home home Find taxes & rates home Retail sales tax  home Reseller Permit Using and accepting reseller permits

Reseller permits allow:

  • Retailers and wholesalers to purchase items for resale without paying sales tax. 
  • Manufacturers to purchase, without paying sales tax, ingredients or components that enter into and become a physical part of a new article or substance produced for sale.

Misuse of a reseller permit can result in substantial penalties for the buyer, including revocation of the permit. The Department routinely examines purchases made with reseller permits to verify permits are used appropriately. Anyone found using a permit inappropriately:

  • Will owe the tax due and a 50 percent penalty—even if there was no fraud intended.
  • Could have their permit revoked.

Responsibilities of businesses USING reseller permits

If your business has been issued a reseller permit you are responsible for ensuring that the permit is used properly.

Proper Use of a reseller permit

Use your reseller permit to buy only those items that you directly resell in the normal course of your business. 

For industry specific information on how to use reseller permits, please see our Industry Specific Guides.

Misuse of reseller permits

Businesses may not use a reseller permit to buy: 

  • Items for personal or household use.
  • Items to be given away.
  • Items used in the business, such as supplies and equipment.
  • Items used by the business in performing the business activity even if billed to customers.
  • Tools or equipment, (unless you are in the business of directly reselling or renting out such items)
  • Equipment rentals

How to get a reseller permit

The Department may automatically issue or renew permits to qualifying businesses.

If the Department has not automatically issued you a permit and you buy goods to resell, you have the following options:

  1. Pay sales tax on your purchases and then take a Taxable Amount for Tax Paid at Source deduction on your tax return when you report the sale.
  2. Pay sales tax on your purchases and then request a refund directly from the Department.
  3. Apply for a reseller permit:
    • To apply online:
      • Log in to My Account
      • Choose “Manage Business Account” in left navigation bar
      • Choose “Get Reseller Permit information”
      • Follow the instructions
    • To apply by mail:

To be sure you receive your reseller permit renewal, keep your business contact information current.

Note: If your business is not required to be registered with the Department of Revenue and you purchase goods for resale, you may qualify to use an alternative approved exemption certificate.

How long is a reseller permit valid?

Reseller permits are generally valid for four years. However, permits are valid for only two years if any of the following apply:

  • The business is a contractor;
  • The business has been open for less than 12 months;
  • The business has not reported gross income in the last 12 months;
  • The business was on active non-reporting status at the time the application was received;
  • The business has failed to file tax returns any time during the last 12 months. 

Expiration notice: If your business’s permit is not automatically renewed, you will receive a notice to apply for a new reseller permit approximately 90 days before your permit expires.

Get a reprint of your reseller permit

Registered businesses can request a reprint of their reseller permit via My Account.

  1. Log in
  2. Choose “Manage Business Account” on the left-hand menu
  3. Choose “Get reseller permit information.”
  4. Select the permit #
  5. Select "Request another copy of my reseller permit."

Responsibilities of sellers that ACCEPT reseller permits

Every business that sells at wholesale must have a valid reseller permit or other documentation for each customer that buys without paying retail sales tax.

Verify that reseller permits are valid

You can use the Department’s online tools to verify reseller permits:

  • For a single record, use our Business Records Database. Keep a print copy of the record.
  • For multiple records, use our Reseller Permit Verification Service. If you choose to use this service, keep the confirmation codes on your returned files.
  • We recommend verifying your customers’ reseller permit information at least once per year.

Documenting wholesale sales

Sellers must maintain proper documentation to support wholesale sales for five years after the date of sale. Sellers have up to 120 days from the date of the sale to collect the documentation. Documentation options include:

In the event of an audit, you will be asked to provide documentation to support your wholesale sales.

Other documents for tax-exempt purchases             

Sellers may accept other approved exemption certificates from customers. To be valid, these certificates must be properly completed and signed by the customer.

When to collect sales tax

If the buyer does not have a valid reseller permit or does not provide an approved exemption certificate, you need to collect sales tax.

Sellers have the right to refuse to sell tax-exempt if they have reason to believe the customer is misusing their reseller permit, is not reselling the items purchased, or the permit is expired or otherwise not valid.

Misuse of a reseller permit includes using a reseller permit to purchase the following:  

  • Items for personal or household use.
  • Items to be given away.
  • Items for use in the business such as supplies and equipment.
  • Tools or equipment, (unless the customer is in the business of directly reselling such items)
  • Equipment rentals

Receive updates about reseller permits

Get the latest information about reseller permits via email by joining our reseller permit listserv. Enter your name, email address, scroll down and click Join next to Reseller Permits, then click submit.

Questions?

Please call 1-800-647-7706 or e-mail reseller@dor.wa.gov.