What Is a Seller's Permit?

A seller’s permit is an official document that allows businesses to sell tangible goods. Anyone who sells items at the retail or wholesale level, whether they operate as an individual or a corporate entity, must first obtain a seller’s permit from their respective state before engaging in business.

Is a Seller’s Permit the Same Thing as a Resale License

No. People often use the terms interchangeably, but a seller’s permit is different from a resale certificate. A resale license allows you to purchase items in bulk; a seller’s permit allows you to sell items. With a reseller permit, you can buy your inventory from a distributor or wholesaler without paying sales and use tax to the state. With a seller’s permit, you are allowed to sell taxable goods to consumers, but you still must pass the tax on to the state.
Seller's Permits vs. Resale License

Is My Seller’s Permit the Same as a Business License?

A business permit is not the same thing as a seller’s permit. A business license permits you to conduct business. A seller’s permit allows you to sell goods or other property. If you start a business that sells goods, you will most likely need both documents.

Do I Need a Seller’s Permit in California?

If you sell property subject to sales tax, including vehicles or merchandise, then you need to obtain a seller’s permit from the California Board of Equalization (BOE). Even if you sell goods temporarily, you will most likely need a certificate. The state of California typically asks anyone who makes three or more sales in any 12-month period to apply for a seller’s permit.1

Do I Need a California Seller’s Permit to Sell Online

Yes.2 Even if you make all of your sales online and store all of your merchandise in your home, you still need a California seller’s permit. That includes items sold through online classified listings such as Craigslist and internet auction houses such as eBay and uBid.

Do I Need a Seller’s Permit for a Garage Sale?

If you only have one garage sale in any 12-month period in order to sell used goods, then you typically do not need a seller’s permit. If you plan to hold more than one garage sale, then you should obtain a seller’s license.

California Seller’s Permit Requirement

When applying for a seller’s license, you’ll need to supply the following information:
  • Social security number (requirement does not apply to corporate officers)
  • Date of birth
  • Identification (driver license number, state ID number, passport, military ID)
  • Business ID information (corporate number, incorporation date, FEIN number—only applies to corporations and LLCs)
  • Email address
  • Bank name and location
  • Names and addresses of any suppliers
  • Name of the person who maintains the account
  • Personal references
  • Projected average total monthly sales and taxable monthly sales

How Can I Obtain a California Seller’s Permit

You can apply directly through the California Board of Equalization (BOE), which may take a significant amount of time, or you can order a certificate through Seller Permits, which offers fast, easy processing.
Need a seller’s permit? Fill out our simple online form and complete the entire application process in less than five minutes. We’ll deal with Board of Equalization and then send you the certificate. It’s as easy as that.