You have to register your business in the states and other local jurisdictions where you conduct business so that you can collect and remit sales tax. To register with a state Department of Revenue, Department of Taxation, or other similar taxing authority, you need to file a tax registration application.
You may need to file other applications as well. Some states have jurisdictions with locally-administered taxing schemes that may be different from the state level, including Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, and Louisiana. If you have a physical location within a taxing authority, you may also need to apply for a separate business license with local governments or register with the Secretary of State. If you have employees, you should contact any county or incorporated city in which you sell or provide services to determine if you need additional licenses.
Once registered, you receive your tax certificate, an initial filing frequency, and a tax registration number from the taxing authority. You can register on your own or you can get help from Avalara Licensing.
File your own registration applications
To register your business, go to the websites of each state and local jurisdiction where you do business and complete the required steps there. Be prepared to answer these questions:
- What's your business activity?
- What are your expected annual sales?
- Will you be selling goods to consumers?
- Will your business use a name that's different from the legal name?
- Have you ever been acquired by another business or have you acquired a business?
- Where's your business located? This includes the physical location of your business or warehouse and the locations where you sell your products or provide business services.
- What's your ownership type (i.e. sole proprietor, profit corporation, LLC, etc.)?
- Who are the officers/owners of the company?
For more information about registering your business in the states where it’s located, visit the states’ Department of Revenue websites. Contact your Customer Account Manager (CAM) to learn more about Avalara’s state- and local-level sales tax registration services.
In many jurisdictions, there are additional registration requirements or pre-requisites, including registration with the Secretary of State, bonding requirements based on estimated taxable sales, etc. You're responsible for completing these additional registration requirements or pre-requisites, even if you purchase Avalara’s registration services.
The list of state-level department of taxation/revenue sites will help you get started.
Register with Avalara Licensing
Avalara Licensing helps you register to collect sales and use tax in any state, county, city, or other jurisdiction in the United States. Use the service to find forms for you, or to register on your behalf.
Talk to your account manager for more details, or review your options for registering with Avalara Licensing.
Other considerations and restrictions
Local tax registrations
Many states have locally-administered taxing schemes that may be different from the state level. The services we provide are limited to the state-level taxing authorities unless additional locally-administered jurisdictions are indicated as well in the Statement of Work (SOW).
Combined business tax registration
In some jurisdictions, the sales and use tax registration process is part of a combined business registration that may involve other taxes. In such cases, we complete the registration application portion for sales and use tax; however, it’s up to you to address and complete the remainder of the combined business registration application.
Start date/effective date of tax registration
The registration process requires you to indicate the start or effective date of tax reporting in each jurisdiction. We include this key piece of information on the registration forms based on the information you provide to us. You should consider this information carefully because any historical activity conducted by your company in the taxing jurisdiction prior to this date could result in additional liability.
Gathering information for Returns
If you use Avalara Returns to manage your tax returns, gather information from your registration documents to help Avalara file returns on your behalf. In each jurisdiction where you're registered, set up an account for filing tax returns online if the jurisdiction offers that as an option. If you're asked to set up two-factor authentication to log in, use your own email address.