Frequently Asked Questions

The Ohio Department of Taxation has compiled a list of frequently asked questions covering many different categories.

To view the questions, click on the "Select Category" bar and then click on the category you are interested in.  A list of questions will appear pertaining to that category. Then click on the question you are inquiring about and the answer will appear.

What is a use tax?

A use tax is similar to a sales tax in its application. Use tax is imposed on the "storage, use or other consumption" of all tangible personal property and the receipt of certain services that are subject to sales tax. Purchases that are properly exempt from sales tax are also exempt from the use tax. Use tax must be paid on all purchases made by Ohio residents and businesses if the proper amount of sales tax has not been paid to the vendor, seller, or service provider. The use tax rate is equal to the sales tax rate in effect in the county where the property is used or benefit of the service is received by the purchaser.

The most common situation that gives rise to a use tax liability is when an Ohio customer makes a mail order purchase from an out-of-state seller. Use tax is also due when the purchaser improperly claims exemption from the sales tax or if the sales tax paid is less than the total use tax in effect in the county where the item is used or benefit of the service is received.

One of the main reasons for the use tax is to protect Ohio vendors from unfair competition from out-of-state sellers, since the in-state merchant is required to collect sales tax when selling to an Ohio resident or business. All states that have a sales tax have a use tax.