Consumer's Use Tax
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CONSUMER’S USE TAX
information for businesses and individuals

Do you purchase items from out of state or from catalogs, magazines, vendors who advertise on television or radio, or through the Internet? Will those items be used in Iowa? Would they be subject to Iowa sales tax if purchased in Iowa?

Are you paying sales tax on those purchases? If not, you owe Iowa tax on the purchase price.

If you purchase tangible property for use in Iowa from a business located outside of Iowa and the seller does not charge you Iowa sales tax on the purchase, you owe a 5% tax known as the consumer’s use tax on the price of the purchase.

This tax was established in 1937, three years after the sales tax was enacted, to create a fair playing field for Iowa businesses. The rate of the consumer's use tax is always equal to the state sales tax rate.

Individuals:

To pay your consumer's use tax, send a check payable to “Treasurer State of Iowa” to the Iowa Department of Revenue, PO Box 10412, Des Moines IA 50306-0412 with a note explaining that it is for consumer’s use tax. Include a list of the items purchased and their prices. Keep copies for your records. Do not use the consumer's use tax return, which is for businesses that make these types of purchases on a regular basis.

Businesses:

If you make these types of purchases on a regular basis, you should register with our department to receive and file consumer's use tax returns. If this type of purchase is not typical for your business, you can file and pay the tax as outlined for individuals above.

For more information, see our Consumer's Use Tax publication.