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Most businesses starting in New Jersey that are selling a product or offering certain services will need to register for a sales tax certificate.  This is commonly referred to as a seller’s permit, sales tax permit, sales tax license, sales tax number or sales tax registration.   

The sales tax certificate is obtained through the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services as a part of applying for an New Jersey Business Registration. This registration allows a business to not only register to collect sales tax, but when also hiring employees.  

Check out the rest of this guide to find out who needs a sales tax certificate, what products and services are taxable, how to register for a permit and reporting requirements.

Who needs a sales tax certificate in New Jersey?

A business must register for a sales tax certificate in New Jersey when:

  • A business has “nexus” (significant presence in the state) such as a retail store, office or warehouse where products are produced, stored and/or delivered
  • Selling products and taxable services in New Jersey (includes occasionally selling items at craft shows, fairs, seminars, conventions, etc.)
  • Employees (including sales representatives, agents or independent contractors) are working in New Jersey
  • An online business located in New Jersey is selling taxable products to New Jersey residents
  • An out-of-state business selling to New Jersey residents and one of the following:
    • Total annual sales of tangible personal property to New Jersey residents is $100,000 or more; or
    • Having 200 or more transactions with New Jersey residents annually.

What products and services are taxable in New Jersey?

Physical products

There are a few exceptions, but almost all physical products are taxable when sold at retail in New Jersey.  Common examples include:

  • General merchandise like furniture, appliances, and clothing
  • Titled or registered items like vehicles

Most unprepared food, clothing, and medical supplies are exempt from taxes.  See the full list of items exempt from sales taxes.

Labor in most cases isn’t taxable in New Jersey.  For instance, let’s say you broke the screen to 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 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. 

Digital Products

Digital products are taxable in New Jersey.

Services

Most services aren’t taxable in New Jersey, however there are a few exceptions, some of which include:

  • Landscaping
  • Labor on auto repair
  • Admissions (sports, movie theater, places of amusement)
  • Pet boarding and grooming
  • Cleaning services

How to register for a sales tax certificate in New Jersey

A sales tax certificate can be obtained by registering online through Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services or by mailing in the NJ-REG.

Information needed to register includes:

How much does a sales tax certificate cost in New Jersey?

There is no cost for a sales tax certificate in New Jersey.

How long does it take to get a New Jersey sales tax certificate?

Expect up to 24 hours to receive a sales tax certificate when registering online or up to 2 weeks when applying by mail.

Do you have to renew your New Jersey sales tax certificate?

The sales tax certificate 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 Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services.

Sales tax reporting

How is sales tax collected?

When a business makes a sale of a taxable product or service, the business charges the appropriate sales tax rate to the customer.  This tax is collected by the business who then sends it to the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services.

How much sales tax is charged?

The state sales tax in New Jersey is 6.875%.  While there are no local sales taxes, there are Urban Enterprise Zones that allow some goods to be exempted for sales taxes.  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 map.

 When are New Jersey sales tax returns due?

The Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services will determine a filing frequency based on the expected volume of sales, which will be monthly, quarterly or annually.  Generally, a business collecting over $500 each month will file monthly. 

Filings are due the 20th day of the month following the reporting period, unless the 20th falls on a weekend or federal holiday, in which case 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 occurred.

Sales tax on purchases for resale

A business is able to 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 in many cases require the reseller to fill out a Resale Certificate to document the items being purchased are for resale. 

Questions

If you have questions about the sales tax certificate, the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services has a Sales Tax Guide or can be contacted by calling 609-292-9292. 

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