Sales tax on most goods and services used for the manufacture of a film is also completely exempt. A person engaged in the production of a film or video for sale is afforded all exemptions which are available to manufacturers. This means that you do not have to pay sales tax on a wide range of goods and services for your film or video production, from film editing, props, processing, assembling, sets, parts, tools, wardrobe and makeup - to cameras, lighting, sound and special effects.
How Do I Get the Sales Tax Exemption on Production Supplies and Services?
When you are making a purchase or lease of equipment, supplies or services for your production, you will need to present a copy of a completed form ST-121 "Exempt Use Certificate" to each vendor, to avoid paying any New York sales tax. The vendor in turn will keep this certificate on file as justification for not charging sales tax to you, in the event that the vendor is audited.
Step 1: Fill Out Form DTF-17 - Application for Registration as a Sales Tax Vendor
You will first need a "Certificate of Authority" number, also referred to as your "sales tax vendor identification” number. To obtain this number, you must fill out a "DTF-17 Application for Registration as a Sales Tax Vendor" form. Do not be confused by the title—you need to fill out this form even though you are not a "vendor" and will not be selling anything or collecting sales tax.
The Tax Department recommends that you allow 20 business days for processing of Form DTF-17.
Click here to obtain Form DTF-17
Step 2: Fill out form ST-121 - Exempt Use Certificate
Once you have your Certificate of Authority number, complete form ST-121 Exempt Use Certificate. Be sure to make multiple copies of this completed form, and give one to each vendor you are dealing with.
Click here to obtain Form ST-121
The sales tax exemption applies to feature films, television films, commercials, and other film and video productions for sale. There are exceptions to the exemption, for example, most uses of vehicles, motor fuel, hotels, and food are taxable. For additional information on this and other questions, you may contact the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance at (800) 972-1233.
Visit the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance website
To view "A Guide to Sales Tax for the Film Industry," click on "Publications and Technical Bulletins," go to "Sales" and choose Publication 28. Note that the State attempts to process the form in five business days, but it may take up to 20.