Questions about sales tax? You’re in the right place. We cover the basics here.
What is sales tax?
Consumers pay sales tax on top of, and at a certain percentage of, the sales price of the taxable goods and services they buy.
States and other localities use sales tax revenue to fund government operations, schools, parks, roads, special projects, and more.
Sales tax basics
Tangible personal property (TPP) — items that can be moved, touched, or felt — is generally subject to sales tax in the United States, unless excluded by law or by a valid reseller or exemption certificate. Services, such as hairstyling or lawn care, are sometimes taxable, depending on the state and the service.
45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico impose some form of general sales tax. Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon do not. They do, however, often allow local taxes on specific services, such as telecommunications and lodging. There is no federal or national sales tax in the U.S.
It varies — widely. There are 12,000+ sales tax jurisdictions in the U.S., encompassing states, counties, cities, and other localities and special districts. Each jurisdiction has the ability to impact sales tax rates and regulations, to varying degrees. And those rates and regulations change frequently.
Get sales tax rates by state
First, know how to source the sale. Most states use destination-based sourcing, which means the applicable sales tax rates and rules are the ones tied to the delivery address. However, some states use origin-based sourcing (i.e., the location of the seller or shipper). Others use a hybrid approach.
Next, use the exact address of the sourcing location, not just the ZIP code. Multiple sales tax jurisdictions can be located within a single ZIP code. Even next-door neighbors could pay different sales tax rates if their homes are located within different sales tax jurisdictions.
Then, calculate sales tax by starting with the statewide rate, if applicable. Add any county, city, local, and/or special district taxes on top to get the total combined rate that applies to a taxable transaction. Remember, certain buyers and products are exempt, according to sales tax laws.
Why can't I just use the ZIP code?
There are often multiple rates per ZIP code, county, and city. Therefore, more accurate rates are determined based on address.
Your sales tax rate
Combined Tax Rate%
What do these rates mean?
The combined tax rate is the total sales tax of the jurisdiction for the address you submitted.
The jurisdiction breakdown shows the different tax rates that make up the combined rate.
While most taxable products are subject to the combined tax rate, some items are taxed differently at the state and local levels, so be sure to apply the correct taxes to your sale.
These are the current rates for the date and time you submitted the address, but may change at any time with new tax legislation.
Calculate your total amount
See your sales tax rate applied to any item price
How to use this sales tax rate
First, determine who's responsible to collect and remit the sales tax amount.
Then, determine if your product or service is taxable in the responsible party’s jurisdictions.
Finally, implement the rate shown above to your product or service’s value.
Free sales tax guides
Learn about the biggest changes to sales and use tax
The end-to-end guide on how to manage sales and use tax
A state-by-state-guide for filing sales tax returns