Drop Shipping and Sales Tax

Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment strategy where a store doesn't maintain inventory of the goods it offers. Instead, it buys the product from a third party and ships it to the buyer. The seller is spared from having to deal with the merchandise directly as a result.

Drop shipping and the traditional retail model vary most in that the selling merchant does not stock or own inventory. Instead, to fulfill orders, the seller buys inventory as required from a third party—typically a wholesaler or manufacturer.

What Is Sales Tax, VAT, & GST?

GST, VAT, and sales taxes are examples of consumption taxes. Each nation selects the type of consumption tax to impose on the purchase of goods and services. Either a flat fee that is charged on each transaction or a percentage of the whole sum is acceptable. You, the business owner, are required to do something different for each category.

Yet there is one thing that never changes. Because they are the ones who really use the finished product, the end user is the one who must pay the tax. There is also a consumption tax. on making purchases and paying for personal expenses.

The primary concern with drop shipping is who is in charge of taking the consumer's consumption tax. Does the drop shipper or you, the retailer, deliver the order?

Who Collects Drop Shipping Sales Tax, You Or The Supplier?

In the United States

There is no obvious solution. But first, we'll outline the typical situations that arise when you buy from a dropshipper and when you sell to a customer. We'll also provide you tips on how to confirm your specific tax situation.

Do you need to pay sales tax to your suppliers?

This is a challenging phase. The majority of the time, you may place purchases with your suppliers without having to pay sales tax. This is so that purchases meant for resale are free from paying sales tax. However a legitimate exemption certificate is required for your company to benefit from this exemption.

Sales Tax Exemption Certificates

Additionally known as resale certificates. States have different requirements for these credentials. Some states only accept certificates issued within the state, while others allow certifications granted by many states.

  1. Multistate Tax Commission: 38 states recognize one certificate for general sales tax exemption.
  2. Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement: If you have SSUTA tax registration, your single Streamlined exemption certificate is recognized by all Streamlined member states.

You must give the supplier your entire exemption certificate when you make your transaction from them. In that case, the vendor will waive the sales tax.

How Do You Know If You Have A Nexus With A State?

There are a number of ways to do so, but the two most popular are having a physical presence in the state (physical nexus) or engaging in economic activities there (economic nexus).

When you own real estate in a state, such as a business or brick-and-mortar store, you establish a physical nexus. Even if they are only there for a short while, having employees and inventory in the state can both create a physical nexus (including inventory controlled by a marketplace facilitator).

When a company that has no physical presence in a state meets or surpasses that state's economic nexus threshold, there is an establishment of economic nexus. The level of economic connection varies by state.

California, as an illustration: $500,000 in total combined sales of tangible personal property brought into the state by the retailer (and connected businesses), including nontaxable sales, in the most recent or preceding calendar year.


For online merchants, drop shipping can be a real savior, especially for tiny firms who lack the resources or capacity to maintain inventory on hand. In drop shipping scenarios, a seller accepts a client's order, orders the requested item from a supplier, who then ships it to the buyer on the seller's behalf.

Drop shipping benefits all parties involved in several ways. Drop shipments tend to complicate sales tax compliance for both the seller and the supplier because they include one client, two firms, two sales transactions, and frequently two or three states.

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