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When Does AZ Sales Tax Exempt Books?

  • Sales Tax
  • January 20, 2016 | Suzanne Kearns

College students need all the help they can get when it comes to expenses, and Arizona sales tax law gives those students a break when it comes to purchasing some of their textbooks.

According to the Arizona Department of Revenue, when textbooks are a required part of the curriculum at a state university or an Arizona community college, students will not have to pay AZ sales tax on them. That’s good news for budget conscience students because that tax can really add up when buying all the textbooks needed for a semester.

But students who purchase textbooks for private colleges and universities aren’t as lucky. The DOR statute refers exclusively to textbooks that are required by state universities or community colleges, so students who attend school someplace else will have to pay Arizona sales tax on their textbooks.

The Arizona sales tax law also states that the books must be sold by a bookstore in order to receive the sales tax exemption.

Keep in mind that although we’re talking about how the AZ sales tax law exempts textbooks, the Arizona Department of Revenue uses the word Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) instead of sales tax. According to the state, merchants are taxed for the privilege of doing business in the state, even though those merchants pass on the tax to consumers, just like a sales tax.

So, in a nutshell, if you sell textbooks that are required by a state university or Arizona community college, you should not charge AZ sales tax on them. And if you buy such books, you should not pay tax on them.


Avalara Author
Suzanne Kearns
Avalara Author Suzanne Kearns