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Instructions for Section D - General business information

When you begin business

For sales tax purposes, you begin business on the date you start:

  • selling tangible personal property or providing taxable services within New York State; or
  • issuing or accepting New York State exemption certificates.

Once you've received your Certificate of Authority, you must file your first sales tax return for the filing period that includes this date. You must file a return that includes this date even if you begin business at a later date or have not collected any tax.

The Tax Department will expect to receive a return from you by the due date based on the beginning business date you provided in this application. 

If you do not begin filing by the required due date, the Tax Department will automatically issue you a bill. The minimum penalty is $50.

In general, new vendors must file quarterly returns using the due dates listed below. If your beginning business's date falls within one of the date ranges noted, you must file your first return by the corresponding due date.

Sales tax quarter

Due date

March 1 - May 31

June 20

June 1 - August 31

September 20

September 1 - November 30

December 20

December 1 - February 28 (29)

March 20

If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, you must file your return by the first business day after the due date.

For example, if you indicate on your application that you plan on beginning business on July 15, you must file your first sales tax return for the sales tax quarter of June 1 - August 31 by September 20.

You can easily file your sales tax returns online using the Tax Department's Sales Tax Web File. Create an Online Services account for your business so you can:

  • Web File sales tax returns,
  • make payments,
  • receive email alerts (such as filing reminders), and
  • view and pay bills and notices.

See Tax Bulletin Filing Requirements for Sales and Use Tax Returns (TB-ST-275).

Temporary vendors (optional)

If you do not want to register as a temporary vendor or do not qualify, leave the date field blank.

 You should only elect to register as a temporary vendor if you:

  • have a seasonal business or only plan on doing business in New York State temporarily; and
  • do not expect to do business for more than two consecutive sales tax quarters.

If you register as a temporary vendor, your Certificate of Authority will automatically expire on the date you specify your business activity will end. You cannot make taxable sales or issue or accept New York State exemption certificates after this date. If you want to do business in New York State at a later date, you must reapply for a Certificate of Authority.

Bulk sales (sales tax clearances)

*Warning: The Tax Department has a first priority lien against the proceeds from the sale to satisfy any sales tax debts of the seller. Do not pay the seller until you have followed the instructions below; otherwise, you may be personally responsible for paying the seller's sales tax debts.
  • At least 10 days before taking possession or paying for the business or any of its assets, notify the Tax Department by filing Form AU-196.10, Notification of Sale, Transfer, or Assignment in Bulk.
  • Do not pay any portion of the purchase price to the seller until you receive clearance from the Tax Department. The entire purchase price should be placed into an escrow account. If the seller has no sales tax debts, the Tax Department will send you a sales tax release (Form AU-197.1, Purchaser's and/or Escrow Agent's Release - Bulk Sale). You can then pay the seller.  
  • If the seller has sales tax debts, the Tax Department will notify you of the total amount of sales tax owed by the seller, up to the greater of the purchase price or fair market value of the business assets.  Unless you pay the amount due to the Tax Department from the sales proceeds, you may become personally responsible for paying the sales tax debts of the seller. After payment has been made, the Tax Department will send you a sales tax release (Form AU-197.1, Purchaser's and/or Escrow Agent's Release - Bulk Sale). You may then pay any remaining amount from the escrow account to the seller.

Note: Form AU-197.1, Purchaser's and/or Escrow Agent's Release - Bulk Sale, releases the Tax Department's lien against the proceeds from the sale, but does not release any liens against the assets of the business if there are outstanding warrants or judgments against the seller for unpaid sales or other taxes.

You may also owe sales tax on any tangible personal property purchased. The tax due may be paid to the seller to be remitted with the seller's final return, or it may be paid directly to the Tax Department.

For more information on bulk sales:

Bank account

You must never use sales tax money to pay for business or personal expenses under any circumstance. To avoid this, you should maintain a separate bank account for your sales tax money. This will ensure that you are able to pay the sales tax when due.

Permanent place of business

For sales tax purposes, a permanent place of business is a fixed location, such as an office or store, that is:

  • regularly maintained and occupied by the entity to carry on the business; and
  • where taxable sales take place.

Filing separate sales tax returns or one (consolidated) sales tax return

If you have more than one permanent place of business in New York State, you have two options:

Option 1 - Apply for a sales tax Certificate of Authority for each location. You must then file a separate sales tax return for each location.

Option 2 - Enter the additional locations in the Additional Business Locations part of this section and receive a Certificate of Authority for each location. You must then file one (consolidated) sales tax return for all locations.

Additional Business Locations

Only complete this part if you:

  • have indicated that you have more than one permanent place of business for sales tax; and
  • elected to file one (consolidated) sales tax return for all locations.

To add a business location, press the Add a Row button. Enter the required information in the fields provided in the pop-up window. Once completed, press the Submit button to save your entry and add to it to the list. Repeat this process for each business location.

Do not enter a business location that already has a valid Certificate of Authority.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code

Use this tool to look up the six-digit NAICS code that best describes your principal business activity at the location being registered. Your principal business activity is that which provides the greatest New York State gross sales or revenue at that location. If your application covers more than one location, choose a NAICS code that reflects the principal business activity when all the locations are combined together.

To get started, press the Find NAICS Code button, and then select Principal NAICS Code. To locate your NAICS code, you can either:

  • select your industry type and then select your industry sub type; or
  • enter your business activity in the search field and press the Search button.

After you select your principal NAICS code, press the Finish button and review your selection. To change your selection, select Cancel. To add and save your selection, press the Submit button.

If you engage in another business activity that is unrelated to your principal business activity, press the Find NAICS Code button and then select Secondary NAICS Code. The industry sub type of the secondary NAICS code should be different from the industry sub type for your principal business activity.

Do not enter more than one principal NAICS code or secondary NAICS code.

For more information on NAICS codes, visit the United States Census Bureau.

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