California-Bay Area

Partial XP: Tax on photography?

Only 1 of the 3 photographers we've interviewed says there will be taxes in addition to his fees. He's not providing any albums or prints, just the disk of photos. It seems to me there shouldn't be taxes on pure professional/artistic service. I'm a lawyer, and I don't have to pay special taxes if I write someone's will; just income taxes, which I factor into my fees.

I'll research it like a lawyer, just curious what others have experienced on the issue.

Re: Partial XP: Tax on photography?

  • edited December 2011
    In Publication 68, the Board of Equalization says sales tax applies whenever the photographs are delivered via something you touch, like a DVD or CD-R. They don't apply if they're delivered via e-mail or if the purchaser downloads them from the photographer's web site.

    It seems more than ridiculous that whole photography services become 8+% more expensive if you want a disk rather than getting them via e-mail or downloading them. After all, the disk costs $2; putting them on a disk takes a few minutes. So the State is getting 8% on the whole photography package when only a tiny bit of it makes it taxable.

    I will write my representatives in Sacramento.
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I was not charged taxes on photography or videography for the wedding.  The actual blank DVDs cost almost nothing, so if they wanted to charge me tax, it'd be so small, I think they skipped it as a courtesy.
  • theKylieBridetheKylieBride member
    edited December 2011
    As long as there is no physical object (unfortunately a DVD counts), then you don't have to pay tax. If you buy anything from them after as a results of the service...then the entire cost of the service is taxable. SO DUMB! 

    Hope that helps!

    I only know because our photographers pass the images digitally because of this.
  • i wish i had known.  i am paying tax on the entire photographer package.  i am not happy with my photographer at this point.  we will see how my wedding day goes. 
  • Unfortunately, it is a state required law. Photographers who aren't charging it are either paying out of pocket and they most likely pad their pricing to compensate, or they are or not paying it (many I speak to don't even know they are supposed to be paying sales tax). It definitely stinks...because there are plenty of other creative services that aren't required to pay/charge sales tax on their service and like Elisabeth says, it makes an expensive investment 8+% more expensive. If the service results in anything tangible the whole service is taxable (i.e. Mom orders an 8x10 of your first kiss). Please, please don't be mad at the photographer though, they are just following the law. If a photographer gets audited and they've been in business for a couple years they'll owe a lot in back sales taxes if they haven't been paying. I think if you were to research the top wedding photographers in our state who have been in business for several years and are well known, they most likely pay sales tax.
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