Is a Wholesale License the Same as a Seller's Permit in California?

by Carol Deeb - Updated September 26, 2017

Reselling products in that state of California in the course of doing business requires a California seller's permit, which is the same as a wholesale license. Business owners in California that sell goods may be required to obtain this permit before purchasing from your suppliers or selling products to your customers.


A California seller's permit allows you to buy items from your wholesalers without paying sales tax on them. You may be in the business of improving the product before selling it, such as placing a design or other imprint on it, or selling the product to your customers just as you bought it. When you retail products to the end users, you will collect state sales tax and pay that amount to the state government every quarter. Your business suppliers may want your permit number on file before they remove sales tax from your invoice.

Permit Requirements

To apply for a seller's permit, you must do business in California. Also, you have to sell a product or service that is taxable. If you run a seasonal business, such as a pumpkin patch, then you may obtain a temporary seller's permit. You can apply for your resale license at the nearest California Board of Equalization Office. There is no charge for the permit.

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Application Information

Before you arrive at the Board of Equalization Office, collect certain documents and information for all partners, officers or members of your business. Bring your Social Security number, a copy of your driver's license, two personal references, average monthly sales and taxable sales estimate, and the names and addresses of your suppliers, bank and accountant. You will receive your permit within 24 hours if you apply at the BOE office, or within one to two weeks by mail.

Tax Account Requirements

You do not have to pay tax to your supplier when you have a California seller's certificate and you will be reselling the product. Also, you must keep records, file returns and pay the sales tax due before the deadline. Anyone may register with the Board of Equalization to report and pay taxes owed. To determine if you must do so, you have to qualify by selling $100,000 in gross receipts per year, and you may not have a use tax direct payment permit.

About the Author

Carol Deeb has been an editor and writer since 1988. Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers and online publications, as well as a book on education. Deeb is a real-estate investor and business owner with professional experience in human resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State University.

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