Schools

This guide explains how Idaho sales tax laws apply to schools like yours. It includes how Idaho taxes sales and purchases by schools. The guide also covers donations you receive, requirements for keeping records, and filing returns.

Schools exemption

A school that Idaho law defines as an educational institution can buy everything exempt from sales tax. Educational institutions are non-profit, offering a diversified course of study in the usual branches of learning. Their income is devoted only to education and they’re one of the following:

  • Nonprofit colleges and universities (both public and private)
  • Nonprofit primary and secondary schools (both public and private)
  • Idaho public charter schools
  • The Idaho Digital Learning Academy

non-Idaho college, university, primary or secondary school also can buy everything exempt if it’s a qualifying educational institution.

Can’t buy exempt

For this exemption, educational institution does not include:

  • Schools that primarily teach:
    • Business
    • Dancing
    • Dramatics
    • Music
    • Cosmetology
    • Writing
    • Gymnastics
    • Exercise
    • Other special skills
  • Parent-teacher associations, parent groups, alumni and other auxiliary groups whose purpose is to help an exempt school
  • For-profit schools, colleges and universities, even when offering a full and diverse curriculum

Keeping Records

Schools must keep the same records as any retailer. Those requirements are detailed below.

You must keep records of all sales by your school. Your records must show that you properly collected, reported and paid or forwarded taxes to Idaho.

Records you must keep

  • Normal books of account
  • Documents that support entries in the books of account, such as
    • Bills
    • Receipts
    • Invoices
    • Cash register tapes
    • Credit invoices or memos
    • Job or work orders
    • Contracts
    • All schedules or working papers used to prepare your tax returns
  • Copies of sales tax resale or exemption certificates (e.g., Form ST-101) given to you when you sell items tax exempt to customers or rent out facilities to them.
    Note: Keep resale or exemption certificates for as long you do business with that customer, plus four years. We could bill you for tax due if you don’t have completed exemption certificates for buyers you sell (or rent) tax exempt to.
  • Tax returns
  • Tax payments

What the records must show

  • Gross receipts from sales and services made in Idaho, even sales that you might consider exempt from tax. If you deliver the product or service somewhere other than your place of business, you also must keep records that prove where delivery took place.
  • The identity of customers claiming an exemption, the type of exemption, and what you sold them tax exempt.
  • All deductions claimed in filing returns.
  • The total purchase price of anything you bought for sale, rental, lease or your own use.
  • The amount of sales tax collected or paid.

You must keep all Idaho sales and use tax records and exemption certificates for at least four years.