TrustFile > Blog > Learn > What Are Diplomatic Tax Exemption Cards?

What Are Diplomatic Tax Exemption Cards?

  • Learn
  • January 17, 2016 | Katherine Gustafson

 We all know that foreign diplomatic and consular staff and their family members living in the U.S. and its territories get diplomatic immunity. They’re exempt from lawsuit or prosecution under our laws.

Diplomatic Tax Exemption Cards

But did you know that diplomatic staff members are also exempt from some sales taxes?   The U.S. Department of State provides these guests with Diplomatic Tax Exemption Cards. Not only are they useful (for those who get to hold them, anyway), but they’re also lovingly decorated by federal officials with little pictures of animals. The animals let businesspeople know what kind of exemptions they must give.

Here are the little creatures to look out for and what they mean.

  • Owl: Owl cards are supposed to be used on in connection with official purchases; they exempt the cardholder from all sales taxes.
  • Buffalo: Buffalo cards are supposed to be used on in connection with official purchases; they exempt the cardholder from sales taxes to a certain degree. (The limit will be indicated on the card: For example “Exempt from taxes imposed on purchases over $300; not valid at hotels.”)
  • Eagle: Eagle cards are supposed to be used on in connection with personal purchases; they exempt the cardholder from all sales taxes.
  • Deer: Eagle cards are supposed to be used on in connection with personal purchases; they exempt the cardholder from sales taxes to a certain degree. (The limit will be indicated on the card: For example “Exempt from taxes imposed on purchases of hotel stays, restaurant meals, and rental cars.”) 

What About Internet Sales?

If you’re an Internet seller, you don’t have to worry about tracking the parade of wildlife on these cards. Since buyers can’t present the card when buying items online, these types of purchases are not eligible for this sales tax exemption.

Questions?

If you have any questions about the cards, email OFMTaxCustoms@state.gov or call (202) 895-3500, x2


Avalara Author
Katherine Gustafson
Avalara Author Katherine Gustafson