Most businesses starting in Ohio selling a product or offering certain services will need to register for a Vendor’s License. This is commonly referred to as a seller’s permit, sales tax permit, sales tax license, sales tax number, or sales tax registration.
Check out the rest of this guide to find out who needs a Vendor’s License, what products and services are taxable, how to register for a permit, and reporting requirements.
Also See: Guide to starting a business in Ohio
Who needs a Vendor’s License in Ohio?
A business must register for a Vendor’s License in Ohio when:
- A business has economic nexus. Economic nexus means having a physical presence in the state, such as having a physical location like a retail store or office or using a warehouse or fulfillment center to store inventory.
- Making taxable retail sales or selling taxable services in Ohio (includes occasionally selling items at craft shows, fairs, seminars, shows, etc.)
- Employees (including sales representatives or agents) are working in Ohio
- An online business located in Ohio is selling taxable products to Ohio residents
- A remote seller meets one of the following scenarios:
- Making total annual sales of tangible personal property to Ohio residents of $100,000 or more; or
- Shipping 200 or more transactions with Ohio residents annually.
What products and services are taxable in Ohio?
There are a few exceptions, but almost all physical products are taxable when sold at retail in the state of Ohio. Common examples include:
- General merchandise like furniture, appliances, and clothing
- Titled or registered items like vehicles
Food for human consumption off the premises where sold, prescriptions, and durable medical equipment are a few items that are tax exempt in Ohio.
Labor, in most cases, isn’t taxable in Ohio. For instance, let’s say you broke the screen of your cell phone and take it to a cell phone repair shop to have it fixed. Sales tax would be added to the selling price of the new screen and any additional parts to fix the phone. The labor to replace the screen isn’t taxable. However, a business that makes furniture will indirectly have a sales tax on labor. In this instance, let’s say this business is building a dining room table for a customer. Through labor, the pieces of wood are shaped, sanded, and painted to build this piece of furniture. While the labor isn’t directly taxable, sales tax is charged to the final selling price of the table.
Some digital products are taxable in Ohio, such as audiovisual work or digital books.
Most services aren’t taxable in Ohio, however, there are a few exceptions, some of which include:
- Short-term lodging
- Private investigation or security service
- Car detailing
- Pest exterminating service
- Personal care services such as tattoos, tanning, massage
See the full list of taxable services in Ohio.
How to register for a Vendor’s License in Ohio
There are a few different types of Vendor Licenses in Ohio. They include:
Vendor – A person with a fixed place of business in Ohio where taxable sales are made. This license can also be issued by the County Auditor’s Office.
Transient Vendor – A retailer who transports goods to temporary places of business to make sales.
Seller – Retailer located outside of Ohio and makes sales of property of services to Ohio residents.
Information needed to register includes:
- Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) with the IRS, or the owner’s Social Security Number if a sole proprietorship with no employees
- Type of business entity: Sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- Date taxable sales will begin
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS code)
- Description of business activity
- Business name
- Trade name or DBA if there is one
- Primary address and mailing address
- Projected amount of sales tax to be collected
- Name, address, SSN of owners/officers/members
Sales tax reporting
How is sales tax collected?
When a business sells a taxable product or service, the business charges the appropriate sales tax rate to the customer. This tax is collected by the business which is then sent to the Ohio Department of Taxation.
How much is sales tax in Ohio?
The sales tax rate that is charged varies depending on the address of the business if the purchase is made in the store. When shipping in-state, the sales tax is based on the address of the purchaser.
In addition to the statewide tax, there are additional sales taxes that may be added by cities and municipalities. To find sales tax rates, see the sales tax rate finder from the Ohio Department of Taxation.
When are Ohio sales tax returns due?
The Department of Taxation will determine a filing frequency based on the expected sales volume, which will be monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually. Generally, a business collecting over $75,000 in sales tax annually will file monthly.
Filings are due on the 23rd day of the month following the reporting period, unless the 23rd falls on a weekend or federal holiday, which would move to the next business day.
Even if the business had no sales during the reporting period, a filing is still required indicating no sales.
How much does a Vendor’s License cost in Ohio?
There is a $25 application fee for a new Vendor’s License in Ohio.
How long does it take to get an Ohio Vendor’s License?
Most permits are issued immediately when registering online and up to 10 business days when applying by mail.
Do you have to renew an Ohio Vendor’s License?
The Vendor’s License is a one-time registration, and no renewals are needed. Be mindful that if any information about the business changes, such as the mailing address, additional locations, or change in ownership, those changes need to be updated with the Department of Taxation.
How do I get a wholesale license in Ohio?
A business can purchase items to resell without paying state sales tax. The tax liability is passed from the wholesaler or distributor to the retailer, who will then charge sales tax to the end-user of the item.
Wholesalers and distributors will require a sales tax number and an Ohio Sales Tax Exemption Certificate (also referred to as a wholesale license, resale certificate, or seller’s permit) to document the items being purchased are for resale.
Is a business license the same thing as a vendor’s license?
In addition to registering for a vendor’s license, there may be other business licenses needed before starting a business in Ohio.
Learn what business licenses are needed in Ohio.
If you have questions about the Vendor’s License, the Ohio Department of Taxation has an FAQ page for sales & use tax in Ohio or can be contacted by calling 888-405-4039.