Food trucks in the D.C. area are now required to charge a 10 percent sales tax in accordance with a new law enacted Oct. 1.
The D.C. Council approved the tax in May, requiring vendors that bring in more than $3,750 worth of sales revenue in a quarter to charge the 10 percent tax. This is the same tax that brick–and-mortar restaurants are already required to charge.
Previously, all food truck vendors were required to pay an annual $1,500 fee. Vendors that bring in less than $3,750 per quarter will still pay this fee rather than the 10 percent tax.
According to Andrew Huff, D.C. Council director of communications, this change is one of many that food trucks may encounter as the D.C. Council tries to put food trucks and traditional restaurants on more even footing.
“In our eyes, this helps to level the playing field and legitimize the food trucks and the food truck industry as businesses in the District of Columbia,” Huff said.
According to Mike Lenard, treasurer of the D.C. Food Truck Association and owner of the TaKorean food truck, this shift is a welcome one.
“We’ve never been unwilling to do something like this,” he said. “It was just never law before. … It’s obviously a big shift, but what we’re really advocating for is the regulations that will allow us to be treated more like normal businesses.”
There has been a recent push to expand the presence of food trucks on Georgetown’s grounds as one of several initiatives to bring student socializing back to campus. Owing in part to efforts by the Georgetown University Student Association, food trucks are now on campus from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
According to Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13), GUSA vice president, the new tax should not affect this initiative or students’ willingness to purchase from the trucks.
“I don’t think this will have a significant impact on the popularity of the late-night food trucks that GUSA advocated to bring to campus, and we hope that the food truck industry here in D.C. will continue to grow so that they can continue to bring their delicious wares to our campus,” Kohnert-Yount said.