A Resale Certificate (or “reseller’s license”) is a document issued by the Department of Taxation and Finance that allows businesses to buy goods for resale without paying sales tax on those goods.
Learn more about what a resale certificate is, how to get one, and more.
What is a Resale Certificate?
When retailers purchase products to resell, they often don’t pay sales tax to the supplier on the purchase. The state sales tax will still be paid, but instead of the retailer paying sales tax, the retailer charges sales tax to their customer on the final value of the merchandise. The collected sales tax is then sent by the retailer to the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.
For instance, consider a computer store in New York that buys laptops to sell in their outlet. By possessing a resale certificate, the owner of the technology store is not required to pay sales tax on the initial transaction from the wholesaler. When an individual purchases a laptop, the technology store will apply sales tax to the final user based on the full retail price of the laptop.
The technology store collects the sales tax from all their sales and usually, at the end of the month, submits the accumulated sales tax to the state.
The purpose of the certificate is to provide evidence of why sales tax was not collected on a transaction. Similar names for a resale certificate include reseller number, seller’s permit, exemption certificate, wholesale license, or reseller’s license. In order for the supplier to allow the tax-exempt purchase, the seller needs proof the buyer intends to resell the product by providing a valid resale certificate.
The sales tax exemption is only intended to be used for inventory that will be resold and not intended for the tax-free purchase of items used in normal business operations such as paper, pens, etc.
Before a business starts selling products or providing taxable services, it must first get a New York Sales Tax Certificate of Authority from the New York Department of Taxation and Finance. The Sales Tax Certificate of Authority is sometimes referred to as a seller’s permit, sales tax permit, or sales tax license.
Is a Resale Certificate the same as a Sales Tax Certificate of Authority?
The Sales Tax Certificate of Authority and Resale Certificate are commonly thought of as the same thing, but they are actually two separate documents. The Sales Tax Certificate of Authority allows a business to sell and collect sales tax from taxable products and services in the state, while the Resale Certificate allows the retailer to make tax-exempt purchases for products they intend to resell.
After registering, a Certificate of Authority Number will be provided by the Department of Taxation and Finance. This number will be listed on the Resale Certificate.
How to fill out the New York Resale Certificate
Filling out the New York Resale Certificate (Form ST-120) is pretty straightforward but is critical for the seller to gather all the information.
If audited, the New York Department of Taxation and Finance requires the seller to have a correctly filled out Form ST-120 Resale Certificate. Without it correctly filled out, the seller could end up owing sales taxes that should have been collected from the buyer in addition to penalties and interest.
Steps for filling out Form ST-120 New York Resale Certificate
Step 1 – Begin by logging into your NY.gov Business account or downloading Form ST-120.
Step 2 – Identify the name and business address of the seller
Step 3 – Identify the name and business address of the buyer
Step 4 – If the retailer is expected to be purchasing items frequently from the seller, instead of completing a resale certificate for every invoice, the blanket certificate box can be checked. Otherwise, select single-use certificate.
Step 5 – Describe the purchaser’s type of business and the primary products sold
Step 6 – New York-based vendors will enter their Certificate of Authority Number of the vendor (purchaser) in Part 1
Step 7 – New York-based vendors will select whether the purchase being made is:
– Tangible personal property for resale or certain services
– A service for resale; or
– Restaurant-type food, heated food, or heated drink for resale
Step 8 – Out-of-state purchasers will enter their state of registration and sales tax ID number, in addition to the merchandise being purchased.
Step 9 – The purchaser will certify the property being purchased is for resale and sign and date the sales tax exemption form.
Form ST-120 Fillable Resale Certificate
New York Resale Certificate FAQs
How much does a Resale Certificate cost in New York?
There is no cost for a Certificate of Exemption in New York.
Does a New York Resale Certificate Expire?
If selecting a blanket certificate, the resale certificate does not expire.
How often is New York sales tax due?
Most new businesses are set up to file and pay sales and use tax monthly, but depending on the amount of tax collected, your business may have a quarterly or annual filing frequency instead.
Where do I file the New York Resale Certificate?
The resale certificate is kept on file by the seller and is not filed with the state.
Are sellers required to accept resale certificates?
Sellers are not required to accept resale certificates, however, most do. If the vendor doesn’t accept the certificate for tax exempt purchases, the buyer will have to pay sales tax on the merchandise being purchased. In most cases, a credit for the sales taxes paid is provided when filing the New York sales tax return.
What steps should a business take to accept a resale certificate?
When a business is presented with a resale certificate, the burden of proof is on the seller to verify that the buyer’s information is correct and to keep these records. Failing to verify this information may put the liability of paying New York sales taxes on the seller.
Before accepting a resale certificate, a seller should:
– Review the resale certificate to make sure it is completely filled out.
– Verify the purchaser’s New York Certificate of Authority Number is valid by visiting the Department of Taxation and Finance’s Registered Sales Tax Vendor Lookup database.
– Sellers are also responsible for examining the certificate and evaluating whether the goods sold are reasonably consistent with the purchaser’s line of business. For example, if the buyer’s business is a car dealership, but they want to purchase office supplies tax-free, the seller should investigate further.
– Keep a file of resale certificates.
Alaska (no sales tax)
Delaware (no sales tax)
Montana (no sales tax)
New Hampshire (no sales tax)
Oregon (no sales tax)