California – BOE Requirements for Mobile Food Vendors

SALT Report 2573 – The California State Board of Equalization issued two tax notices for mobile food vendors who may be unaware of the registration, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements under the state and local sales and use tax laws. Mobile food vendors include anyone who operates a food truck, stand, or cart that does not have a fixed physical location.

Registration

All mobile food vendors are required to register with the BOE and file sales and use tax returns. You can register for a seller’s permit using the BOE’s online Electronic Registration Service. Registration is free, although in some cases a security deposit may be required.

Record Keeping

If you are required to hold a seller’s permit you must keep books and records to accurately determine your tax liabilities. This generally includes sales receipts or register tapes, normal “books of account” and any bills, invoices, or other documents that will verify your business transactions. In addition, the BOE recommends that you keep any schedules or working papers that were used to prepare your tax returns.

Sales Tax Included Signs

Mobile food vendors whose menu item prices include sales tax are required to post a notice for their customers that states: “All prices of taxable items include sales tax.” Mobile food vendors who post this type of sign are required to report sales tax at the rate in effect at the location where these sales are made.

For Further Information

California State Board of Equalization – Special Notice L-348

Special Notice L-348A

Caterers’ Industry Guide