California: Sales Tax Handbook
California Sales Tax Exemption / Resale Forms 6 PDFs
If you are a retailer making purchases for resale, or need to make a purchase that is exempt from the California sales tax, you need the appropriate California sales tax exemption certificate before you can begin making tax-free purchases. This page explains how to make tax-free purchases in California, and lists six California sales tax exemption forms available for download.
Printable California Exemption Certificates
We have six California sales tax exemption forms available for you to print or save as a PDF file. If any of these links are broken, or you can't find the form you need, please let us know. You can find resale certificates for other states here.
California allows the use of uniform sales tax exemption certificates, which are general exemption certificates that can be used across multiple states. You can find more info about these uniform certificates at the bottom of this page.
How to use sales tax exemption certificates in California
A sales tax exemption certificate is a form you can fill out yourself certifying that you meet the qualifications outlined for making sales-tax-free purchases. You will need to present this certificate to the vendor from whom you are making the exempt purchase - it is up to the vendor to verify that you are indeed qualified to make a tax-exempt purchase.
California provides a specific form that is to be used if you are making a tax-exempt purchase of certain items, like farm equipment.
Business who wish to purchase goods which are intended for resale should utilize the "General Resale Certificate".
This certificate includes the purchaser's Seller's Permit number, business details, and details about the goods which are to be purchased for resale.
How long is my California sales tax exemption certificate good for?
The exemption certificate is considered to be valid until the user themselves, in writing, revokes the certificate. In some cases however, when the certificate is issued for a specific transaction, the certificate is usually valid for one year. It must be noted that the only sales that any certificate covers are sales for resales.
Can I use a blanket resale exemption certificate in California?
California does permit the use of a blanket resale certificate, which means a single certificate on file with the vendor can be re-used for all exempt purchases made from that vendor. A new certificate does not need to be made for each transaction.
Acceptance of uniform sales tax certificates in California
California is a member of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, an interstate consortium with the goal of making compliance with sales taxes as simple as possible in member states.
Because California is a member of this agreement, buyers can use both the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) Uniform Sales Tax Certificate and the Border States Uniform Resale Certificate (BSC) when making qualifying sales-tax-exempt purchases from vendors in California.
The following guidelines are provided for the use of the MTC Uniform Sales Tax Certificate in California:
- This certificate is not valid as an exemption certificate. Its use is limited to use as a resale certificate subject to the provisions of Title 18, California Code of Regulations, Section 1668 (Sales and Use Tax Regulation 1668, Resale Certificate).
- By use of this certificate, the purchaser certifies that the property is purchased for resale in the regular course of business in the form of tangible personal property, which includes property incorporated as an ingredient or component part of an item manufactured for resale in the regular course of business.
- When the applicable tax would be sales tax, it is the seller who owes that tax unless the seller takes a timely and valid resale certificate in good faith.
- A valid resale certificate is effective until the issuer revokes the certificate.
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