The Ultimate School Brochure Fundraising Tax Guide

A nationwide tax resource for brochure fundraisers

How do you know if you need to collect sales tax on your brochure fundraiser or not? It’s actually not as straight forward as you might think. The most common misunderstanding is, “We’re a nonprofit organization so we don’t need to worry about tax”. On the contrary, every state has tax laws regarding fundraisers; therefore it’s important that you understand what your obligations are, if any, before moving forward with your sale.

When it comes to school brochure fundraising tax laws, no 2 states are alike. Some only charge tax on the wholesale cost while others charge on retail.

Retail (Brochure List Price) = Wholesale (Invoice Amount) + Group Profit

You may be responsible for tax on nonfood only, or both food and nonfood items. Or, you may not be required to pay any tax at all if you have a tax exempt certificate or tax ID number. Finally, your state may not require you to pay any tax regardless. However, make sure you’re not on the hook for any local taxes either.

Assistance from Brochure Fundraiser Companies

Many brochure fundraiser companies offer to collect and remit the sales tax on behalf of the organization. Some even provide brochures that already have the tax included in the price shown for each item. This way, the tax won’t come out of your profit; plus you wouldn’t need to ask your parents to collect it with their orders. Although some companies provide tax charts, this adds another step for your sellers. Regardless, companies should always itemize the tax amount on your invoice so you’ll know how much is owed.

Brochure Fundraising Sales Tax Table

Understanding school brochure fundraising sales tax can be daunting. In order to clear up some of the confusion, we’ve created the following resource table. Keep in mind that tax laws may change so we recommend contacting your state department of revenue (DOR) for the latest and most accurate information. Please note that all sales tax rates shown below are state percentages only. Local cities and counties may impose additional tax. For combined state and local tax rates, see Calculator.net.

StateTax on FoodTax on NonfoodTax on Wholesale/ RetailState TaxTax StatusState DOR Website
AlabamaYesYesWholesale4%Tax Exempthttp://www.ador.alabama.gov
AlaskaNoNoN/A0%No State Taxhttp://dor.alaska.gov
ArizonaYesYesWholesale5.6%Not Tax Exempthttps://www.azdor.gov
ArkansasYesYesRetail6.5%Not Tax Exempthttp://www.dfa.arkansas.gov
CaliforniaNoYesRetail7.5%Not Tax Exempthttp://www.taxes.ca.gov
ColoradoYesYesRetail2.9%Certificate Requiredhttps://www.colorado.gov/revenue
ConnecticutYesYesRetail6.35%Tax Exemptwww.ct.gov/drs
DelawareNoNoN/A0%No Taxhttp://revenue.delaware.gov
FloridaNoYesWholesale6%Tax Exempthttp://dor.myflorida.com
GeorgiaYesYesWholesale4%Tax Exempthttps://dor.georgia.gov
IdahoYesYesRetail6%Not Tax Exempthttp://tax.idaho.gov
IllinoisYesYesRetail6.25%Tax Exempthttp://www.revenue.state.il.us
IndianaNoYesRetail7%Tax Exempthttp://www.in.gov/dor
IowaNoYesWholesale6%Tax Exempthttps://tax.iowa.gov
KansasYesYesRetail6.15%Not Tax Exempthttp://www.ksrevenue.org
KentuckyYesYesRetail6%Tax Exempthttp://revenue.ky.gov
LouisianaNoYesWholesale4%Tax Exempthttp://www.rev.state.la.us
MaineNoYesWholesale5.5%Tax Exempthttp://www.maine.gov/revenue
MarylandNoYesRetail6%Tax Exempthttp://taxes.marylandtaxes.com
MassachusettsNoYesWholesale6.25%Tax Exempthttps://www.mass.gov/dor
MichiganNoYesRetail6%Tax Exempthttp://www.michigan.gov/treasury
MinnesotaNoYesRetail6.875%Tax Exempthttp://www.revenue.state.mn.us
MississippiYesYesRetail7%Certificate Requiredhttp://www.dor.ms.gov
MissouriYesYesRetail4.225%Tax Exempthttp://dor.mo.gov
MontanaNoNoN/A0%No Taxhttps://revenue.mt.gov
NebraskaNoYesWholesale5.5%Tax Exempthttp://www.revenue.nebraska.gov
NevadaNoYesRetail6.85%Tax Exempthttp://tax.nv.gov
New HampshireNoNoN/A0%No Taxhttp://revenue.nh.gov
New JerseyNoYesWholesale7%Tax Exempthttp://www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue
New MexicoYesYesWholesale5.125%Tax Exempthttp://www.tax.newmexico.gov
New YorkNoYesRetail4%Certificate Requiredhttps://www.tax.ny.gov
North CarolinaYesYesWholesale4.75%Certificate Requiredhttp://www.dornc.com
North DakotaNoYesRetail5%Tax Exempthttps://www.nd.gov/tax
OhioNoYesRetail5.75%Tax Exempthttp://www.tax.ohio.gov
OklahomaYesYesRetail4.5%Tax Exempthttps://www.ok.gov/tax
OregonNoNoN/A0%No Taxhttp://www.oregon.gov/dor
PennsylvaniaNoYesRetail6%Tax Exempthttp://www.revenue.pa.gov
Rhode IslandNoYesRetail7%Tax Exempthttp://www.tax.ri.gov
South CarolinaYesYesRetail6%Certificate Requiredhttps://dor.sc.gov
South DakotaYesYesWholesale4%Not Tax Exempthttp://dor.sd.gov
TennesseeYesYesWholesale7%Tax Exempthttps://www.tn.gov/revenue
TexasYesYesRetail6.25%Not Tax Exempthttp://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes
UtahYesYesRetail5.95%Tax Exempthttp://tax.utah.gov
VermontNoYesRetail6%Not Tax Exempthttp://tax.vermont.gov
VirginiaYesYesRetail5.3%Not Tax Exempthttp://www.tax.virginia.gov
WashingtonNoYesRetail6.5%Tax Exempthttp://dor.wa.gov
West VirginiaYesYesRetail6%Tax Exempthttp://www.revenue.wv.gov
WisconsinYesYesWholesale5%Tax Exempthttps://www.revenue.wi.gov
WyomingNoYesRetail4%Tax Exempthttp://revenue.wyo.gov

(Excludes Hawaii)

Sales Tax Takeaways

  • Every state that charges tax, charges it 100% of the time on nonfood items.
  • Only Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon do not have a state or local sales tax.
  • Alaska is the only state that doesn’t charge state tax, but charges a local tax.
  • 9 states are not tax exempt and don’t accept tax exempt certificates. Therefore, you must pay school fundraising sales tax in those states regardless.
  • Only 9 states don’t add a local sales tax to the state tax.

In summary, first check with your state DOR to see if your group is tax exempt from paying school brochure fundraising sales tax. If you are tax exempt, then you won’t need to worry about tax. However, if you’re not tax exempt, your state may allow you to submit a valid tax exempt certificate. However, if neither of these options are available, you'll need to collect sales tax for your fundraiser. And if you happen to live in a state that doesn't charge sales tax at all, you're off the hook regardless.

Additional Tax Resources:

  1. Taxes, PTOs, and the IRS: Questions about tax-exemption? Get the scoop on 501(c)(3), by PTO Today
  2. IRS FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About Applying for Tax Exemption
  3. IRS Forms: Exempt Organizations Forms & Instructions

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