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Sales Tax Exemption Certificate and Resale Certificate Defined

Updated: Jan 23

In the world of sales tax, businesses often encounter terms like "Sales Tax Exemption Certificate" and "Resale Certificate." These certificates play crucial roles in certain transactions by providing exemptions from sales tax or facilitating resale of goods. Let's explore each term to understand their meanings and purposes.


Sales Tax Exemption Certificate:

A Sales Tax Exemption Certificate is a document issued by a purchaser (usually a business or entity) to a seller, indicating that the purchaser is eligible for a sales tax exemption on a specific transaction. This exemption is granted based on the nature of the goods or services being purchased and the purchaser's status as a tax-exempt entity.

Key points about Sales Tax Exemption Certificates:

  1. Purpose: The primary purpose of an exemption certificate is to inform the seller that the transaction qualifies for a sales tax exemption, and the seller should not charge sales tax on the specified items.

  2. Eligibility: Entities eligible for sales tax exemptions may include nonprofit organizations, government agencies, or businesses purchasing items for specific exempt purposes, such as manufacturing or resale.

  3. Verification: Sellers are typically required to verify the validity of the exemption certificate. This may involve confirming the purchaser's eligibility for the exemption and ensuring that the transaction aligns with the allowed exemptions under state tax laws.

  4. Types of Exemptions: Exemptions can vary by jurisdiction but commonly include items like food, prescription medications, manufacturing equipment, and certain nonprofit transactions.

Resale Certificate:

A Resale Certificate is a document that allows a buyer, who intends to resell goods, to make purchases without paying sales tax on those items. The buyer, often a retailer, provides the resale certificate to the seller as a way of certifying that the items are intended for resale rather than personal use.

Key points about Resale Certificates:

  1. Purpose: The primary purpose of a resale certificate is to establish that the buyer is in the business of reselling goods and, therefore, should not be subject to sales tax on the initial purchase.

  2. Verification: Sellers typically require a valid resale certificate before granting an exemption from sales tax. This helps ensure that the buyer is genuinely engaged in the business of resale.

  3. Documentation: Resale certificates include information such as the buyer's name and address, the buyer's state-issued seller's permit number, a description of the items being purchased for resale, and a statement declaring the intention to resell the items.

  4. Responsibility of the Buyer: Buyers using resale certificates are responsible for ensuring that the items are indeed resold. If the items are used for personal use or consumed, the buyer may be required to remit the appropriate sales tax.

In summary, both Sales Tax Exemption Certificates and Resale Certificates play crucial roles in the sales tax process. The former allows certain entities to make tax-exempt purchases, while the latter enables businesses engaged in resale to avoid paying sales tax on items intended for resale. Understanding and properly utilizing these certificates are essential for businesses to comply with sales tax regulations and optimize their tax obligations.


Sales Tax Exemption Certificate and Resale Certificate Defined
Sales Tax Exemption Certificate and Resale Certificate Defined