Matthew Deleget, Visual Artist Information Hotline
Please note: monetary amounts and sales tax rates are listed in this article at their 2000 levels. As of 2011, New York City's total Sales and Use tax rate is 8.875 percent.
As an artist conducting business in New York State, you are required
by law to collect state and local sales taxes on any artwork you sell
or services you provide in New York State. If you sell your artwork solely
through a gallery, the collection and payment of sales tax becomes the
gallery’s responsibility. However, if you sell artwork independently from
your studio, through art fairs, or other venues, you are responsible for
collecting, reporting, and paying sales tax to New York State (even if
you fail to collect it from your customers).
Sales Tax Registration
Before you make any taxable sales, you must first register with the New
York State Department of Taxation and Finance. To register you must complete
a DTF-17: Application for Registration as a Sales Tax Vendor. The two-page
application is quick and easy to complete, and there is no fee to register.
See the Additional Assistance section below to find out how to acquire
On the application you will need to determine for which of the three
types of Certificates of Authority you are applying: Regular, Show/Entertainment,
or Temporary. The type of certificate you need depends on where you sell
your work. If you sell from a permanent physical location (i.e., your
studio), you should apply for the Regular. If you do not have a permanent
physical location and sell strictly at craft fairs, street festivals,
or other show venues, you should apply for the Show/Entertainment. If
you sell from both a permanent location and at craft fairs, etc., you
should apply for the Regular. If you plan to sell your work during no
more than two consecutive quarterly periods in any 12-month period (like
a Christmas tree vendor), you should apply for the Temporary. Lastly,
if you sell work from more than one permanent location within New York
State (i.e., two studios at two different locations), you must submit
information for each location by completing a DTF-17-ATT: Schedule of
When you complete your application, mail it to the following address:
NYS Tax Department, Sales Tax Registration Unit, W A Harriman Campus,
Albany, NY 12227-0155. The application takes about four weeks to process
and you will be issued a Certificate of Authority. You cannot legally
make sales until you receive this certificate.
Calculating the Sales Tax Rate
The state sales tax rate in New York is 4%. Local sales tax rates of
counties and cities within New York State vary between 0% and 4¼%. When
calculating the appropriate sales tax rate, you need to add the state
and local tax rates together. For example, the local sales tax in New
York City is 4¼%, which when added to the state sales tax rate of 4% totals
8¼%. The total sales tax rate you collect on each sale depends upon the
jurisdiction within New York State where the sale is made. If you sell
all of your artwork from one location (i.e., your studio in Brooklyn),
the combined total sales tax rate you would charge is 8¼% on all sales
to collectors within New York State.
Sales Outside of New York State
If you ship artwork to collectors outside of New York State, there is
no New York State tax liability, regardless of where you made the sale.
Make sure that your invoices clearly show the place of delivery. You should
also keep any other documentation of the shipment.
Tips for Sales Invoices
On each sales record issued to your customers, the dollar amount of taxable
sales and the amount of sales tax charged must be stated. Sales records
must also be kept for at least three years after the due date of the return.
Returns and Reporting Procedures
You must file a return summarizing your business activities every three
months, even if you do not have any taxable sales during the period. When
you first register as a vendor, you will automatically be classified as
a quarterly filer. Depending on the amount of your taxable sales, you
may be required later to file monthly (when making more than $300,000
in taxable sales) or be allowed to file annually (when making less than
$3,000 total tax due for the 12-month period). To file a return, you will
need to fill out a ST-100—New York State and Local Quarterly Sales and
Use Tax Return. This form will be automatically mailed to you each quarter.
If you do not receive one, call the New York State Tax Department, Taxpayer
Tax Reporting by Jurisdiction
There are more than 80 separate jurisdictions (e.g., cities and counties)
in New York State that impose local sales tax. You must report your taxable
sales broken down by jurisdiction, so you will need to keep organized
records. If you consistently file returns reporting only sales in a single
jurisdiction, you will be sent a ST-102, a simplified, one-page return.
All state and local sales taxes are paid to the same state agency, the
New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, which in turn redistributes
them to each jurisdiction.
Due Dates for Quarterly Filing
September 20 for the period of June 1—August 31
December 20 for the period of September 1— November 30
March 20 for the period of December 1—February 28 (29)
June 20 for the period of March 1—May 31
Penalties and Late Filing Charges
If you file your return late or completely fail to file a return, you
may be subject to civil penalties and interest on the outstanding returns.
The minimum penalty for failure to file a return on time is $50.
Beware! The following acts are felonies: failure to collect sales tax
with the intent to defraud the state of $10,000 or more, and failure to
collect sales tax with the intent to defraud the state through a common
scheme of ten or more failures to collect tax on sales of $100 or more
Publications and Forms You’ll Need
Publication 750—A Guide to Sales Tax in New York State (Read it carefully!
It includes a complete description of sales tax obligations, application
form, and instructions.)
DTF-17—Application for Registration as a Sales Tax Vendor
DTF-17-I—Instructions for Application for Registration as a Sales Tax
DTF-17-ATT—Schedule of Business Locations (You only need to fill this
form out if you sell work from more than one location.)
ST-100—New York State and Local Quarterly Sales and Use Tax Return
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance offers free help
to anyone with questions:
Telephone—Telephone assistance is available from 8:30 am to 4:25 pm EST,
Monday through Friday. For general information, call (800) 225-5829. For
business tax information and forms, call the Business Tax Information
Center at (800) 972-1233. To order forms and publications, call (800)
462-8100. For artists with hearing and speech impairments, call (800)
Fax—Fax-on-Demand forms are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,
by calling (800) 748-3676.
Web—Visit their Web site for further information at www.tax.state.ny.us.
Mail—Write for further information to NYS Tax Department, Taxpayer Assistance
Bureau, Taxpayer Correspondence, W A Harriman Campus, Albany, NY 12227.
Other Possible Taxes
If you do business in New York State, you may also be subject to other
taxes. If you incorporate your business, you are responsible for paying
a Corporation Franchise Tax. If you hire studio assistants, you are required
to withhold New York State Income Tax. Lastly, if you base your business
in New York City and make more than $25,000 annually in total gross income
(prior to any deductions for cost of goods or services sold), you are
also subject to an Unincorporated Business Tax.
For additional information about sales tax issues in New York State,
please contact NYFA Source at our toll-free
number (800) 232-2789, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
(The preceding information has been excerpted and summarized from the
New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s Publication 750: A
Guide to Sales Tax in New York State. The information provided by the
Hotline serves only as an overview of this publication. The Hotline requests
that you obtain a copy of the publication and read it thoroughly to understand
every issue that could potentially affect your personal situation.)
Special Thanks to the Hotline Consortium
A project of the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Visual Artist
Information Hotline is made possible through the generous support of the
Hotline’s Consortium: Albert A. List Foundation; Alice Baber Art Fund;
Basil H. Alkazzi; Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Elizabeth
Foundation for the Arts; Fleishhacker Foundation; Virginia Gilder; Independence
Community Foundation; Joan Mitchell Foundation; Judith Rothschild Foundation;
Lannan Foundation; Lily Auchincloss Foundation; Liman Foundation; Marie
Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Pew Fellowships
in the Arts; Pollock-Krasner Foundation; and the Richard A. Florsheim