NY Sales Tax 101 Shipping States

Is Shipping Taxable in New York?

by Mark Faggiano

New York Shipping Taxability
Last updated July 14, 2017

Sales tax can be a mystery for eCommerce sellers, especially because each state has their own set of guidelines for how they will apply it. When you get down to the nitpicky stuff, like whether you should charge sales tax on shipping, it becomes that much more confusing. In this article, we will look at how New York handles that particular question.

Is shipping taxable in New York?

New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance has this to say:

New York Shipping Post 3 New York Shipping Post 2 New York Sales tax on shipping

It looks like you will pay sales tax on shipping in New York. Thankfully, their Department of Taxation and Finance gives a lot of great examples to make it pretty simple. It boils down to this, if the items that you are shipping are taxable, then the shipping and handling charges are taxable.

If you have taxable and non-taxable items like a table and food items and there is only one charge for shipping and handling, then that charge is taxable. If there are two charges and the fee is fairly allocated between the shipping for the taxable table and the shipping for the non-taxable food, then the shipping charge for the non-taxable food is not taxable.

If your customer separately contracts for the delivery of the items that they ordered for you with a common carrier, then that is not taxable because it is only for transportation.

So in conclusion:

You will most likely charge sales tax on shipping and handling in New York.

If you are selling an item that is taxable and you ship it, the shipping and handling is taxable. The only way it ISN’T taxable is:

  1. You are shipping non-taxable items like grocery food.
  2. There are two separate charges for shipping, if you are shipping both taxable and non-taxable items. Each shipping fee must be balanced for the items shipped.

If a customer separately contracts for the delivery of the items ordered with a common carrier, then that bill is not taxable as it is only for transportation.

Other than that, you are going to have to pay sales tax on shipping and handling.

Still have questions about sales tax on shipping in New York? Start the conversation in the comments.

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  • bradwilliam777

    you have good information about shipping in new york. I am very impressed
    with your services.

  • Jane Stolyarova

    What if you’re shipping a state tax exempt item, but still have to charge the county tax? For example, if I’m shipping a piece of clothing that is exempt from the state tax because it’s under $110, but it’s getting shipped to a county that has a 4% tax. Does the shipping get taxed at the county rate (4%) or the state + county rate (8%)?

    I’ve been looking at a lot of your articles, and you have a lot of very useful information in easily understandable formats. Great stuff!

    • Hi Jane,

      Thanks for the compliment! In our understanding if the item is non-taxable in the state it’s also non-taxable in the locality where you are sending it to, therefore you wouldn’t have to charge sales tax on shipping charges. That said, the problem with sales tax is that every state is different so I might recommend calling the NY Department of Revenue just to make sure. I hope this helps!

      • Thanks, I probably will have to do that, since it seems to be unclear.

        Some items are taxable in the locality only, even if they are exempt in the state. Food is tax exempt all across the board, but certain clothing under $110 is state exempt but not locality exempt. Here is the publication: http://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/publications/sales/pub718c.pdf

  • We run into clothing in New York a lot. It is very tricky. I do recommend calling the NY Department of Taxation to figure out your situation.

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  • Jessica Terry Bacon

    Ok so I’m basked in NY and plan to sell on Etsy, so do I have to tax shipping on all orders or just orders that are sold to people who reside in NY?

  • bposso00

    So I had to ship my motorcycle from San Francisco to New York. I booked the shipment myself using Uship, how would I put this expense into my tax forms?

    • Hi there,

      This article is concerning retailers who charge sales tax to buyers .If you paid for the shipment yourself, you wouldn’t need to charge sales tax. I hope this helps!

  • Kevin Ottley

    Do you have any insight into the rules around shipping taxes and the NY clothing rule? I can understand if the clothing item is fully tax exempt based on the buyer’s location then shipping ought not to be taxed. But what if the buyer’s location demands that local taxes be charged on that item(s)? Should those taxes be applied to shipping or should all taxes i.e. the state tax as well? And how would you reconcile carts that have both non (or partially) taxable items and fully taxable items with respect to shipping tax?

  • Channah Tzivia

    What if, through a promotion or using store loyalty points, your entire order comes out to $0? So while normally you have taxable items in your cart, there is now zero balance, plus the shipping charge. Can the shipping on a zero order still be taxed?

  • Christian Western

    ok. selling t-shirts online. Home is in NY products come from cali. Do I pay taxes on the shipping? If someone buys from NY do I collect tax on shipping? Please help.

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