Permits to Sell Baked Goods at Flea Markets
You might think all you have to do is show up at the flea market with your basket of freshly baked goodies to sell. There's a bit more to it than that. Cities, states and counties have different permit, licensing and registration requirements. The flea market industry in the United States consists of 1100 locations with 2.25 million vendors generating $30 million in sales per year according to the National Flea Market Association.
Food is exempt from sales tax in many locations. However, baked goods may not be. A sales privilege license is necessary. You don't have to charge additional tax to your customers, but you do have to pay it. For example, if the sales tax is 10 percent then you would have to charge the customer an additional 10 cents for a $1 doughnut and remit the 10 cents to the state and city. Some cities have their own sales tax in addition to the state. Or you could charge the customer $1, keep 90 cents and remit 10 cents for the sales tax.
The local health department and/or the county and state issue a food handler's permit. Everyone who handles the baked goods has to have this permit. Sometimes there is a health and safety test required to obtain the license.
Your kitchen will have to pass an inspection by the health department unless you bake the goods in an already approved and inspected kitchen.
Flea markets usually require the payment of a fee for a permit to become a vendor. Different sized spaces and different locations within the flea market grounds could have different fees. For example, a corner location could be pricier than one on the back perimeter. You may be able to decrease the fee by buying a permit for a month or the season rather than a weekly permit.
The state requires a business license. The city where your business is physically located requires one, but also check with the city where the flea market is located. You might have to have a license from that city as well.
If you hire employees to help in the bakery, or at the flea market to sell the baked goods, the Internal Revenue Service requires that you obtain an EIN, or Employer Identification Number. There is no fee for the EIN. Even if you don't have employees, it's a good idea to get an EIN. You use that number to open a business bank account rather than your Social Security number.