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The Tax Foundation is the nation’s leading independent tax policy nonprofit. Since 1937, our principled research, insightful analysis, and engaged experts have informed smarter tax policy at the federal, state, and global levels. For over 80 years, our goal has remained the same: to improve lives through tax policies that lead to greater economic growth and opportunity.
Sales taxes are a form of excise levied when a good or services is sold to its final consumer. Sales taxes are levied at both the state and local level, and commonly exempt food, utilities and other necessities from taxation. Since state sales taxes only apply to purchases within a state’s borders, they are typically accompanied by a use tax that applies to the use, storage, or other consumption within the state of goods or services purchased out of state.