If your business sells physical products or certain types of services, you will need to collect and pay sales tax. In Maine, the first step isvisiti ...
How to Get a Resale Certificate in Maine
Written by: Carolyn Young
Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
Edited by: David Lepeska
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on July 7, 2022
Updated on May 22, 2023
If you have recently launched or are planning to launch a business that will sell products or services in Maine, you may want to get a resale certificate, or several of them, before you start doing business, as this can save you a lot of time and money.
It’s a relatively simple process, as detailed in this step-by-step guide.
What is a Resale Certificate?
If your business has a valid resale certificate, you can buy goods from a wholesaler without paying Maine sales tax, though you may pay a use tax. Depending on the size of your business, this can save you tens of thousands of dollars each year.
The catch is that whenever you do use a resale certificate to purchase goods, you are legally bound to resell those items and collect sales tax when you do so. If you do not resell those items, or fail to collect sales tax, the punishment could be liability for the sales tax on the goods.
Keep in mind, each resale certificate, also known as a resale license, applies to a single vendor. This means you’ll need a resale certificate for each one of your vendors.
You cannot use a resale certificate to buy items you do not intend to resell, such as a new computer for your business. This would be tax fraud, a felony offense. You are only able to buy items tax-exempt if you are going to collect sales tax on them later.
Not all wholesalers will accept resale certificates, nor do they have to. They may choose not to because of the risk of expired or false certificates, which would put the wholesaler on the hook for the sales tax.
How to Apply for a Resale Certificate in Maine
In Maine, when you apply for your sales tax license, if you project that you’ll earn more than $3,000 in revenue over the next year, you’ll be automatically issued a resale certificate. You’ll present this certificate to your vendors. If you do not plan to make more than $3,000, you’re not eligible for a certificate and must pay sales tax on items you purchase from your vendors.
In a few states, a seller’s permit, or sales tax permit, also serves as a resale certificate that applies to all vendors. But in most states, including Maine, you’ll need a seller’s permit as well as resale certificates for each of your vendors.
The seller’s permit identifies you with your state as a collector of sales tax. If you sell tangible personal property or goods you are required to have a sales tax permit. In some states, even a service provider like a lawyer is required to have a sales tax permit and collect state sales tax.
The resale certificate applies to items that you buy for resale, or for parts that you buy to manufacture something for sale.
How to Fill out the Maine Certificate of Resale
Again, in Maine, you’ll be issued a resale certificate automatically if you meet the criteria. Here’s an example of what a resale certificate looks like in Maine.
Does a Maine Resale Certificate Expire?
In Maine, resale certificates expire on December 31st. A resale certificate issued before October 1st is valid for the remainder of that calendar year and the following three calendar years. A resale certificate issued after October 1st is valid for the remainder of that calendar year and the following four calendar years.
It’s best to create calendar reminders so you’re aware when expirations are coming up to ensure you’re able to apply for renewal in time and run your business without interruption.
Resale certificates can be a bit of a hassle, but in Maine, they are an absolute necessity. So take the time to get certificates for each of your vendors to ensure full compliance with your state’s tax regulations.
How to Get a Resale Certificate in Maine
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