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Mathews voters to decide on meals tax

A meals tax for Mathews County is again on the ballot, and Mathews officials are urging voters to support the referendum when they vote on Tuesday. Local restaurants and other businesses that would be impacted by the tax are divided in their opinions of its value.

If approved, the meals tax referendum would allow the county to charge up to a 4 percent tax on foods and drinks sold in restaurants and on prepared sandwiches and single-meal platters that are sold at deli counters in grocery stores and convenience stores. As an example, this would equate to an extra 40 cents on a $10 meal or an extra $2 on a $50 restaurant check. The board of supervisors has the option to designate an administrative fee that businesses could retain from the tax to compensate them for the paperwork involved.

The Code of Virginia has a long list of exclusions from the tax, including vending machines, cafeterias in public or private schools and colleges and private industrial plants, and meals that restauran...

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