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How Does Sales Tax Work?

by on ‎04-16-2013 01:28 PM - edited on ‎08-20-2020 06:47 PM by Social Media Specialist Social Media Specialist (24,893 Views)


Tax Information 


The amount of sales tax charged on your order depends on many factors, including the type of item purchased and the location to which your item is shipped.


Tax Information for Purchases


Does sales tax apply to my purchase? 

Best Buy is required by law to charge applicable sales taxes for online orders. Where sales tax applies, the order total during your checkout reflects estimated sales tax. The final sales tax charged on your order will be displayed in your order confirmation sent via e-mail. Shipping charges may also be subject to tax in certain states.


How is the tax calculated?

Best Buy calculates the tax in accordance with applicable state and local laws. Generally, the tax rate is based on the type of product or service purchased and where your purchase is shipped, delivered or picked up.



Cell Phone and Activated Tablet Purchases

The sales tax collected on purchases of cell phones and certain similar devices depends in part on the method of purchase. Common scenarios include:


  • Sales tax on devices financed through a monthly payment plan will be due at the time of purchase. The sales tax due will be charged on the full price of the device.
  • In certain states, devices sold at a discount are taxed based on the discounted price. In other states, however, applicable regulations require that devices sold at a discount are taxed at the full, undiscounted price of the device (which may vary from the displayed price) or at the wholesale cost of the device to the retailer.
  • The estimated tax due at the time of purchase will be displayed in your cart. The final sales tax charged on your order will be displayed in your order confirmation sent via e-mail.


Are There Any Other Fees and Taxes? 


Some products have state and local fees or taxes imposed on them, based on the type of product and where you live. Some fees are subject to sales tax; others are not. Common fees and taxes include:


Public Improvement Fee (PIF) & Retail Sales Fee (RSF)

Apply to certain retail purchases in designated districts of Colorado.  Designated districts impose these fees as a means to finance the district's cost for a new development or public improvement (i.e., curbs, sidewalks, public street lighting, etc.).


California Electronic Waste Recycling Fee

Applies to certain video display products such as computer monitors and TVs sold in California.  California imposes this fee to offset the cost of properly recycling these items.


White Goods Disposal Tax

Applies to the purchase of large household appliances, or white goods, in certain states.  These states impose this tax for the disposal of refrigerators, washers, dryers, ranges, dishwashers and other large appliances.


E911 Fee

Applies to the purchase of prepaid wireless telecommunication services in certain states.  These states require the fee to help pay for emergency response services such as fire and rescue.


For more information about a particular fee or tax, please contact your state's department of revenue.



Tax-Exempt Purchases


If you qualify, there are two ways you can make tax exempt purchases on


Use a centrally billed GSA SmartPay government-issued credit card.


  • At checkout, enter your purchase card info as you would for any other credit card.


Use your Best Buy Tax Exempt Customer Account.


  • Log into your account.
  • At checkout, under the "Order Summary" section, your Tax Exempt Account Number will appear if it has been saved.
  • Click "Apply my Tax Exempt Account Number".
  • If your number does not appear, click on "Register now" to register for a Tax Exempt Customer Account.
  • You will receive confirmation that your tax-exempt number was applied and will also be presented with the option to remove the tax exemption should you choose.

Learn more about the Best Buy Tax Exempt Customer Program, including how to apply here.




Tax-Exempt Refunds


I'm tax exempt but was charged tax on my order.  What do I do?

If you make a tax exempt purchase on but do not use your Tax Exempt Customer Account Number, you have 30 days from the date of purchase to e-mail to request a refund.  The refund request must contain your Best Buy Tax Exempt Customer Account Number and order number.  A maximum of three sales tax refunds will be granted per person per calendar year.


Once your order is fulfilled and your exemption has been validated, a credit for the applicable tax amount will be applied to the form of payment used to make the purchase.  If you used a credit card, please allow up to three billing cycles for the credit to appear on your statement.


I am tax-exempt but was charged tax on my in-store purchase.  What do I do?

If you make a tax-exempt purchase in a store but do not use your Tax Exempt Customer ID/Account Number, sales tax refunds will be honored in stores once your account has been validated.  Refunds will be issued consistent with Best Buy's Return and Exchange Policy.  Alternatively, you may follow the tax-exempt refund policy outlined above.


Are there payment method restrictions for tax-exempt purchases? 

Many states require some organizations to use organizational funds for tax-exempt purchases.  This means that the credit card used must be issued by the organization to receive tax-exempt status.  The personal credit card of an employee working for a tax-exempt organization cannot be used.


How do I receive an updated receipt?


If you need a receipt for your records that reflects the tax-exempt refund you received, log into your account and print a receipt.  The receipt will show the credit as an adjustment to your order.



What are sales tax holidays?


At certain times of the year, some states offer a sales tax holiday which makes qualifying items exempt from sales tax during the holiday period.  Common types of sales tax holidays include Energy Star, Storm or Hurricane Preparedness and Back-to-School.  Various items such as washers, refrigerators, flashlights, clothing and computers may be exempt during this period. will post current sales tax holiday dates as the information becomes available.