How to exempt user roles from tax in WooCommerce

WooCommerce tax exempt user role

Some companies and organizations that do business with you might ask you to tax exempt their user role in WooCommerce. By providing your customers with a tax exemption at checkout, you make it easier for them to buy from you.

As an online store owner, you probably already know that WooCommerce doesn’t provide tax exemption options out of the box. If you sell to different types of customers, you need a way to exempt tax for certain user roles such as wholesale users or customers that are exempt from EU VAT.

Using the WooCommerce Wholesale Plugin Bundle, you can exempt some user roles from tax when they shop at your online store. 

Why you might want to exempt some user roles from tax

If most of the products you stock are sold to both wholesale and retail customers, you might need to provide tax exemption on checkout for specific user roles.

For those unfamiliar, tax exemption is when some amounts of income are excluded from taxation. Being tax-exempt means that some or all of a transaction, entity, or person’s income isn’t subject to tax. Providing tax exemption for some user roles on your WooCommerce store can help you honor tax exemption status. In addition to this, it also helps you deliver a better customer service experience.

Knowing when you need to exempt some user roles from tax is important. Let’s take a look at a few examples of when you might need to tax exempt some customers: 

  • Wholesale buyers. Wholesale buyers purchase goods from you in order to sell the products later at a profit. A wholesaler may claim a tax exemption on the products they purchase from your WooCommerce store.
  • Resellers. Sellers that have a resale certificate are exempted from paying sales tax when they purchase certain goods. In most cases, businesses that have resale certificates usually either resell or use the purchased goods as parts in their product offerings. 
  • Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit organizations and charities need tax exemptions so that they can continue organizing events, raising funds, and providing information on public policy issues. 
  • Adjust to the tax laws of specific countries (EU VAT). EU region-specific customers and businesses have an EU VAT tax that applies to them when they purchase goods and services within the European Union. By exempting tax from EU-specific customers, you allow them to pay the EU VAT on their own under their EU VAT number.

Tax exemption on your WooCommerce online store is beneficial for both retail and wholesale customers. Additionally, this can help improve customer service and make it easier for everyone to buy from you. 

How to exempt user roles from tax in WooCommerce

Here, we’ll show you how you can exempt user roles from tax in WooCommerce using the WooCommerce Wholesale Plugin Bundle. This bundle is actually two plugins: Fees and Discounts and Members Only.

For this tutorial, we’ll assume you already have a WooCommerce store set up with some products added to it.

Step #1: Install and activate the plugins

Install and activate the Wholesale Plugin Bundle on your WordPress website. 

Fees and Discounts license key

Once that’s done, head over to WooCommerce > Settings > Fees and Discounts > Licence and enter the license key. Click the ‘Save changes’ button to continue. We’ll use this plugin to tax exempt user roles in WooCommerce.

Additionally, navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Members Only > Licence and enter the license key.

Member's Only license key

Click the ‘Save changes’ button at the bottom of the screen to continue. The Members Only plugin makes it easy to create a user role on your online store. This is particularly useful for store owners that haven’t created user roles for the different types of customers they sell to.

Step #2: Create tax exempt user roles

Now that you have the WooCommerce Members Only plugin installed on your WordPress site, you can start creating some tax-exempt user roles. 

Navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Members Only > User Roles to create some user roles. This will make it easy to exempt them from tax. 

Create tax exempt user role

Here, you can select one of your existing user roles and duplicate them. For instance, we can take the ‘Subscriber’ user role and duplicate it to become the ‘Wholesale Buyer’ user role.

EU VAT user role

From the dropdown menu next to ‘User roles’, select the desired user role to create a tax-exempt role. Enter the name of the tax-exempt user role in the text field next to ‘New role name’ and click the ‘Save changes’ button to continue. 

Step #3: Set tax exempt roles

Now that you have created some tax-exempt roles, you can start setting user roles for tax exemption at checkout on your WooCommerce store. 

Navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Fees and Discounts > Tax to set user roles for tax exemption. 

Tax exempt user role

From the drop-down menu, select the tax-exempt user roles you created in Step #2 and click the ‘Save changes’ button to continue.

Step #4: Preview

Now that you’ve set up some user roles to be exempted from tax, here’s what it’ll look like on the front-end of your WooCommerce store.

Regular retail customers will see the amount they’ll be charged in tax:

Retail customer preview

Tax-exempt user roles, on the other hand, will see the price of the product without tax:

Tax exempt user role preview


By providing tax exemption to some user roles on your WooCommerce store, you make it easier for customers to buy from you. This also helps you deliver a better user experience on your online store. As a result, you can attract more customers to your store, increase sales, and grow your bottom line. 

We explained how you can exempt user roles from tax in WooCommerce. Hopefully, you’re in a better position to take things further yourself.

Ready to start providing tax exemption for some user roles on your WooCommerce store? Get the WooCommerce Wholesale Plugin Bundle now!

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