By: Joshua Bowling
With the high cost of textbooks, many students look for ways to save money while in college.
Many textbooks are exempt from sales tax, making it a little easier for students to purchase this semester’s required material.
Textbooks are exempt from sales tax in Arizona when they are required for a course at a state university or community college, according to valuepenguin.com.
ValuePenguin is run by a team of analysts who conduct research and present their findings to help their readers with personal finance.
Ting Pen, co-founder of ValuePenguin, said that students spend as much as $1,200 every academic year on textbooks. If they utilize this tax exemption, she said, they could save nearly $100 each year.
Some classes require textbooks that cost more than $100 by themselves, making this tax exemption very beneficial to students.
According to ValuePenguin, the cost of college has significantly risen in years past.
Textbook prices have increased more than 800 percent over the past three decades, they said.
Tuition and fees have increased a total of 559 percent as well.
For students who attend any of the state universities or community colleges in Arizona, they will likely have to present their course list, student ID, and tax exemption form in order to avoid paying sales tax on their textbooks, according to ValuePenguin.
For those who have already purchased their books, they can file a tax return to recover the sales tax which they have spent.
All of these forms are available on valuepenguin.com.
These exemptions are also available for textbooks purchased online through websites such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble, according to ValuePenguin.
After ordering textbooks on Amazon, students must fax or e-mail a copy of their student ID and class syllabus or other tax exemption documentation.
Amazon also offers Amazon Student, a service by which students can receive discounted shipping as well as deals and promotions exclusively for students.
The process is similar for Barnes and Noble’s online storefront. Students must enter their tax exemption certificate number on the shipping page when checking out, and fax their certificate, student ID, and class syllabus within 72 hours of purchasing the books.
These tax exemptions are available for students, but they are not widely advertised. Mesa Community College does not have any information available regarding these exemptions.
Less than half of the country – 22 states – have sales tax exemptions for textbooks in place.
These 22 states each have slightly different exemptions in place.
In states such as Iowa and Hawaii, textbooks are only exempt from sales tax when they are being used at a nonprofit institution.
Textbooks are completely exempt from sales tax in states such as New York, however.
Jasi Bryant, a student at MCC said that he has never heard of these exemptions, but plans to make use of them in the future.
Though many have not heard of it, tax exemptions for textbooks are just one way for students to save some of their money.