Bubbling Questions: Mobile Food Vendors & Taxation

Questions are bubbling on how mobile food vendors in North Carolina are taxed – specifically food trucks with business licenses registered in other counties making sales in Guilford County and mobile food vendors registered outside the County using  City/County services.  It’s great food for thought – and we need some research on how these matters have been handled in a neighboring community.
The Town of Chapel Hill specifically states in their food truck ordinance that “vendors must pay sales tax on sales made within Orange County.” This provision was intended to address the same concerns that food truck operators based outside of Orange County receiving benefits from the county without contributing property tax like a traditional restaurant would. This statement on taxation is in addition to a number of additional regulations and permitting fees in Chapel Hill. For a full outline, check out this document.
We contacted the North Carolina Department of Revenue for an official statement.  According to the NC DOR, “A mobile vendor should collect and remit sales tax in the location where the customer receives the good or product.”  With mobile food vendors from all over the Southeast headed to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, the NCDOR was well equipped to answer this question quickly!
We hope this information is helpful in revising Greensboro’s restrictions on food trucks downtown.

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