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Virginia Sales and Use Tax Exemptions

The William & Mary (W&M) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), as public institutions of the Commonwealth of Virginia, qualify for the Virginia retail sales and use tax exemption on purchases of tangible personal property for the use or consumption by W&M and VIMS (with certain exceptions). Therefore, all purchases made on behalf of W&M or VIMS must be made using a Commonwealth of Virginia Sales and Use Tax Certificate of Exemption (Form ST-12), regardless of the method of payment or institutional funds used. It is the responsibility of the individual initiating the purchase to alert the vendor to our tax-exempt status at the time of purchase, otherwise sales tax may be charged and the vendor is not required to provide a refund after the sale has occurred.


Effective April 22, 2016, the Commonwealth of Virginia now allows W&M and VIMS a sales and use tax exemption on purchases of prepared foods, catering and related services provided in connection with the sale of food. In order to qualify for an exemption the purchases must meet certain criteria as outlined in Financial Operations' Sales & Use Tax Update.

Our Virginia sales and use tax exemption does not apply to the following:
  • Occupancy taxes on hotel/motel lodging.
  • State sales taxes levied on electricity.
  • If the department is paying from Agency funds (indexes that start with an 8) or personal funds.
  • If the purchase is being made by an affiliated foundation or association.
Out-of-State Purchases

W&M has obtained sales and use tax exemptions in other states. Further information on out-of-state tax exemptions can be found under the Out-of-State Sales Tax Exemptions section. 

Virginia Certificate of Exemption Requests

Our sales and use tax exemption applies to all institutional funds.  These funds include state appropriations, tuition and fees, sponsored research funds, local funds and gifts.  The tax exemption applies regardless of the method of payment whether by check, small purchase charge card, or electronic payment.

Purchases made for W&M and VIMS by an employee with their personal funds, who is later reimbursed, do not qualify for the exemption and will be charged sales tax.  The sales tax on purchases made by employees will not be reimbursed, even if the purchase would have been exempt if paid with direct W&M or VIMS funds.

To request the Commonwealth of Virginia Sales and Use Tax Certificate, please click here:

William and Mary ST-12


Orders placed with William & Mary Catering (Sodexo) must be reviewed to determine exempt qualification.  Please complete the following Tribe Response form to request a tax exempt certificate for your event.

Sales Tax- Frequently Asked Questions (doc)