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Index > Operations Policies > Sales Tax Exemption Policy

Sales Tax Exemption Policy


The purpose of this policy is to provide departments, supervisors, and employees of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), with specific policies and procedures regarding sales tax exemption.


The policy applies to all faculty, staff, students and others who incur expenses while engaged in RISD business.

Policy Statement

RISD is a non-profit institution and a charitable tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. RISD has been granted an exemption from payment of state sales tax on the goods and services it purchases in the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.


Payments made through purchasing or other RISD offices will, as a general matter, be entitled to the sales tax exemption.

Sales and Meals Tax

RISD is exempt from state sales and meals tax for goods and services purchased in or shipped to RI, MA, and NY. To avoid paying sales or meals tax when purchasing goods with a PCard or Travel & Entertainment (T&E) Card, cardholders must:

  1. Inform the vendor at the time of purchase that the purchase is for RISD business and is exempt from state sales tax.
  2. Provide the vendor with RISD’s tax exempt number. (RI: 66; MA: 746199040; NY: EX 172126).
  3. Provide vendor a copy of the Certificate of Exemption (available under the Procurement and Accounts Payable forms on
  4. If sales or meals tax is billed to the cardholder's account, cardholders/departments can ask the vendor to remove the tax; however, note that it is at the vendor’s discretion to honor or reject RISD’s sales tax exemption.

If you have questions about the applicability of the sales tax exemption, or would like to establish a tax-exempt relationship with a specific vendor, please contact Procurement.

As a general matter, expenses incurred for transportation (plane, rail, etc.) and hotel expenses are not exempt from sales tax. Travel expenses incurred by RISD employees for meals while traveling are also subject to sales tax.

Sales tax incurred with personal funds for RISD business travel and for business meals will be reimbursed. Sales tax incurred with personal funds when the purchase was made in or shipped to RI, MA, or NY will not be reimbursed. Requests for sales tax reimbursements for business purchases made in or shipped to other states will be reimbursed up to $20.

Non-compliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action. Actions that may be taken include, but are not limited to:

  • reduction of purchasing card limits
  • termination of purchasing card privileges temporarily or permanently
  • removal of travel privileges temporarily or permanently, and/or
  • further disciplinary action up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment, in accordance with applicable disciplinary procedures


Procedures and definitions for this policy can be found on the Accounts Payable page of

Additional notes

This policy pertains to business expenses supported by any source of RISD funds including, but not limited to general operating budgets, designated funds, restricted gifts, endowment income, sponsored agreements and student organizations. Where sponsor, agency, or other regulations are more restrictive than prescribed by this policy, the sponsor, agency, or other regulations will apply.

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A LIVING DOCUMENT. This document discusses policies/procedures meant to establish an operational reference point. As data is gathered and risks assessed, the policies/processes on this document will be revised as needed and any and all updates will be communicated to the RISD community. We understand that no policy can account for every single scenario we may encounter. If a situation arises were an exception to the policies/procedures outlined on this manual is required, a letter of authorization from the Senior Vice President Finance & Administration or a delegate will be required.

Revision history

This policy was created on: 7/20/2013

This policy was last reviewed/modified on: 10/5/2021

This policy was approved as of: 10/5/2021

Next scheduled review: As needed.


Issuing Office

Controller’s Office

Responsible Officer

Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration

Individuals/offices required for review and changes

Director of Procurement Services

Credit Card Services and Reimbursement Administrator