Taxable sales in Virginia last year totaled $19.3 billion, up 8.6 percent from $17.8 billion in 1979, according to a survey by the University of Virginia's Tayloe Murphy Institute.

Taxable sales consist of all taxable items and services, including automotive, food, drug stores, building materials and supplies, heating fuel, machinery, equipment, hotels, motels and tourist camps. Also included are GAF, or general merchandise, wearing apparel and furniture and appliances sales. Retail sales in the state rose 13.5 percent.

State GAF sales in 1980 totaled $6 billion, up 9.2 percent from the previous year. GAF sales per capita in the state reached $1,130, and taxable sales per capita amounted to $3,600.Virginians, who numbered 5.34 million last year, had personal income per capita of $9,410 in 1980.

Of the eight Virginia Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSA), the Northern Virginia portion of the Washington area SMSA had the largest taxable sales in 1980, amounting to nearly $4.7 billion, or 24.1 percent of the state total. Northern Virginia taxable sales were $4.2 billion, or 23.5 percent of the state total. Richmond ranked second in taxable sales of the state's SMSAs with a total of $2.9 billion, or 15.2 percent.

The Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Portsmouth SMSA recorded taxable sales of $2.7 billion, or 14.2 percent of the total, and the Newport News-Hampton SMSA accounted for 7 percent of the state total with a sales figure of $1.2 billion.