Reed Smith Client Alerts

Key takeaways

  • North Carolina’s sales tax regulation on the misuse of resale exemption certificates has been revised to impose penalties on sellers who misuse resale exemption certificates
  • The changes are effective January 1, 2024 and may catch many sellers unawares
  • The revisions to the regulation appear to be in conflict with the plain language of two governing statutes

Substance of alert

The North Carolina Department of Revenue (“Department”) has amended its sales tax regulation regarding the use of resale exemption certificates.  Under the amendment, the regulation imposes punitive measures on sellers—rather than purchasers—for the “misuse” of resale exemption certificates.  Misuse occurs, according to the new rule, if the seller accepts a resale exemption certificate, does not charge tax, but the sale is actually a taxable sale (i.e. the Department determines that the sale is not an exempt wholesale sale).

The rule at issue is 17 NCAC 07B.0106.  Previously, section (c) of that rule provided the following:

Persons who issue certificates of exemption to vendors to obtain property without payment of tax when due are subject to assessment of the penalties set out in G.S. 105-236(5) and (5a) and may be guilty of a Class H felony. The penalty for misuse of a certificate of exemption is applicable only to a purchaser.