Tax at Fairs, Festivals, Flea Markets, and Craft Shows

Do you sell merchandise at fairs, festivals, flea markets, or craft shows in Illinois? If so, you are a retailer and you must collect and pay Illinois sales taxes. Whether this is a full-time business or a hobby, you are subject to the Illinois Retailers' Occupation Tax.

FAQs

Must I register with the Department of Revenue if I sell items only at these special events?

Yes. All Illinois business taxpayers, whether they are Illinois residents or not, must register for each tax type that they will collect or for any tax they are required to pay. Failing to do so is a criminal offense. You may register in advance. If you routinely travel to special events throughout the year or if you travel to one or more events on an annual basis, you must register as a "changing location" filer.

To obtain the correct tax rate or for forms and information on how to file, please contact the Illinois Department of Revenue.

In Illinois, out-of-state vendors may participate in Illinois events provided they remit Illinois sales tax to us by completing Form IDOR-6-SETR, Special Event Tax Collection Report and Payment Coupon. This also applies to Illinois vendors who are not required to be registered.

If the event's manager does not provide Form IDOR-6-SETR, contact the Special Events Coordinator via email at Rev.Special Events@Illinois.gov or by calling weekdays during normal business hours at 847.294.4475.

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Why are taxes frequently collected at these events?

Special events are a unique kind of business in which persons from other communities or states sell items to the public at fairs, festivals, flea markets, or craft shows. Many times, the only fair and efficient way to collect the proper taxes is to have collection agents personally register each vendor and collect taxes at the event.

Agents may collect taxes daily or at the end of an event in order to ensure that they have collected the tax due from out-of-state or transient merchants before an event has closed.

In addition, collecting tax at an event ensures that the tax is paid at the correct rate and that any local tax is returned to the correct unit of local government. The amount of tax due is based on the location of the event. The state sales tax, which includes a local portion for the municipality or county in which the event is located, is always due. In certain locations, other locally imposed taxes, (e.g., mass transit, county water commission, and home-rule tax) are also due. Both the state and local taxes are collected, then the local portions are returned to the unit of local government where the sale was made.

 

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If I am registered, why must I sometimes pay tax at an event instead of when I file my form ST-1?

Collecting tax at an event ensures that the local government where the event is held receives the money that is due them. The following example illustrates this:

If you are a registered retailer who owns a craft shop in the city of Bloomington and you travel to Springfield for an arts and crafts fair, the sales tax due for this event should be allocated to both the state and to the city of Springfield.

If you are registered as a "single location" filer (for Bloomington only) and you report the sales from this event on your normal Form ST-1, Sales and Use Tax and E911 Surcharge Return, the city of Bloomington would erroneously receive the percentage of local taxes that is due to Springfield.

If you travel to various locations throughout the year, you are required to register as a "changing location" filer so that you can report sales for both the location of your shop and the location where the special event takes place. In the above example, this would be Bloomington and Springfield. To report sales for more than one location, you must complete Form ST-2, Multiple Site Form, and attach it to your Form ST-1.

If you are a registered retailer and you pay tax to a collection agent at a special event, the following steps describe how to file your Form ST-1 for the tax period during which the special event took place.

  • Include the receipts from the special event in your total receipts reported on Line 1.
  • Write the total amount of the receipts, including tax, from the special event on Line 15 (other) of Schedule A. Identify this figure as "special event collections." Write this sum of your total deductions, including tax, on Line 2.
  • Figure the tax due based on the resulting amount of receipts in Line 3.
  • If you are required to file a Form ST-2 schedule, do not report the receipts from the special event on your ST-2.

Do not show any tax you paid at the event as a credit on the front of your return.

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If I am not contacted at an event, what is my responsibility?

If you are not contacted at an event, it is still your responsibility to collect tax at the proper rate, pay the tax collected to us, and report the tax for the correct location. To obtain the correct tax rate or for forms and information on how to file, please contact the Special Event Coordinator at 1.847.294.4475 or email Rev.SpecialEvents@illinois.gov

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Is sales tax the only tax I owe?

Possibly. The taxes you must remit depend on your business. Sales tax is often the only tax due from the event.  An Illinois resident who is not registered for sales tax must report income from sales on their Illinois Income Tax return. Withholding tax is also due if wages are paid for the event. 

For more information, please contact the Illinois Department of Revenue.

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What requirements are placed on persons who provide retail space at these events?

Any person who promotes, organizes, or provides retail selling space for concessionaires or other types of sellers at fairs, art shows, flea markets, or other similar events is required to file a report with us.

The following information must be reported for each vendor:

  • name of the vendor's business
  • name of the person or persons engaged in the vendor's business
  • permanent address of the business
  • Illinois business tax (IBT) number of the business
  • dates and location of the event
  • Send the report to the:

SPECIAL EVENTS UNIT
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
PO BOX 19035
SPRINGFIELD IL 62794-9035

The report is due no later than the 20th day of the month following the month during which the event was held.

Any person who fails to file a report commits a business offense and is subject to a fine not to exceed $250.

Note: Illinois Business Tax (IBT) numbers eventually will be replaced by Account IDs when that tax is included in the new system. At the end of the four-year transition period, use of the term “IBT” will be discontinued.

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Where do I get forms?

You can get current, department-authorized forms from

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Where do I get help?

  • Call the IDOR Special Event Coordinator at 1.847.294.4475
  • Email our Special Event Coordinator at Rev.SpecialEvents@illinois.gov
  • Write to:
    SPECIAL EVENTS UNIT
    ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
    PO BOX 19035
    SPRINGFIELD IL 62794-9035