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How to get a Resale License (Sales Tax ID)

How to get a Resale License (Sales Tax ID)

Hey, would you like to pay tax that you don't actually need to pay?

I'm guessing your answer is a big, fat "Nope." No one does, which is why if you're going to get into the retail business, you need a reseller's permit (also called a resale license, reseller's license, resale certificate or reseller's certificate, sales tax permit or sales tax ID).

If you're a US-based seller, you don't need to pay sales tax out of your own pocket for the products you're reselling to others. Your customers will pay it when they buy the product. You'll collect the money and send it to the state on a routine schedule.

A reseller's license is your flag saying "I sell to others. I can buy wholesale products without paying sales tax because I pass the tax onto my customers." 

How Do I Get a Sales Tax ID/Reseller's License?

Half the trouble with signing up for a sales tax license is finding where to go!

To get started, you need to find your state tax department. For example, someone based in New York would go to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (either online, by phone or in person) and fill in the appropriate form.

You'll find that when you've made your way to the right website, most of the information and forms you need are just waiting for you. 

That's why I've got this nifty map to help you find your way faster:

Click on your state to find the right sales tax information for you,
and register for your license.




Sales Tax Applies
No Sales Tax



Find this useful? Spread the love: Share it. :)

Once you get your sales tax ID, the state will start sending you monthly/quarterly statements. In some cases, states will use your federal EIN as your sales tax ID. In some cases, they'll issue you a separate number. 

Sales Tax: A Brief Overview

Sales tax is a tax levied on all sales of physical goods to consumers within most states. Some states also charge sales tax for certain kinds of services.

Not all states charge sales tax: if you live in Delaware, Oregon, New Hampshire, Montana or Alaska, then sales tax either does not apply or applies only in certain circumstances. For sellers in any other state: yes, you do need to worry about sales tax!

You can find your state's sales tax rate here. It is important that you do this, because taxes vary significantly among the different states. For instance, some have one rate that applies state-wide, while in others, the rate varies between counties and cities.

Determining what state(s) you need to pay tax comes down to where you operate. A base of operations is called a "nexus." If you are dropshipping from home, you'll only be responsible for that state's sale tax because you only have one nexus. If you have a storage warehouse in another state, you have a nexus there, too. If you opt to ship goods via Fulfilled by Amazon, you technically have a nexus in whatever state(s) your goods are warehoused in.  

Note: In some states you also need to collect sales tax on shipping and handling.

You can learn more about sales tax here

A Bit of Extra Information for You

There are a few other things to consider when looking into the taxes you'll be responsible for as a seller. 

  • Reseller's Permits and Buying Wholesale 

    If you are a US citizen purchasing wholesale goods from a supplier within the US, then you will probably need a resale certificate or license from the state in which your business is located.

    A resale certificate or license enables you to purchase goods wholesale without paying sales tax. It also allows you to collect sales tax from your customers, the end consumer.

    Without a resale certificate, you will have to pay sales tax on the goods you buy wholesale and then also charge sales tax. In this case you can add the sales tax you paid as a deduction on your return, but it is much less complicated to just present your reseller's license when you buy.

    Most wholesalers will ask to see a sales tax ID or reseller's license before they will sell you the goods. This is because they are legally obliged to check whether you are able to collect sales tax from the end user.

  • Use Tax

    Another thing you may come across is something called "use tax." This tax is in place to discourage people from shopping in states with lower taxes than their own.

    Use tax means that if you purchase goods in another state, you owe tax equal to the amount you would normally have paid in your own state. It will also apply to you if you buy goods intended for resale and then end up keeping them for your own use.

    The good news is, if you are based in one state but ship to customers in another, you're not obligated to collect sales tax or deal with use tax at all. Just as you're responsible for paying the use tax if you get your supplies from out of state, your consumers are responsible for the use tax when they buy from you. 

    Obviously you could potentially get away without paying use tax because it works on an honor basis. However, should you be audited, use tax is something auditors like to hone in on. As a result, many new businesses get caught in the cross-hairs. Therefore it is wise to make sure that you pay it and keep the appropriate records.

  • Collecting Sales Tax on eBay or Your Website

    The process for collecting sales tax will differ depending on where you're selling.

    If you're selling on eBay, for example, you can learn how to collect sales tax on eBay here. The process basically looks like this:

    1. Go to "My eBay."
    2. Click the "Preferences" link from the left-hand navigation bar.
    3. Click "Show" in the "Payments from Buyers" section.
    4. In the "Use Sales Tax Table" section click "Edit."
    5. The "Sales Tax Table" page appears.
    6. Find the state you want to start charging sales tax in and put in the correct sales tax amount in the "Sales Tax Rate" field. You can also opt to charge sales tax on shipping and handling, if it's required.

If you're selling on your own online store, or if you're planning to in the future, things can get a little tricky if you're not careful!

The best thing to do in this case is hire an accountant, or use tax software such as Avalara to keep track of the sales tax you need to collect and pay. 

If you create your own online shop with SaleHoo Stores, setting up your sales tax collection is automated and easy.

  • Records to Keep

    You need to keep your resale certificate(s) on file as part of your business records. You must be able to match your sales records with the certificates for audit purposes.

  • Reporting Sales Tax

    How often you need to complete Sales and Use Tax reports will depend on your monthly sales turnover and the state you are working from.

It's very important you are sure to collect the correct amount of sales tax, as you will be held liable for the difference if you come up short.

Note: Trading Assistants do not need to collect or remit sales tax.

Did this make it a lot easier for you to get your sales tax ID or reseller's license? Help others in the same boat by sharing this now!

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50 Comments view all Add your comment
Free Member
Hello I am a distributor for a weight loss company. I live in Texas but I am looking to set up a booth at a Flea Market in Florida but they are asking for a license of some sort. I'm pretty confused on to what kind of license I need to file for. Can you please help? Reply
Site Admin
Hey there --

Sounds like they want you register for a Florida business license:

From this site:

Thinking about starting a business or need information on how to start a business? Here are the steps to forming a new business in Florida!

You will need to think up a name for your new company. A good name should be unique, yet tells what kind of business you are doing.
Make a choice on what type of company you want to form. Do you want to:
File a DBA (fictitious name) to create a sole proprietorship or partnership?
Incorporate as a corporation or LLC (Limited Liability Company)?
Whatever you choose, you need to register your company with the state, county and obtain a bank account for the company. You are required to do these steps even if you have an online business or an at home business. For example, if you are doing booth sales regularly at a flea market or selling beauty products in an at home party setting you will need to take these steps.

You might also need a resale certificate -- I am not entirely certain on that since you're based in Texas and I assume you've made arrangements with the company you distribute for.

Hope this helps. Reply
Free Member
I am Mexican and live in Mexico. How would it work with me? Thanks! Reply
Site Admin
that depends on what you're doing exactly! Since you're based in Mexico you're not obligated to pay sales tax here in the US. I don't know what the Mexican government would require you to pay -- so you'd have to look into that. Talking to an accountant is always a good idea.

Basically the biggest thing you have to worry about stateside is if you have a "nexus" -- a base of operations. It could be an office or it could be some sort of warehouse. If you're dropshipping and the manufacturer is handling fulfillment, this isn't an issue at all. Then you would be required to pay sales tax to the state where your nexus is.

Hope that helps!
Hi, I've applied for a TX state sales tax id online and I got my sale tax number from the form they emailed that said they just needed my signature to process it. So I signed it and faxed it in but that was just a few days ago so I haven't actually received my permit in the mail yet. I have the sales tax id number though from the email so am I okay to complete a Sales and Use Tax Resale Certificate with a wholesale vendor to order some things for my business or I do I need to wait until I physically get the permit in the mail? Reply
Site Admin
Honestly, Susan, I am not sure. If there is any sort of approval still required, I would hold off. You might try contacting the supplier and explain the situation and ask them what they would prefer. Reply
Free Member
Hi There,

I am going to start my own company in fashion in San Francisco. I need to buy fabrics in wholesale prices within US to make my designs. I am not a citizen but i have a green card so ill be consider resident. I havent registered my company yet. do i need to register my company before i get the resell license? do i need to get resell license and sale tax ID? if yes could you send me he link so i can get the license permit.
Thank you
Site Admin
His, Mas --

Yes, you're going to have to fill out all the paperwork and register the business before you can get reseller's license. I think this link should help: Reply
I am starting an online business selling products from dropshippers. I currently have my EIN and am in the process of getting a resale permit. I am sole proprietor of this business. I've read that online retail stores do not have to collect sales tax. So when filling out the business tax application with the department of revenue, I am confused as to which sales type? Sales tax or withholding tax? Reply
Site Admin
Nicole --

You need a sales tax application. Withholding tax is more for employee wages and a few other things -- nothing that involves dropshipping. You don't have to collect sales tax on sales in states where you don't have a base of operations (called a "nexus") -- but you should expect to pay sales tax in your own state. How much you pay depends on how much business you do.

If you're unsure the best option is to talk to an accountant.

Hope this helps! Reply
I live in Louisville and want to start making and selling some small container gardens and terrariums to sell at arts and crafts fairs, farmers markets and small local shops. I am going to have a website and put some of my merchandise on there also if someone would like to purchase.

I am employed full time and this will be a limited business that I will do on the side.

I have been trying to find out what I need to do get the proper licensing to do this. I have not had much luck so far.

I will be doing this myself and friend may be making some pieces and joining me down the road. Should I register as an LLC? Not sure which one?

Do I need a sales tax number ?

Do I need a resale license and will that also give me a wholesale license?
Site Admin
Hi, Donna!

You need to register the business with the state. Here's some resources that should help:

Basically you need a resale certificate, which is tied into the sales & use tax account you'll set up. then you can purchase from wholesalers without having to pay sales tax.

If you're not sure about the best legal structure for your business, I recommend talking to a CPA or attorney who can help you with deciding the best course of action.

Hope this helps! Reply
Free Member
I'm getting a contractors lisecne ... I make window treatments ,cornice boards and such I have an EIN would a contractors lisecne give me a sales tax ID?? Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Millie --

I think that's going to depend on your state. For example, Iowa contractors aren't exempt from sales tax. I would do some research (try something like "do contractors pay sales tax + your state") and if all else fails, speak to your accountant.

Hope that helps! Reply
Free Member

We are a Canadian based online retailer and sell only to the US. We have no presence in the US yet we will purchase our products from US based wholesalers. It's very confusing but would we require a Resale Tax ID or Reseller License?

Thanks Reply
Site Admin
hi, Roger!

Businesses in the US are registered in individual states rather than at the national level, so the laws vary by location, which can be confusing. However, since you're based in Canada, you don't actually need a sales tax ID -- you should be able to provide proof of your business' registration in Canada as an equivalent. Reply

We're a manufacturing company registered in Canada. We have a lot of US customers and have a 3PL warehouse in California to serve them. Are we able to apply for a resellers if we're not registered in the US? Or do we need a EIN in order to apply? Reply
Site Admin
Honestly, I am not sure. I know that from a tax standpoint, havign the warehouse means you have a "nexus" but if you're registered in Canada, you should be able to provide proof of your registration there as an equivalent for suppliers. You should probably speak with the suppliers directly and ask what they need. An accountant can usually help, too. Reply

I have a different case and I hope somebody can help. I plan to purchase products form wholesalers here in the US, and undoubtedly they will require a Resell Permit to avoid charging my Sales Tax, however the products I will purchase will be exported to outside of the US and resell overseas. Is there a specific Permit that I can get for such in order to be able to purchase Tax exempt products? Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Karar --

It's going to depend on what state you're in. If you have an export license it shouldn't be a problem. It might also depend on where you have the items delivered to -- an export agent, another country, or another location in the U.S. Reply
Free Member
I live in NY state and would like to start selling online. I would not be actually shipping anything from NY state. I would be taking orders, placing those orders with a supplier/factory and having the items drop shipped directly from the supplier. Do I need a sales tax authorization number or anything to do this? One of the places I would like to go through for drop shipping (jds marketing: asks for "State Resale Tax ID" to sign up for the drop ship/distributor program, but I am not sure exactly what this is and if I even need it? Reply
Site Admin
You'll need to register your business in NY and that will give you the resale tax ID. You typically don't have to collect sales tax on purchases from customers in another state, though. The tax ID proves to suppliers that you're a legitimate business.

This link should help:

If you're unsure, you can always speak to an accountant. That's really the safest way to get your questions answered. Hope that helps! Reply
Free Member
I am planing to open a shop on Etsy. I want to buy the products online but wholesaler require a resale tax ID number. can i get i get a resale tax id number only or do i have to register my business too? i also don't understand that you have to pay tax monthly/ quarterly, can you please explain? if i don't make enough money will the IRS tax me? I live in California do i have to tax customers form all states? Thank You. Reply
Site Admin
Hi, noy!

To get the resale tax ID, you will have to register your business in California.

Taxes will depend on California state requirements. Every state is different -- but typically you have to pay sales tax based on your sales. Some prefer it monthly, others prefer it quarterly. But you usually only need to collect sales tax in states where you have a nexus, or base of operations.

I recommend talking to an accountant. He or she can help you with registering and figuring out how often you need to pay taxes. Reply
Free Member
i am currently setting up my a e interior design business
i would love to set up a dropship situation with an American Wholesale business
However my business is registared in the UK
I am not able to get a resale licences
please advice me as to what to do Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Alica!

Typically, suppliers will accept your UK license as equivalent proof. Reply
Hello, I am setting up an online store through an app poshmark. com (similar to ebay but they specialize in women's items only), and I currently sell my clothing only. If I wanted to expand what I sell by getting a resellers permit, would i have to worry about paying taxes at the end of the year on any profits from selling items that aren't mine? they don't charge sales tax so i wouldn't be collecting any sales tax. Thanks! Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Laura --

That depends on where your business is registered. Typically, you have to pay sales tax on items sold in any state where you have a nexus (a base of operations, whether it's an office or a warehouse you own). Some states don't charge any sales tax, so you're in the clear if you're located there.

If you're shipping out of state, you don't necessarily have to collect sales tax. But it's always best to speak to an accountant, as they're the final authority.

Hope that helps! Reply
I have a small business in Jamaica. I live in Jamaica but want to buy wholesale items in the US. What do I need in order to purchase these items?. I am not aware of what I need to present to these stores that I want to purchase items from.
Also if I have family members in the US can they purchase these items for me even thought they do not have a sale tax id. Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Sam --

Typically, you would register your business in Jamaica and provide your business number as proof. That would get your the tax exemption. While your family could possibly buy the products for you, they would not be able to get the tax exemption without some sort of proof of registration.

The other option would be to incorporate your business in the states, but you'd have to set up everything properly, which means talking to a lawyer and/or an accountant. You'd also be obligated to collect sales tax in whatever state you incorporate in, as well.

Hope that helps! Ultimately, if you're not sure, I strongly suggest talking to an expert. Reply
Free Member
Hi, I live in Louisville and I will be making, and buying jewelry and accessories. I have an EIN number in addition will I need a resellers and sales tax id? Reply
Site Admin
hi, Janice -- yes, you'll need to get a reseller's certificate to collect sales tax on goods sold in-state.

Resources that might help: Reply
Hi, I live in NYC and I was wondering if you could tell me more about the process of recovering taxes paid to wholesalers - I didn't have my reseller license on me. Are only taxes on purchases made within the last year eligible to be included as deductions? Is it possible to go back to the wholesaler directly to recover those taxes paid? Reply
Site Admin
Hi, John!

Those are great questions -- I think your best course of action is to talk to an accountant or other tax expert. Tax law is pretty complicated stuff, and varies by state and local communities.

I found a couple links that may be of some help, as well: Reply
Full Member
Hi, I live in Mexico, I´m registered in the tax department, I pay my taxes, but i want to sell on Ebay, do i need a reseller license sales tax id ?

Another question is... If I want to sell on Ebay how can i ship directly the product to the buyer, because the payment is made by paypal, and this company send the pack to the registered adress on the account. Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Alfonso --

To sell on eBay, you don't need a resale certificate. That's just for dealing with suppliers in the US. It'll exempt you from paying sales tax when you purchase from wholesalers. However, you have to be located in the states to get one. Instead, when you purchase from wholesalers, you should be able to provide proof of business registration in Mexico.

For suppliers, you want to look specifically for dropshippers. They will send your products to your customers directly. I recommend this guide: Reply
We are a wholesale comapny. I was wondering if we have to have a copy of our out of state customers resale tax certificate or just from our in state customers? Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Kim!

Unfortunately, I can't say with certainty. Every state has different tax laws -- and some don't have sales tax at all. Your best bet is to contact an accountant or other tax expert in your state. Reply
Free Member
I am a US citizen living abroad but have family in Florida and use their address for mail from banks, credit cards, brokerage etc. I also if allowed will use it as my registered address at online retailers that I frequented before I moved abroad. Ebay forced me to update to my current address due to concerns of a foreign ip address signing in but haven't given me any issues since. My question is this, I want to drop-ship, sell on ebay, supply the product from a wholesaler in California. I have a SS, I also have a tax id # for an LLC I was thinking of letting go defunct due to that consulting gig is done. Should I apply for a new tax id? Am I considered to be based abroad, Florida, nowhere? Should I renew the LLC which is registered in Florida? Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Robert --

Those are some tricky questions. The biggest issue will be sales tax/VAT. Technically, since you're the one running the business, wherever you are located is your nexus, your base of operations, and that will obligate you to follow local laws for tax -- even if you're abroad. If am not sure you are able to use the Florida address as your registered address unless you actually conduct some operations from there.

Your best bet is to talk to an accountant or other legal/tax expert to clarify these questions. Laws vary so widely from state to state and country to country that it can be difficult hunting down the information on your own. Reply
Free Member
how do I recover my resale # Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Alphonso!

I would contact the state to get the number. Reply
Hi SaleHoo Team,

I'm from the Philippines and I'm planning to avail your dropshipping program.
However I understand that for legal purposes, I need to open up a US Bank account like LLC for me to avail an EIN.
For that, it sounds pretty simple because a lot incorporation are offering it online nowadays.
I just dont know how to avail my Reseller's Permit (Sales Tax) if I'm from outside the US.

Can I get done online too just like EIN? Is it free?

If you could give me some links on how to avail it then it would be very helpful.

Thanks and more power to SaleHoo :) Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Michelle --

I think you should contact Support with your questions. They should be able to answer your questions. Good luck! Reply
Hello, I live in New Hampshire, no sales tax here, but I want to start buying from wholesalers to add inventory to my ebay store, they all seem to require a tax id, how can I get one? Please help! Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Michelle!

This is what I found:

It appears that you just need to let them know you're in NH, which doesn't collect sales tax. Reply
Where can I go to get started buying wholesale and selling retail on Internet and in a store in an Y State ? This article was somewhat helpful .thank you . Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Theresa!

You'll need to find a wholesale supplier and set up an online store. If you're wanting to sell in a brick and mortar location, you'll have to get premises and all the trappings that come with a brick and mortar location -- and of course you'll need a solid plan for how you want to run your business.

To find wholesalers, I recommend signing up for our directory -- you get access to more than 8,000 suppliers. You can also create an online store with SaleHoo stores, but there are other options as well, including Amazon and eBay, of course!

Good luck! Reply
Full Member
I am located in New York and I want to sell goods with my partner in Africa who has buyers, (both large and small orders), For some items, I would purchase them from an outlet store, lets say in NY or NJ, order other items online, and order it to my shipping forwarding company that is based in Delaware that would forward it to Africa. When I make that order from online or in store, although I am physically in NY/NJ they don't charge tax because the place it is going is in Delaware where there is no Sales Tax. How would I go about taxes with these items? Do I need a resale license? I don't have an LLC yet but plan on setting one up this month where it makes the most sense. If my buyer needs to pay taxes on these, where can I find out how much they would be.

Thanks Reply
Site Admin
This is tricky.

If you're selling things actually in the States, you need to worry about collecting sales tax and paying it to the state. But it doesn't sound like that's the case -- you're selling in Africa, which means you're subject to both customs and whatever tax laws are in place in the countries where you sell.

That said, since you're in New York, you should register your business there (you technically have a nexus there, since it's where you live and operation) to get your sales tax exemption.

If you're stuck or unsure of what to do, I recommend talking to either an authority on experts or an accountant/attorney versed in this kind of tax law. That's really the best way to make sure you're in compliance and doing everything correctly.

Hope that helps! Here are a couple other links that might be of assistance: Reply

I am located in miami florida and am going to start an online dropshipping business with different companies that I have found on salehoo. I just applied for an EIN and received it through I am wondering if I need to get any other things done, such as applying for any other tax documents or things of that nature, in order to be legally eligible to do the business.

Thanks Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Nancy --

You'll also need to register your business in Florida:
And plan on paying sales tax! It's definitely a good idea to talk to an accountant to make sure you're all squared away there.

Hope this helps! Reply
I'm a military spouse living overseas (Okinawa, Japan) and would like to purchase wholesale fabric both to sell & sell products made from the fabric. What do I need to do? Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Lacey --

I'm honestly not fully sure. I recommend talking to a legal/tax expert about it. If you're living on a base, you're technically still living and working on U.S. soil, so you should be able to set up your business and register it in the states, then use that registration to purchase wholesale fabric without having to pay sales tax. However, I'm not sure of the exact process for you.

Hope that helps! Reply

I have a business in Delaware, how do I get a resale tax certificate?

Regards Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Ryan -

Delaware does not charge a sales tax, so there's no need for a resale tax certificate. Instead, you should be able to provide proof of your business's registration in Delaware to wholesalers and they should accept that.

Hope that helps! Reply
Free Member
Hello, I followed your post and Q&A. They are informative. I have question about opening resale permit. I am on H1b working visa. Planning to apply resell certificate to resell online(ebay,amazon) buying from wholesalers. Am I eligible to apply for resale certificate? I am on the process of my Green Card(GC). What kind of entity I can form. Do I need to have some GC holder should be partnered? Please advise. Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Siva --

It looks like you would not be eligible to apply for a resale certificate since you would not be able to work the company you created with an H1-B visa. The most it appears you can do is be a passive investor -- put money in and let someone else make the operational decisions.

I don't know how obtaining your green card would change that. I highly suggest talking to an expert in taxes and immigration to find out when you'd be eligible to create your business and what your limitations are.

Hope that helps! Reply
Full Member
Hello I live in NY and recently started selling on ebay in small amounts of my own personal items to get a feel for the market I would be involved in. I have since filed a D.B.A., received my E.I.N. and my Resale Certificate will be valid as of 8/1/2015. My question is should I be collecting taxes on the few items I sold personally on ebay. None of these were purchased from wholesale companies and I paid the sales tax on the items myself. I am confused about how to specifically define what I will be doing as a business, as opposed to any personal ebay selling which I had done previously. Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Adam!

Generally speaking, personal items sold on eBay won't be an issue with taxes. You're selling them for less than you paid for them, so it's technically a loss for you.

When you start reselling wholesale items above a certain volume, then it becomes a business. I think the federal threshold for hobby vs. business is about $600 annually (under that you don't need to report it, generally speaking) -- but you should definitely confirm with an accountant. States get a bit finicky about sales tax and every state is different.

I hope that helps! Reply

We are a business establishment federally incorporated and based in Ontario, Canada and we are planning to sell various technology products in US through several online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay. It would be a drop ship model with suppliers based in US.

We would be setting up a company in US (if it helps in Delaware) and will have EIN. Can you please suggest us as to what else do we need in order to sell in all states in US and if we do not want to collect any sales taxes from our online buyers neither pay any sales tax to our suppliers (based in US).

Like I mentioned above it will be drop ship model, so we will not have a warehouse as our on-line orders will be drop shipped directly to the customers by our various US suppliers. Also we don’t need any physical office address, unless it is required by law.
Site Admin
Hi, Dev!

Tax laws vary by states. Delaware is one of the few that doesn't charge sales tax -- so you're not obligated to collect it on purchases made in that state, as you would be in most other places. When you sell to people in other states where you don't have a base of operations, you don't have to collect sales tax at all.

Since you're dropshipping, you most likely won't have to deal with the nexus issue for your suppliers. Delaware will be your only nexus. However, some suppliers will require you to show proof that you're a registered business -- that's your EIN. I don't know if you'll have to have a physical address listed.

I suggest you check with an accountant or another tax expert just to make sure you're absolutely doing everything correctly.

Good luck! Reply
Hi, I have read through all the previous comments on this page but am still unsure to what extend sales tax is a concern for overseas based persons or businesses who are operating an eCom store (i.e. on a platform like Shopify) in the US?

I understand a *US based business* has nexus in their home state and in states where they establish a 'considerable presence' (nexus), in many cases purely by using a warehouse or fulfillment service for their stock to sell to that state's residents.

I understand that the same concept is supposed to apply to the use of Amazon FBA services, whereby the FBA seller is required to collect and remit sales tax to any state where Amazon ships the business' goods out from. - (However, with this in particular, I wonder how any FBA seller would even know in advance, prior to the customer adding to cart and checking out and prior to actual fulfillment by Amazon, out of which Amazon FC the order will be shipped from - so how could this even be set up in the Amazon settings, so that the appropriate tax rate for the respective state would be charged prior to checkout?)

I understand furthermore, that you responded to the previous post to Dev (27 Aug) that you think drop shipping would not create nexus for the seller (the drop shipper's business parter). Are you sure about that? I have read conflicting information about this. However, I think it would be ridiculous to deem a drop shipper's warehouse location as nexus for the seller in a different state. The seller is not really operating the warehouse, it's not "their" goods (even though they "buy" goods on an individual basis, to be directly shipped to their customers out of the drop shipper's warehouse). It's only slightly different to an affiliate relationship, where the affiliate would send sales leads to the wholesaler, who then pays a commission and in turn sends out the same goods out of that warehouse. Still, I wonder if using a drop shipper for THEIR goods in such a business relationship definitely does not create a sales tax nexus for the seller in another state?

And most importantly, being a non-US based resident living in Australia, do any of the above three mentioned scenarios apply to me, anyway? In other words, would international eCom store or FBA merchants operating in the US, even have to register for sales tax in any of these scenarios or are they in fact exempt?

Would it be better for me to set up an LLC in the US? At the moment, I am contemplating various business ventures, as above...either bulk import and the use of an order fulfillment warehouse service, drop shipping from US merchants or Amazon FBA - or a mix of them all.

One simple example to illustrate: I could import goods from overseas and they get stored and fulfilled through a third party storage and order fulfillment service in, say California. All orders would then be shipped from California. Now normally as a California based business I understand the nexus rules, but would I even have any sales tax collection obligations in this scenario, when I am actually based overseas?

Last but not least, I have read about the 'origin-based sales tax' states vs. the 'destination-based sales tax' states ... now this is getting insane...especially the latter! And even more so if a so called 'remote seller' then has an otherwise 'origin-based sales tax' state (for businesses located there) "turned" into a 'destination-based sales tax' state!
CRAZY...How are people supposed to deal with hundreds or thousands of different tax jurisdications on multiple levels, state down to county, city..?

Thanks so much for your answers! Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Roland --

The tax issue is crazy complicated, I know! Each state has its own laws, cities tack on even more local laws, and then interstate commerce makes everything even more complicated. You've asked a lot of questions, and I'll do my best to answer what I can:

If you're not in the U.S., you don't need to worry about paying sales tax in the U.S. Period. You'll have to worry about registering in Australia. The good news is that many U.S. suppliers will still gladly work with you. Some wholesale suppliers might request proof of your registration in Australia, so be prepared.

If you have a warehouse in the states, or you use FBA, that becomes a nexus. (However, 2 states where Amazon has FBA centers don't collect sales tax, which means in those states, it's a moot point.) Importing is where things get very tricky, because you start having to employ agents on your behalf, you have to find space to keep the goods, etc. A lot of those activities can help create the nexus, which obligates you to pay tax. Here's another good resource about nexuses:

Incorporating in the states will require getting a registered agent, possibly an EIN, and other steps. And then you need to maintain it every year. There's some good information about that here:

And finally, here's another resource about registering a business when you're based abroad:

I can't advise you whether to create an LLC here in the states or not. I also can't really advise you on the tax issue. You can still sell to the U.S. market via the Internet without having a presence here in the states. That's not an issue. But if you want to get involved with a business in the states, I strongly advise talking to a lawyer or tax expert. They know way more about the issue than I ever could. =)

Hope this helps somewhat! Reply
Thanks for the informative post. I am military spouse that just moved from Texas to Okinawa, Japan and I need a reseller/wholesale license and Tax ID number to give to the wholesalers. What state should I register my sole proprietorship with and to get the proper licenses? Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Marina!

Honestly, I'm not completely sure of how running a business would work for you.There aren't a lot of resources available on such a niche topic. I did find one Etsy thread that sort of touches on some of the tangential issues. It appears that above a certain amount of income you'll have to register in Japan and pay Japanese taxes. If you're planning on buying wholesale, not dropshipping, it also appears that you won't be able to use an APO address -- you'll have to get a business account with a shipping service. Here's the thread in question, although it doesn't address the issue of a sales tax ID and all that:

Here's another post that talks a little about setting up a business:

Your best bet is to talk to a lawyer, tax expert, or maybe someone on base who is supposed to handle those requests.

I hope this helps somewhat -- good luck with your business! Reply

We own a small retail and ice cream shop in Wisconsin. I am going to close shop for the winter and bring my jewelry to Florida with me this winter and want to sell at Car shows and Renaissance fairs, and craft fairs. Since I own a business in Wisconsin, do I also have to have a separate license in Florida to sell down there for two months? Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Christy!

Since you're selling in the state to customers in the state, you will be obligated to pay tax, which means you'll need to register with Florida. The state government has a very helpful page, including a link to a tool that should help you figure out what taxes, if any, you're responsible for.

I've worked artist tables at several events in my home state and in the next state over. In my experience, many of the events you plan to sell at will likely provide you with the sales tax forms to file taxes from those events, which should make it easier on you.

Hope this helps! Reply
I applied for a Sellers Use Tax number about 9-10 days ago and still havent heard anything from anyone. It says it takes 3-5 days..Why is it taking so long? Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Kristin!

That depends on your state government. You might want to send an email to them as a follow-up. Reply
Full Member
I have looked everywhere on the internet for how you would get a sales tax I.D. and a resale permit. I cannot find anything but scams. I clicked on my state in the above map, but the website for oklahoma does not have information on obtaining a packet to apply for either one of them. I would Appriciate some help. Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Amanda! Here is the link you need:

Hope this helps! Reply
Full Member
I am located in Canada. Must I pay tax.

Thank you
Site Admin
Hi, Robert!

You don't need to worry about orders placed in the U.S. if you are from Canada unless you have a stateside base of operations. However, you will be expected to pay Canadian sales tax. You can learn more about that here: Reply
Full Member
Hi Melissa.

I checked the site. But when they ask for what type of business what should I write?
Site Admin
Hi there, Guy!

I honestly can't tell you, because I don't know your business. I'm guessing it's probably retail? that's generally a broad term that covers lots of stuff.
Full Member
I had a look at the website that you directed me to and It is a way to register a business and the permits that you already have, but no information on how to get the permit that I need. I appriciate your help and patience. Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Amanda! I think registering your business on the site will get you the permit. But I admit, I am not familiar with Oklahoma laws at all.

Otherwise, it appears from the link above that you can apply in person in Tulsa or Oklahoma City. The alternative is to contact an accountant or tax expert to help you figure out the next step. Reply
Thanks for your help with everything Melissa Johnson - very helpful.

We have a business in Jersey City (an Urban Enterprise Zone that only charges 3.5% sales tax versus the NJ state wide rate of 7%) so we have a nexus in NJ. We sold $10,000 in scientific equipment to a company in Rockville, Maryland. So I simply charge the $10,000 and no additional tax? (6% tax rate in MD).

I only would charge tax if the customer is in NJ and would only have to charge 3.5% given we are in an Urban Enterprise Zone? is that correct?

Thanks! Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Steve --

That's a big number, and I would hate to be wrong. Was it something you sold online? in person? Did they come to your location? A lot of businesses don't tend to just make large purchases online without some discussion and back and forth.

On in-state purchases, honestly can't say because I'm not familiar with the tax laws in your area. I've never heard of urban enterprise zones, so I don't know how they would work and whether state or local tax rates take precedence.

I strongly, strongly recommend checking with an accountant or tax expert just to make sure you're in compliance and doing things correctly. =) Reply
Free Member
Hello! I want to start my online business but I live in Spain, I would have to get me a license to sell in the United States? Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Manuel.

No license required to sell online in the U.S., but you might have to register with the Spanish government. I don't know how taxes work for businesses in Spain.

If you plan to import to the U.S. or buy wholesale and store goods in the U.S. in your own warehouse space, you'll have to register your business and pay taxes.

Hope that helps! Reply
Full Member
I have a company in the Netherlands
I am not a US citizen
do I need a Sales Tax ID ?
and if yes how do I do that ?

thanks in advance Reply
Site Admin
You only need a sales tax ID if you have an office/warehouse/official presence in the U.S. That includes importing and storing goods. If you're just selling online from overseas, you don't need to worry about it.

Site Admin
If you will have a presence in the U.S., you need to register in the state where you're based. Not all states collect sales tax, either. It's hard to say without more details

Your best bet is always to talk to a tax expert or accountant.
Full Member
Hi Melissa. I'm from Canada -- more specifically New Brunswick -- anbd I've been wondering about that tax thing ever since I have made my first affiliate commission back in 2011. I didn't make enough in my opinion since then to bother with, but eventually if I want to make a business out of this I need to look at this a little bit closer.

I try to look through the internet to my local tax department and I emailed them the question. I now wait to see if they gonna answer me and how. I asked them what forms should I fill s a reseller and an affiliate.

Do you have an idea where I should go if I don't get any answer? Reply
Site Admin
Talk to an accountant about it, or another qualified tax expert. They can answer your questions and often help you file the forms you need to scale your business. Reply

I started my own business. I am working at my home. I received my business license and have recently gotten my EIN#. Now like some of the others stated i need my resale certificate. I clicked on my state of KY above and it did take me to the dept of revenue. I clicked on resale certificate and it took me to the certificate, but there's not really anywhere for me to put my information or does it tell me where i send or email the paper once i fill it out.. could you please help me.. Thank You! Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Toni --

Frankly, I don't have all the answers.

You might be able to submit an application through the One Stop portal:

Otherwise, these are the links I have:

Your best bets are to call the tax office directly, or to talk to an accountant. Not only will they be able to help you straighten out the issue, but they'll also help you figure out what records you need to keep for filing taxes.

I hope this helps! Reply
Free Member
I live in Iraq and want to buy wholesale merchandise online from the US and resell them in Iraq. The Wholesale companies require always reseller certificate or if I plan on shipping to the USA prior to my country and would like to register with the US address of a shipping partner that I utilize they will need a letter from My Shipping Company that has the following requirements:
Document is on shipping company's letterhead.
Document indicates I am a current customer.
Document lists the USA address I am permitted to use for my shipping needs.
Document is signed and dated.
Could you give me some information about some shipping companies that can provide me the above mentioned documents?
Many thanks for considering my request.
Site Admin
Hi, Twana!

I'm afraid I don't have any specific recommendations for shipping companies.However, you can ask in our forums! Other members may have suggestions for shipping companies to use based on their own experiences:

Good luck! Reply

If I use a Resell Certificate to buy goods here in the states and sell those goods in another country then do I have to report the sales to the Us gov afterwards or it does not apply to the sales took place in different country ?

Also, can I use a foreign resale certificate to get exempt from state sales tax or it has to be from one of the 50 states ?

Would really appreciate if anyone inform me about this. Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Mac!

There are a lot of variables to consider here, so I can't really say anything with certainty. I did some digging and found this:

"In general, if a sale is made to a company for export outside of the United States, it is not subject to sales tax. However, in order for this exemption to apply, delivery must not be made to the purchaser within the United States. The seller must deliver the property either directly outside the US or to a qualified export agent."

Generally you only need to pay and report sales where the sales take place. Some wholesalers and suppliers will accept international certificates, too. So it depends on whether you want to set up an actual presence within the US, or just let an export agent/customs broker handle the matter. Just letting a customs broker act for you seems like it will be the simplest option.

If you have other questions, you can always ask on our forum. Some of the international sellers there might have answers for you! Reply
Good morning.

My name is Carlos and few weeks ago I decided to register a business entity in the state of Delaware.

I'm still in the process of getting all the paperwork back from the state filling but I'd like to ask something in regards to a blog post here:

I decided to start an ecommerce business and this is why I decided to register a business in the US. I am physically located in Romania (Europe) and ofen I am asked for a resale certificate from the suppliers I am working with.

Could you please be so kind to let me know how do I request this certificate? I read your post in the website but I believe it only applies to US citizens. What is the process for foreign people registering in US as a business?

The reason I ask is because of this statement:

"The physical location of your business is what determines where you apply for the resale certificate"

What happens if my business is not physically located anywhere? I mean, I use a registered agent which I pay annually but other than that, my business is online and I do not have headquarters in USA.

Do I qualify to get a resale certificate?

Looking forward for your reply, thank you.

Best Regards,

Carlos Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Carlos --

Delaware doesn't collect sales tax, so it doesn't provide resale permits as far as I can tell. You should be able to provide your business license to most retailers as a substitute, but I would double check with an accountant or other tax expert just to be sure. Frankly, I'm not finding much helpful information online.

Registering in the US isn't hard. Generally it's handled by individual states (in your case Delaware). It looks like you're required to get a federal EIN as part of the Delaware registration process so I think that's all you need.

If you have more questions, I recommend checking out our forum. Some of the other sellers might have more specific advice: Reply
I am a small handcraft business located in Kodiak Alaska. I have a business license, but I have searched everywhere for a resale permit and I can't find anything about it. According to the website for Alaska, each municipality is in charge of a resale permit. Where we live does not have one applicable. Do I submit only my business license and explain my situation? Or should I pop for a resale certificate in another municipality even though I don't conduct business there? Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Holly --

I would stick to the business license, I think. Alaska doesn't have a sales tax imposed, except for some municipalities. A quick Google search suggests that Kodiak has a sales tax, but you said it doesn't issue resale permits. I'm also not finding much online that explains it.

Honestly, I would talk to an accountant about it. They should be able to get you squared away. Reply
Free Member
Hi there...
I hope you can help. I sell on Amazon and was just approved to sell a huge line of products from a company. Problem is the company says I need to have a tax certificate for each state. The company is located and ships from Texas and I am in WA state. Wouldnt I just need my resale for WA and a tax certificate for Texas since that would be considered a nexus? Really hope you can help. Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Nick!

I'm not sure honestly.The resale certificate for WA is essential because it's your home base. I'm not sure you'll have a nexus in TX given the circumstances you've described. However, if you plan to use Fulfillment by Amazon, I believe you'll be responsible for taxes in whatever state you warehouse the products in -- that may be what your supplier is referring to. It's best to ask them for clarification, though. Reply
Hello! I still don't know if I get it.
I live in Brazil. I want to sell on Amazon US from US dropshippers as an individual (I am not a company). In other words: want to do business only in US, nothing to do with Brazil, despite the fact that I live here. Do I have to collect taxes? Do I have to have an US bank account to receive my money on

Thank you so much!!! Reply
Site Admin
Hi, Nadia!

I have no idea what the tax implications are in Brazil. However, here's a really great link about what you need to sell on the US Amazon site when you're outside the country.

Hope this helps! Reply
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