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Connecticut: Mission Exempt


 Sales tax exemptions - a perk of foreign service.

Foreign missions and mission personnel are entitled to certain tax exemptions in this country, so long as American Embassy and Consular personnel receive equivalent privileges in the foreign officials’ homeland. To help ensure the legality of these exemptions, the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services has updated its policy statement on the Connecticut sales and use tax exemptions available to foreign missions and mission personnel.

The Office of Foreign Missions (OFM) is responsible for granting Tax Exemption Cards to eligible foreign diplomatic and consular missions and their employees. Similarly, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) issues Tax Exemption cards to representatives, employees, and qualifying dependents of the Taipai Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) and the Taipai Economic Cultural Offices (TECOs). The cards issued by AIT “incorporate the same features and design elements as the OFM exemption cards,” and entitle the bearer to the same exemptions.

OFM and AIT cards are valid nationwide, entitling cardholder to exemptions in all states. (Read about exempt diplomats in Wisconsin.) These tax exemption cards authorize an exemption from numerous taxes, including but not limited to:

  • Sales
  • Restaurant/meal
  • Occupancy

Taxes on telephone and other utility services, motor fuel purchases, and motor vehicle purchases and leases do not qualify for the exemption offered by these cards.

Personal v Mission Tax Exemption Cards

Qualified mission personnel should use a Personal Tax Exemption Card to purchase items for personal use. All cards include a photograph of the card-bearer and an exemption is valid only when the sale is made to the holder of the valid Tax Exemption Card.

Mission Tax Exemption Cards include the “photograph and identification of a consulate or embassy employee who has been allowed official purchasing privileges for that office.” The person pictured does not need to be present for the exemption to be valid but is ultimately “responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the exemption.”

Products purchased with the Mission Tax Exemption Card cannot be for personal use — the card exempts official purchases of goods and services only. These purchases must be paid for by mission check, mission credit card, or wire transfer.

Remote sales remain taxable

Since the exemption cards must be presented at the time of purchase, remote sales such as Internet, mail and phone sales do not qualify for an exemption from sales tax.

Animal totems

Animal images on the cards provide a visual cue about the level of tax exemption created by the card (including restrictions and any price constraints):

  • Mission Tax Exemption Cards contain images of owl or buffalo
  • Personal Tax Exemption Cards contain images of an eagle or deer

Additional information.

Simplify management of sales tax exemptions by implementing an automated solution. Learn how it works.

photo credit: woody1778a via photopin cc


Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.