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Most businesses starting in Texas 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 Texas?

A business must register for a sales tax permit in Texas when:

  • A business sells tangible personal property in Texas;
  • Leases or rents tangible personal property in Texas; or
  • Sells taxable services in Texas; or
  • An out-of-state business is selling over $500,000 of products and services to Texas residents

What products and services are taxable in Texas?

Physical products

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

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

Most food and health-related items are tax exempt in Texas, in addition to certain goods used for manufacturing. 

Digital Products

Digital products are taxable provided the same item is taxable in the physical format, such as books, movies and music.

Services

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

  • Short-term lodging
  • Amusement services such as movie theaters, sporting events, bowling alleys, health clubs, golf courses, etc.
  • Personal property maintenance, remodeling or repair services such as appliance repair, jewelry repair, dog grooming, etc.
  • Taxable labor such as photography, artwork, sewing and tailoring, catering, assembling products, etc.

The Comptroller of Public Accounts has a guide on what services are taxable in Texas.

How to register for a sales tax permit in Texas

A sales tax permit can be obtained by registering through the Texas Online Sales Tax Registration Application System or by mailing in the Sales and Use Tax Permit Application (AP-201 Form).

A separate permit is required for each location.

Information needed to register includes:

  • Type of business entity (Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, LLC)
  • Legal name of the business
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). Not required is the business is a sole proprietorship and no employees
  • Name, addresses, phone number SSN and tile of owners/officers/members
  • Physical address and mailing address
  • Whether the business is home-based
  • Expected monthly taxable sales
  • North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code

When registering for a sales tax permit in Texas, the phone number listed in the application is required by law to be used as public information.  There will be a lot of calls from telemarketers, so consider getting an additional phone number to cut down on these calls!

How much does a sales tax permit cost in Texas?

There is no cost for a sales tax permit in Texas, however some businesses are required to post a security bond.

How long does it take to get a Texas sales tax permit?

Expect 2-3 weeks to process the sales tax permit when filing online and up to 4 weeks when submitting by mail.

Do you have to renew your Texas 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 Comptroller of Public Accounts.

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 Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

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, counties, special-purpose districts and transit authorities.  To find sales tax rates, see the sales tax rate locator from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

 

When are Texas sales tax returns due?

The Comptroller of Public Accounts will determine a filing frequency based on the expected volume of sales, which will be monthly, quarterly or annually.  Generally, a business selling over $8,000 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 Texas Resale Certificate to document the items being purchased are for resale. 

Questions

If you have questions about the sales tax permit, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has a sales and use tax guide or they can be contacted by calling 800-531-5441 ext 3-0925 or emailing sales.applications@cpa.texas.gov

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