California: Sales Tax Handbook
How to get a California Seller's Permit
In California, most businesses are required to have a sales tax permit. This means that, if you are considering opening a new business or are beginning to make sales in California for the first time, you will need to determine your business' permit requirements. The good news is that you can get a California Seller's Permit and be ready to do business immediately after you submit your application. This guide will help you learn how!
Who needs a California Seller's Permit?
California mandates that all individuals or businesses who are doing business in California and "intend to sell or lease tangible personal property that would ordinarily be subject to tax if sold at retail" must register for a Seller's Permit. Even if you intend to do business for a temporary period (90 days or less) you must register for a Seller's Permit or face stiff penalties.
Businesses with a taxable presence within California are considered to have sales tax nexus within the state. For more details on what constitutes a taxable presence, see sales tax nexus in California.
How to get a California Seller's Permit:
In California, the credential you must acquire in order to legally do business in the state and collect sales tax is called a California Seller's Permit. California's sales tax permitting system is entirely digital, and can be completed online at the Board of Equalization's website at boe.ca.gov.
While California has a somewhat more lengthy application than many other states, permits are usually issued immediately once you complete the application process online or same-day if you apply in person at one of the BOE's many regional field offices across the state.
Be aware that the BOE may request a security deposit (of varying size, depending on your business scenario) to guarantee any future unpaid taxes, to be paid upon application for a seller's permit. Failure to register for a seller's permit prior to beginning sales operations in California can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a year in jail.
Questions about the permitting process can be directed to the BOE's Customer Service Hotline at 1-800-400-7115.
You need the following information to apply for a California Seller's Permit:
Social Security Number,
Driver License Number,
Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN),
State Employer Identification Number (SEIN),
For Corporations: corporate name; corporate number; State and date incorporated,
Name; address and phone number of partner(s), corporate officer(s), member(s) or manager(s)
Name(s) and phone number(s) of personal references,
Name(s) and address(es) of supplier(s),
Standard Industrial Classification (SIC),
Bank Information (name and address),
Name and account number of the merchant credit card processor,
Name; address; and phone number of the person(s) who maintains the books and records
California Seller's Permit Application Fee, Turnaround Time, and Renewal Info
You will need to pay an application fee when you apply for a California Seller's Permit, and you will receive your permit immediately after filing your application.
Application Fee: FREE
Turnaround Time: Immediately
Permit Renewals: No Renewals Needed
Apply For Your California Seller's Permit Now:
Get Your California Seller's Permit Online
You can easily acquire your California Seller's Permit online using the BOE Online Registration System website. If you have quetions about the online permit application process, you can contact the Board of Equalization via the sales tax permit hotline or by checking the permit info website .
Offline California Seller's Permit Application Form
No offline application form is available. You can apply for your California Seller's Permit online using the BOE Online Registration System website using the above link!
What's Next? Now that you know how to apply for your California Seller's Permit, learn how to collect and remit the California sales tax.
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