Sales and Use Tax Overview

California State University, Fullerton is subject to California sales or use tax on the purchase of goods and services considered taxable by the California State Board of Equalization. The state sales or use tax rate for the County of Orange is 8%.

Sales tax vs. Use tax

Although the rates for sales and use tax are the exact same, the method they are collected and charged is different.

Sales tax

  • CSUF pays sales tax on taxable purchases directly to California vendors or out-of-state vendors registered with the State Board of Equalization.
  • Sales tax on invoices and receipts must be listed separately from the price of the goods or service.

Use Tax

If the vendor does not charge sales tax or if the vendor is located outside the state of California, the University is required to pay the State of California the amount of the sales tax that would have been paid on the transaction.

  • CSUF pays use tax on taxable purchases directly to the State Board of Equalization, rather than to the vendor.
  • Use tax generally applies to out-of-state vendors who are not registered with the California State Board of Equalization.
  • Use tax will not be listed on invoices and receipts.
  • If the appropriate sales tax is not charged at the time of the transaction, the University will pay the required amount to the State Board of Equalization on a monthly basis. The department account will be charged for the portion of the tax owed per transaction.

The use tax is charged to the department when the invoice is processed.

Use tax for Procurement Card charges are paid to the State Board of Equalization on a monthly basis. If you have any questions, please contact

Freight/Shipping and Handling Taxes

Freight is the cost to transport supplies, materials, or equipment and may also include handling costs.

Shipping & Transportation Charges

Shipping and transportation charges that are incurred in connection with the sale of tangible personal property are not taxable when separately stated. The shipment may be made by common carrier or by means of the retailer’s own facility.

Handling Charges

Handling charges are taxable unless in conjunction with exempt property.

Lump Sum Charges for Shipping and Handling

Handling, or shipping and handling charges listed together, are subject to sales tax. Charges for shipping must be separately stated from handling charges to keep the exemption for shipping costs intact. However, tax should only be accrued if the property purchased is subject to sales tax.