Business Office

Using Tax-Exempt Status

Boost your department budget by utilizing Southwestern University’s tax-exempt status.

As a private, not-for-profit, coeducational institution in the State of Texas, Southwestern University is exempt from most state taxes. In most cases, purchases made with University funds are exempt from sales and use taxes. Additionally, most hotel stays paid for with University funds and within the state of Texas are exempt from hotel occupancy taxes.

When using University funds to purchase goods and services, present the Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certification prior to check-out. When staying at a hotel within the state of Texas, present the Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate at check-in.

Benefits Abound

Utilizing these forms when making purchases with University funds creates several benefits for Southwestern and our students, faculty, and staff.

  • Savings Add Up: By leveraging the University’s tax-exempt status, you can save a considerable amount over time. Whether you’re purchasing office supplies, electronics, or other essentials that further the University’s mission, the savings can quickly accumulate over time.
  • Stretch Your Budget: As we all strive to manage our finances wisely, utilizing our tax-exempt status allows you to save on every purchase and stretch your budget further.
  • Supporting Southwestern: When you make tax-exempt purchases through the University, you’re directly supporting the institution. These savings help fuel the academic and operational needs of the University, enabling us to continue providing exceptional educational services.
  • Streamlined Process: The Business Office has worked hard to make the process as seamless as possible. With clear guidelines and support available, accessing tax-exempt status for your purchases is straightforward. Our team is here to assist you every step of the way.

Please note, these tax exemptions are to be used exclusively to make purchases with University funds for use by the University. These exemptions are not for personal purchases by individuals, faculty, staff, or students. Any purchase by a student organization must be University related and paid for through University funds.

Misuse of Southwestern’s tax-exempt status can result in possible revocation of the exemption. Individuals who use these tax exemptions for personal use or for purchases that are not in the furtherance of Southwestern’s educational and research purpose face personal liability and criminal penalties from the State of Texas.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Present the Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certification form to the vendor when making purchases with University funds (eg: via a purchase order or corporate card). Most online vendors accept this form through their customer service portals.

    Please note, personal meals are not tax exempt, but business meals (eg: meeting with donors, athletic team travel meals, as part of a university-related event, etc.) are tax exempt.

  • Present the Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate when booking stays at hotels within the state of Texas. Please note, within Texas, the exemption only applies to the state portion of the hotel tax. The traveler must still pay for city, county, and any other portion of the hotel occupancy tax. For hotel stays outside of Texas, contact Sally Volling to inquire if the state you are traveling to honors our hotel tax exemption.

    Whether you’re traveling or not, personal meals are not tax exempt, but business meals (eg: meeting with donors, as part of a university-related event, etc.) are tax exempt.

  • For purchases of goods and services, Southwestern University is only exempt from Texas sales and use taxes. However, most online vendors accept this form through their customer service portals. For hotel stays outside of Texas, contact Sally Volling to inquire if the state you are traveling to honors our hotel tax exemption.

  • Meal purchases made with personal funds, even when being reimbursed, are not tax exempt. Personal meals are not tax exempt, but business meals (eg: meeting with donors, as part of a university-related event, etc.) are tax exempt.

    The University is not exempt from food and lodging taxes on hotel rooms and meals. Exceptions to this rule apply to catered meetings and events, which fall under sales and use tax. The University is not exempt from other taxes associated with catered meetings and events, such as city taxes, a/v equipment taxes, and entertainment taxes.

    When renting equipment, if Southwestern University employees operate the equipment, the University is exempt from sales tax. However, if the University rents the equipment with an operator, sales tax must be paid.


Additional Resources

Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certification

Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate