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How to get a Resale Certificate in New Jersey

How to get a Resale Certificate in New Jersey

When a business purchases inventory to resell, they can do so without paying sales tax.  In order to do so, the retailer will need to provide a state of New Jersey Resale Certificate to their vendor. 

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 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 Jersey Division of Taxation.

For example, when a pet store purchases dog toys from their supplier to sell in the store, the pet store owner won’t typically have to pay sales tax to their supplier. When a customer (or end-user) purchases the dog toy, the retailer will charge sales tax to the customer based on the full price of the toy. The retailer will collect the sales tax from all their transactions and periodically (typically at the end of the month) send the 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.

Getting Started

Before a business starts selling products or providing taxable services, they must first register for a New Jersey Business Tax Identification Number from the state of New Jersey Division of Taxation. The New Jersey Business Tax Identification Number allows for the registration of a New Jersey Sales Tax Certificate, which is sometimes referred to as a Certificate of Authority, seller’s permit, sales tax registration number, or sales tax license.

To receive a New Jersey Tax Identification Number, a business will submit Form NJ-REG. 

Is a Resale Certificate the same as a Sales Tax Certificate?

A Sales Tax License and a Resale Certificate are commonly thought of as the same thing, but they are actually two separate documents. The Vendor’s License 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.

Related: How to get a New Jersey Sales Tax Certificate

How to fill out the New Jersey Resale Certificate

Filling out Form ST-3 is pretty straightforward but is critical for the seller to gather all the information. If audited, the New Jersey Division of Taxation requires the seller to have a correctly filled out Form ST-3 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 the ST-3 New Jersey Resale Certificate

Step 1 – Begin by downloading the New Jersey Resale Certificate Form ST-3 
Step 2 – Identify the name and business address of the seller 
Step 3 – Describe the nature of merchandise or service of the buyer
Step 4 – List the merchandise or services being purchased
Step 5 – Check whether the merchandise is

  • For resale in its present form.
  • For resale and being converted
  • For use in the performance of a taxable service on personal property

Step 6 – If services are being purchased indicate whether the seller will collect New Jersey sales tax or resell the services or if the services will be performed on personal property held for sale
Step 7 – The purchaser will certify the services or property being purchased are for resale and provide their address, type of business, and sign the certificate. 

ST-3 Resale Certificate Fillable Form

ST-3 Resale Certificate Fillable Form

How much does a Resale Certificate cost in New Jersey?

There is no cost for a Certificate of Exemption in New Jersey.

Does a New Jersey Resale Certificate Expire?

New Jersey Resale Certificates don’t expire; however, the Division of Taxation recommends the certificate be updated every few years to ensure the customer’s information is up-to-date.

Where do I file the New Jersey sales tax exemption 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, the buyer will have to pay sales tax on the merchandise being purchased.  In most cases, a credit is available when filing the New Jersey 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 Jersey 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 business tax registration number is registered and active in New Jersey by checking the Division of Revenue’s Business Registration Certificate Service.
– 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. 

Greg Bouhl

Greg Bouhl

Welcome! My name is Greg Bouhl, and I have over 21 years as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, where I worked with over 1,600 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses.

As a small business advisor, I got fed up with clients finding inaccurate and outdated information when they were researching how to start a business online, so I launched StartingYourBusiness.com to be a trusted resource.

I'm constantly adding and revising this site, but if there is a question you have about starting a business or need help finding something, please ask!

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