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Saint Paul Public Schools, District 625
360 Colborne Street
Saint Paul


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Paying Sales Tax on Purchases Made by Schools

Paying Sales Tax on Purchases Made by Schools


Goods, services and equipment purchased by public and private nonprofit schools that are used by schools are exempt from sales tax.

Examples of Taxable Purchases

  • Prepared food, soft drinks and candy, and catered food
  • Lodging
  • Most vehicles, including those used in driver education programs
  • Car rental
  • Food and drinks sold from vending machines at schools
  • Meals served at administrative offices located off the school premises
  • General reference works or items incidental to the instruction process
    • Dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.
    • Pens, pencils, paper, folders, or computers
  • Purchases made for a school by an employee who is later reimbursed by the school

Examples of Tax Exempt Purchases

Purchases are exempt from sales tax only when billed to and paid for by the school.

  • Prepared food, drinks, and catering services that are delivered and served by the caterer on school premises
  • Freestanding recreational and athletic equipment (eg: basketball hoops, bleachers)
  • Instructional materials required for the completion of a course
  • Textbooks prescribed for use in a course of study at a school
  • Motor vehicles used as instructional aids in a vehicle body and mechanical repair course

When making exempt purchases, have a completed Certificate of Exemption/Form ST3 (available from your accountant), or a purchase order (generated after a purchase requisition is approved) or payment voucher that clearly shows that the school is a government entity

Schools should not make exempt purchases for employees who will reimburse the school.