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New York Clears Up Acne Tax Question


The New York Department of Taxation and Finance issued an advisory opinion stating that acne treatment products qualifying as "drugs and medicines" are exempt from New York state sales tax

In response to a petitioner asking for sales tax guidance, the New York Department of Taxation states that the following products are exempted from New York sales tax:

  • St. Ives Naturally Clean Blemish & Blackhead Control Apricot Scrub
  • Clearasil Ultra Rapid Actions Pads
  • Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Face Scrub
  • OXY Maximum Face Wash
  • Clean & Clear Persa Gel 10

The Department cites New York Tax Law 1115 (a)(3), which exempts "Drugs and medications intended for use, internally or externally, in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of illness or diseases in human beings . . . " from the state sales tax. The acne products in question all contain either 10% benzoyl peroxide or 2% salicylic acid, which means they qualify as drugs treating "topical acne." Therefore, they are not subject to the state's 4.0% sales tax.

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Will Frei
Avalara Author Will Frei
Will Frei covers sales tax news including best practices, legislation and sales tax technology. He is the Social Media Manager at Avalara.