Sales Schools Make

Schools that make taxable sales are retailers. They must get an Idaho seller’s permit, collect sales tax on taxable sales, and forward the tax to the Tax Commission.


You must collect sales tax on sales you make at concession stands. You must separately list the amount of tax on the receipt. This is true even if you want whole-dollar transaction amounts.

Provide a receipt

Sometimes schools with high-volume or even-dollar sales don’t automatically give receipts. But you must give your customers a receipt if they ask for it. A receipt showing the amount of tax you charged is the only proof they have to show they properly paid sales tax.


As a school, you must collect sales tax on admission charges to such events as sporting events, games, dances, plays, carnivals, and reunions.

Suggested donation

  • If you suggest a price for an admission, even if you call it a donation, you must collect sales tax.
  • If you don’t set or suggest a price (or donation amount) and admission is allowed, don’t collect sales tax.

School fundraiser auctions

A bidder typically will pay more than an item is worth at a fundraiser so they can give a cash donation. If you follow the right procedures, you won’t have to charge tax on this donation amount.

An item sold at a fundraiser auction can be taxed on the fair market value of the item. Fair market value is what an informed and reasonable buyer would expect to pay. There are several ways to determine fair market value:

  • Price paid as recorded on a printed receipt
  • Current price advertised by a major retailer
  • Value as appraised by an expert
  • Replacement cost

If you don’t properly document the fair market value, you could be held responsible for sales tax on the full bid amount. Keep clear and complete records showing what you sold, how much you sold it for, the amount donated, and the amount of tax charged.

Not everything is taxable. Don’t tax auctioned services (e.g., washing a car, mowing a lawn).

School fundraisers (charitable gaming, e.g., raffles, bingo)

The Idaho Lottery Commission regulates games of chance, including raffles and bingo. Check with the Idaho Lottery Commission website to ensure you meet the requirements, such as license applications, fees, background checks and confirming that a certain percentage of proceeds goes to charitable causes.

Don’t charge sales tax on sales of raffle tickets. Raffles are games of chance; there’s no guaranteed prize.

School carnivals

Carnivals include a variety of activities and events. Not all items and activities are taxable.

Taxable items include sales of merchandise and games with guaranteed prizes.

  • Merchandise examples: student-designed T-shirts, calendars, school souvenirs, recipe books, baked goods, art and craft items, concessions
  • Games with guaranteed prizes examples: fishing booth, wheel of fortune, pick-a-duck

Nontaxable items include sales of services and games of chance.

  • Service examples: face painting, hair coloring, group art activities (e.g., murals, graffiti)
  • Game of chance examples: cakewalk, musical chairs, dunk tank, darts, toss (e.g., water balloon, dime, ring), bingo, guess how many items in jar, casino games

Admission to a charitable event

A qualified nonprofit school doesn’t have to collect tax on sales of admissions to a charitable event when all the following are true:

  • The event isn’t primarily recreational or commercial
  • Any entertainment value is minimal compared with the price of admission
  • The event promoter pays tax on all taxable goods or services used during the event

Renting out facilities

You must collect tax when you rent out your school facilities for recreational or entertainment uses.

Exempt use – resale

You don’t have to charge tax to anyone paying to use your school facility for recreation or entertainment if they’ll charge admission to their event. Since this is a purchase for resale, they must provide you with a properly completed pdf Form ST-101 – Sales Tax Resale or Exemption Certificate. They’ll collect sales tax on their admission charges and forward that tax to us.

Exempt use – educational purposes

You shouldn’t collect tax if you rent out your school facilities to anyone who will use it for an educational purpose, even if they’ll charge admission.

Read our Recreation and Admissions guide for more information on recreational and educational uses.

Summary of taxable and nontaxable sales

These aren’t complete lists, but here are examples of the sales on which you should and shouldn’t charge tax.

Taxable sales by schools

You should charge tax on these sales:

  • Activity tickets or cards
  • Admission fees – athletic events, dances, plays, assemblies, movies, carnivals. This includes any additional fees (e.g., cover charges, minimum charges, reserved seats)
  • Assets – buses and surplus equipment
  • Athletic department sales – tennis balls, bats, knee pads
  • Band equipment and uniforms
  • Book club and book fair sales
  • Bookstore sales
  • Class rings
  • Clothing sales and rentals – jackets, hats, T-shirts, uniforms, shorts, physical education wear, school spirit wear
  • Computer training workbooks
  • Concession sales
  • Dorm room rentals for short durations. (Other room taxes may apply; see Hotels, Motels and Short-Term Rentals)
  • Textbooks and workbooks
  • Faculty room coffee and soda pop
  • Fund-raiser sales of taxable goods and services
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Meals – all sales except those that the federal school lunch program reimburses
  • Pictures
  • Program sales at games
  • Renting school facilities to anyone who will use them for recreational purposes (e.g., a gym or auditorium)
  • School store sales
  • School supplies – pens, papers, art supplies, book covers
  • Vending machine sales
  • Yearbooks

Nontaxable sales by schools

You shouldn’t charge tax on these sales:

  • Advertising space in annuals, athletic or performing arts programs
  • Book replacement fees
  • Breakage fees – lab shop
  • Car washes
  • Discount cards
  • Dues – class or club dues
  • Meals to students that the federal school lunch program pays for
  • Library fines
  • Raffle tickets
  • Rental of school facilities for recreational purposes when admission will be charged
    Note: The renter must provide you with an exemption certificate (Form ST-101), collect sales tax on the admission charge, and forward the tax to us.
  • Rental of school facilities for nonrecreational purposes, such as educational or religious programs
  • Sales totaling 11 cents or less
  • Shared income from events or sales when another person or group, such as a parent-teacher association, collects and pays the tax
  • Towel laundry service
  • Tuition
  • Vending machine commissions, if the vending machine operator pays tax on the sales through the machine