How to Use a Washington DC Resale Certificate

by Lee Breslouer February 24, 2022


If you buy products to resale in Washington DC, you can avoid paying sales tax on your purchase by using a Washington DC resale certificate. Always keep in mind that you should only use your resale certificate to buy items you intend to resale. Any other use of the resale certificate by an individual for a tax exemption is usually considered unlawful. 

How to Use a Washington DC Resale Certificate

The District of Columbia provides resellers with an Exemption Certificate. If you wish to buy items for resale, fill out the entire certificate and present it to your vendor. 

If you have an out-of-state resale certificate but try to buy an item tax-free in Washington DC, your DC vendor will be unable to accept your out-of-state resale certificate. To receive a sales tax exemption on an item in DC, you must register for a sales tax permit there.

Here’s a helpful resource on how to request and complete a Washington DC resale certificate online.

Accepting a Washington DC Resale Certificate

If you are a retailer with nexus in Washington DC and your buyer presents you with a resale certificate, you should do the following:

  • Make sure the DC Resale Certificate form is completely filled out – This includes the buyer’s name and what they sell, your store name, and a detailed description of the items bought for resale. You should also have the buyer’s address and signature. Don’t skip this step, because it could protect you in case of an audit!
  • Check it with the district – Use this link to verify a Washington DC resale certificate. To see where to verify retail certificates from every state, you can find instructions here.
  • Keep it on file – Again, this is to protect yourself in case an auditor comes knocking and asks why you didn’t collect sales or use tax from a certain customer. As long as none of the buyer’s info has changed and they are buying the same types of products from you for resale, the Washington DC resale certificate should not expire.

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