Are you interested in temporarily selling goods in a new place? Whether you operate a pop-up store or restaurant or conduct temporary sales, if you operate a business in a new place — even for one day — you may require a business license.
Common types of licenses required include a temporary sales tax permit, transient vendor license, itinerant merchant license, and a basic business license. Generally, you must obtain the appropriate license before you begin operations in a new jurisdiction.
In this article, we discuss the types of licenses you may need to temporarily sell goods in a new place.
Defining a transient vendor
Each state defines a transient vendor differently.
In West Virginia, a transient vendor is a person from outside the state (who doesn’t maintain an established place of business in the state) who transports and makes taxable sales of tangible personal property to consumers in the state. Meanwhile, in Illinois, a transient merchant is defined as any person who is engaged temporarily in the retail sale of goods, wares, or merchandise in the state. That person may occupy a room, building, vehicle, structure, or vacant lot.
Some states limit the applicability to the types of goods sold or expand the license requirements to all businesses that make any income in the state, however temporarily. Consider the following:
- In Minnesota, the term “transient merchant” doesn’t include a seller or exhibitor in a firearms collector show which involves two or more exhibitors.
- California considers a temporary seller any person who will be selling items at a location for less than 90 days. Sellers with infrequent taxable sales (such as a person who holds a garage sale more than twice a year) are considered “occasional sellers” and may not need a seller’s permit.
- Maryland requires any individual who sells items other than produce or seafood at a roadway or temporary location — and the items are subject to Maryland sales and use tax — to display a transient vendor license.