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Sales Tax

Tax on University Purchases – Tax-Exempt Status

Please visit Procurement and Payment Services, if you are:

  • Buying a good or service for a Northwestern University unit
  • Receiving a request from a vendor for the Illinois Tax-Exempt Certificate
  • Receiving a request for a tax-exempt certificate

When making a purchase from a vendor, Northwestern University is exempt from certain taxes. For documents or certificates related to the University's tax-exempt status, please refer to Procurement and Payment Services. For more information about the tax-exempt status, please review the information provided by Procurement at their site.

Tax on University Sales

Generally, sales tax must be collected and reported on sales of tangible property made by the University to customers. Tangible personal property to which Illinois sales tax applies includes but is not limited to:

  • the sale of apparel (e.g. T-shirts)
  • books
  • certain magazines
  • canned software
  • photo processing

If your University unit, division, or department is currently conducting or plans to conduct sales, please send an email with:

  • a description of the activity,
  • type of sales, and
  • expected location of customers

Tax and Regulatory Services will review for sales tax compliance. If the items sold will be subject to sales tax, Tax and Regulatory Services will assist with establishing an Illinois business tax identification number and explain procedures for accounting for sales tax and filing sales tax returns.

If your unit is currently registered to conduct sales of tangible property in Illinois and would like more guidance to accurately file its tax returns, please contact Shereen Olickal.


Shereen Olickal
Tax Accountant