Idaho State Tax Commission

Idaho State Tax Commission

Online, Catalog, and Out-of-state Shopping

If you're an individual shopping on the internet, making purchases through a catalog, or buying items out of state, you may be responsible for paying an Idaho tax on your purchases.

What is use tax?

If a retailer doesn't charge sales tax when you buy an item, you owe use tax if the item is stored or used in Idaho (unless an Idaho exemption applies). The use tax has been in effect since 1965 and is the same rate as the sales tax. Use tax is paid directly to Idaho instead of to the seller of the goods.

Use tax is due on most untaxed sales

Some retailers don't have a presence in Idaho and aren't required to collect Idaho sales tax. For example:

  • If you buy goods on the internet, by telephone, or from a mail-order catalog, sellers might not charge sales tax if they're not Idaho retailers. As the shopper, you're responsible for paying tax directly to the Idaho State Tax Commission if the goods are shipped to you in Idaho.
  • If you buy merchandise in a state where no sales tax is charged – such as Oregon or Montana – you owe use tax if you bring the goods into Idaho.

Internet and catalog companies that have a business location or employees in Idaho must collect Idaho sales tax. And a few businesses without an Idaho presence also voluntarily collect the tax.

Check your bills, invoices, or receipts to see if you were charged tax on your purchases. If you weren't, you owe use tax. For example, check on:

  • Internet purchases (including digital music, movies, books, games, etc.)
  • Purchases in a state where no sales tax is charged (e.g., Oregon, Montana)
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Book and music club items
  • Catalog purchases
  • Phone purchases

Reporting and paying use tax

You can pay use tax:

If you have minimal use tax due annually, you can use either method above. If you have frequent or large purchases subject to use tax, use Form 850-U periodically rather than wait until income tax filing time.

Buying cigarettes, tobacco products, or wine

You may be responsible for certain other taxes.

Buying boats, cars, or aircraft

Generally, if you're an Idaho resident and you buy a car or an RV from a dealer outside of Idaho, you won't be charged Idaho sales tax. Also, private parties who sell these vehicles don't collect tax.

When you register a vehicle in Idaho, you pay the sales tax to the county assessor. However, you need to pay use tax directly to the state for other types of motorized vehicles, some boats, and aircraft that you buy out of state or from individuals. You should make your use tax payment as soon as possible after you buy large items.

Credit for another state's sales tax

Idaho allows credit for sales tax correctly* paid to another state, up to the amount you would owe in Idaho. For example, if you buy a computer while you're in Washington State and pay tax to the retailer, you won't owe any Idaho tax because the Washington State and local sales tax will equal or exceed what you would owe in Idaho.

If you buy something while in another state and are charged less than the Idaho rate, you owe Idaho the difference in use tax. For example, if you buy a printer while you're in Wyoming and pay tax to the retailer, you owe Idaho use tax on the printer price minus the state and local tax paid in Wyoming. Idaho doesn't allow credit for sales tax or value-added tax (VAT) paid to other countries, regardless of the amount.

*Some retailers mistakenly believe they should collect their state's sales tax when they ship or deliver items to locations outside of their state. If you see another state's tax on an invoice for items you bought over the internet or through a mail-order catalog, don't pay the tax. If Idaho sales tax is not paid, you owe Idaho use tax. You owe another state's sales tax only if you pick up your items in that state.


  • Form 40, Idaho Individual Income Tax Return
  • Form 43, Idaho Part-Year Resident & Nonresident Income Tax Return
  • Form 850-U, Idaho Self-Assessed Use Tax Worksheet and Return
  • Form 1350-U, Idaho Self-Assessed Tobacco Tax Worksheet and Return

Laws and rules

  • Sales Tax Law Chapter 63:3621(a) and (j): Imposition and Rate of the Use Tax -- Exemptions
  • Sales Tax Law Chapter 63:3611: Retailer Engaged in Business in This State
  • Sales Tax Rule 72 Application and Payment of Use Tax [PDF]

Last updated March 16, 2017

This information is for general guidance only. Tax laws are complex and change regularly. We can't cover every circumstance in our guides. This guidance may not apply to your situation. Please contact us with any questions. We work to provide current and accurate information. But some information could have technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. If there's a conflict between current tax law and this information, current tax law will govern.