State of  Use Tax The 2016 Tennessee Use Tax

Tennessee Use Tax Rate

7.00%

2016 Tennessee state use tax
The TN use tax only applies to certain purchases

The Tennessee use tax is a special excise tax assessed on property purchased for use in Tennessee in a jurisdiction where a lower (or no) sales tax was collected on the purchase.

The Tennessee use tax should be paid for items bought tax-free over the internet, bought while traveling, or transported into Tennessee from a state with a lower sales tax rate.

The Tennessee use tax rate is 7%, the same as the regular Tennessee sales tax. Including local taxes, the Tennessee use tax can be as high as 2.750%.

State of California Sales Tax What exactly is the Tennessee use tax?

The Tennessee Use Tax is a little-known tax that complements the regular Tennessee sales tax to ensure that purchases made outside of Tennessee are not exempt from the Tennessee sales tax.

Instead of taxing the sale of tangible property which takes place outside of Tennessee's jurisdiction (and thus cannot be taxed), the Tennessee Use Tax taxes the use or consumption of tangible property bought in other jurisdictions with a lower sales tax rate and brought back into Tennessee.

State of California Sales Tax How Do I Calculate How Much Use Tax I Owe?

If you made any purchases online or outside of Tennessee for which you paid less then Tennessee's 7% in sales tax, you are responsible for paying Tennessee a use tax on those purchases equal to 7% of the total purchase price less any sales taxes already paid to other jurisductions.

Example 1: If $100 worth of books is purchased from an online retailer and no sales tax is collected, the buyer would become liable to pay Tennessee a total of $100 × 7% = $7.00 in use tax.

Example 2: If a $10,000 boat is purchased tax-free and then brought into a jurisdiction with a 5% sales tax rate, the buyer would become liable to pay Tennessee a total of (7% - 5%) × $10,000 = $700.00 in use tax.

Example 3: If $1,000 worth of goods are purchased in a jurisdiction with a 8% sales tax rate, no use tax is owed to Tennessee because the foreign jurisdiction's sales tax rate is greater then or equal to Tennessee's 7% sales tax.

State of California Sales Tax How do I pay the Tennessee use tax?

In many states, an optional field for remitting use tax is included in the state income tax return. A use tax return form may also be available on the Tennessee Department of Revenue website for calculating and paying use tax.

How to pay the Tennessee Use Tax Above: Example use tax field on a state income tax return

Use tax is a self-assessed tax with a very low public awareness rate, and as a result states have a very hard time enforcing use tax compliance. Only about 1.6% of taxpayers pay use tax each year, remitting an average of $69 in use taxes on total purchases averaging $929. [1]

Government studies have shown that a large percentage of use tax payments are made as the result of an audit or under the threat of an audit. If unpaid use tax is discovered by a Tennessee tax audit, significant underpayment fees and interest may apply.

State of California Sales Tax References

  1. Minnesota Use Tax Study - http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/usetax.pdf
  2. Tennessee Department of Revenue - http://www.tennessee.gov/revenue/