The California Seller’s Permit – What it Is and Why You Need One
If you’re planning to sell or lease any kind of tangible goods, including vehicles, in California, you’ll normally need to get a seller’s permit by filing a California seller’s permit application. with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA).
Once you have your permit you’ll be required to submit regular returns and make payments of sales tax on all taxable sales.
But the good news is that the permit also entitles you to purchase goods and supplies from wholesalers without paying sales tax. For this reason seller’s permits are sometimes incorrectly described as resale permits.
You may not need to register if you expect your sales will be less than 3 per year, or if you are simply holding a domestic yard or garage sale.
Amazon and eBay sellers
On the other hand, you will need to register even if your business has no physical presence in California if you plan to make sales through online platforms such as Amazon or eBay.
The situation is complex, because you may incur a sales tax liability on products which ship from a warehouse in California even if neither you nor the purchaser is a California resident.
But carrying on business in California without the necessary permit may render you liable to significant legal penalties, so it’s important to check your status with the CDTFA or an independent professional adviser if you’re in any doubt.
How to apply for your permit
Filing your California seller’s permit application should be a straightforward process and you can file either online or in person.
In either case, you will need to have the same basic information ready to hand, which may include –
- Driver’s license or other recognized ID;
- Social Security Number;
- Business name and addresses;
- Suppliers’ names and addresses;
- Business registration details, including Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN); and/or
- California Secretary of State Entity Number.
You will also need to provide details of the types pf product you intend to sell, and the projected volume of sales and taxable sales you expect to make.
You may need to provide additional information and secure additional permits if your business is involved in certain market sectors including –
- alcoholic beverages
There is no application fee, and you if you provide all the necessary supporting information you should normally be able to get your California seller’s permit immediately.
Where to get your permit
The CDTFA has more than 20 district offices across California and also maintains offices in Chicago, Houston, and New York to handle out of state applications.
Find Out More
Getting a California seller’s permit should normally be a straightforward process, but it can be time-consuming and bureaucratic. So if you’d like an experienced professional service to do the hard work for you can contact us online.