Student Tax Education Program - Teens and Taxes

Building Maintenance and Janitorial Services

A career in building maintenance or janitorial services falls under the Ohio Department of Taxation’s category of a “taxable service”.  Building maintenance and janitorial services include: housekeeping, office and building cleaning, window cleaning, floor waxing, etc. Keep in mind that building repairs are not considered “building maintenance and janitorial services.”

Building maintenance and janitorial service is defined in the Ohio Revised Code Section 5739.01(II) as:
"… Cleaning the interior or exterior of a building and any tangible personal property located therein or thereon, including any services incidental to such cleaning for which no separate charge is made." However, "building maintenance and janitorial service" does not include the providing of such service by a person who has less than five thousand dollars in sales of such service during the calendar year.

What kinds of activities are considered a "building maintenance and janitorial service?"
In general, this service includes washing, vacuuming, dusting, polishing, and waxing in offices, houses, and other buildings. Some examples are:

  • disinfecting and deodorizing
  • cleaning carpeting and upholstery
  • chimney sweeping
  • cleaning venetian blinds and window shades
  • cleaning windows, walls, ceilings, and indoor pools
  • washing and waxing floors
  • sandblasting, chemically cleaning, power washing or otherwise cleaning building exteriors, including siding, roofs, chimneys, and gutters
  • snow removal & sweeping dirt off parking garage decks (buildings)
  • cleaning ventilating systems, including furnace and ductwork
  • emptying waste baskets and picking up trash for the immediate or eventual removal from a building
  • housekeeping (maid) service

NOTE:  The term cleaning includes the removal of soil, dirt, wax, grease, or other pollutants or contaminants from exterior and interior surfaces of a building or from personal property within the building. However, the intentional removal of a permanent finishing or coating such as paint, varnish, stain, sealers, wallpaper, tile or carpet adhesives, etc., usually in preparation for refinishing the surface, is not, in and of itself, "cleaning" and is not a taxable janitorial service.

Building Maintenance

NOTE 1: These activities do not meet the definition of "building maintenance and janitorial service" as used in the law, because they are outside of the exterior of a building, constitute real property work, or are not restoring or attempting to restore a clean condition to a building or its contents.

NOTE 2: Clearing leaves and other debris from lawns is not a building maintenance and janitorial service. However, it is a taxable lawn care service. Snow removal became a taxable service on August 1, 2003.

If you will be working with hazardous or dangerous materials (such as blood or chemicals), contact the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Occupational Safety and Health for information about maintaining a safe work environment.  They can be reached at (800) 282-1425 or (614) 644-2631. Information is also available online at

The types of activities that are not a building maintenance and janitorial service, but may be associated with the service include:

  • applying a stain repellant to carpeting
  • repairing chimneys, carpeting, roofs, ceilings, walls, floors, and other forms of real property
  • painting exterior and interior building surfaces
  • miscellaneous maintenance (such as changing light bulbs)
  • plumbing, electrical, and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning repair or maintenance; snow and ice removal from parking lots, driveways and sidewalks (see note 2)
  • cleaning outdoor pools
  • unclogging drains and pipes
  • clearing leaves, grass, and other debris from lawns, sidewalks, patios, etc. (see note 2)
  • removing unwanted articles from buildings (only in connection with the service of hauling them away)
  • off-site cleaning of building contents such as draperies and venetian blinds;
  • stripping wallpaper, paint, varnish, etc. off walls, floors, and ceilings.