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APPLICATION PROCESS

Can a business apply for a permit anytime (for example, if they change their business structure)?

Yes. If a business changes its business structure, it is a new taxpayer and must reapply at that time. The Department may choose to automatically issue permits to many retail businesses.

Example 1: ABC, Inc. becomes ABC, LLC effective October 2010. ABC, LLC cannot continue to use ABC, Inc.’s reseller permit, and it would need to reapply and obtain a new permit issued to ABC, LLC.

Example 2: DEF Landscaping (“DEF”) has historically provided only landscape design services. If it submitted an application for a permit, it would be denied. However, starting August 2010, DEF expands its business model to include landscape installation. If DEF applies for a reseller permit in September 2010 explaining the change to its business model, it would most likely be issued a reseller permit.

Do sellers need to obtain resale certificates for sales made prior to January 1, 2010?

Yes. Wholesale sales that were made prior to January 1, 2010, required the buyer to present a resale certificate to the seller. If a seller has not obtained a resale certificate, the seller is liable for uncollected retail sales tax unless the seller can prove through facts and circumstances that the sale was a wholesale sale.
For sales made after December 31, 2009, the seller must obtain a reseller permit or other acceptable documentation as described in WAC 458-20-10201 (pdf).

If a permit is used without authorization (for example, by a former employee), is there a hold-harmless provision for circumstances beyond the permit holder's control?

This type of situation is one that could potentiality result in a waiver of the penalty against the permit holder (The Department may apply current Rule 102(12)(a)(ii) provisions to reseller permits); however, the penalty will be applied to the person actually presenting/using the permit without knowledge of the permit holder.

Will new accounts have to apply, or will we auto issue if it appears clear that they should get a permit?

New businesses, that are not construction, will automatically be issued permits if the department is able to determine from the information provided on the Master Business Application that the business will be engaged in retailing - assuming that there is no predecessor liability as discussed in emergency rule WAC 458-20-10201 (pdf) (“Application process and eligibility requirements for reseller permits”). New businesses not automatically issued a permit will be instructed in their New Business letter how to apply for a permit.

How long will it take to have my application processed?

It may take up to 60 calendar days to process your application. The Department has set a goal to process applications within 10 business days.

Is there any cost or fee to obtain the permit?

No.

Will reseller permits be automatically renewed?

Yes. Approximately 90 days from the permit expiration date businesses meeting all criteria below will be auto-issued a permit.

  • Be an active reporting business
  • Reported 5% or more retailing, wholesaling, or manufacturing in gross business activity during the last year
  • Reported business activity within the last six months or on their last annual tax return
  • Has no documented misuse of the resale certificate or reseller permit


Businesses not meeting this criteria will receive a renewal notice to reapply.

If my business does not automatically receive a reseller permit, how can I apply?

The application (pdf) is available now for those who do not automatically receive a permit but believe they should qualify for one. You can also apply via My Account. Choose "Manage Business Account" on the left-hand navigation, then "Get Reseller Permit Information," and then follow the steps.

How long is a reseller permit valid?

Businesses registered on or before January 1, 2009, will get a renewable permit valid for four years. Businesses registered after January 1, 2009, will get a permit valid for two years that can be renewed for four years. Permits for qualifying contractors will be valid for 12 months.

What if a business does not get a reseller permit but needs to make purchases for resale?

Buyers without reseller permits must pay retail sales tax on their purchases, but they can take a Taxable Amount for Tax Paid at Source deduction on a tax return, or request a refund.

If a business does not receive a reseller permit, can it take the “Taxable Amount for Tax Paid at Source” deduction for their materials? Or must it only request a refund?

The business can choose either option.

Will I get a new reseller permit number each time I renew my permit?

Yes, the last two digits of a permit number represent the year the permit expires, so the number will change.

Will the Department auto issue permit renewals to businesses in the future?

Yes, the Department will auto-issue renewals to businesses based on their reporting history.

If a business claims it is changing its business structure (i.e., from a sole proprietorship to a partnership or corporation) and applies for a permit, will it get one?

Yes, similar to a new business that indicates it will be engaging in retailing, wholesaling, or manufacturing. There must be no predecessor liability, as discussed in emergency rule WAC 458-20-10201 (pdf) (“Application process and eligibility requirements for reseller permits”).

If a business gets a permit and doesn't report any qualifying activity can the Department revoke? If so, will we?

The statute allows the Department to revoke if we determine that the taxpayer is no longer entitled to make purchases at wholesale. Each case must be reviewed under all the facts and circumstances specific to that case.

Who is responsible for determining whether a permit can be used to make a wholesale purchase?

The buyer.

When a business closes is the permit still valid?

No, when a business closes the permit expires.

OTHER QUESTIONS

When selling a business, can the reseller permit be transferred to a new owner? Or does the buyer need to apply for a new reseller permit?

Reseller permits are not transferable. The new owners will need to apply for a reseller permit. They will be responsible for qualifying purchases made with their own permit.

I’m a wholesaler. My retail customer provided a copy of his reseller permit with a different trade name (DBA) listed. How can I verify it’s registered to that business?

When more than one business is listed under a single UBI number, generally, only one trade name is shown. Other business names are kept in a Department of Revenue database. To search for trade names registered to a business, visit the Department of Licensing’s License Query System or call the Department of Revenue at 1-800-647-7706.

Why did the Legislature feel it was necessary to require businesses to have a reseller permit?

Due largely to the economic downturn and its effect on tax revenues, the Legislature examined ways to improve taxpayer compliance. Lawmakers were aware that the current resale certificate system was the source of significant sales tax noncompliance. Replacing resale certificates with DOR-issued reseller permits will make it more difficult for businesses to buy goods and services that aren’t for resale without paying sales tax.

Will business owners need to make copies of their reseller permit and provide one to every place they conduct business?

Yes. Copies of permits must be filed with every business from which a business purchases items for resale. A buyer may also provide an electronic version of the permit to the seller.

Will the Department provide more information to business owners on the reseller permit?

Yes. We’ve created dor.wa.gov/resellerpermit to keep businesses informed about the change.

Do I need to keep copies of old resale certificates received from my customers once we move to reseller permits?

Yes, as the wholesaler you should keep resale certificates for five years from the date of last use or until December 31, 2014, in order to be able to verify the wholesale nature of a sale in the event of audit.

Will businesses be issued a new reseller permit document with a new number each time their permit is renewed?

Yes.

Is there any situation in which a predecessor’s activity would cause a denial?

Yes, the legislation addresses reorganized businesses and allows the department not to issue to a new business entity (see section 201(c) and 201 (d) of Senate Bill 6173 (pdf)).

Does the reseller permit replace other exemption certificates?

No. The reseller permit does not replace the:

  • Buyers Retail Sales Tax Exemption Certificate
  • Manufacturer’s Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificate for Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment (M&E certificate)

It only replaces the resale certificate.

Does the reseller permit replace the Farmers' Certificate for Wholesale Purchases and Sales Tax Exemptions?

No, farmers registered with the Department may apply for and use a reseller permit for qualifying purchases. Those not required to be registered can use the Farmers' certificate.