Retail License Information
Every person who engages in business in this state as a retailer must obtain a retail license before making any sales. This includes sales made via the internet and persons who make infrequent sales in this state. If you have more than one business outlet, you must have a separate retail license for each location.
How to Get a Retail License
Apply for the retail license on Form SCDOR-111, Business Tax Registration Form, available at all Department of Revenue taxpayer service centers or on South Carolina Business One Stop (SCBOS) at the SCDOR Homepage. The fee for each permanent retail license is $50. If an outstanding debt exists for state taxes, the retail license will not be issued until the taxes are paid.
Purchaser's Certificate of Registration - A purchaser's certificate of registration is required for someone who does not make retail sales but who purchases tangible personal property from outside this state to store, use or consume in South Carolina. Those licensed as retailers do not need a purchaser's certificate of registration. Apply for the certificate on Form SCDOR-111.
Temporary license - A temporary retail license is available to transient retailers making sales in this state for no more than 30 consecutive days. The fee for the temporary license is $50.
Artists and crafters - Artists and crafters selling at arts and crafts shows and festivals products they have created or assembled may obtain a permanent retail license for $20. Apply for this special license on Form 110, Retail License Application for Artists and Craftsmen.
Transient sales - If you have no permanent retail location, you can obtain a transient retail license which will allow you to make sales throughout the state, but in only one location at a time.
Note: Temporary transient included under retail license.
Nonresident retailers - Nonresident retailers with a physical presence in South Carolina must obtain a retail license to do business in this state. A nonresident retailer is one who does not have a business location in this state, but solicits business from South Carolina residents by means of sales representatives, manufacturers' agents, catalogs, advertising or other means.
Flea market and yard sales - Persons who make sales at a flea market or at a yard sale no more than once a calendar quarter, are not required to obtain a retail license.
Charitable organizations - Certain non-profit, charitable organizations are exempt from the sales and use tax on sales made for charitable purposes and are not required to obtain a retail license. Application for the exemption must be made on Form ST-387. Purchases made by the organization for its own use are taxable.
Special events sales - Certain retailers entering the state on a one time basis in order to make sales at special events, which include promotional shows, fair or carnivals for which an admission fee is required for entering the event, are not required to obtain a retail license. The Department of Revenue will consider the retailer's activity in this State, if any, during the previous twelve months and the retailer's intended activity in this State during the twelve months following the proposed special event. Any activity, or intended activity, in the state during this 24 month period will require the retailer to obtain a license pursuant to subsection (A) of Code Section 12-36-510 (artist and craftsmen, temporary location or transient retailer). Qualifying retailers in lieu of the license requirement are required to file a special event tax return for sales made at the event. The return must be filed within five days after completion of the event. Enforcement will be applied statewide.
Note: ABL does require a retail license number for further information please see ABL section.
Purchasing a Business
If you buy a business, all taxes that may be owed by the previous owner are considered to be due at the time of the sale of the fixtures and equipment. The taxes owed are a lien against the business inventory and equipment. You cannot obtain a retail license until the tax is paid. You can request a Certificate of Compliance by completing the Form C-268
If you move to a new location within the same county, you maintain your same retail license number but you should request an updated license to show your new address. If you move to a new location outside the county, you will be assigned a new retail license number. The $50 license fee is not charged when the business location changes.
Closing Your Business
If you close your business, you should file a final tax return with the Department of Revenue and return your retail license. This will prevent you from getting unnecessary notices and bills for unpaid taxes.