Maine – Guidance on Resale and Retailer Certificates

SALT Report 3012 – Maine Revenue Services has revised its sales and use bulletin that addresses the two types of certificates issued by the state:  retailer certificates and resale certificates.

Retailer Certificates

When a taxpayer applies to MRS for a sales tax registration, they will be issued a retailer certificate, which was previously referred to as a seller’ certificate. This certificate:

  • Acknowledges that the person is registered with MRS to collect and remit sales and use taxes
  • Displays the sales tax registration number assigned to that person
  • Must be available for inspection by MRS or an authorized municipal official, and
  • Cannot be transferred or assigned

Resale Certificate

A resale certificate is a separate and different document from the retailer certificate and is only issued to taxpayers that meet certain qualifications. This certificate allows a retailer to make purchases for resale without paying sales tax.  A copy of the resale certificate must be provided to the vendor to document that a purchase is exempt from sales tax because the goods or services will be resold by the retailer.

When a retailer first applies for a sales tax registration, the retailer will be issued a provisional resale certificate so long as the applicant expects to make at least $3,000 in gross sales over the next year. The certificate is valid until December 31st of the third year following the date it was issued. However, if the certificate is first issued between October 1st and December 31st, the certificate will be valid until December 31st of the fourth year following the date it was issued.

Each year, MRS will conduct a review of all active registered retailers to determine whether they qualify to have their resale Certificate renewed for the next period.  If a retailer has reported the required $3,000 or more in gross sales during the previous 12 months, they will have their certificate automatically renewed.  However, if a retailer does not meet the minimum requirement they must make a written request to MRS for further review of their account.

The guide provides examples of situations in which MRS may renew a certificate even if the retailer does not meet the minimum requirements.  Additionally, the guide addresses how to amend or correct a resale or retailer certificate, purchaser and seller responsibilities, sales to out-of-state retailers, and provides a sample of a resale certificate with the information it must contain.

For Further Information

Maine Revenue Services – Sales and Use Tax Instructional Bulletin No. 54