Agency: California State Board of Equalization
Contact Person/Department: Information Center
Tel. No.: (800) 400-7115
Web Site: www.boe.ca.gov
Public Schools (K-12) - See 1(b)(3) below
Private Schools (K-12) - See 1(b)(3) below
School Groups (e.g., clubs, bands, teams) - See 1(b)(2) below
PTAs - See 1(b)(1) below
PTOs - See 1(b)(1) below
Other parent groups (please identify) - See 1 (b)(1) below
Church Groups - See 1 (b)(4) below
Youth Sports League - See 1(b)(2) below
501 (c)(3) organizations - See 1(b)(5) below
501 (c)(6) organizations - Generally Not Exempt
Certain Qualified 501 (c) organizations - See 1(b)(2) below
Certain Sales by Veterans Groups - See 1(b)(6) below
Other - certain qualified 501(c) youth organizations, See 1(b)(2) below. Certain sales by veteran's groups. See 1(b)(6) below.
1a Are local sales and use taxes in your State applied to these groups in the same manner as State sales and use taxes are applied to these groups?
1b Please set forth any comments including a list of groups not listed above whose fundraising activities are exempt from sales and use taxation in your State.
California does not exempt any specific group from tax on their fundraising sales. However, certain groups are statutory consumers when they meet certain conditions. As a consumer, the organzation must pay tax on their purchases of tangible personal property, however their sales are not taxable. In general, the profit from the organization's sales must be used exclusively to further the organization's purpose. Groups that may qualify for consumer status include:
- Nonprofit Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) and equivalent organizations authorized by school authorities to perform the same type of service for public or private schools (Regulation 1597, subdivision (f)). Also, nonprofit parent cooperative nursery school associations (Section 6370).
- Certain nonprofit youth sports groups, youth groups affiliated with a qualified educational institution, and qualified youth organizations. Consumer status applies only to food products, nonalcoholic beverages, and tangible personal property created by members of the organization, which are sold on an irregular or intermittent basis (Regulation 1597, subdivision (e))
- Public or private schools when selling yearbooks to students (Publication 18 chapter 2).
- Religious organizations when selling meals and food products at social gatherings. The purpose of furnishing the meals and food products must be to raise funds for the organization (Publication 18 chapter 6)
- Certain nonprofit organizations whose primary purposes are to provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities or children with severe emotional disturbances. The items sold must be a handcrafted or artistic nature and designed or made by the individuals the organization provides services for, the sales price of each item must be no more than $20, and the sales must be made on an irregular or intermittent basis (Regulation 1597, subdivision (d)).
- Nonprofit veteran's groups when selling American flags and sales of "Buddy Poppies" by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (Publication 18, chapter 2) Also, certain nonprofit organizations when selling American prisoner of war bracelets (Regulation 1597, subdivision (c)).
Candies and Confections
Cookies and Other Baked Goods- Generally Exempt
Cheese Products- Generally Exempt
Meat Products- Generally Exempt
Nuts, popcorn and other snack food- Generally Exempt
Other edible items (please identify)See 2(b)(1) below
Magazine subscriptionsSee 2(b)(2) below
Paper products (e.g., calendars, cards stationery, books, gift wrap)- Generally Not Exempt
Decorative tins, baskets, other containers- Generally Not Exempt
Decorative novelties (mugs, ornaments)- Generally Not Exempt
Sundry items (please specify item below)See 2(b)(3)
Clothing and accessories- Generally Not Exempt
Jewelry- Generally Not Exempt
Plant and seedsSee 2(b)(4) below
Other hard good items- Generally Not Exempt
2a Are local sales and use taxes in your State applied to these products in the same manner as State sales and use taxes are applied to these products?
- Sales of cold food products intended for human consumption are generally not subject to tax (Publication 18, Chapter 6). Also, as noted in 1(b), qualified youth organizations are consumers of food products and nonalcoholic beverages which are sold on an irregular or intermittent basis.
- The sale of magazines is generally taxable. However, tax does not apply to the sale of magazines which are published from four to 60 times a year, sold by subscription, and delivered by mail or common carrier (Publication 18, Chapter 5).
- Sales and uses of a "Buddy Poppy" or any other symbolic, impermanent lapel pin that memorializes United States military veterans killed in foreign wars are exempt (See 1(b)(6) above) Also, medical identification tags sold by qualifying organizations (Publication 18, Chapter 1)
- The sale of seeds is generally not subject to tax if the seeds or the plants grown from them are used as food. The sales of plants are generally not taxable if the plants produce food items that people eat, such as vegetables, fruit, berries and nuts (Regulation 1588, subdivision (a))
See 1 (b) and 2 (b) and linked regulations and publications
See 1 (b) and linked regulations and publications
See 2 (b) and linked regulations and publications
The person who is considered the retailer of the merchandise is responsible for reporting tax. Whether a qualified nonprofit organization is the retailer of the property they sell, or is acting as the agent of the fundraising company, depends on how the sale is conducted. In general, the nonprofit organization is presumed to be buying and selling on its own account if all of the following factors are present:
As the retailer, the organization would be responsible for obtaining a seller's permit and paying the sales tax on the selling price to the end consumer. However, when a group is buying and selling on its own account and is the consumer based on a specific statute, then the supplier is the retailer and tax is due on the selling price to the fundraising group.
If the organization merely takes orders for the merchandise and then submits the orders to a fund raising company for later delivery to the purchaser, the Board considers the fundraising company to be the retailer. The fundraising company would be responsible for reporting tax on the retail selling price of the merchandise.
If the group is buying and selling on its own behalf, and it is deemed a consumer under a specific statute, the measure of tax is the price paid by the fundraising group to the supplier. Otherwise, the measure of tax is the price paid by the ultimate consumer.
The information provided in this survey is current as of September 2005. However, changes in the law or regulations may have occurred since that time. If there is a conflict between the information in this survey and the California Sales and Use Tax Law, the law is controlling.
In addition, the responses to this survey are intended to provide general information
only. For your protection, it is best to get tax advice in writing. You may be relieved of
tax, penalty, or interest charges that are due on a transaction if the Board determines
that it gave you inaccurate written advice regarding the transaction and that you
reasonably relied on that advice in failing to pay the proper amount of tax. For this
relief to apply, a request for advice must be in writing, identify the taxpayer to
whom the advice applies, and fully describe the facts and circumstances of the
To obtain the most current information on a sales and use tax issue visit the Board's website at www.boe.ca.gov or telephone the Board's Information Center at 1-800-400-7115
Last Update: September 2005