Obtaining a California Resale License

California requires a seller's permit to obtain resale tax exemptions.
California requires a seller's permit to obtain resale tax exemptions. (Image: flag of california and USA image by PM Photo from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

California collects sales tax on the sale of tangible goods. Businesses selling physical products must apply for and obtain a seller's permit before selling products in California. A business can also use a seller's permit as a California resale license. Businesses with a seller's permit number can receive a tax exemption on goods bought for resale. A business must first obtain the seller's permit number from the California State Board of Equalization and then use separate resale certificates to receive the sales-tax exemption.

Things You'll Need

  • Seller's permit application
  • Resale certificate

Access the "California Seller's Permit Application" from the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) website. Use this permit application for both regular and temporary permits and for both wholesale and retail sales. All sellers intending to sell in California for 90 days or less must apply for a temporary permit with this application. After obtaining your seller's permit number, you may purchase property for resale purposes without paying the normal sales tax.

Make a list of all addresses where you will be selling taxable goods. You must obtain and post a separate permit for every location. If you are applying for a temporary license, you need only one permit. However, you must make a copy of that one permit and post it at every location. Include the list of addresses with your permit application.

Make a photocopy of your driver's license or California ID card. Every corporate officer, partner or other business personnel listed on the application must present a copy of a driver's license or ID card when mailing in the application. Partners must also present a copy of any existing partnership agreement.

Fill out the permit application. Every owner, partner, officer and co-owner must also sign the application. As of 2010, California charges no fee for a California seller's permit.

Use the list of district offices to find the office closest to you (see Resources). Mail in or deliver the application and any supporting documents to that district office. Expect to receive your seller's permit and number in about two weeks. You will also receive a packet of information about how to send in the sales taxes you collect from customers.

Download the "California Resale Certificate" form from the BOE website (see Resources). Make copies of this form to give to sellers when you purchase goods for resale. Use your California seller's permit number when providing this resale certificate to sellers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Out-of-state businesses only must also submit a "Registration Information for Out-of-State Account" form (see Resources). Submit this form along with the seller&#039;s permit application.
  • Although the state charges no fee for a seller&#039;s permit, you may have to pay a deposit on sales tax you are expected to have to remit in the future. The district office will inform you of this potential requirement if it applies to your situation.

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