Volunteer Training Series: 4-H Fundraising Guidelines

To be compliant with the Florida Department of Revenue, the Columbia County 4-H Association will charge sales tax on required items. The following information is to give 4-H Leaders a picture of fundraising and sales tax in Columbia County 4-H.

Sales Tax

What is sales tax? Sales tax is collected on each sale, admission, storage or rental. Sales tax is added to the price of taxable goods and services. Florida’s general sales tax rate is 6.0%.

Certificate of Exemption

Wait don’t we have a Certificate of Exemption? Columbia County 4-H Association does have a Certificate of Exemption. However; our Certificate of Exemption only applies to being tax exempt when making purchases. It does not; however, get us out of paying sales tax when selling certain items.

Typically, Taxable Sales

When do we have to charge sales tax? If an item is taxable, the Columbia County 4-H Association is required to charge sales tax when selling the item/good, etc. Typically, a taxable sale is on tangible property that can be weighed, measured, or touched. A few popular examples of taxable sales are:

  • T-shirts, hats, general clothing
  • Flowers, wreaths, potted ornamental plants
  • Calendars, candles, decorations
  • Pet toys, pet food and treats
  • Ornamental seed/plants/flowers/trees
  • Food and drink sold at fundraisers
  • Food products furnished, prepared, or served for consumption
  • Concessions with packaged hot/cold prepared or served foods, soft drinks, popcorn, sandwiches, hamburgers, etc.
  • Cakes, pie, cookies, frozen treats (less than 1 pint)
  • Silent Auctions
  • Livestock or poultry sold by someone other than by the original owner or breeding purposes
  • Rental/lease of buildings/ rooms/storage space (vendor space)
  • Registration for an event, if food and accommodation portions are itemized
  • Car washes, if wax or a similar protective coating is applied. Wax=Tax


Taxable Items to Non-Taxable Items

Can we make these taxable items non-taxable? Taxable items can become non-taxable items by becoming a donation. If no sale has occurred, no sales tax is due! It is a Donation! There are three ways to ask for a donation: donations welcome, suggested donation with a specific price and recommended donation with a specific price. Do NOT use “required donation”. If a donation is required, it becomes taxable. When asking for donations, keep in mind that if someone asks for the item with no donation we must comply and give the item to the individual.

Typically, Non-Taxable Sales

What if we don’t want to ask for a donation? The following items are naturally non-taxable. The Columbia County 4-H Association does not need to collect tax on these items:

  • Water-bottled, cup, etc. (unless carbonated or flavored)

    2 girls sitting at a table full of meat sticks for sale
    Youth led meat stick sale fundraiser. Source: UF/IFAS, Heather Janney
  • Frozen dairy or non-dairy larger than one pint-Cookie dough
  • General groceries-edible commodities:
      • Cereals
      • Coffee
      • Eggs
      • Dairy
      • 100% juices
      • Peanut butter
      • Fresh fruits
      • Beef/Meat sticks/jerky
  • Concessions using items from the groceries/edible commodities
  • Registration/attendance fees when food and accommodation portions are not itemized. (Items such as t-shirt, lunch, etc. are not taxable if included in registration. If additional t-shirts, etc. can be purchased then they become taxable.)
  • Car washes without wax/protective coating
  • Plants, trees, seeds for human consumption
  • Food for livestock
  • Livestock and poultry directly from the producer or for breeding purposes
  • Door prizes


Fundraising Ideas That Don’t Require Charging Sales Tax

This seems complicated. Any fundraising ideas that can help?

youth squatted down petting a goat at a petting zoo
Youth led petting zoo fundraiser. Source: UF/IFAS, Heather Janney
  • Car wash with no wax
  • Concessions of pre-packaged food with a suggested donation
  • Selling water at a local event
  • Organize an event with a registration fee (work with agent to put on Eventbrite)
  • Dog treat/horse treat bake sale with a recommended donation
  • Work with Farm Bureau to sell cookie dough, nuts, etc.
  • Tractor Supply-Paper Clover Campaign
  • Bulk nuts, coffee, or teas
  • Frozen items larger than one pine
  • Herbs, spices, and salts
  • Donations, of course!


How Does Fundraising Look with Sales Tax?

Collecting sales tax is possible, but it is another step to take with more responsibility. We also want to remember this prior to printing the event materials for pricing. We will need to include a clear purchase price noting “plus” sales tax on our order forms, flyers, displays, or any marketing materials.

If you have a fundraising idea that you think requires charging sales tax, please work with 4-H Agent to figure out what the next step is.

ALL fundraising needs to be approved by our County 4-H Agent before fundraising begins. This is whether you are collecting sales tax or not.

Important To Know:
  • Event and activity monies deposited must follow UF Policy (within 24 hrs if over $1,000 and/or at least one time per week)\
  • TAX DEPOSITSCollected sales tax MUST be recorded/deposited in the month the sale takes place. If this falls on the last day of the month, please contact us directly for instructions.


As always, if you are in doubt, reach out to our office at (386)752-5384. Download the Columbia 4-H Fundraiser request form here.


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Posted: July 15, 2020

Category: 4-H & Youth, Clubs & Volunteers
Tags: 4-H, 4-H Clubs, 4-H Youth Development, 4-Hers, Clubs, Donations, Fundraising, Funds, Sales, Taxable, Volunteer, Volunteer Training

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