Breast pumps now exempt from North Carolina sales tax

Starting November 1, 2023, breast pumps and related items are exempt from North Carolina sales and use tax. 

The new sales and use tax exemption applies to the following: 

  • Breast pumps
  • Breast pump kits  
  • Breast pump collection and storage supplies 
    • Backflow protectors and backflow protector adapters 
    • Bottles and bottle caps specific to the operation of the breast pump
    • Breast milk storage bags  
    • Brest pump tubes and tubing adapters
    • Breast pump valves and membranes 
    • Breast shields and breast shield connectors
    • Other items that may be used to initiate, support, or sustain breastfeeding using a breast pump during lactation that are generally sold as part of a breast pump kit but may be sold separately 
  • Repair and replacement parts for breast pumps

Per the North Carolina Department of Revenue, a “breast pump kit” is “a kit that contains a breast pump and one or more of the following items: breast pump collection and storage supplies and other taxable items of tangible personal property that may be useful to initiate, support, or sustain breastfeeding using a breast pump during lactation, so long as the other taxable items of tangible personal property sold with the breast pump kit at the time of sale are less than 10% of the total sales price of the breast pump kit.” 

The following items do not qualify for the sales and use tax exemption:

  • Bottles and bottle caps not specific to the operation of the breast pump
  • Breast pump cleaning supplies
  • Breast pump travel bags and similar carrying accessories, including ice packs and labels 
  • Nursing bras, bra pads, breast shells, and other similar products
  • Ointments, creams, and other similar products that relieve breastfeeding-related symptoms or conditions of the breasts or nipples, unless sold as part of a breast pump kit prepackaged by the breast pump manufacturer or distributor

Record-keeping requirements for retailers

Retailers are required to keep detailed invoices or customer receipts of all sales subject to this sales tax exemption. Any retailer that fails to properly document the exemption could be held liable for the uncollected sales tax.

Unfortunately, businesses weren’t given much time to prepare for this policy change. The exemption was established with the enactment of House Bill 259 on October 3, 2023, and the North Carolina Department of Revenue published a notice about it on October 27, 2023 — mere days before the exemption took effect. 

In addition to the exemption for breast pumps, etc., HB 259 established or extended several other sales and use tax exemptions. See the text of the HB 259 for more details. 

Automating sales tax calculation, collection, and remittance helps ensure you collect the sales taxes you need to collect and exempt transactions that are exempt. Learn more about the benefits of automating sales tax compliance

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