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How can purchases for food or supplies be exempt from sales tax?

For purchases of foods or supplies to be exempt from sales tax, payment must be made with either an NC State check, a PCard, or a charge account.

Some stores require forms to be completed while others will simply need the NC State tax-exempt number. Make sure that to contact the grocery or supply store in advance to understand their procedures.

If, after presenting the sales tax exempt letter and your PCard (with the tax-exempt number printed on the card), you are still charged sales tax, the department must try to obtain a refund if at all possible. If the merchant refuses to provide a refund, please contact our Chief Tax Accountant, Dwaine Cook, and provide a copy of the receipt, the names of the persons you presented the sales tax-exempt number, and any other pertinent information related to the purchase (such as project and account paid from). Another attempt will be made to obtain a refund for the sales tax paid. If the refund request is approved, funds will be distributed to the proper account.

Often times, merchants will not refund the University for tax paid on a prior item. The exemption only applies to sales tax on food purchases.

NC State is not exempt from the prepared food and beverage taxes administered by local counties and municipalities. For example, Wake County imposes a 1% tax on prepared food and beverages. This tax is administered by the county and is not subject to the exemption.


Reimbursements to employees are not exempt from sales tax!

Updated on November 30, 2022

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