How to Get a Resale Certificate in California 2024 - How to Start my LLC

How to Get a Resale Certificate in California

Written by:

Carolyn Young has over 25 years of experience in business in various roles, including bank management, marketing management, and business education.

Reviewed by: Sarah Ruddle

For over 15 years, Sarah Ruddle has been a noteworthy leader in the business and nonprofit world.

How to Get a Resale Certificate in California

How to Get a Resale Certificate in California

Suppose you’re starting a limited liability company (LLC) in California and planning to sell goods subject to sales tax. In that case, you’ll need to get a resale certificate, or several of them, before doing business. 

But don’t worry; this guide lays out all you need to do to get a resale certificate in California.

What Is a Resale Certificate?

If your LLC expects to sell tangible goods in California, a resale certificate will enable you to purchase those goods without paying sales tax. This prevents your goods from being double taxed, as you will need to charge your customer’s sales tax when they buy the goods. 

If you purchase goods without paying sales tax and neglect to charge sales tax to customers who buy those goods, or if you fail to sell the goods, you and your LLC will be responsible for the sales tax and could face steep fines. 

If you purposely purchase an item not intended for resale, such as office equipment, and use your resale certificate to avoid paying sales tax, that’s tax fraud, a federal offense. The most common penalty for tax fraud in California is paying the unpaid sales tax plus a 10% fine, but it could be significantly worse.   

Each resale certificate applies to only one vendor, so you’ll need one for each vendor. 

Suppliers and vendors do not have to accept resale certificates. However, a vendor might refuse a resale certificate because if your certificate is invalid, the vendor would be responsible for the sales tax.

How to Obtain a Resale Certificate in California

To obtain a resale certificate in California, visit the Department of California Tax Service Center website to download the form.


You can create your resale certificate containing the above information or download a blank certificate. 


In California, the certificate is free, and once you fill it out, you can use it immediately.

Once you have the certificate, present it to your vendor and keep a copy for your records.

Does a Resale Certificate Expire in California?

Resale certificates in California do not expire and can only be revoked by the purchaser in writing.

In Closing

In California, a resale certificate is relatively easy to obtain yet provides significant savings. It will also help you and your LLC avoid potentially substantial penalties.  

Be sure to present the correct certificate to your vendors and keep track of expiration dates so your certificates are always current. You don’t want to find yourself paying sales tax when you don’t have to.