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

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

Who needs a sales tax permit in North Dakota?

A business must register for a sales and use tax permit in North Dakota 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 North Dakota (includes occasionally selling items at craft shows, fairs, seminars, shows, etc.)
  • Employees (including sales representatives or agents) are working in North Dakota
  • An online business located in North Dakota is selling taxable products to North Dakota residents
  • An out-of-state business selling over $100,000 annually in taxable products to North Dakota residents.

What products and services are taxable in North Dakota?

Physical products

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

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

Prescription drugs, some agricultural supplies and medical equipment are some items that are tax exempt in North Dakota.

Labor in most cases isn’t taxable in North Dakota.  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 tax exempt in North Dakota.

Services

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

  • Short-term lodging
  • Admission tickets for recreational activities
  • Rental or leasing of tangible personal property

How to register for a sales tax permit in North Dakota

A sales tax permit can be obtained by registering online with the North Dakota Taxpayer Access Point (TAP) or by mailing in the Sales and Use Tax Permit Application (Form SNF 59507).

Information needed to register includes:

How much does a sales tax permit cost in North Dakota?

There is no cost for a sales tax permit in North Dakota.

How long does it take to get an North Dakota sales tax permit?

Most permits are issued immediately when filing online and 2-3 weeks when applying by mail.

Do you have to renew your North Dakota sales tax permit?

The sales tax permit 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 Office of State Tax Commissioner.

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 North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner.

How much sales tax is charged?

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 local sales taxes that may be added by cities and counties that have adopted home rule.  To find sales tax rates, see the sales tax rates by location from the North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner.

When are North Dakota sales tax returns due?

The Office of State Tax Commissioner will determine a filing frequency based on the expected volume of sales, which will be monthly, quarterly or annually. 

Filings are due the last day of the month following the reporting period, unless the last day of the month 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 a completed North Dakota Certificate of Resale (Form SFN 21950) to document the items being purchased are for resale. 

Questions

If you have questions about the sales tax permit, the North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner has a guide to sales taxes in North Dakota or can be contacted by calling 701-328-1241 or email at taxregistration@nd.gov. 

Remote offices are also available to answer questions as well:

Dickinson, ND
Office of State Tax Commissioner
135 Sims St., Suite 212
Dickinson, ND 58601-5148

Fargo, ND
Office of State Tax Commissioner
4342 15th Ave S, Suite 205
Fargo, ND 58103-1100

Grand Forks, ND
Office of State Tax Commissioner
PO Box 14435
Grand Forks, ND 58208-4435

Minot, ND
Office of State Tax Commissioner
1600 2nd Ave SW, Suite 3 
Minot, ND 58701-3459

Williston, ND
Office of State Tax Commissioner
2112 4th Avenue W  Suite 103
PO Box 4502
Williston ND 58802-4502

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