Who Should Register and File for Sales and Use Tax?

Every person engaged in the business of selling tangible personal property at retail, selling certain digital property at retail, renting or leasing taxable tangible personal property in this State, operating a laundry, dry cleaning plant or similar business, or operating a hotel, motel or similar business in this State must register with the Department and obtain a Certificate of Registration. This includes a person who sells tangible personal property and certain digital property, or provides a taxable service at a speciatly market, flea market, fair, festival, sporting event, or another event or function.  Form NC-BR, Business Registration Application, must be completed to obtain a Certificate of Registration and a sales and use tax number. 

A merchant must file a sales and use tax return for each reporting period showing gross sales, receipts, purchases, and the sum of all exempt sales or receipts which are not included in the computation of tax due.

Every business that buys taxable tangible personal property, taxable services or certain digital property from out-of-state vendors for storage, use, or consumption in this State is required to obtain a Users or Consumers Use Tax Registration except:

(a) A business registered for payment of sales tax.

(b) A business that has paid its vendors all taxes due on its purchases.

Returns for periods in which there are no sales or purchases should reflect 0.00 on the "Total Due" line.

Are individuals who don't operate a business required to file a sales and use tax return if they make purchases without paying sales tax?

An individual who is not engaged in the business of selling tangible personal property, services or certain digital property at retail and who purchases for a non-business purpose tangible personal property, service or certain digital property that is subject to use tax must report and remit the tax due.

An individual who is required to file a North Carolina Individual Income Tax Return must include the tax on his income tax return. An individual who is not required to file a North Carolina Individual Income Tax Return must report and remit the tax due on Form E-554, Consumer Use Tax Return. The return is due annually by April 15 of the following year.

See the Sales and Use Tax Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.