Sales and Use Tax Exemption Policy

The College of William and Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), as state agencies, do not pay state sales and use tax with certain exceptions. Therefore, all purchases made on behalf of William & Mary or VIMS must be made using our tax-exempt certificate 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.


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 William & Mary or VIMS by an employee with their personal funds, who is later reimbursed by the school, are not exempt from 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 College or VIMS funds.

Student and other organizations that are affiliated with William & Mary or VIMS and derive their operating funds from sources other than William & Mary or VIMS are not covered by our tax exemption. Therefore, they may not use the William & Mary or VIMS sales tax exemption for items they purchase. However, they may qualify for their own sales tax exemption depending on the type of organization it is.


Our sales tax exemption does NOT apply to the following:

  • Occupancy taxes on hotel/motel lodging.
  • Highway use taxes on the purchase, lease or rental of motor vehicles.
  • State sales taxes levied on electricity.
  • Out-of-State purchases (tax exemption only applies in the State of Virginia, with some exceptions).
  • If the department is paying from Agency funds (indexes that start with an 8) or personal funds.

Please contact your Accounts Payable Coordinator or Cindi L. Fellows for further guidance.

Exempt Certificate Requests:

All tax questions and requests for certificates of tax exemption must be sent to William & Mary’s ARMICS & Tax Compliance Officer, Cindi L. Fellows.  Please include the vendor name and address with your request.  Commonly used certificates of tax exemption are available in Box and may be found by clicking on the link below.  Before requesting a tax exempt form, please be sure to check Box to see if a form is already available online.

As an institution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, William & Mary qualifies for retail sales and use tax exemption.  Purchases of prepared foods, catering and related services provided in connection with the sale of food may qualify for tax exemption if the purchase meets the criteria outlined in Financial Operations' Sales & Use Tax Update

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.

Federal Tax ID numbers for William & Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science may be found on the Tax Office web page.