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Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
§53.135 Tax-free sale of articles to State and local governments for their exclusive use.
(a) In general. An article subject to tax under Chapter 32 of the Code may be sold tax free by the manufacturer, pursuant to section 4221(a)(4) of the code and this section, to a State or local government for the exclusive use of such State or local government. See paragraph (b) of this section for the meaning of the term “State or local government”. An article may be sold tax free by the manufacturer under this paragraph only in those cases where the sale is made directly to a State or local government for its exclusive use. Accordingly, no sale may be made tax free to a dealer for resale to a State or local government for its exclusive use, even though it is known at the time of sale by the manufacturer that the article will be so resold. A sale of an article to a State or local government for resale is not considered to be a sale for the “exclusive use” of the State or local government, within the meaning of section 4221(a)(4) of the Code, and, therefore, such sales may not be made tax free. Such sales are not exempt regardless of whether the resales are made to government employees, or the fact that the article is an item of equipment the employee is required to possess in carrying out his duties. For example, pistols or revolvers may not be sold tax free to a State or local government for resale to its police officers. See section 6416(b)(2)(C) of the Code, and paragraph (d) of §53.178, for the circumstances under which credit or refund of tax is available where tax-paid articles are sold for the exclusive use of a State or local government.
(b) State or local government. The term State or local government includes any State, the District of Columbia, and any political subdivision of any of the foregoing. See, section 7871(a)(2)(B) of the Code and 26 CFR 305.7701-1 et seq., which provide that an Indian tribal government shall be treated as a State for purposes of exemption from an excise tax imposed by chapter 32. Section 7871(b) of the Code provides that the exemption from tax applies only if the transaction involves the exercise of an essential governmental function of the Indian tribal government.
(c) Evidence required in support of tax-free sales to State or local governments. (1) In the case of a State or local government which is registered (see §53.141 for provisions under which a State or local government may register if it so desires), the provisions of paragraph (c) of §53.131 have application as to the evidence required in support of tax-free sales. If a State or local government is not registered, the evidence required in support of a tax-free sale to the State or local government shall, except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, consist of a certificate, executed and signed by an officer or employee authorized by the State or local government to execute and sign the certificate. If it is impracticable to furnish a separate certificate for each order or contract because of frequency of purchases, a certificate covering all orders between given dates (such period not to exceed 12 calendar quarters) will be acceptable. The certificates and proper records of invoices, orders, etc., relative to tax-free sales must be retained by the manufacturer as provided in §53.24(d). A certificate of exemption to support tax-free sales under this section must contain the following:
(i) Title of official executing certificate, branch of government, date executed, and statement that official is authorized to execute certificate.
(ii) List articles covered by the certificate or beginning and ending dates during which orders will be placed by the purchaser (period not to exceed 12 calendar quarters).
(iii) Name of manufacturer from which articles purchased.
(iv) Governmental unit purchasing articles.
(v) Statement that is understood that articles purchased under this certificate of exemption are limited to use exclusively by the purchasing governmental entity.
(vi) Statement that is understood that any fraudulent use of this certificate may subject the person executing the certificate and all parties making fraudulent use of the certificate to all applicable criminal penalties under the Code.
(vii) Name, address, and signature of person executing the certificate.
(2) A purchase order, provided that all of the information required by paragraph (c)(1) of this section is included therein, is acceptable in lieu of a separate exemption certificate.
(3) TTB I 5600.35. A preprinted certificate, TTB I 5600.35, Exemption Certificate, which is available as provided in §53.21(b), when completed, contains all necessary information for a properly executed certificate. Extra copies of TTB I 5600.35 may be reproduced as needed.
(d) Resale of articles purchased tax free by a State or local government. If articles purchased tax free for the exclusive use of a State or local government (whether on the basis of a registration number or an exemption certificate) are, prior to use by the State or local government, resold under circumstances that do not amount to an exclusive use by the State or local government (such as pistols or revolvers that are resold by a police department to its police officers), the parties responsible in the State or local government are required to inform the manufacturer, producer, or importer from whom the articles were purchased that they were disposed of in a manner that did not amount to an exclusive use by the State or local government. A willful failure to supply the manufacturer, producer, or importer with the information required by this subparagraph will subject responsible parties to the penalties provided by section 7203 of the Code.
[T.D. ATF-308, 56 FR 303, Jan. 3, 1991, as amended by T.D. ATF-380, 61 FR 37006, July 16, 1996]