How to Get Tennessee Sales Tax Permit | A Comprehensive Guide

Steve Bennett
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Tennessee Sales Tax Permit

Have you ever wondered what a sales tax permit is in Tennessee? If you don’t, then we will guide you through it. In Tennessee, a sales tax permit, also known as a seller’s permit, is a legal document that allows businesses, specifically Tennessee LLC, to collect and remit sales tax to the Tennessee government. This permit ensures businesses operate legally and have the necessary permissions to conduct sales within a particular state. Tennessee has its own rules and regulations surrounding sales tax permits. Business owners must familiarize themselves with the requirements and processes to comply with the law.

In this comprehensive guide, Webinarcare Editorial Team will walk you through everything you need to know about obtaining and maintaining Tennessee Sales Tax Permit. From understanding the basics of sales tax to the intricacies of the application process, we have got you covered. You must be guided by all the factors gathered in this article.

What is a Sales Tax Permit?

A sales tax permit is Tennessee-issued license that allows businesses to collect and remit sales tax on the goods and services they sell. This permit ensures Tennessee businesses operate legally and have the necessary permissions to conduct sales within a particular state. In Tennessee, a sales tax permit is required for businesses that sell taxable goods or services and are required to collect sales tax from their customers.

Who Needs a Sales Tax Permit?

Not all businesses need a sales tax permit. Typically, businesses that sell tangible personal property or taxable services to customers within Tennessee require a sales tax permit. This includes brick-and-mortar stores, online retailers, and service providers. Tennessee may also require sales tax permits for businesses that sell certain types of products or services, such as alcohol or tobacco. If you plan to start a bakery business in Tennessee, you typically need a sales tax permit to collect and remit sales tax on the items you sell.

If your business operates in multiple states or forms a foreign LLC in Tennessee, you may need to obtain a sales tax permit for each state with a sales tax nexus. A sales tax nexus is a connection or presence a business has within a state that requires them to collect and remit sales tax. Factors that can create a nexus include the following:

  • Physical location
  • Employees
  • Inventory within a state

Obtaining a sales tax permit in Tennessee is not just about complying with regulations, but about seizing the opportunity to grow and thrive in the market. To start an LLC must be a gateway to establish a legitimate business presence and to build trust with customers. Embrace this essential step, for it paves the path towards success and prosperity.

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How to Get a Sales Tax Permit in Tennessee

The process for obtaining a sales tax permit varies from state to state. Generally, Tennessee businesses must apply through the Tennessee Department of Revenue. The following steps provide an overview of the application process:

Step 1: Determine If You Need a Sales Tax Permit 

Before applying, determine if your Tennessee business needs a sales tax permit based on the goods or services you sell and where you operate.

Most Tennessee businesses that sell tangible goods or services must have a sales tax permit. This includes:

  • Retailers – businesses that sell goods directly to consumers, such as clothing stores, grocery stores, and electronics stores.
  • Service Providers – businesses that provide services, such as hair salons, auto repair shops, and landscaping companies.
  • Wholesalers – businesses that sell goods to other businesses, such as distributors and manufacturers.
  • Online Sellers – businesses that sell goods or services online, including Tennessee E-commerce and online marketplaces.

Step 2: Register Your Tennessee Business

Register your business in Tennessee if you still need to. This may involve obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in Tennessee from the Internal Revenue Service and registering your business name with the Tennessee Secretary of State. 

Your Tennessee business name should be unique, memorable, and reflective of your products or services. There is a complete guide on Tennessee Business Name Search for a proper Tennessee business name. You can also check the availability of your desired business name by searching the Tennessee Secretary of State Business Information Search‘s website.

In obtaining an EIN, it can be done through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

Complete the registration for a legal Tennessee business if you plan to sell tangible goods. 

Recommended: Professional services have the EIN included in their LLC formation package. We recommend using –

LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 3: Gather The Necessary Information

The next step is to collect the required information for the Tennessee sales tax permit application. To obtain a sales tax permit in Tennessee, you will need to gather the following necessary information:

  1. Business Details: Provide the legal name, mailing address, and contact information of your business, including your Tennessee DBA (Doing Business As) names.
  2. Entity Type: Indicate whether your business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC, or legal entity.
  3. EIN/SSN: Have your Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number (SSN) ready. This identification is required to associate the sales tax permit with your business.
  4. Purpose of Permit: Explain the nature of your business activities, such as retail sales, wholesale, manufacturing, or service, to determine the appropriate sales tax category.
  5. Product/Service Description: Provide a brief description of the goods or services your business offers, including any unique details that may impact the sales tax requirements.
  6. Nexus Information: Identify if your business has a physical presence or nexus in Tennessee, such as a brick-and-mortar location, employees, or inventory storage.
  7. Estimated Sales: Estimate your expected monthly or annual sales volume in Tennessee to determine the appropriate tax registration and reporting requirements.
  8. Previous Registration: If you are already registered for sales tax in another state, provide details to determine if any reciprocal agreements or exemptions apply.
  9. Supporting Documents: Some states may require additional documentation, such as a copy of your business license, federal tax returns, or a certificate of authority.
  10. Fee Payment: Be prepared to pay the required fee for obtaining a sales tax permit in Tennessee.

It’s important to note the exact requirements and processes in Tennessee. It is recommended to visit the official website of the Tennessee Department of Revenue or consult with a tax professional for accurate and up-to-date information.

Step 4: Complete The Application

Fill out the sales tax permit application form for Tennessee, either online or by paper. Be prepared to answer questions about your business operations, products, and services. You can register your Tennessee sales tax permit in Tennessee Department of Revenue.

Step 5: Pay Any Required Fees

In Tennessee, the state permit may charge a fee for obtaining a sales tax permit. Be prepared to pay this fee when submitting your application. Usually, it costs $0 (Free). 

Step 6: Submit The Application

Submit your completed application, along with the required fee of $0 (Free), to the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

Step 7: Receive Your Permit

Once your application is approved, you will receive your sales tax permit. This may be a physical document or an electronic certificate you can print. 

How to Maintain a Sales Tax Permit

After obtaining a sales tax permit, Tennessee businesses must maintain compliance with Tennessee sales tax laws. This typically involves the following steps:

  • Collect Sales Tax: Collect sales tax from customers on taxable goods and services. Be sure to charge the correct sales tax rate based on your and your customer’s locations. The sales tax rate in Tennessee is 7.00%. 
  • Keep Accurate Records: Maintained detailed records of all sales transactions, including the amount of sales tax collected. This information will be required when filing your sales tax returns. Hire a certified public accountant (CPA) to keep track of records. 
  • File Sales Tax Returns: File sales tax returns with Tennessee, typically monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on your sales volume and Tennessee requirements. Be sure to remit the sales tax collected during the reporting period.
  • Renew your Permit: Tennessee requires businesses to renew their sales tax permits periodically. Know your state’s renewal requirements and complete the necessary steps to maintain your permit.

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Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failure to obtain or maintain a sales tax permit can seriously affect a business. Penalties for non-compliance can include fines, penalties, interest charges, and even the revocation of your business license. Additionally, Tennessee businesses that fail to collect and remit the Tennessee sales tax may be held personally liable for the unpaid taxes.

Do I Need a Sales Tax Permit If I Only Sell Online?

You likely need a sales tax permit if you sell taxable goods or services online and have a sales tax nexus in Tennessee. To have a Home-Based Business in Tennessee, you must still file and maintain a sales tax permit. 

How Long Does Obtaining a Sales Tax Permit Take?

The processing time for sales tax permit applications takes time. In Tennessee, they may issue permits within a few days, while others may take several weeks. Be sure to apply well in advance of when you plan to start selling taxable goods or services.

Can I Have Multiple Sales Tax Permits?

Businesses that operate in multiple states or sell different types of products may need multiple sales tax permits. Be sure to research the specific requirements for each state and product type. Having a foreign LLC is not quite easy since you still need to hire a Registered Agent, file for the Articles of Organization of the state you wish to operate your business, and also, you need to have multiple sales tax permits. 

How Much Does a Sales Tax Permit Cost?

The costs and requirements for obtaining a sales tax permit vary depending on the state. To find accurate information about the cost of a sales tax permit in Tennessee, you can visit the Tennessee Department of Revenue’s website or consult with a tax professional or accountant familiar with your state’s regulations. They can provide the most up-to-date information on the costs and requirements for obtaining a sales tax permit in Tennessee.

FAQs

What is a sales tax permit?
A sales tax permit is a license issued by the Tennessee Department of Revenue that allows a business to collect sales tax on taxable sales items.
Who needs a sales tax permit in Tennessee?
Any individual or business engaging in sales activities in Tennessee is required to have a sales tax permit.
How do I apply for a sales tax permit in Tennessee?
You can apply for a sales tax permit online through the Tennessee Taxpayer Access Point (TNTAP) system or by submitting a paper application.
How much does it cost to apply for a sales tax permit in Tennessee?
There is no fee to apply for a sales tax permit in Tennessee.
How long does it take to get a sales tax permit in Tennessee?
It typically takes 2-4 weeks to receive a sales tax permit from the Tennessee Department of Revenue.
How do I register for sales tax in Tennessee if I sell online?
Online businesses selling goods or services in Tennessee are required to register for a sales tax permit in the same way as any other business.
Does a sales tax permit expire in Tennessee?
No, a sales tax permit does not expire in Tennessee unless it is cancelled or revoked by the Department of Revenue.
What information do I need to provide when applying for a sales tax permit in Tennessee?
You will need to provide your business name, legal structure, federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), contact information, anticipated business activity, and banking information.
Can I qualify for an exemption from the Tennessee sales tax permit requirement?
Certain businesses, such as nonprofit organizations and government entities, may qualify for an exemption from the sales tax permit requirement in Tennessee.
Can I use a resale certificate instead of a sales tax permit in Tennessee?
Yes, a resale certificate can be used in place of a sales tax permit when purchasing goods for resale.
How often am I required to file a sales tax return in Tennessee?
Sales tax returns must be filed in Tennessee on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, depending on your sales tax liability.
Can I file my Tennessee sales tax return electronically?
Yes, sales tax returns can be electronically filed through the Tennessee Taxpayer Access Point (TNTAP) system.
What happens if I fail to obtain a sales tax permit in Tennessee?
Failure to obtain a sales tax permit in Tennessee can result in penalties and interest on the unpaid tax liability.
Is a state or local business license required to obtain a sales tax permit in Tennessee?
No, a state or local business license is not required to obtain a sales tax permit in Tennessee.
How can I cancel my sales tax permit in Tennessee?
A sales tax permit can be cancelled in Tennessee by notifying the Department of Revenue in writing.
When is my sales tax payment due in Tennessee?
Sales tax payments are due in Tennessee on the 20th day of the month following the end of the reporting period.
Can I get a sales tax permit immediately in Tennessee?
No, it typically takes 2-4 weeks to receive a sales tax permit from the Tennessee Department of Revenue.
Who do I contact if I have questions about obtaining a sales tax permit in Tennessee?
The Tennessee Department of Revenue provides guidance and assistance to those seeking to obtain a sales tax permit in Tennessee.
What is the penalty for late payment of Tennessee sales tax?
The penalty for late payment of Tennessee sales tax is 5% of the amount of tax due for each month it is late, up to a maximum of 25%.
What is the interest rate for Tennessee sales tax delinquency?
The interest rate for Tennessee sales tax delinquency is 1% per month, or a fraction of a month, on the unpaid tax liability.
Do I have to charge sales tax on labor in Tennessee?
Generally, labor charges are not subject to sales tax in Tennessee, except for certain services such as installation, repair, or maintenance.
What are the sales tax rates in Tennessee?
The sales tax rate in Tennessee is 9.25%, with varying local rates that can range from 2.5% to 2.75%.
What is the threshold for compliance with Tennessee sales tax law?
Businesses must register for a sales tax permit in Tennessee if they meet a threshold of at least $3,000 in annual sales.
Do I have to collect local sales tax in Tennessee?
Yes, local sales taxes must be collected in Tennessee if the business has a nexus in that area.
What is a tax nexus in Tennessee?
A tax nexus in Tennessee is a connection or business presence in the state that requires the collection and remittance of Tennessee sales tax.
Can I register for sales tax in Tennessee without an EIN?
No, a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) is required to register for sales tax in Tennessee.
Do I have to file a sales tax return if I had no sales in Tennessee?
Yes, a sales tax return is required in Tennessee even if there were no sales made during the reporting period.
Is shipping taxable in Tennessee?
Yes, in most cases, shipping charges are subject to Tennessee sales tax along with the cost of any goods purchased.
What is a sales tax permit in Tennessee?
A sales tax permit in Tennessee allows a business to collect and remit sales tax to the state.
How do I know if my business is subject to sales tax in Tennessee?
You can check the Tennessee Department of Revenue website to determine which goods and services are subject to sales tax in Tennessee.
What information do I need to provide on my Tennessee sales tax permit application?
You will need to provide information such as your business’s name, address, and federal tax ID number on your Tennessee sales tax permit application.
What is the fee for a Tennessee sales tax permit?
There is no fee for a Tennessee sales tax permit.
How long does it take to get a Tennessee sales tax permit?
It generally takes 2-3 weeks to receive a Tennessee sales tax permit after submitting your application.
How do I renew my Tennessee sales tax permit?
You can renew your Tennessee sales tax permit on the Tennessee Department of Revenue website.
When do I need to renew my Tennessee sales tax permit?
You need to renew your Tennessee sales tax permit every 2 years.
What happens if I don’t have a Tennessee sales tax permit?
If you don’t have a Tennessee sales tax permit, you risk penalties and fines for failing to collect and remit sales tax.
Can I get a temporary Tennessee sales tax permit for a special event or sale?
Yes, you can get a temporary Tennessee sales tax permit for a special event or sale by completing the application on the Tennessee Department of Revenue website.
Is a Tennessee sales tax permit transferable to a new owner?
No, a Tennessee sales tax permit is not transferable to a new owner.
What do I do if I sell my business in Tennessee?
You will need to cancel your Tennessee sales tax permit when you sell your business.
Do I need a separate Tennessee sales tax permit for each location of my business?
Yes, you may need a separate Tennessee sales tax permit for each location of your business.
How do I close my Tennessee sales tax account?
You can close your Tennessee sales tax account by contacting the Tennessee Department of Revenue.
What is the penalty for not having a Tennessee sales tax permit?
The penalty for not having a Tennessee sales tax permit can be up to $100 per day that you fail to collect and remit sales tax.
How often do I need to file sales tax returns in Tennessee?
Sales tax returns in Tennessee are due on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, depending on how much sales tax you owe.
Can I file my Tennessee sales tax returns online?
Yes, you can file your Tennessee sales tax returns online using the TN Taxpayer Access Point.
What happens if I file my Tennessee sales tax return late?
If you file your Tennessee sales tax return late, you will be assessed penalties and interest on any unpaid balance.
What happens if I don’t pay my Tennessee sales tax?
If you don’t pay your Tennessee sales tax, you will be assessed penalties and interest on any unpaid balance.
Can I claim a resale exemption on my Tennessee sales tax returns?
Yes, you can claim a resale exemption on your Tennessee sales tax returns if you purchase goods for resale.
How do I get a resale certificate in Tennessee?
You can get a resale certificate in Tennessee by completing Form RV-F1300701 on the Tennessee Department of Revenue website.
Are there any other exemptions from Tennessee sales tax?
Yes, there are other exemptions from Tennessee sales tax, such as for certain non-profit organizations.
When do I need to charge sales tax to my customers in Tennessee?
You need to charge sales tax to your customers in Tennessee when you sell goods or services subject to sales tax in the state.
How much sales tax do I need to charge to my customers in Tennessee?
The current sales tax rate in Tennessee is 7%.
Do I need to collect local and city sales tax in Tennessee, too?
Yes, you may need to collect local and city sales tax in addition to state sales tax in Tennessee.
How do I find out the local and city sales tax rates in Tennessee?
You can find out the local and city sales tax rates in Tennessee on the Tennessee Department of Revenue website.
What is the Tennessee use tax?
The Tennessee use tax is a tax on purchases made outside of Tennessee that are brought into the state for use, storage, or consumption.
Do I need to pay the Tennessee use tax?
You need to pay the Tennessee use tax on any taxable purchases made outside of Tennessee when you bring them into the state.

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Conclusion

Obtaining and maintaining a sales tax permit is crucial to running a compliant and successful business. By understanding the requirements and processes in Tennessee, you can ensure that your business collects and remits sales tax correctly and avoids any penalties for non-compliance. Consulting with a tax professional or Tennessee attorney is recommended to ensure that your Tennessee business meets all necessary sales tax requirements.

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