rooms tax and sales and use tax. Businesses are responsible for collecting and remitting local option tax to the Vermont Department of Taxes.

Vermont Business Tax Account and License

Businesses and nonprofits must register for a Vermont Business Tax Account and license before collecting Vermont tax. Registration is free.

LAWS, REGULATIONS AND GUIDANCE
General Guidelines on Sales Tax: What is Taxable and Exempt?
IG-1152 Understanding Taxation of Chips and Soft Drinks in Vermont
Vermont Meals and Rooms Tax Statute 32 V.S.A. Chapter 225
Vermont Meals and Rooms Tax Regulation Reg. §1.9202
Technical Bulletin TB-50 Campgrounds