California Sales Tax Exemption
Education on helping your
organization achieve sales tax exemption.
California Sales Tax Exemption for a Nonprofit
In some states, your organization is not automatically exempt from state sales tax, even
after obtaining 501(c)(3) recognition from the IRS. You must file a separate application in
order to receive state sales tax exemption.
If your organization makes taxable sales or purchases, obtaining California sales
tax exemption will allow your nonprofit to allocate more funds towards pursuing its mission.
However, learning state requirements, and preparing exemption applications correctly can
take hours of staff and volunteer time.
Do I need to file a separate application to become exempt from California sales
It is a misconception that organizations that are exempt from federal income tax are
also exempt from state taxes including sales tax. While each state varies, you
typically must submit an application for sales tax exemption with the state once you receive
your 501(c) determination letter.
How long does it take to become exempt from California sales tax?
You should budget 1-2 months for the state to process your application. If the application
has any deficiencies, the state will return it unapproved, which creates costly delays.