Most businesses starting in Georgia selling a product or offering certain services will need to register for a sales tax number. This is commonly referred to as a seller’s permit, sales tax permit, sales & use tax number, or sales tax registration.
Check out the rest of this guide to determine who needs a sales tax number, what products and services are taxable, how to register for a permit, and reporting requirements.
Also See: Guide to Starting a Business in Georgia
Who needs a Sales Tax Number in Georgia?
A business must register for a sales tax number in Georgia when:
- A business has sales tax nexus. 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.
- Selling items at craft shows, fairs, seminars, conventions, etc. in Georgia
- A business has employees or sales representatives working in the state
- An online business located in Georgia is selling taxable products to Georgia residents
- A remote seller meeting one of the following scenarios will need to register:
- Making total sales of tangible personal property to Georgia residents is $100,000 or more; or
- Shipping 200 or more transactions of retail sales to Georgia residents.
What products and services are taxable in Georgia?
There are a few exceptions, but almost all physical products are taxable when sold at retail in Georgia. Common examples include:
- General merchandise like furniture, appliances, and clothing
- Titled or registered items like vehicles
- Manufacturing machinery and equipment
Some medical equipment, prescriptions, and certain machinery & equipment are tax-exempt.
A complete list of sales tax exemptions in Georgia is available from the Department of Revenue.
Labor, in most cases, isn’t taxable in Georgia. 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.
Digital products are tax exempt in Georgia.
Most services aren’t taxable in Georgia, however, there are a few exceptions.
- Short-term lodging
- In-state transportation of individuals in taxis, limos, etc.
- Sales of admissions and charges for participation in games and amusement activities
How to register for a sales tax number in Georgia
A sales tax number can be obtained by registering through the Georgia Tax Center (GTC).
Information needed to register includes:
- Type of business entity: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- Business name, address, phone
- Business history (if applicable)
- Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, or owner’s Social Security Number if a sole proprietorship with no employees
- Names and addresses of owners/officers/members
- Description of what products or services are being sold
- Date business activities began or will begin
- Projected monthly sales
- Projected monthly taxable sales
- Employee information
After registering, a Certificate of Registration will be sent and must be conspicuously displayed at the place of business.
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 company and then sends it to the Georgia Department of Revenue.
How much is sales tax in Georgia?
The sales tax rate that is charged varies depending on the address of the business if the purchase is made or shipped from a business located in the state. If the seller is based out of the state, the sales tax rate is based on the buyer’s address.
In addition to the statewide tax, there are additional sales taxes that may be added by cities and municipalities. To find the sales tax for your location, see the sales tax rate table from the Georgia Department of Revenue.
In Georgia, sales tax should be added to the cost of shipping retail products.
When are Georgia sales tax returns due?
The Georgia Department of Revenue will determine a filing frequency based on the expected annual sales volume, which will be monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually.
The due date for filings (Form ST-3) is 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.
How much does a sales tax number cost in Georgia?
There is no cost for a sales tax number in the state of Georgia.
How long does it take to get a Georgia sales tax number?
It normally takes 15 minutes to get a sales tax number.
Do you have to renew your Georgia sales tax number?
The sales tax number 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 Revenue.
How do I get a wholesale license in Georgia?
A business can purchase items to resell without paying state sales tax. The tax liability is passed from the 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 a Georgia Sales Tax Certificate of Exemption (also referred to as a wholesale license or resale certificate) to document the items being purchased are for resale.
Is a business license the same thing as a sales tax license?
In addition to registering for a sales tax permit, there may be other business licenses needed before starting a business in Georgia.
If you have questions about the sales tax number, the Georgia Department of Revenue has a guide to sales taxes in Georgia or can be contacted by calling 800 732-8866 or 217 782-3336.