Use Tax

Instruction Year

Information for Businesses and Individuals

Do you purchase items from out of state or through the internet, catalogs, magazines, or vendors who advertise on television or radio? Will those items be used in Iowa? Would they be subject to Iowa sales tax if purchased in Iowa?

Are you paying tax on those purchases? If not, you owe Iowa use tax on the purchase price. This tax was established in 1937, three years after the sales tax was enacted, to create a fair playing field for Iowa businesses.

If you purchase tangible personal property for use in Iowa and the seller does not charge you Iowa tax on the purchase, you owe a 6% tax known as the use tax on the price of the purchase.


Individuals without a permit who rarely make purchases subject to use tax should pay their tax in one of the following ways:

  • Electronically through EasyPay Iowa
  • Complete the worksheet available on the Department’s website and send to:

    Iowa Department of Revenue
    PO Box 10412
    Des Moines, IA 50306-0412

    Make checks payable to: “Iowa Department of Revenue”

Anyone who regularly purchases merchandise from out of state for their own use in Iowa should register for a use tax permit and pay the tax on a quarterly basis. 


Businesses making taxable purchases on a regular basis should register with the Iowa Department of Revenue to file use tax returns. However, some businesses may only occasionally make purchases for their own use and owe Iowa use tax. If this type of purchase is not typical for your business, instead of separately registering for use tax, you can report the purchase on the Total Taxable Purchases line of your monthly or annual sales and use tax return or file and pay the tax as outlined for individuals above.

For more information, see our Sales and Use Tax Guide.