Use taxes are generally the same tax percentage as a state’s sales tax rate. Purchasers must pay use taxes for all items bought from out-of-state retailers only in states that charge use taxes. Use taxes are often assessed to online purchases, phone orders or mail-order purchases shipped from other states, and many retailers include the use tax in the shipping and handling charges.

Use Tax Requirements

Many states have adopted laws that require out-of-state sellers to collect a use tax on all taxable items shipped into the state if they engage in business within the state. Typically, if the retailer has a physical presence in the state, such as a physical address or business representatives within the state, the use tax is charged to items that aren't subject to the state sales tax. Some retailers may not maintain a physical presence in states that charge the use tax, so they may not charge a sales tax on items shipped into the state. Some retailers, however, volunteer and collect the use tax on behalf of the purchaser on all taxable sales shipped into the state.

Collecting Use Taxes

If you're engaged in the business of shipping items to purchasers in states that require you to collect the use tax, you must register your business with the state Department of Treasury and charge the use tax at the state’s sales tax rate on all taxable sales shipped into the state. You'll receive a state license or a seller’s permit that allows you to sell tangible items to be sold to consumers and used in the state. By engaging in business in states that require you to collect the use tax, you must remit the amount of use taxes on all items sold within the state. Depending on how the states assess the use tax, you may be required to pay on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Income Tax Returns

Individuals and businesses who purchase items from out-of-state retailers and use the items within states that charge the use tax must report and pay the tax on their state income tax returns, if the seller doesn't collect the state’s use tax or collects an amount lower than the sales tax rate.

Use Tax States

Most states currently charge a use tax on items bought from out-of-state retailers to be used or consumed within the state and not for resale to consumers. Most items shipped to suppliers or retailers in the state that are to be resold to consumers aren't subject to the use tax. Currently, Alaska, Delaware, Oregon, New Hampshire and Montana don't require use taxes to be assessed to purchases from out-of-state retailers.