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Quick Reference Guide for Taxable and Exempt Property and Services
Tax Bulletin ST-740 (TB-ST-740) Printer-Friendly Version (PDF)
Issue Date: June 17, 2010

Introduction

NYS Sales Tax Goods and Services

Video: NYS Sales Tax
Goods and Services

Sales of tangible personal property are subject to New York sales tax unless they are specifically exempt. Sales of services are generally exempt from New York sales tax unless they are specifically taxable. This bulletin describes:

  • taxable property and services,
  • exempt property and services, and
  • exemption documents.

Tangible personal property and services

Whether sales of a particular good or service are taxable may depend on many factors. You should consult our publications and tax bulletins for more detailed explanations of what property and services are subject to sales tax. See the listing below for examples of taxable tangible personal property and services.

The term tangible personal property means any kind of physical personal property that has a material existence and is perceptible to the human senses (in other words, something you can see and touch).

Examples of taxable tangible personal property, services, and transactions that are subject to sales tax are:

  • tangible personal property:
    • furniture, appliances, and light fixtures;
    • certain clothing and footwear;
    • machinery and equipment, parts, tools, and supplies;
    • computers;
    • prewritten (canned/off-the-shelf/standard) computer software (whether transferred by CD-ROM, Internet download, remote access, etc.);
    • motor vehicles;
    • boats and yachts;
    • fuels (for example, gasoline, diesel fuel, and kero-jet fuel);
    • candy and confections;
    • bottled water;
    • soda and beer;
    • cigarettes and tobacco products;
    • cosmetics and toiletries;
    • jewelry;
    • artistic items such as sketches, paintings, and photographs;
    • animals (for example, dogs, cats, or pet birds);
    • food and supplies for animals;
    • trees, shrubs, and seeds;
    • coins and other monetary items, when purchased for purposes other than for use as a medium of exchange;
    • building materials; and
    • prepaid telephone calling cards.
  • restaurant food and drink;
  • utility and (intrastate) telecommunication services;
  • telephone answering services;
  • prepaid telephone calling services;
  • mobile telecommunication services;
  • certain information services;
  • processing, fabricating, printing, or imprinting of tangible personal property for a customer who furnishes the tangible personal property and doesn't plan to resell it;
  • maintaining, installing, servicing, and repairing of tangible personal property;
  • storing tangible personal property (does not include certain rentals of mini-storage units that constitute the rental of real property - see TSB-M-86(3)S, Taxable Status of the Rental of Self-Service Mini-Storage Units);
  • maintaining, servicing, and repairing real property;
  • certain parking and garaging or storing of motor vehicles;
  • interior decorating and design services;
  • protective and detective services;
  • passenger transportation services with a driver using limousines, black cars, and certain other motor vehicles (not including taxi and bus services - see TSB-M-09(7)S, Additional Guidance Relating to the Sales Tax on Certain Transportation Services);
  • furnishing or providing entertainment or information by telephony or telegraphy or by telephone or telegraph service, provided, for example, over phone numbers with an 800 or 900 prefix;
  • hotel occupancy;
  • admission charges to a place of amusement;
  • social and athletic club dues; and
  • certain portions of cabaret charges.

Services subject only to New York City sales tax are:

  • beautician services, barbering, and hair restoring;
  • tanning;
  • manicure and pedicure;
  • electrolysis;
  • massage services and services provided by weight control and health salons, gymnasiums, Turkish and sauna baths, and similar establishments;
  • written or oral credit rating services; and 
  • oral credit reporting services not delivered by telephone.

Tax exempt property and services

The chart below lists property and services that are generally exempt from sales tax. It also lists:

  • tax law sections that provide the exemption;
  • department publications, bulletins, and technical memoranda (TSB-Ms) that are relevant to the exemption; and
  • exemption documents, if any, that the customer must give to the seller for the sale to be treated as exempt from tax. 
Specific exemption Tax Law section(s) Publications, TSB-Ms, or Bulletins Exemption document required
Purchases by vendors of certain property or services that are intended for resale 1 1101(b)(4) 1105(b), and 1105(c)   ST-120
Certain alternative fuels 1102(a) TSB-M-06(10)S ST-121
Building or installing a capital improvement 1105(c)(3)(iii) and 1105(c)(5) Pub 862 ST-124
Receipts paid to a homeowners' association by its members for parking services 1105(c)(6) and 1212-A(a)(1) TSB-M-97(12)S
TSB-M-01(3)S
none
Laundering, dry cleaning (including carpet, rug, drapery, and upholstery cleaning services), tailoring, weaving, pressing, shoe repairing, and shoe shining 1105(c)(3)(ii) Pub 750
TSB-M-02(4)S
none
Admissions to live circus performances 1105(f)(1) and 1116(d)(2)(B) TSB-M-97(12)S none
Certain residential energy sources and services 2 1105-A Pub 718-R TP-385
Certain food and drinks 1115(a)(1) and 1115(k)

TB-ST-65 
TB-ST-140
TB-ST-283
TB-ST-525 
TSB-M-86(18)S
TSB-M-87(12)S

none
Water delivered through mains or pipes 1115(a)(2)   none
Drugs, medicines, medical equipment and services thereon, and certain medical supplies 3 1115(a)(3) and 1115(g) Pub 822
Pub 840
none
Prosthetic aids and devices and services thereon 1115(a)(4) and 1115(g) Pub 822
Pub 840
TSB-M-82(9)S
TSB-M-06(5)S
none
Newspapers and qualified periodicals 1115(a)(5)

TB-ST-620
TSB-M-79(3)S 

none
Property or services used in farming or commercial horse boarding 1115(a)(6) and 1115(c)(2) TSB-M-00(8)S ST-125
Sales by funeral homes 1115(a)(7)   none
Commercial vessels 1115(a)(8) TSB-M-88(10)S
TSB-M-96(14)S
ST-121
Commercial aircraft, certain related property, and fuel used therein 1115(a)(9) and 1115(a)(21) TSB-M-80(4)S
TSB-M-09(4)S
ST-121
Property and utilities used in research and development 1115(a)(10) and 1115(b)(ii) Pub 852 ST-121
U.S. and N.Y. official flags 1115(a)(11) TSB-M-01(5)S none
Certain military decorations 1115(a)(11-a) TSB-M-06(15)S ST-121
Production machinery or equipment and utilities 1115(a)(12) and 1115(c)(1)

Pub 852
TSB-M-82(7)S
TSB-M-82(8)S
TSB-M-82(18)S
TSB-M-82(25)S
TSB-M-89(19)S
TSB-M-00(9)S

ST-121
Certain property used in connection with telecommunications and Internet access 1115(a)(12-a) TSB-M-00(6)S ST-121
Certain items sold through coin-operated vending machines 1105(d)(i)(3) and 1115(a)(13),(13-a) TSB-M-83(33)S
TSB-M-97(12)S
TSB-M-99(4)S
none
Coin-operated luggage carts 1115(a)(13-b) TSB-M-97(12)S none
Certain intra-family sales of motor vehicles 1115(a)(14)   DTF-802
Certain property sold to contractors to be installed in real property owned by exempt entities 1115(a)(15) and (16) TSB-M-78(10)S ST-120.1
Certain property sold by a contractor to a person for whom a capital improvement project is being performed 1101(b)(4)(i) and
1115(a)(17)
Pub 862 ST-124
Certain sales conducted from a residence (for example, garage sales) 1115(a)(18) TB-ST-807
TSB-M-80(9)S
none
Packaging materials related to property for sale 1115(a)(19) Pub 852
TSB-M-82(7)S
ST-121
Milk crates purchased by a dairy farmer or New York State licensed milk distributor 1115(a)(19-a) TSB-M-06(16)S ST-121
Shopping papers and related printing services 1115(a)(20) and 1115(i) TB-ST-620
TSB-M-92(5)S
TSB-M-96(7)S
ST-121
Certain trucks, tractors, and tractor-trailers 1115(a)(22) and (26) TSB-M-81(25)S
TSB-M-87(16)S
TSB-M-87(16.1)S
ST-121.1
Used mobile homes 1115(a)(23) TSB-M-83(24)S
TSB-M-83(24.1)S
none
Certain fishing vessels 1115(a)(24) TSB-M-85(17)S
TSB-M-86(1)S
ST-121
Natural gas used for consumption by owners of a gas well on their property 1115(a)(25) TSB-M-85(15)S none
Precious metal bullion sold for investment 1115(a)(27) TSB-M-89(20)S
TSB-M-89(20.1)S
TSB-M-95(9)S
none
Customized computer software transferred to a related entity 1115(a)(28) TSB-M-93(3)S none
Certain race horses and related training and maintenance services 1115(a)(29) and 1115(m) TSB-M-80(12)S
TSB-M-95(6)S
ST-126
Clothing and footwear and items used to repair exempt clothing if sold for less than $110 4 1115(a)(30) Pub 718-C none
Copies sold through coin-operated photocopying machines at 50 cents or less 1115(a)(31) TSB-M-97(12)S none
Enhanced emissions inspection equipment 1115(a)(31) TSB-M-97(8)S ST-121
Certain public transportation vehicles (omnibuses) and related services 1115(a)(32) and 1115(u) TSB-M-97(12)S ST-121.1
Wine furnished at a wine tasting 1115(a)(33) TSB-M-97(12)S none
College textbooks sold to full time or part-time college students for their courses 1115(a)(34)

TB-ST-125
TSB-M-98(4)S

ST-121.4
Computer system hardware used to develop software and Web sites 1115(a)(35) TSB-M-98(5)S ST-121.3
Certain tools and supplies related to gas or oil production 1115(a)(36) TSB-M-98(13)S ST-121
Certain Internet data center equipment and related services 1115(a)(37) and 1115(y) TSB-M-00(7)S ST-121.5
Certain broadcasting and film production equipment and related services 1115(a)(38),(39) and 1115(aa),(bb) Pub 28
Pub 825
TSB-M-00(6)S
ST-121
Pollution abatement equipment 1115(a)(40)   ST-121
Certain marine cargo facility machinery and equipment 1115(a)(41) TSB-M-05(14)S ST-121
Certain ferry boats and certain property purchased or used to operate those ferry boats 1115(a)(43) TSB-M-08(11)S ST-121
Telephone and telegraph services used in news gathering 1115(b)(i)   none
Utilities and utility services produced by cogeneration facilities operated by cooperative corporations 1115(b)(iii) TSB-M-06(3)S ST-121
Certain services on property delivered outside NYS 1115(d)   none
Coin-operated telephone calls for 25 cents or less 1115(e) TSB-M-98(9)S none
Veterinary services 1115(f) Pub 851
TSB-M-79(6)S
none
Sales by railroads in reorganization 1115(h)   none
Certain property donated to exempt organizations by the manufacturer of the property 1115(l) TSB-M-86(11)S
TSB-M-87(14)S
none
Qualifying promotional materials and related services 1115(n) Pub 831
TSB-M-92(4)S
TSB-M-92(4.1)S
TSB-M-97(6)S
ST-121.2
Services performed on computer software 1115(o) TSB-M-93(3)S none
Services performed to a qualifying barge 1115(q)   ST-121
Medical emergency alarm call services 1115(r)  TSB-M-94(3)S none
Property and services related to guide dogs 1115(s) TB-ST-245
TSB-M-95(10)S
ST-860
Certain coin-operated car wash services 1115(t)

TB-ST-105
TSB-M-05(15)S

none
Internet access services 1115(v) TSB-M-97(1.1)S none
Certain food and drink sold by a senior citizen housing community to its residents and their guests 1115(w) TSB-M-01(4)S none
Property used in connection with certain theater productions 1115(x) TSB-M-99(4)S ST-121.9
Property and services related to the maintenance of general aviation aircraft 1115(dd) TSB-M-04(8)S
TSB-M-09(18)S
ST-121
Residential solar energy systems equipment 5 1115(ee) Pub 718-S
TSB-M-05(11)S
ST-121
Property used to furnish leased premises in designated areas of lower Manhattan 1115(ee)(1)-(8) TSB-M-05(12)S
TSB-M-09(14)S
ST-121
Gift shop sales at a veterans home 1115(ff) TSB-M-06(15)S none
75% of the admission charge to a qualifying place of amusement 1122 TSB-M-04(7)S
TSB-M-06(12)S
none
Certain portion of the admission charge to attend a dramatic or musical performance at a roof garden, cabaret, or similar place 1123 TSB-M-06(15)S none

You should not collect sales tax on exempt sales that do not require an exemption document. However, for sales that require an exemption document, you must collect sales tax unless you receive a properly completed exemption document from the purchaser. You must receive the exemption document within 90 days of the date you delivered the property or rendered the service.

Sales to New York State, its political subdivisions, and to the federal government are also exempt from sales tax. In these cases, you should receive a government purchase order or other suitable documentation, such as Form ST-129, Exemption Certificate Tax on occupancy of hotel rooms. The general exemption for sales to New York State, its political subdivisions, and to the federal government does not apply to sales of motor fuel or diesel motor fuel that is not used or consumed by the governmental entity
(see section 1116(b)(5) of the Tax Law).

See Tax Bulletin, Exemption Certificates for Sales Tax (TB-ST-240).

 


 

1Special rules apply to contractors who provide maintenance and other services to real property. For more information, see Publication 862, Sales and Use Tax Classifications of Capital Improvements and Repairs to Real Property.     [back]

2This exemption does not apply to locally imposed sales and use taxes unless the county or city imposing those taxes elected the exemption. Also, certain school districts impose a sales tax on specified residential energy sources and services. See Pub 718-R, Local Sales and Use Tax Rates on Residential Energy Sources and Services.    [back]

3Medical equipment and supplies purchased by a person for use in performing medical services for compensation are subject to sales and use taxes.    [back]

4This exemption does not apply to locally imposed sales and use taxes, unless the county or city imposing those taxes elected the exemption. See Pub 718-C, Local Sales and Use Tax Rates on Clothing and Footwear.    [back]

5This exemption does not apply to locally imposed sales and use taxes, unless the county or city imposing those taxes elected the exemption. See Pub 718-S, Local Sales and Use Tax Rates on Sales and Installations of Residential Solar Energy Systems Equipment.    [back]

Note: A Tax Bulletin is an informational document designed to provide general guidance in simplified language on a topic of interest to taxpayers. It is accurate as of the date issued. However, taxpayers should be aware that subsequent changes in the Tax Law or its interpretation may affect the accuracy of a Tax Bulletin. The information provided in this document does not cover every situation and is not intended to replace the law or change its meaning.

References and other useful information

Publications:

Publication 718, New York State Sales and Use Tax Rates by Jurisdiction
Publication 774, Purchaser's Obligations to Pay Sales and Use Taxes Directly to the Tax Department Questions and Answers
Publication 750, A Guide to Sales Tax in New York State

Memoranda:

TSB-M-86(3)S, Taxable Status of the Rental of Self-Service Mini-Storage Units
TSB-M-09(7)S, Additional Guidance Relating to the Sales Tax on Certain Transportation Services

Bulletins:

Do I Need to Register for Sales Tax? (TB-ST-175)
How to Register for New York State Sales Tax (TB-ST-360)
Amending or Surrendering a Certificate of Authority (TB-ST-25)
Record-Keeping Requirements for Sales Tax Vendors (TB-ST-770)
Filing Requirements for Sales and Use Tax Returns (TB-ST-275)
Filing Period Indicators on Final Sales Tax Returns (TB-ST-270)
Exemption Certificates for Sales Tax (TB-ST-240)
Sales from Your Home (TB-ST-807)
Taxable Receipt (TB-ST-860)

Updated: April 25, 2013