A guide to seller’s permit for your business

How to get a California seller's permit for your business | LegalZoom

To be considered “engaged in business” in California, one must maintain a physical place of business or have a sales representative in the state. Even renting a space to conduct business in California can qualify a company as engaged in business under state law.

Seller’s permit is required for businesses to sell or even lease tangible property and collect its sales tax in the state. This applies to most businesses engaged in commerce. It is important to understand the details within the requirements of the permit.

The CDTFA website provides information about when a seller’s permit is required and a way to obtain one. The website details the basic regulations to follow.

Who needs a seller’s permit?

Seller’s permit is a license issued by the state that permits wholesale and even retail sale of goods. This permit also enables the business for issuing a resale certificate to the suppliers in exchange for purchasing the goods without paying tax amounts to the suppliers. Selling three or more times within 12 months means you must have a seller’s permit, regardless of whether the sales are made via online auction houses or classified ad websites.

If you’re holding sale to sell any used items, you typically don’t need a seller’s permit. If you have more than 2 sales within a year or are selling items as part of a business, you’ll need a permit. This is because seller’s permits are required for those engaged in selling merchandise, goods, or items. So, as long as you’re just selling your personal belongings at a one-off garage sale, you can do so without a permit.

In California, it is illegal to sell merchandise without obtaining a seller’s permit, and failure to do so can result in fines and penalties. Warehouse locations must also hold a seller’s permit if the retailer has one or more sales offices within the state, as required by California law. It is essential for sellers to obtain the necessary permits to avoid legal consequences and ensure compliance with state regulations.

Obligation for a seller’s permit holders

If you have seller’s permit, you are required to file sales and use tax returns and pay any sales tax and use tax owed on your sales and purchases. You need to report and pay sales tax on each taxable sale and can ask your customer to pay the tax amount at the time of the sale. This cost should be collected in addition to your goods or services.

It is illegal to obtain a seller’s permit solely for the purpose of issuing resale certificates to suppliers to avoid paying taxes on items you will use instead of sell. Doing so can result in fines and penalties. This practice is considered a misdemeanor.

How to get seller’s permit?

To obtain a seller’s permit, you need to submit an application either online or go in-person at a CDTFA office. The application process involves filling out a form.

To apply for a business loan, you will need to provide personal identification such as your Security number and another ID number like your passport or driver’s license. You must also provide your business’s date of incorporation, EIN, and bank account details. Additionally, you can also get seller permits by Fast Filings  or any other of your suppliers and estimated monthly sales, and more to complete the application.

Cost involved in getting seller’s permit

Obtaining a seller’s permit in California is free of cost. However, if you have pending back taxes, the state may ask for a security deposit during the application process to cover any potential unpaid taxes in case of business closure. The amount of the deposit is determined by the state.

After getting your seller’s permit approved, make sure to display it visibly in your place of business. Also, keep a copy of your permit in a secure location for future reference. If you have multiple business sites, you may need separate permits for each location. Having obtained the seller’s permit, you can now impose sales taxes on your dealings and must submit and pay them to the state as per legal requirements.


If your business intends to provide, sell, and even lease any taxable product, good, or service, it is required to obtain a Seller’s Permit for each business location. This permit is necessary before engaging in any sales involve to sales tax. A Seller’s Permit is not currently subject to fees, but a security deposit may be required by the State Board. Businesses, corporations, or LLCs in must comply with the necessary requirements to obtain the permit. If you’re a seller, your permit will only be valid while you are actively engaged in business. If you’re no longer conducting business, you need to return your permit to the CDTFA for cancellation.