FYI Sales 63 Government Purchases Exemptions

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Colorado Department of RevenueTaxpayer Service Division05/12FYI Sales 63Government Purchases ExemptionsGENERAL INFORMATIONColorado statute exempts from state and state-collected sales tax all sales to the United States government and thestate of Colorado, its departments and institutions, and its political subdivisions (county and local governments,school districts and special districts) in their governmental capacities only. [§39-26-704.1, C.R.S.] Home-rulejurisdictions may have different rules regarding government tax exemptions and should be contacted individually. Alisting of home-rule city sales tax rates may be found in Colorado Sales/Use Tax Rates (DR 1002).NOTE: The term “state and state-collected” sales tax, for the purpose of this FYI, refers to: state sales tax; statecollected local sales tax; state-collected county lodging tax; and state-collected special district sales tax. For furtherinformation on state-collected sales taxes, please see FYI Sales 62.In order for a government entity to take advantage of the tax exemption, the purchase must be made with aprescribed government form or purchase order, and paid for directly to the seller by warrant or check drawn ongovernmental funds, or via credit card in the name of the exempt governmental agency. [Reg. 39-26-704.1] Whenusing a credit card, verification that the purchase is for governmental purposes and will be paid for by thegovernmental agency may be required. A letter on the governmental entity’s letterhead is acceptable for thispurpose. In cases where the seller invoices on a delayed basis for a purchase, the billing must be made directly tothe governmental agency, not to the individual making the purchase.Some governmental entities have a Colorado-issued tax-exemption number, although they are not required to haveone (tax-exemption numbers all begin with “98” or “098”). It is not necessary for governmental entities to present atax-exemption number in order to make a tax-exempt purchase. A purchase by a governmental agent who is makingthe purchase with personal funds–even if the employee presents a tax-exemption number and plans to bereimbursed–is not tax-exempt.Construction contractors making purchases on behalf of governmental entities have certain exemptions from theabove guidelines. For details on contractors’ exemptions, please consult the following sources: FYI Sales 6, thespecial regulation for contractors found in the sales and use tax regulations, and C.R.S. §39-26-708.1.GOVERNMENT CREDIT CARDSState government and federal government use a variety of credit cards to facilitate government purchases and travelby their employees. Credit card companies prohibit retailers from making copies of the card, so exempt purchasespaid by credit card must be documented with the Affidavit of Sales Paid by Government Credit Card (DR 1367).According to US Code Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 33, 701 it is illegal for merchants to photocopy Federal GovernmentIDs. For details please visit TE OF COLORADO CREDIT CARDSIt can be difficult for vendors to determine the tax-exempt status of these cards. The government agency can presenta letter on government letterhead to the vendor as a way to verify that the purchase is for government purposes andwill be paid by the government agency. This would help vendors determine the taxability of the transaction.Any vendor with questions regarding local government credit cards should contact the county or municipality.Page 1 of 7

State of ColoradoCommercial Card ProgramThe Procurement Card, intended for official state business only, allows qualifying and authorized purchases ofgeneral merchandise and services to be exempt from tax. All state of Colorado procurement cards are Visa .The procurement point-of-sale (POS) card displays the words “P U R C H A S I N G and “FOR APPROVEDBUSINESS USE ONLY.” State agencies and institutions of higher education also have the option of placing theirrespective logo on their cards or use the State seal. The procurement card includes the agency’s tax exemptionnumber that begins with “98” or “098” followed by five digits. The bottom of the card displays the name of theauthorized cardholder or business unit to whom the card is issued (authorized to purchase on behalf of the state). 1stfour digits (prefixes) for these cards are: 4275.Procurement CardThe POS One Card, intended for official state business only, allows qualifying and authorized purchases of generalmerchandise and services to be exempt from tax. Additionally, this card type allows qualifying and authorized travelpurchases to be exempt from tax. All state of Colorado one cards are Visa .The one card displays the words “C O M M E R C I A L” and “FOR APPROVED BUSINESS USE ONLY.” Stateagencies and institutions of higher education also have the option of placing their respective logo on their cards oruse the State seal. The one card includes the agency’s tax exemption number that begins with “98” or “098” followedby five digits. The bottom of the card displays the name of the authorized cardholder or business unit to whom thecard is issued (authorized to purchase on behalf of the state). 1st four digits (prefixes) for these cards are: 4807.One CardThere is also a POS State Travel Card issued by the State. The State Travel Management Program(www.colorado.gov/travel) oversees the State Travel Payment Program. There are four types of travel card productsused by the State which currently are Citibank VISA : One Card, Individual Joint/Several Card, Central Travel Cardand CTA Ghost Card.The POS Individual Joint/Several Travel Card displays the words “C O R P O R A T E” and “FOR APPROVEDBUSINESS USE ONLY.” State agencies and institutions of higher education also have the option of placing theirrespective logo on their cards or use the State seal. The individual joint/several travel card does not qualify for taxexempt status. Therefore, the card includes the words “Not State Tax Exempt” to avoid unnecessary confusion bymerchants. The bottom of the card displays the name of the authorized cardholder to whom the card is issued(authorized cardholder of the state). 1st four digits (prefixes) for these cards are: 4046.Page 2 of 7

Individual Joint/Several Travel CardThe POS Central Travel Card (aka Event) intended for official state business only, allows qualifying and authorizedtravel purchases to be exempt from tax. All state of Colorado central travel cards are Visa .The central travel card displays the words “C O R P O R A T E” and “FOR APPROVED BUSINESS USE ONLY.”State agencies and institutions of higher education also have the option of placing their respective logo on their cardsor use the State seal. The central travel card includes the agency’s tax exemption number that begins with “98” or“098” followed by five digits. The bottom of the card displays the name of the authorized cardholder or business unitto whom the card is issued (authorized to purchase on behalf of the state). 1st four digits (prefixes) for these cardsare: 4046.Central Travel CardThe CTA Ghost Card is a “card less account” which is for airfare purchases only. The CTA Ghost Card is notexempt from airfare taxes.Ghost Cards can be issued for Procurement, One and Central Travel cards as a “card-less account”. Theseaccounts are often used with strategic suppliers or for remote purchases on behalf of a specific agency, department,program and/or unit. These account types allow qualifying and authorized purchases of general merchandise andservices to be exempt from tax.This information serves as a confirmation to merchants that purchases made on the Procurement, One and CentralTravel cards should be accepted and considered exempt from state and state-collected sales tax. The billing for taxexempt government credit card purchases is sent directly to the state agency which then makes the payment directlyto the credit card company. 1st four digits (prefixes) for these ghost cards are: 4275, 4807 or 4046.Local Government Credit CardsSome local governments issue credit cards in both the government employee’s and agency’s name. In manyinstances the bill is directly paid by the local government agency in which case purchases are then tax-exempt. Localgovernment Procurement Cards must have the city or county name on it and the words “Purchasing Card” to beconsidered exempt.Some local governments also participate in the State Commercial Card Program which can be confirmed at:www.colorado.gov/travel, go to: “Political Subdivisions.” Participating entities will be offered & issued card options asdetailed in State of Colorado Commercial Card Program. However, participating local governments are notauthorized to use the state seal therefore, the card(s) will incorporate their respective logo.Page 3 of 7

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SMARTPAY CHARGE CARDSNontaxable PurchasesPurchases made with SmartPay charge cards that are billed directly to the Government are not taxable. Payment ismade directly to the bank by the Government. These cards are considered centrally billed accounts (CBA). Theissuing banks for CBAs are Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, and US Banks. These cards can be identified by the first fordigits (prefixes) on the card and by the color of the cards. The following SmartPay charge cards are considered CBA:Fleet Cards: Vehicle Cards that are used for Fuel and Maintenance Only. These cards can be identified bythe color of the card Green. On the card it states “For Official Government Fleet Use Only” and has a pictureof a road on the left side of the card. The platforms (brands) and 1st four digit (prefixes) for these cards areVisa (4486, 4614, & 4716), Master Card (5565 & 5568), Voyager (8699), and Wright Express (5565).Purchase Card: Purchase cards are used for supplies and services. These cards are Red in color, andstates on the card “U.S. Government Tax Exempt” and “For Official US Government Purchases Only”. Thereis also a picture of a computer keyboard on the left side of the card. The brands and 1st four prefixes forthese cards are Visa (4486, 4614, & 4716) and Master Card (5565 & 5568).Travel Cards: Travel cards are used for travel related expenses only. These cards are Blue in color, stateson the card “For Official Government Travel Only”, and have a picture of an airplane on the card. The CBAtravel cards that are exempt from taxes have the prefixes 4486, 4614, 5565, & 5568 with the 6th digits being0, 6, 7, 8, or 9. The platforms for these cards are Visa and MasterCard.Integrated Cards are always Centrally Billed Accounts. Currently, the only users of the Integrated chargecards are Department of the Interior employees. These cards can be used for purchase, travel and fleetneeds. These cards are gold in color states on the cards “For Official Government Use Only”, and have aneagle on the left side of the card. The prefixes for these cards are the same as the purchase, travel and fleetcard prefixes.Taxable PurchasesPurchases made with SmartPay charge cards that are billed directly to the cardholder are not exempt from taxes(this depends on the state regulations). Payment is made directly to the bank by the cardholder and is reimbursed bythe Government. These cards are considered individually billed accounts (IBA). The issuing banks for IBAs areCitibank, JP Morgan Chase, and US Banks. The platforms and 1st four prefixes for these cards are Visa (4486 &4614) and Master Card (5565 & 5568) with the 6th digits being 1, 2, 3, or 4. The travel IBA cards are the color Bluewith above prefix numbers and the gold Integrated Cards used for travel contains the prefix numbers above as well.Page 4 of 7

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT “GSA SMARTPAY” CHARGE CARD PROGRAMType of CardFleet rds)Travel 86,4614,5565,5568CBAExempt –governmentdirectlybilledCBAExempt –governmentdirectlybilledCBAExempt:Sixth Digit0, 6, 7, 8, 9IBA NotExempt(directly billedto cardholder)Sixth Digit1, 2, 3, 5565,5568CBAExempt –governmentdirectlybilledCBAExempt –governmentdirectlybilledCBAExempt:SixthDigit0, 6, 7,8, 9IBA NotExempt(directlybilled tocardholder):Sixth Digit1, 2, 3, 4NOTE: The Department of the Interior uses a MasterCard issuedby Bank of America. The card is used for both direct billedpurchases and individual billed purchases. The bank sorts thepurchases during the billing process. The account numbers beginwith “5568-16.” Purchases of office supplies and other goods will bedirectly billed to the agency (tax-exempt). Purchases for lodging willbe directly billed to the agency (tax-exempt). Restaurant food for allDepartment of Interior employees will be individually billed(taxable). These cards have the Department of Interior federal taxexempt identification number (14-0001849) on the card.Page 5 of 7

FEDERAL SMARTPAY CHARGE CARD PROGRAM CARDSGSA SmartPay Purchase CardGSA SmartPay Travel CardsGSA SmartPay Fleet CardsPage 6 of 7

DIPLOMATIC TAX EXEMPTIONForeign diplomats and agents of foreign governments are exempt from paying state and state-collected sales tax ifthey present special sales tax exemption cards. These cards, issued by the U.S. Department of State, are describedbelow. If the vendor has any questions regarding the identity of the bearer, the vendor may ask for additional forms ofidentification, such as a diplomatic ID, driver’s license, etc.The Diplomatic Tax Exemption Card(s) issued by the U.S. Department of State have a number of features thatinclude but at not limited to, the following: the use of animal images to convey an immediate visual cue of the level of exemption the cardholder isauthorized to receive;description of the cardholder’s level of entitlement to tax exemption privileges presented on both he front andback sides of the card;laser engraved personalized data;optically variable device/Kinegram; andtactile micro-text (small raised text).The animal images provide vendors and revenue authorities with (1) a visual cue of the general level of taxexemption privileges enjoyed by each cardholder and (2) whether the card is intended for official or personpurchases. These images (owl, eagle, buffalo, and deer) convey the following general information concerning thelevel of tax exemption authorized by a particular Diplomatic Tax Exemption Card: Owl – This image signifies that such cards are intended to be used solely in the connection with officialpurchases and that cardholder/mission is eligible for exemption from sales, occupancy, restaurant/meal, andother taxes without restriction. Buffalo – This image signifies that such cards are intended to be used solely in connection with officialpurchases and that cardholder/mission’s eligibility for exemption from sales, occupancy, restaurant/meal, andother taxes is subject to some degree of restriction. For example, such cards may read “EXEMPT FROM TAXON PURCHASE OVER 300; NOT VALID AT HOTELS.” Eagle – This image signifies that such cards are intended to be used solely in connection with personalpurchases and that the cardholder is eligible for exemption from sales, occupancy, restaurant/meal, and othertaxes without restriction. Deer – This image signifies that such cards are intended to be used solely in connection with personal purchasesand that the cardholder’s eligibility for exemption from sales, occupancy, restaurant/meal, and other similar taxesis subject to some degree of restriction. For example, such cards may read “EXEMPT FROM TAX ONPURCHASES OVER 150; NOT EXEMPT FOR HOTELS, RESTAURANTS, & SERVICES.”There are additional features embedded in the design and manufacture of the Diplomatic Tax Exemption Card whichare law enforcement sensitive. The Department of State has instituted a system to provide for the online verificationof the validity of a Diplomatic Tax Exemption Card at https://ofmapps.state.gov/tecv. Information concerning theservice and a telephone contact number are found on the reverse side of each Diplomatic Tax Exemption Card.WHEN IN DOUBT, COLLECT THE TAXIf a vendor and a purchaser disagree on the application of a tax, the vendor must collect the tax. [§39-26-102(22),C.R.S.] The vendor should give the purchaser a receipt for the purchase showing how much sales tax was collected.Advise the purchaser to file a Claim for Refund (DR 0137) which is available on the Web site www.TaxColorado.com.The vendor is ultimately responsible for the collection of sales taxes. For more information, see FYI Sales 3.FYIs provide general information concerning a variety of Colorado tax topics in simple and straightforward language. Although the FYIs representa good faith effort to provide accurate and complete tax information, the information is not binding on the Colorado Department of Revenue, nordoes it replace, alter, or supersede Colorado law and regulations. The Executive Director, who by statute is the only person having the authority tobind the Department, has not formally reviewed and/or approved these FYIs.Page 7 of 7

Travel Cards: Travel cards are used for travel related expenses only. These cards are Blue in color, states on the card “For Official Government Travel Only”, and have a picture of an airplane on the card. The CBA travel cards that are exempt from taxes have the prefixes 4486, 4614, 556

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