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Sales Tax

Sales Tax on University Purchases

University purchases from vendors located in Virginia. 

  • The University as state agency is generally exempt from sales tax in Virginia.
  • Primary exception: Food and lodging are generally taxable (see Bulletin 16-3).
  • Virginia vendors may request an exemption certificate before waiving tax.

University purchases from vendors located in foreign states. 

  • Before 2018, out-of-state vendors without phyical locations in Virginia weren't required to charge sales tax.
  • The 2018 Wayfair case now requires all major out-of-state vendors to collect sales tax.
  • As a result, non-Virginia – even ones with long-standing relationships - may request a Virginia certificate of exemption to document the University’s tax-exempt status.  

University purchases while traveling outside of Virginia.

  • The University maintains tax exemption registrations in many non-Virginia jurisdictions.
  • University travelers should determine whether they may be exempt from sales tax by checking the list of University out-of-state sales tax exemption certificates.
  • North Carolina and Utah require travelers to pay sales tax and then file for refund. If you have North Carolina or Utah travel receipts, please contact Financial Operations for instructions.

Sales Tax on University Sales

The University is required to pay Virginia sales tax on in-person sales of physical goods, as well as on mail-order sales to destinations within Virginia.

The 2018 Wayfair case also requires the University to collect sales tax on goods shipped to states where it has “economic nexus,” defined as annual sales volumes in excess of state-established annual limits. At present, the University has sales tax nexus in the following states: District of Colombia, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Tax-exempt and governmental purchasers may be exempt from sales tax. Before exempting a sale from tax, the selling unit is responsible for obtaining a sales exemption certificate from the purchaser valid in the jurisdiction in which the purchaser is located.         

Sales to Purchasers in Virginia

  • Virginia imposes a 5.3% tax on sales in most jurisdictions (including Charlottesville) with a reduced 2.5% tax rate on the sale of personal hygiene and food items.
  • For more detail, see the Virginia Sales Tax instructions.
  • Units with Virginia taxable sales must complete VA Form ST-9 before the 6th of each month. Departments are encouraged to use the Electronic ST-9 form [INSERT LINK TO ON-LINE ST-9] 
  • For questions about the ST-9 form, see the Sales Tax Training video [insert link] or contact Financial Operations for assistance.

Sales to Purchasers Located Outside of Virginia

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