Do I need to pay sales tax on my wedding photography?
So, you’ve found your dream wedding photographer … yay! One of the biggest steps in your wedding planning process is done. You and your fiancé have discussed (at length, I’d imaging) your photographer’s packages, and you’ve got exactly what you need for your wedding. It’s probably got a pretty hefty price tag on it. After all, the best professional wedding photographers out there usually start somewhere north of $6000+. But it’s all worth it, because you know your images will be amazing.
And then you get your invoice, and see another huge charge that you weren’t expecting: sales tax.
Although it’s more money out of your pocket, collecting sales tax isn't your photographer trying to nickel and dime you. Sales tax laws vary from state to state, and a professional photographer should follow all tax and commerce laws required by his or her state to collect tax on goods sold. By doing this, your photographer is clearly making efforts to operate a legal business.
Some photographers might say they don't have to collect sales tax because there is no tangible product being delivered, meaning they're only delivering files via digital download and nothing else. And for the most part (depending on the state), this might be true. However, if your photographer isn't adding sales tax to tangible items, such as albums, prints, etc, then it's a red flag he or she might not be operating a legally sound business.
Why is running a legal business important? Let’s think about it for a minute. What if your photographer was running a shady side operation? It’s possible that, between your booking and your actual wedding, the government will find out and shut it down. And then what? You don’t want to be left hanging without a photographer!
And although you might be tempted to ask your photographer to “pay” the sale tax for you or take it off entirely, I’d advise against it. In my experience, wedding photographers will do everything they can to please their clients, but asking them to skirt the law isn’t something a photographer should be expected to do to have a happy client.
If you’d like to speak with me about a wedding photography package (and how much sales tax adds to it), contact me now to get the conversation started.
Quick disclaimer: I'm a photographer, not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. For legal advice, consult your attorney.