Retail Sales and Use Tax Exemptions for Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit Exemption Requirements

To qualify for an exemption, a nonprofit organization must meet all of the following requirements: 

  • The organization must be exempt from federal income taxation under Sections 501(c) (3), 501(c) (4) or 501(c) (19). If the organization has annual gross receipts less than $5,000, and is organized for one of the purposes set in Internal Revenue Code 501(c) (3) or 501(c) (4), it must submit a mission statement. For more information, visit the IRS website at or you may contact them at 877.829.5500.
  • Proof that the organization is in compliance with Virginia's law relating to organizations that solicit contributions in Virginia. For additional questions, contact the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) at 804.786.1343 or visit their web page (see Virginia Solicitation of Contributions Law for details). 
  • The annual administrative costs of the organization, including salaries and fundraising, must not exceed 40% of its annual gross revenue.
  • An organization with gross annual revenue of at least $750,000 in the previous year must provide a financial review performed by an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Note: Virginia Tax may require an organization with gross annual revenue of at least $1.5 million in the previous year to provide a financial audit performed by an independent CPA in lieu of a financial review.
  • The organization must provide an estimate of the total amount of tangible personal property purchased in Virginia for the preceding year and the current year. Do not include purchases of any tangible personal property that will be furnished to a contractor performing construction, installation, repair or any other service with respect to real property.
  • If the organization is required to file a federal Form 990, 990EZ, 990PF, or 990N with the IRS, a copy must be provided to Virginia Tax. If the organization is not required to file, the names and address of two members of the organization's Board of Directors must be provided along with the location of the financial records. Note: All financial records must be available for inspection.

Reference: Virginia Code 58.1-609.11

Apply for a Retail Sales and Use Tax Exemption

Nonprofit Online is a quick, efficient, and secure way for you to apply for and print your sales and use tax certificate. You can access Nonprofit Online to edit certain registration information and renew your expired or expiring exemption, as well as reprint lost certificates without having to contact us. You may also send secure email to us through a protected environment.

This service is available to anyone requesting a sales and use tax exemption for a nonprofit organization or a nonprofit church. You will be required to create a user ID and password in order to register your organization.

To apply or to search for a nonprofit organization, go to Nonprofit Online

Unable to Apply Online?

Organizations that are unable to apply online can download Form NP-1 Application and Instructions or contact the Nonprofit Exemption Team at 804.371.4023 to request an application. Completed applications should be sent to Virginia Tax, Nonprofit Exemption Unit, P. O. Box 715, Richmond, Virginia 23218-0715, or faxed to 804.786.2645.

Requirements for Nonprofit Churches

Nonprofit churches have 2 options to request a retail sales and use tax exemption:

  • Self-issued exemption certificate, Form ST-13A: Code of Virginia Section 58.1-609.10(16) allows nonprofit churches to use the self issued exemption certificate Form ST-13A. Title 23 of the Virginia Administrative Code (VAC) 10-210-310 provides an exemplary listing of taxable and exempt purchases for nonprofit churches qualifying for this option.
  • Apply for a Virginia Tax-Exempt Number: Code of Virginia Section 58.1-609.11 provides a broader exemption to nonprofit organizations and churches seeking a sales and use tax exemption. All exemption requirements under Code of Virginia 58.1-609.11 must be met to qualify. Churches electing this option must submit a detailed financial statement for the prior year's accounting period.

Nonprofit Online Tips

  • If you are a returning user and you are unable to retrieve your user ID and password information, you must sign up as a new user and create a new user ID and password. Click on the "Change Access Request" option to associate your new user ID and password with the record. Once you receive an email confirmation that the Change Access Request has been approved, you may login to access your record.
  • Once you have submitted an application online changes and additions cannot be made. Please contact the Nonprofit Unit at 804.371.4023 if you have questions.
  • You may check the status of an application by logging into Nonprofit Online using your user ID and password.
  • You may submit required documents by upload or by mail.
  • You may search for a nonprofit organization at Nonprofit Online, by entering the name of the organization or the federal identification number.

For additional information, see Nonprofit Online FAQS

Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Veterans Service Organizations

Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) that are tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(19), as well as organizations with annual gross receipts below $5,000 that serve one of the purposes in IRC 501(c)(19), may apply for a Virginia sales and use tax exemption certificate.

The sales tax exemption does not apply to the following:

  • Taxable services, such as hotel accommodations
  • Tangible personal property used primarily for providing insurance benefits
  • Items used primarily for social and recreational activities 

For more information, see Tax Bulletin 16-5

Important Information about Purchases of Meals and Catering

Nonprofit organizations and nonprofit churches may use their retail sales and use tax exemption certificates issued pursuant to Va. Code § 58.1-609.11 to make exempt purchases of food and meals, as well as certain “taxable services” provided in connection with the provision of meals.

Virginia Tax will no longer deny these organizations an exemption on purchases of catering and meals on the basis that the entity is purchasing a taxable service. In addition, we will no longer deny the nonprofit exemption on the basis that the qualifying entity has purchased the meals and related services for consumption by individuals. Rather, Virginia Tax will now apply a test to determine whether the purchases are made for the qualifying entity’s use or consumption.

See Tax Bulletin 16-3 for more details. 

Contact Information

Virginia Tax Nonprofit Exemption Unit 804.371.4023
Virginia Department of Consumer Services(VDACS) 804.786.1343
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) 804.497.7100
Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) 804.371.9967
IRS/Nonprofit Unit 877.829.5500