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How To Get A Washington Reseller Permit [2023 Guide]

How To Get A Washington Reseller Permit [2023 Guide]

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How To Get A Washington Reseller Permit [2023 Guide]

How To Get A Washington Reseller Permit [2023 Guide]

If you plan to sell retail products in Washington, you’ll need to apply for a reseller permit from the state Department of Revenue. This permit allows you to purchase goods from wholesalers without paying sales tax on those items.

Learn more about what a Reseller Permit is, how to get one, and more.

What is a Reseller Permit?

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 state of Washington Department of Revenue.

For instance, when a craft supply store in Washington procures a variety of art supplies to sell in their store, by having a resale certificate, the store owner won’t pay sales tax on the procurement. The instance where sales tax is charged occurs when a retail customer purchases the art supplies from the store. The retailer then applies the sales tax to the total cost of the art supplies during this transaction.

The craft supply store collects the sales tax from all their transactions over a specific duration, typically at the end of the month. Following the end of the month, the store submits this accumulated sales tax to the state. This practice effectively transitions the obligation of paying the sales tax from the retailer to the retail customer, with the retailer serving as an intermediary, collecting and forwarding 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 reseller certificate include resale certificate, 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.

How to Obtain a Reseller Permit in Washington

Before a business starts selling products or providing taxable services, it must first get a Washington Sales Tax Number from the Washington Department of Revenue. The Sales Tax Number is sometimes called a seller’s permit, sales tax number, or sales tax license.

Is a Reseller Permit the same as a Sales Tax ID?

The Sales Tax ID Number (also referred to as a sales tax permit or seller’s permit) and Reseller Permit are commonly thought of as the same thing, but they are actually two separate documents. The Sales Tax Number allows a business to sell and collect sales tax from taxable products and services in the state, while the Reseller Permit allows the retailer to make tax-exempt purchases for products they intend to resell.

Related: How to register for a Washington Sales Tax Number

After securing a Sales Tax Number, the Reseller Permit is available by:

  • Logging in to dor.wa.gov.
  • On the Department of Revenue Services page, click on “Print your reseller permit”
  • On the Select Customer page, select your business, then click Next
  • On the Select Account page, select the excise tax account, then click Confirm
  • Last, in the Active Permit table, click the Print Permit link.

A new browser will open and display the reseller permit. Use the browser menu to print or download a PDF file of the reseller permit.

Washington Reseller Permit FAQs

How much does a Reseller Permit cost in Washington?

There is no cost for a Sales Tax Exemption Certificate in Washington.

Does a Washington Reseller Permit Expire?

Washington Reseller Permits are generally good for four years. 

Permits for contractors, businesses open less than 12 months, businesses with no income reported in the last 12 months, businesses with a non-reporting status within the last 12 months, and businesses that have failed to file tax returns in the last 12 months are only good for two years.

How often is Washington sales tax due?

Most new businesses in Washington 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.

Where do I file the Washington Reseller Certificate?

The resale certificate is kept on file by the seller and is not filed with the state of Washington.

Are sellers required to accept Reseller Permits?

Sellers are not required to accept a state resale certificate 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 Washington sales tax filing. 

What steps should a business take to accept a Reseller Permit?

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 Washington sales taxes on the seller.

Before accepting a Reseller Permit from a buyer, the following steps should be taken.

– Review the Reseller Permit to make sure it is completely filled out. 
– Save a printout of the buyer’s information from the Department of Revenue’s Business Lookup Tool.
– Verify the purchaser’s Washington Reseller Permit is valid by using the Reseller Permit Verification Service.   The Department of Revenue recommends verifying reseller permit information at least once per year.
– 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 are wanting to purchase office supplies tax-free, the seller should investigate further.  

Be sure to also keep a file of your customer’s Reseller Permits in case of an audit. 

How To Get A Washington Reseller Permit [2023 Guide]

How To Get A Washington Reseller Permit [2023 Guide]

Greg Bouhl

Greg Bouhl

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

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