News Releases

News Release

May 20, 2004  -  Columbus, Ohio  - Tax Enforcement Agents Shopping for Ohio Flea Market Violations 62 vendors cited for not having licenses; visits to other markets planned

Columbus -- COLUMBUS (May 20) Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) enforcement agents, in visits to seven flea markets recently, cited a total of 62 merchants of 256 contacted for making retail sales without vendors’ licenses.

Ohio Tax Commissioner William W. Wilkins said the visits were prompted, in part, by complaints from merchants who were properly licensed but were being undersold by unlicensed merchants who weren’t collecting tax.

“It’s a matter of fairness, and it’s the law. Everyone needs to be playing by the same rules. You need a vendor’s license to sell in Ohio,” Wilkins said. “That goes for sales at a big department store or a little stand at a flea market.”

ODT enforcement agents visited three flea markets in southwest Ohio (Caesar’s Creek, Turtle Creek, Trader’s World), two in the Cleveland area (Jamie’s Flea Market and the East Side Flea Market) and two in the Toledo area (Cardinal Flea Market and Ed Wahl Flea Market).

Those cited face fines of $25 to $100 and civil assessments for unpaid back taxes. Agents also found flea market operators keeping sloppy or incomplete records, which can subject them to fines.
Vendors at flea markets or any exhibition in Ohio where sales are made are bound by the following rules:

--If a vendor sells in one county, the vendor’s license must be obtained from the auditor of that county.

--A vendor who makes sales in more than one county must have a transient vendor’s license. The license can be obtained from any ODT Taxpayer Service Center or downloaded from the ODT web site at: Licenses obtained at a county auditor’s office or an ODT taxpayer service center can be issued the day of application. Vendors can check the ODT web site or call 800-282-1782 toll free for an application. The web site also carries addresses of all ODT Taxpayer Service Centers.

--A vendor’s license cost is $25. Transient vendors’ licenses must be prominently displayed.

--The sales tax charged is the sales tax rate for the county in which the sales are made. Sales tax rates vary from county to county in Ohio.

--ODT enforcement officers also check for tobacco products sold at flea markets to make sure all tobacco taxes have been paid and tobacco licenses are posted.

--Finally, operators of such events must keep vendor records. The records shall include the vendors’ names, permanent addresses, vendors’ license numbers and types of goods sold. Such records must be kept four years, and they are subject to inspection by the Ohio Tax Commissioner. Failure to keep records can result in fines of from $25 to $100.

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Attachment: Flea Market Vendors’ Fact Sheet (PDF)

For more information contact Gary Gudmundson, Director of Communications,