Sales Tax Secrets: Nerd Tax Exemptions (by AVALARA)


I was thinking of some of my favorite things and how they are taxed. The massive spot at the top of the list, which absorbs most of the space in my house, carries all of the weight when I move, and seems to be a bottomless pit in my bank account, is books. Books are sometimes exempt in sales tax holidays, but in most states most of the time, they are taxed like any other durable item. But not all books are books. Some books are comic books, and they are exempt.

In Illinois, newspapers and magazines are exempt from sales tax. They are defined as printed in ink on newsprint and further defined as having soft covers, periodic publication, and the option for one to subscribe to them. That means that comic books fall under the exemption. That means that if you were selling original issues of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, my personal favorite, you’d be selling a tax-exempt item. If you were, on the other hand, selling the massive leatherbound volumes that I keep at the top of my prettiest bookshelf, you’d be selling a taxable book.

Then again, it might be worth it to go for the compilation. After all, comic books can take up a heck of a lot of space in your attic or basement, and if one gets misplaced, you may miss the thrilling end of a story arc, like the World Fantasy Award winning “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

If you’re outside of Illinois and your eyes need an illustrated break from sales tax laws, you can pick up exempt comics in Massachusetts, New York, and Oklahoma. Just be careful if you’re a collector or your comic shop resells these items. The same rules may not apply after the initial print run of an issue.

photo credit: boltron- via photopin cc

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