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Painting, Papering and Interior Decorating

The services of painting, papering, and interior decorating are subject to Iowa sales tax.

Painting is defined as:

  • Covering interior or exterior surfaces of tangible personal property or real property;
    ----- with a coloring matter and mixture of a pigment or sealant;
    ----- with some suitable liquid to form a solid adherent when spread on in thin coats;
    ----- for decoration, protection or preservation purposes
  • Including surface preparation

The following are not considered painting:

  • Automobile undercoating
  • Coating of railroad cars or storage tanks
  • Plating of tangible personal property with metals such as chromium, bronze, tin, galvanized metal, or platinum

Papering is defined as:

  • Applying wallpaper or wall fabric to the interior of houses or buildings
  • Including surface preparation

Interior Decorating is defined as:

  • Designing or decorating the interiors of houses or buildings
  • Counseling about such designing or decorating
  • Obtaining furniture, fixtures, or decorations for houses or buildings

NOTE: interior decorating service is not taxable when provided without charge as an incidental part of the sale of real or tangible personal property; however, the sale of the tangible personal property may be subject to sales tax.

Is the Job New Construction, Reconstruction, Alteration, Expansion, or Remodeling?
If it is, the painting, papering, and/or interior decorating services are exempt from sales tax. This exemption applies to real property and structures only. It does not apply to tangible personal property. For additional information see Iowa Contractors Guide.

Purchases of supplies
For more information on when the purchase of supplies for use in the business may or may not be taxable, please see Iowa Administrative Rule 701-225.4.

The information in this publication is adapted from Rule 701-26.34, Iowa Administrative Code

Please email the Department.