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Last Updated: 9/13/2018

Taxable Purchases

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Taxable Purchases

Items you use to operate your business are taxable unless an exemption applies. Several services are also taxable. If you do not pay sales tax on a taxable purchase, then use tax is due. See below for specific examples.


General equipment, material, and supplies

Items you buy for your business are generally taxable, unless they are used only to produce a finished product sold at retail. Examples include:

  • camera cases or gadget cases
  • computer hardware and software, see Fact Sheet 134
  • display samples that are not for sale
  • furniture and fixtures
  • office equipment and supplies


State law identifies which services are taxable in Minnesota. These services are taxable unless they are used only to produce a finished product sold at retail. Examples include:

See a complete list of taxable services.

Travel expenses

As a photographer, your travel expenses are taxable, even if you bill them to the customer. (You may not purchase travel services exempt for resale.) Examples include:
  • lodging
  • meals and beverages
  • transportation (airfare, vehicle rental, and motor vehicle fuel)

Photography equipment and supplies

Equipment and supplies are taxable if they are used to produce images delivered electronically. Examples include:
  • camera equipment
  • accessories and attachments to production equipment
  • camera cards, batteries, and flashbulbs
  • editing equipment and software
  • lighting equipment
  • props

Use tax

If you buy equipment, supplies, or other taxable items for your business and the seller does not charge Minnesota sales tax, you owe use tax on the cost of the items. If your business is located in an area with a local tax, you may also owe local use tax.

Some common situations where you may owe use tax include:

  • You buy taxable items or services online without paying sales tax
  • You withdraw an item from inventory to use (instead of selling it), donate, or give away
  • You buy taxable items outside of Minnesota
  • You buy taxable items in another Minnesota city or county with a lower (or no) local sales tax

For more information, see Fact Sheet 146, Use Tax for Businesses and Fact Sheet 164, Local Sales and Use Taxes.

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