How do I purchase goods in Boulder for university usage without paying sales tax?

You must present the state exemption certificate and the city of Boulder license showing our exempt status at the time of purchase.

Is an entity purchasing goods or services from your org unit and asking you to complete a specialized W-9 form for CU?

The preference is to provide the standard W-9 signed by CU, but if the supplier has a specialized form to use, please follow the guidance from the PSC webpage and forward the form to for signature from CCO.

A vendor charged us sales tax on a purchase made with the procurement card and would not remove the tax even after I explained that we are tax exempt. What do I do?

The Procurement Card Handbook requires Cardholders to inform each merchant of the University’s status as a tax-exempt organization, which you did. If the vendor insists on charging sales tax even after being given documentation of our tax exempt status, in the Expense System Comments field explain that the vendor was notified of CU’s tax exempt status but still refused to remove the sales tax from the purchase. Include any other additional documentation (e.g. email exchange, phone call details, etc.) to support this occurrence. For future purchases, consider using a different vendor that honors our tax exempt status.

As a public institution of higher education of the State of Colorado, the University of Colorado (CU) is exempt from all federal excise taxes and from all Colorado State and local government sales and use taxes. In addition, CU is exempt from sales and use taxes levied by select other states – namely, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Texas. Vendors who need verification of CU’s tax-exempt status can view the Tax Exempt Status page. In many cases, printing out and supplying a one-page Tax Exempt Status sheet for your vendor will suffice.

If your vendor asks about a specialized tax-exempt certificate form, direct them first to the Related Links (grey box) located at the bottom portion of the above Tax Exempt Status page. Currently, there is a link to the Multi-jurisdiction Sales Tax Exemption Certificate (Texas & Colorado). Additional links to other specialized certificates will continue to be added.

Vendors who cannot use any of the certificates already published on the web should fax or email their own forms to the Finance and Procurement Help Desk: fax 303-837-2160 or The Help Desk will work with the Associate Vice President and University Controller to determine the appropriate form and obtain signatures, and then return the form to the vendor. (Note that many of these alternative certificates are specific to the situation and therefore require additional information about the purchase – the organizational unit or the vendor should provide this. Contact FinProHelp if you have additional questions: 303-837-2161.) (3/15)

Do we have to pay sales tax on items we buy to give away such as t-shirts or water bottles?

No, the university is not subject to sales tax on giveaway items. The Colorado Department of Revenue publishes a series of publications called FYI – For Your Information on several revenue areas, one of them sales tax. Publication #32 titled Gifts, Premiums and Prizes states, “Purchases of tangible personal property for use as gifts, premiums or prizes, for which no valuable consideration is received from the recipient, are subject to tax on the total purchase price; the purchaser is deemed to be the user-consumer of such property.” Since the University is considered the end user-consumer, it is treated the same as other purchases used for University business and is not subject to sales tax. You must use regular procurement methods for these items, not reimbursed personal purchases. (3/15)