Our work is reader-supported, meaning that we may earn a commission from the products and services mentioned.

How To Get A Virginia Sales Tax Certificate Of Exemption [Resale Certificate]

How To Get A Virginia Sales Tax Certificate Of Exemption [Resale Certificate]

Advertising Disclosure


How To Get A Virginia Sales Tax Certificate Of Exemption [Resale Certificate]

How To Get A Virginia Sales Tax Certificate Of Exemption [Resale Certificate]

If you make purchases for resale or intend to sell taxable items and services in Virginia, you need to apply for a Sales Tax Certificate of Exemption. You can get this certificate from the Virginia Department of Taxation.

A Sales Tax Certificate of Exemption (called a Resale Certificate in many states) allows you to purchase items and services tax-free. This can save your business a lot of money since you won’t have to pay sales tax on the items you purchase for resale.

Learn more about what a resale certificate is, how to get one, and more.

What is a Sales Tax Certificate of Exemption?

When retailers purchase products to resell, they often don’t pay state 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 Virginia Department of Taxation.

For example, when a musical instruments retailer in Virginia procures a set of guitars to sell in their store, by having a resale certificate, the retailer won’t pay sales tax on the acquisition. The application of sales tax occurs when a retail customer purchases the guitar from the store. The retailer then imposes the sales tax on the full price of the guitar at this transaction.

The musical instruments retailer aggregates the sales tax from all their transactions during a specified interval, usually the end of the month. Once the month concludes, this collected sales tax is remitted to the state. This procedure effectively transfers the responsibility of paying the sales tax from the retailer to the retail customer, as the retailer functions as a conduit, amassing and dispatching the 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, it must first get a Virginia Sales Tax Certificate from the Virginia Department of Taxation. The Sales Tax Certificate is sometimes referred to as a seller’s permit, sales tax number, or sales tax license.

Is the Sales Tax Certificate of Exemption the same as a sales tax ID?

The Sales Tax Certificate and Resale Certificate are commonly thought of as the same thing, but they are actually two separate documents. The Sales Tax Certificate 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 register for a Virginia Sales Tax Certificate

After registering, a sales tax account number will be provided by the Department of Taxation. This number will be listed on the Resale Certificate of Exemption.

Fillable Form ST-10 Resale Certificate of Exemption

Virginia Sales Tax Certificate of Exemption

How to fill out the Virginia Resale Certificate of Exemption – Form ST-10

Filling out Form ST-10 is pretty straightforward but is critical for the seller to gather all of the information.

If audited, the Virginia Department of Taxation requires the seller to have a correctly filled out Form ST-10 Resale Certificate of Exemption.  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-10 Virginia Resale Certificate of Exemption

Step 1 – Begin by downloading the Virginia Resale Certificate of Exemption Form ST-10 

Step 2 – Identify the name and business address of the seller

Step 3 – Check the box that represents the sales tax exemption.  Most businesses purchasing merchandise for resale will choose the first box, “Tangible personal property for RESALE only.”

Step 4  Enter the buyer’s name, Virginia sales tax account number, business name, and address.

Step 5 – Provide a description of the buyer’s business.

Step 6 – The purchaser will certify the property being purchased is for resale and sign the certificate. 

Virginia Sales Tax Exemption Certificate FAQs

How much does a Sales Tax Exemption Certificate cost in Virginia?

There is no cost for a Certificate of Exemption in Virginia.

Does a Virginia Resale Certificate Expire?

A Virginia Certificate of Exemption does not expire until revoked by the Virginia Department of Taxation.

Where do I file the Virginia Sales Tax Exemption Certificate?

The Sales Tax Exemption Certificate is kept on file by the seller and is not filed with the state of Virginia

How often is Virginia sales tax due?

Most new businesses in Virginia are set up to file and pay sales and use tax monthly, but depending on the amount of tax collected, your business may have a quarterly filing frequency instead.

Are sellers required to accept resale certificates?

Sellers are not required to accept resale certificates for tax exempt purchases, 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 will be provided when filing the Virginia sales tax filing. 

What steps should a business take to accept a Certificate of Exemption?

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 Virginia 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 Virginia account ID is valid and active by calling the Department of Taxation at 804.367.8037.
– 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 in case of an audit. 

How To Get A Virginia Sales Tax Certificate Of Exemption [Resale Certificate]

How To Get A Virginia Sales Tax Certificate Of Exemption [Resale Certificate]

Greg Bouhl

Greg Bouhl

Welcome! My name is Greg Bouhl, and I am a serial entrepreneur, educator, business advisor, and investor.

StartingYourBusiness.com is here because of the many clients I worked with who made decisions based on inaccurate and outdated information.

Starting a business is hard, but here you will find the practical tools, resources, and insider tips to help you successfully start a business.

If there is a question about starting a business or help finding a resource, I'm here to help!

Follow on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Many (but not all) of the links on StartingYourBusiness.com are affiliate links. This means that a special tracking code is used and that we may make a small commission on the sale of an item if you purchase through one of these links. The price of the item is the same for you whether it is an affiliate link or not, and using affiliate links helps us to maintain this website.

StartingYourBusiness.com is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Our mission is to help businesses start and promoting inferior products and services doesn’t serve that mission. We keep the opinions fair and balanced and not let the commissions influence our opinions.