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SN 98(13)

Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Sales of Newspapers

This Special Notice has been obsoleted by SN 2003(5)

PURPOSE: The purpose of this Special Notice is to describe the 1998 legislative amendment to the sales and use taxes exemption for newspapers and to provide a general definition of newspapers.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Effective for sales occurring on or after July 1, 1998.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Conn. Gen. Stat. §12-412(6), as amended by 1998 Conn. Pub. Acts 110, §8.

EXEMPTION FOR SALES OF NEWSPAPERS SOLD AT RETAIL LOCATIONS: Effective July 1, 1998, Conn. Gen. Stat. §12-412(6) exempts all sales of newspapers from Connecticut sales and use taxes. Previously, only newspapers sold by subscription were exempt. Therefore, newspapers sold at retail locations such as stores, newspaper boxes, newsstands, as well as those sold by subscription, are exempt from sales and use taxes.

NEWSPAPERS DEFINED: Newspapers are publications that contain current or recent news and articles of opinion. The following is a list of the chief characteristics and components of a newspaper:

  1. Usually printed on newsprint paper;
  2. Published and distributed at stated intervals, usually daily, weekly or at some other regular interval not exceeding a week;
  3. Routinely reports on a large number of topics;
  4. Appeals, at least in part, to a wide spectrum of the general public;
  5. Contains news articles, articles of opinion, features, advertisements, letters to the editor and other matters regarding current interest or public interest.

See Caldor, Inc. v. Heffernan, 183 Conn. 566, 571-2 (1981) and Gallacher v. Commissioner of Revenue Services, 221 Conn. 166, 172-5 (1992).

EXAMPLES of newspapers include but are not limited to:

Daily National or Regional Newspapers such as:

The New York Times
The Boston Globe
USA Today
The Wall Street Journal

Daily Local Newspapers such as:

The Hartford Courant
The New Haven Register
Waterbury Republican-American
The Norwich Bulletin

Weekly National, Regional or Local Newspapers such as:

National Business Employment Weekly
The Litchfield County Times
The Glastonbury Citizen

Specialized, Foreign or Religious Newspapers such as:

The Irish Times
The Jewish Press
Investor’s Business Daily
Baseball Weekly
The Connecticut Law Tribune
El Vocero

MAGAZINES AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS: Shopper’s guides, catalogs, real estate guides, racing forms, television guides, "soap opera publications" and car and boat buyer’s guides do not meet the definition of a newspaper and are taxable when sold at retail locations. They may be considered magazines.

Magazines sold at retail locations are taxable. Magazines sold by subscription are exempt from sales and use taxes under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-412(6). See Ruling No. 94-19 for the definition of a magazine.

"SUPERMARKET TABLOIDS": Publications commonly referred to as "supermarket tabloids" are not exempt newspapers under Conn. Gen. Stat. §12-412(6) even though they may be printed on newsprint paper. They are considered magazines. The sales of such publications at retail locations are taxable. Examples of "supermarket tabloids" include but are not limited to:

Weekly World News
National Enquirer


EFFECT OF THIS DOCUMENT: A Special Notice is a document that announces a new policy or practice in response to changes in State or federal laws or regulations or to judicial decisions. A Special Notice indicates the Department’s informal interpretation of Connecticut tax law and may be referred to for general guidance by taxpayers or tax practitioners.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please call the Department of Revenue Services during business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday:

  • 1-800-382-9463 (toll-free from within Connecticut), or
  • 860-297-5962 (anywhere).
  • TDD/TT (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) users only call 860-297-4911 during business hours

SN 98(13)
Sales and use tax
Issued 11/4/98