Sales Tax by State: In Which States are Textbooks Tax Exempt?

by TaxJar July 27, 2016

Some states show their appreciation for education by making textbooks just a little easier to buy. How? By exempting them from sales tax! This post lists the states where textbooks are tax exempt.

Some states have convoluted rules about sales tax and textbooks, so be sure to read the fine print and check with the state’s department of revenue (or other taxing authority) if you have specific questions about textbook taxability.

Taxability of Textbooks, State by State

Some states exempt textbooks, but many have special taxing rules for textbooks. Here’s a state-by-state guide.

Alabama  Textbooks are taxable in most cases, but tax exempt when a.) They are sold by a school (not an institution of higher learning) operated by a county or municipality, or b.) they are sold by an elementary or secondary school that is privately owned and operated, or owned and operated by the state, if the net proceeds from the sale are used solely for the benefit of the school.

Arizona – Most textbooks are taxable, but textbooks required by any state university or community college are sales tax exempt.

Arkansas – Textbooks are taxable, with some exceptions during Arkansas’s annual sales tax holiday.

California – Textbooks are taxable.

Colorado – Textbooks are taxable.

Connecticut – Textbooks are tax exempt provided they meet two conditions 1.) Sold to students at institutions of higher learning or private occupation schools 2.) Cost no more than $20 and are sold by elementary or secondary schools

Florida – Textbooks sold to grades K-12 students are tax exempt.

Georgia – Textbooks are taxable.

Hawaii – Textbooks are taxable, except textbooks sold by schools, which are exempt.

Idaho – Textbooks are taxable.

Illinois – Textbooks are taxable.

Indiana – Textbooks are taxable, except textbooks sold to grades K-12 children, which are exempt.

Iowa – Textbooks are taxable, though textbooks sold to students by a private nonprofit educational institution are exempt if all the proceeds are used for educational purposes.

Kansas – Textbooks are taxable, but rentals of nonsectarian textbooks by elementary or secondary schools are sales tax exempt.

Kentucky – Textbooks are tax exempt.

Louisiana – Textbooks are taxable, except for textbooks sold by private elementary and secondary schools as long as the proceeds are used solely and exclusively to support the school.

Maine – Textbooks are taxable.

Maryland – Textbooks are taxable.

Massachusetts – Textbooks are tax exempt.

Michigan – Textbooks sold by a school to K-12 students are exempt.

Minnesota – Textbooks are tax exempt.

Mississippi – Textbooks are tax exempt.

Missouri – Textbooks are taxable except when sold by elementary and secondary schools or by bookstores at postsecondary institutions. (Though the exemption for postsecondary students only applies to Missouri state tax, not local sales and use taxes.)

Nebraska – Textbooks are taxable, with the exception of sales by elementary or secondary school-operated stores are exempt if the proceeds are used to support the school.

Nevada – Textbooks are taxable, but textbooks sold within the University of Nevada System are exempt from sales and use and local school support taxes. Textbooks sold within the Community College System are exempt from local school support tax only.

New Jersey – Textbooks are tax exempt.

New Mexico – Textbook are taxable, except if sold by a school or if sold to students at a public post-secondary educational institution by a bookstore that is located on the campus and operated pursuant to a contractual agreement with the institution.

New York – Textbooks are taxable, except textbooks purchased by college students, which are exempt.

North Carolina – Textbooks are taxable.

North Dakota – Textbooks are tax exempt.

Ohio – Textbooks are taxable.

Oklahoma – Textbooks are taxable, but textbooks sold by schools are tax exempt.

Pennsylvania – Textbooks are tax exempt as long as they are sold by bookstores that have been designated by schools, colleges, or universities to sell books on their behalf.

Rhode Island – Textbooks are taxable except that textbooks sold by educational institutions and used textbooks sold by any seller are sales tax exempt.

South Carolina – Textbooks are tax exempt.

South Dakota – Textbooks are taxable.

Tennessee – Textbooks are tax exempt.

Texas – Textbooks are taxable.

Utah – Textbooks are taxable, except textbooks sold by schools which are tax exempt.

Vermont – Textbooks are taxable, except that textbooks sold by a bookstore located on the premises of a school, which are exempt.

Virginia – Textbooks are tax exempt when sold by a local board or authorized agency. Textbooks sold for use by students at nonprofit colleges or other institutions of learning are exempt when sold (a) by the institution or (b) by any other dealer, if certified as required textbooks by the institution.

Washington – Textbooks are taxable.

Washington D.C. – Textbooks are taxable.

West Virginia – Textbooks are tax exempt.

Wisconsin – Textbooks are taxable, but textbooks sold by elementary and secondary schools are sales tax exempt.

Wyoming – Textbooks are taxable, but textbooks sold by grades K-12 schools for fundraising purposes are exempt.

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