For Iowa sales tax purposes, photography is treated as the sale of a product (tangible personal property) and not as a service.
Sale of Photographs, DVDs, Video Tapes, Films – Taxable
As is the case with other products, the sale of these and other similar items is subject to Iowa sales/use tax, unless a specific exemption applies.
What is Included in the Taxable Amount?
All charges necessary to obtain the product are taxable, with the exception of transportation charges. For example, this includes not only the amount for the finished photograph itself, but also any additional charges required as part of the creation of that photograph, such as "sitting fees."
Does How the Product is Delivered Affect the Tax?
Yes. Products delivered electronically are not subject to Iowa sales/use tax.
Example: A photographer takes a series of photos for a customer. Rather than printing photographs, the photographer emails a file of digital photos to the customer. This transaction is exempt from tax.
Does Where the Product is Delivered Affect the Tax?
Yes. Tax is imposed based on the point of delivery of tangible products.
Example 1: A photographer is hired to photograph a wedding that takes place in Anytown, IA. The couple asks for the finished photographs to be sent to their home in Big City, IA. The percentage of tax charged is based on the rate in Big City, IA because that is where delivery takes place.
Example 2: A photographer takes photographs at a wedding in Anytown, IA. The customers request the finished photographs be mailed to them in Chicago, IL. Since delivery occurs outside Iowa, no Iowa sales/use tax is due.
Repairing any still photograph, motion picture, video, or television camera is subject to tax. The repair of any camera part that can be detached from the camera body is also taxable. Examples of such accessories are detachable lenses, flash units, and motor drives.
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 .
Please email the Department.