The purpose of a resale certificate--also known as a tax exemption certificate--is to allow you to buy goods through your business without paying local sales tax.
When doing this, it's your responsibility to collect the tax from the customer when you sell the item.
The wholesaler that you purchase the goods from will request to see your resale certificate (aka tax exemption certificate) as proof that the property is being purchased for resale.
A resale certificate typically states the name and address of the buyer, the reseller’s permit number, a description of the items being purchased and a statement that the property is being purchased for resale.
Without a resale certificate, a business or individual is typically required to pay sales tax on all purchases.
A tax exemption certificate can be beneficial to your business by allowing you to avoid sales tax and pass the savings on to your consumer. It can also allow you to buy more merchandise in order to grow your business.
Please note that if you intend to make multiple purchases from the same vendor, you can usually provide your resale certificate only once to that vendor and the vendor will keep it on file.
A business owner can typically apply for a resale certificate with his/her's state tax department. Once you receive your tax exemption certificate, the state will start sending you monthly or quarterly statements.
The physical location of your business is what determines where you apply for the resale certificate, rather than the state in which you formed the company. Therefore, if you sell merchandise in more than one state, you will need to apply for resale certificates in the all states in which you operate—it does not matter where your business was incorporated.
One of the requirements for a resale certificate is to be qualified in your state to do business. If your company is physically operating in a state outside the state of formation, you will need to complete the process of Foreign Qualification, which enables a company to transact business in a jurisdiction other than where it was formed.
For more information on obtaining a resale certificate, aka tax exemption certificate, consult your local state department.
THE AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG ARTICLE IS NOT A LAWYER AND HARVARD BUSINESS SERVICES, INC. IS NOT A LAW FIRM. THE ARTICLE ABOVE IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE. THIS SHORT ARTICLE IS STRICTLY TO MENTION SOME ASPECTS OF DELAWARE’S CORPORATION LAWS AND/OR LAWS RELATING TO OTHER FORMS OF ENTITIES WHICH YOU MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CONSULT WITH A LAWYER BEFORE FORMULATING A STRATEGY WHICH WILL BE SUITABLE FOR YOUR SPECIFIC CASE.
There are 11 comments left for What Is a Resale Certificate?Jessica Gonyap said: Friday, August 31, 2018
Hello, where do I send my resale certificate when I finish filling it out?HBS Staff replied: Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Typically, you can apply for your certificate through your state's tax department. The process can vary from state to state, so we recommend you visit your state's website for additional information.Farooq Saleem said: Sunday, July 22, 2018
Hi, do you help in obtaining reseller certificate also ?HBS Staff replied: Tuesday, July 24, 2018
No, we don't. Contact your local Small Business Administration--they should be able to point you in the right direction.Tamar Baptiste-Roberts said: Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Hi Do I need a resale certicate if all I'm going to do is market goods and products on line. Thank youHBS Staff replied: Monday, June 11, 2018
Your best bet is to check with your local Small Business Administration and/or your state's Division of Corporations. The laws are different in different states.Kevin Strickland said: Saturday, April 28, 2018
Hi, can you provide a list of all the states that accept out of state resale certificates?HBS Staff replied: Tuesday, May 1, 2018
We don't have that type of information. The Small Business Association may have a list like that.If I have local business receipt do I need a resale certificatio said: Monday, March 12, 2018
Help me pleaseHBS Staff replied: Monday, March 12, 2018
That question is better answered by your local Division of Corporations and/or your local Small Business Administration office.