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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 23. Taxation
Agency 10. Department Of Taxation
Chapter 210. Retail Sales and Use Tax
2/25/2021

23VAC10-210-4020. Schools and colleges, certain educational institutions and other institutions of learning.

A. When conducted not for profit.

1. Generally. The tax does not apply to sales of tangible personal property to nonprofit schools, colleges and other institutions of learning for their use or consumption and paid for out of their funds. An "other institution of learning" must be similar to a college, that is, it must (a) employ a professionally-trained faculty; (b) enroll and graduate students on the basis of academic achievement; (c) prescribe courses of study; and (d) provide instruction at regular intervals over a reasonable period of time. The tax does apply to purchases by day care centers and other pre-grade school establishments other than kindergartens.

Sales to institutions of learning owned and operated by the state have the same status as other sales to the state for its use or consumption. (See 23VAC10-210-690 through 23VAC10-210-694.)

2. Educational institutions. Tangible personal property and services may be purchased exempt from the tax by an educational institution doing business in the Commonwealth which (a) admits regularly enrolled high school and college students, and (b) provides a face-to-face educational experience in American government, a program which (i) leads toward the successful completion of courses in high school in United States history, civics, and problems of democracy, or (ii) which is acceptable for full credit towards an undergraduate or graduate level college degree, provided such institution is conducted not for profit. The property or services must be purchased by the educational institution. Individuals are not eligible for the exemption even if they are reimbursed by the institution for their expenditures. However, the exemption applies even if students, teachers or other educators participating in the institution's program use or consume the purchased property or services, including meals and lodging.

3. Public school system. The tax does not apply to purchases by public free schools for their use or consumption, provided purchases are made pursuant to official purchase orders to be paid for out of public funds. The tax applies to purchases not paid for out of public funds. (See 23VAC10-210-690 through 23VAC10-210-694.)

4. Sales. The exemption does not extend to sales by the institution (other than school textbooks). (See "School textbooks" below.) For example, the institution must collect the tax on retail sales of meals to students or others if the price of the meals is not included in room, board or tuition charges or fees. For school lunches, see "School lunches" below.

5. Independent associations. The tax does apply to sales to independent athletic and other such associations, whether or not affiliated with a nonprofit institution of learning (including state institutions). When these associations make retail sales, they should contact the Department to determine if they should register as a dealer.

6. School activity funds.

a. With respect to purchases of tangible personal property paid for out of funds other than public funds or funds of the nonprofit institution of learning, the tax applies if such tangible personal property is for the use of any school class, club, group, organization, association or individual. Such items cannot be purchased under certificates of exemption, and the tax must be paid to dealers. These items include yearbooks, class rings, graduation gowns and caps, photographs, school supplies, etc., for use by students. For school lunches, see the paragraph below on "School lunches."

b. The tax does not apply to purchases of tangible personal property by a school, such as athletic equipment, band instruments, etc., to be paid for out of school activity funds if the purchases become the property of the school. These items may be purchased under certificates of exemption.

7. School lunches. The tax does not apply to school lunches sold and served to pupils and employees of schools and subsidized by government at any level. The ingredients for providing the lunches can be purchased under certificates of exemption. Equipment and supplies purchased by a school for its use in preparing and serving school lunches, and which become the property of the school, can be purchased under certificates of exemption. This exemption also applies to government subsidized school lunches sold and served by non-public schools to their pupils and employees.

8. School textbooks. The tax does not apply to school textbooks sold by a local school board or its authorized agency. It also does not apply to school textbooks for use by students attending a college or other institution of learning not conducted for profit when sold (a) by such institution or (b) by any other dealer (provided such textbooks are certified by the institution as required course materials for its students).

9. Parent Teacher Associations and other groups. Parent Teacher Associations or other groups engaging in fund raising projects are the consumers of any tangible personal property they purchase for the projects. The tax must be paid by them to their suppliers.

B. When conducted for profit. The tax applies to sales of tangible personal property to schools, colleges and other institutions of learning when they are conducted for profit. They are required to pay the tax to their vendors at the time of purchase, unless their purchases are made for resale as dealers. All sales of tangible personal property made by such institutions are taxable. In addition, these institutions must collect the tax on any retail sales of meals to students or others, if the price of the meals is not included in room, board, or tuition charges or fees.

23VAC10-210-1070 through 23VAC10-210-1072 covers purchases for use or consumption by certain organizations for the benefit of retarded citizens and of severely physically handicapped children and young adults.

Statutory Authority

§§ 58.1-203 and 58.1-609.4(1),(2),(5) of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR630-10-96; revised July 1969; July 1979; March 1983; August 1984; amended, eff. January 1, 1985.

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