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How to apply for a Vendor's License


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Ohio law requires any person or business making retail sales of tangible personal property or taxable services to obtain a vendor’s license. The proper vendor’s license is determined by the type of sale and where the sale takes place. There is a one time fee of $25.00 for most vendor's licenses. A vendor’s license remains valid until it is cancelled or revoked. For a listing of vendor’s licenses per specific business types, take a look at our Vendor’s License PDF.

Once you have determined that you need a vendor’s license and what type of license, you have a few options for applying. The most immediate means is online through the Ohio Business Gateway.

You are also able to apply by printing an application from the Ohio Department of Taxation’s website tax forms section and mailing in the application with your payment. The form titles are listed below in the vendor’s license details section. If applying for a regular county vendor’s license you can also apply at your local county auditor’s office. Click here for a complete list of county auditors.

If you apply for a vendor’s license online through the Ohio Business Gateway, upon completion of the transaction you will be provided with the registration confirmation. Included on the confirmation will be the vendor’s license number, filing frequency, and effective date. If you apply for a vendor’s license by mail, ODT will send the license once the application has been processed. Once the license is active you will be required to file returns based on the assigned filing frequency. Returns must be filed by the due date, the 23rd day of the month, following the reporting period, even if no sales are made or no tax is due. (If the 23rd falls on a Saturday, Sunday or state observed holiday the due date becomes the next business day)

 

Vendor’s Licenses

Type of License

Cost

Description

Regular County

$25

For vendors with a fixed place of business (store, restaurant,etc,) or have a location from which they are dispatched (landscapers, janitorial and maintenance service providers,etc.). Vendors must have a separate license for each business location for which they are operating such as two or more stores, restaurants, etc.

Transient

$25

For vendors who make sales in any county in which they have no fixed place of business (trade shows, flea markets, door to door sales). This license can be used statewide. 

Seller 's Registration 

No fee

For vendors outside of Ohio making sales for use, storage, or consumption in Ohio.

Consumer’s Use

No fee

For purchasers who have not paid the tax to a vendor or seller. In most cases this is for out-of-state transactions


Vendor’s License Details

County Vendor's License- form ST 1
You must have an active county vendor’s license for each fixed place of business from which taxable retail sales are made. County vendor’s licenses are most commonly used for businesses that have a fixed location where customers visit, such as retail stores and restaurants. County vendor's licenses are also used for businesses from which they are dispatched such as landscapers,  and janitorial and maintenance service providers. The tax rate collected is based upon the county where the business is located. There is a one time fee of $25.00 for this vendor’s license.

A county vendor’s license may be transferred from one existing business location to another when you move to a new location within the same county. If the business location is moving to a different county, a new county vendor’s license must be obtained. A vendor, who is moving an existing business to a new location within the same county and wishes to transfer their existing county vendor’s license, must submit a transfer application to the Department of Taxation requesting transfer of the license to the new location by submitting form ST-3TL. If approved, the Department of Taxation will update their file, issue a transfer license, and advise the County Auditor. There is no fee for transferring a county vendor’s license from one location to another within the same county.

Any change in ownership (sole proprietor to partnership, partnership to corporation, corporation to sole proprietor, partnership to sole proprietor, etc.) requires a new license. If you are required to obtain a new vendor’s license due to a change in ownership or location, a final return must be filed within 15 days of the last day of business under the original vendor’s license.

Transient Vendor’s License- form ST 1T
A transient license can be used statewide. This license is for retailers who transport stock(s) of goods to temporary places of business in order to make sales. Some of the most common types of sales that require a transient vendor’s license are made at flea markets, and arts, or crafts shows. In home (door-to-door) sales such as selling makeup, sales through vending machines, and those who lease motor vehicles, watercraft and outboard motors, are also types of sales that require a transient vendor’s license. The sales tax charged will be based on the county where the event is held. One key issue to remember is even though you may only attend one trade show per year you are still required to file a return as long as the vendor’s license is still active. There is a one time fee of $25.00 for this vendor’s license.

Sellers Registration- form UT 1000
Seller’s registration is for retailers located outside of Ohio that make retail sales of property or services for storage, use, or consumption in Ohio. Sellers registration is only required if the retailer has significant contact with the state (nexus). Sellers who have nexus with Ohio are legally required to register, collect, and remit use tax, in the same way that the Ohio-based vendor collects and remits sales tax. Examples of activities that create nexus are: regularly having employees or other individuals operating in the state; making regular deliveries of tangible personal property into this state; or any other physical presence in Ohio. A large number of sellers who may not have nexus with Ohio register voluntarily, because they realize the collection of Ohio tax is a convenience and service to their customers, who otherwise would have to pay the tax directly to the state or risk formal assessment of the tax, penalties, and interest.

Unlike the prior listed licenses, there is no fee for this type of account. The use tax rate is equal to the sales tax rate in effect in the county where the property is used or the benefit of the service is received by the purchaser.

Consumer’s Use – form UT 1008
Use tax is a complementary tax to sales tax. In general, use tax is owed by a purchaser on a transaction when the vendor does not col­lect sales tax (assuming the item or service being purchased is taxable). The use tax must be paid by the purchaser directly to the State of Ohio through a con­sumer’s use tax return. To begin remitting use tax directly to the Ohio Department of Taxation a taxpayer would need to register for a consumer’s use tax account.  As with the seller’s registration, a consumer’s use tax account does not require a fee. Click here for a tutorial of the Ohio Business Gateway’s registration process for a consumer’s use tax account.

How and when is Sales Tax collected?
Vendors must charge and collect sales tax at the rate in effect in the county where the sale is made or obtain valid documentation detailing why the sale is exempt from tax. Tax on titled motor vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, all-purpose vehicles, personal watercraft, titled watercraft and titled outboard motors is paid to the county Clerk of Courts at the rate in effect in the purchaser's county of residence. Telecommunication services are taxed at the rate in effect in the county of the billable telephone number. Most other areas listed under services are taxed at the county rate where the service benefit is received.

The tax applies when the sale is made, not at some future date when payment is received. For example, if a vendor makes a sale on credit in January, but the money is not received until February, the tax must be reported and paid with January's return.

Vendors must charge tax on every sale unless the customer provides a properly completed exemption certificate or the sale is exempt by law. Tax must be paid to the state on every taxable sale, even if the price is not collected from the customer. Vendors who fail to send in collected taxes, make sales without a license, or make sales with a suspended or revoked license, are subject to assessments, fines, and criminal penalties.