Business Taxpayers FAQs

Business Taxpayers Answers

  1. What is included in the taxable price?

    The tax is imposed on the entire price whether paid in the form of money, promises, barter or anything else of value. It includes the amount of liabilities assumed by the buyer, the value of services performed for the vendor and, except for federal food stamps, the face value of any coupon for which the vendor can get reimbursement from another source. The taxable price is not reduced for any expense or cost for labor or service rendered, material used or any property sold except as explained below.

    The taxable price may be reduced by separately-stated charges for installation, professional services, interest payments and delivery services. Additionally, the tax does not apply to consumer excise taxes, deposits, cash discounts and mandatory gratuity charges on food and beverage sales for groups of ten or fewer. Reductions to the taxable price must be made known to the buyer by documentary evidence in existence at the time of the sale. However, if these charges are included in a lump-sum price with no separate statement, the tax must be collected on the entire amount of the sale.

  2. How is the tax applied to sales of cigarettes?

    The sales and use tax is applied to the full price of the cigarettes without any deduction for tobacco taxes which may have been paid on the cigarettes.

  3. Are there any limitations on the interest deduction?

    Yes. For an interest charge to be deductible, it must be for credit extended to the buyer. Interest paid by the seller and re-billed to the buyer does not qualify. No part of a timely lease or rental payment may be treated as a deductible interest charge.

  4. Are store coupons included in the taxable price?

    No. A store coupon is not included in the taxable price unless the vendor can get reimbursement from another source. Manufacturers' coupons, for which a store can get reimbursement, are included in the taxable price, however.

  5. Are warranty charges taxable?

    Warranty, maintenance, service agreement and insurance charges in connection with taxable sales are also taxable if the vendor requires them to be purchased or they are automatically included in the price of the merchandise. However, if the sale could be completed without paying these charges, they are not taxable.

  6. Are shipping and handling charges subject to the sales tax?

    Separately stated shipping charges are not taxable; however, handling charges are a part of the taxable price. Therefore, when the charges are combined, the shipping charge loses its exemption and the entire amount is subject to the tax.

  7. Are all labor charges exempt?

    Are all labor charges exempt? No. The tax applies to fabrication labor charges. Fabrication or assembly labor charges are taxable even if the customer provides the materials.

  8. What is the difference between repair and fabrication labor?

    The restoration of used property to its original condition or usefulness is repair, which is not taxable. The creation or completion of a new or different item is fabrication, which is taxable.

  9. I am an out-of-state vendor who makes sales in Maryland. Do I need to register to collect the sales and use tax?

    Under Maryland law, an out-of-state vendor must register with the Maryland Comptroller's Office to collect the tax if the vendor has sufficient presence or "nexus" in Maryland. For more information, see Nexus Information. Nexus Information for Corporations

    The Maryland corporation income tax applies to every Maryland corporation and every other corporation that has a nexus with Maryland. Nexus indicates a taxable connection between a corporation and a taxing authority. If a corporation conducts business activity within Maryland and exceeds the provisions of U.S.C.A. Title15, Section 381 of the Interstate Commerce Tax Act (P.L. 86-272), it has a nexus and must file a corporation income tax return, using Form 500.

    The following list includes some in-state activities which generally create nexus and are outside the protection of U.S.C.A. Title 15 Section 381 (P.L. 86-272):

    • Maintaining a business location in Maryland, including any kind of office.
    • Ownership or use of property in Maryland, real or personal, whether the property is rented office space or equipment used in the manufacture and distribution of goods.
    • Employees soliciting and accepting orders in Maryland.
    • Installation or assembly of the corporation's product.
    • Maintaining a stock of inventory in a public warehouse or placement of the corporation's inventory in the hands of a distributor or other non-employee representative.
    • Sales persons making collections on regular or delinquent accounts.
    • Technical assistance and training with Maryland offered by corporate personnel to purchasers or users of corporate products after the sale.
    • Corporate personnel repairing or replacing faulty or damaged goods.
    • Mobile stores in Maryland (such as trucks with driver-salesmen) from which direct sales are made.

    For more information, see Administrative Release No. 2, Interstate Commerce Tax Act - Domestic and Foreign Corporations - Nexus Requirements - Apportionment of Corporate Net Income.

    For situations involving the Maryland sales and use tax, see Nexus Information for Sales and Use Tax.

    Updated November 25, 2019

    Maryland Law and Regulation on Out of State Vendors

    Under Maryland law, a person who engages in the business of an out-of-state vendor must register with the Maryland Comptroller, collect and pay sales and use tax, and file Maryland sales and use tax returns. A person engages in the business of an out-of-state vendor if the person:

    1. Permanently or temporarily maintains, occupies, or uses any office, sales or sample room, or distribution, storage, warehouse, or other place for the sale of tangible personal property or a taxable service directly or indirectly through an agent or subsidiary;
    2. has an agent, canvasser, representative, salesman, or solicitor operating in the state for the purpose of delivering, selling, or taking orders for tangible personal property or a taxable service;
    3. Enters the state on a regular basis to provide service or repair for tangible personal property;
    4. Regularly uses the person's vehicles to sell or deliver tangible personal property or a taxable service for use in the State; or
    5. Sells tangible personal property or taxable services for delivery in the State, if, during the previous calendar year or the current calendar year, the person satisfies either of the following criteria:

    1. The person's gross revenue from the sale of tangible personal property or taxable services delivered in the State exceeds $100,000; or
    2. The person sold tangible personal property or taxable services for delivery into the State in 200 or more separate transactions.

    See Md. Code Ann., Tax-Gen. §§ 11-701(b)(2)(i)-(b)(2)(iii) and COMAR

    Engaging in the Business of an Out-of-State Vendor

    The Comptroller's Office interprets Section 11-701(b) as broadly as is permitted under the United States Constitution.

    The Comptroller considers the phrase "on a regular basis" as used in § 11-701(b)(2)(ii) to be met if a vendor, such as a furniture or appliance dealer, provides such service or repair as a customary, usual or normal course of business.

    Section 11-701(b)(2)(ii) does not define the word "service" in the phrase "provide service or repair for tangible personal property." The Comptroller's Office, relying on a dictionary definition of "service," interprets the word to mean "installation, maintenance, or repairs provided or guaranteed by a dealer or manufacturer." See, for example, the American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition (1985).

    A dealer or manufacturer that regularly installs, or who performs maintenance for, tangible personal property such as furniture or appliances is engaged in the business of an out-of-state vendor within the meaning of Section 11-701(b)(2)(iii).

    No minimum number of service or repair visits is required to meet the definition. If it is the vendor's policy to provide service or repair for tangible personal property, and the vendor in fact provides such services or repairs during the audit period, these services or repairs will be regarded as regular. On the other hand, any services or repairs that are provided on a discretionary and infrequent basis will not be regarded as regular.

    The Comptroller's Office will examine all relevant information in making a determination about whether a person engages in the business of an out-of-state vendor under § 11-701(b)(1-4). This information includes advertising materials, promotional literature, websites, representations made to prospective customers before sale, whether the vendor routinely employs service or repair personnel or regularly contracts for such services or repairs, and the vendor's description of its business operations as contained in business documents and submissions to government agencies.

    Sales of Tangible Personal Property or Taxable Services for Delivery into Maryland

    The nexus requirements contained in COMAR became effective October 1, 2018. Out-of-state vendors with more than $100,000 in sales or at least 200 separate transactions into Maryland must register and collect sales tax. The Comptroller's Office has published guidance for out-of-state vendors to determine if registration is required.

    Guidance on Sales of Tangible Personal Property or Taxable Services for Delivery into Maryland

    Sales and Use Tax Alert - Issued September 2018


    If you are required to register with the Maryland Comptroller's Office, complete a Maryland Combined Registration Application.

    One-Time Events or Shows

    If you are going to participate in a one-time event or craft show involving the sale of tangible personal property in Maryland, you may not need to register with Maryland. However, you will need to obtain a Temporary Sales & Use Tax License. Read more on how to obtain a Temporary Sales & Use Tax License.

    Closing a Sales and Use Tax Account

    If you have determined that you no longer have nexus with the State of Maryland, are not required to file Maryland sales and use tax returns, and do not need to retain your account to claim a resale exemption, you can close your Maryland sales and use tax account by filing the Maryland Sales and Use Tax Final Return Form.

    Contact Us

    If you have any questions on Maryland's law and regulations on out-of-state vendors, please contact the Comptroller's Office at

  10. My nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization does not have a location in Maryland, but we will be attending a conference in your state. Do we qualify for a sales tax exemption on our purchases of food, beverages, and accommodations during our stay?

    If the organization has a location in Washington, D.C, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, or Delaware, it may qualify for an exemption. You should complete the Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificate Application and submit it to the Maryland Comptroller's Office for consideration.

  11. Does the sales and use tax apply to rentals of tangible personal property?

    Yes. Under the Maryland sales and use tax law, each rental or lease payment is treated as a sale and is subject to the 6 percent tax rate. An 11½ percent tax is imposed on short-term passenger car and recreational vehicle rentals, while certain short-term truck rentals are subject to an 8 percent tax.

  12. How can I obtain a resale certificate?

    A resale certificate is a statement you produce and give to your supplier, stating that the merchandise you are purchasing is going to be resold or will become a part of a product that will be resold. To provide this statement, you must have a valid sales and use tax license. Although there is no specific form for a resale certificate, it must include a signed statement that the purchassse is intended for resale, the purchaser's name and address, and the purchaser's Maryland sales and use tax license number. See a sample resale certificate. For more information, see Purchases for Resale or Business tax Tip #4, If You Make Purchases for Resale.

  13. I am a government contractor. Am I entitled to an exemption on my purchases of materials and supplies?

    Yes and no. If you are purchasing materials that will be incorporated into the realty of a federal, state, or local government agency, you are not entitled to an exemption from the sales and use tax. You should pay the tax to your suppliers at the time of purchase. However, if you are purchasing merchandise for resale in its original form to a governmental entity, you may obtain a sales and use tax license that will enable you to issue resale certificates to your vendors. Equipment and tools purchased for your use in fulfilling a contract is taxable even if ownership will pass to the governmental entity after use. For more information, see Business Tax Tip #18, Real Property Contractors and Maryland Taxes.

  14. How can I obtain a tax ID number to give to vendors when I make a purchase for resale?

    f you are making purchases of products for resale as tangible personal property or incorporation into a product that will be sold as tangible personal property, you are required to obtain a sales and use tax license for the collection and remittance of the sales tax. The license authorizes a person to issue resale certificates to vendors containing the purchaser's sales and use tax account number. For more information, see Business Tax Tip #4, If You Make Purchases for Resale.

  15. Has the Maryland General Assembly provided for tax free shopping periods?

    The 2007 Special Session of the Maryland General Assembly enacted legislation providing for two tax-free periods beginning each year. Listed below is information pertaining to each tax-free period.

    Shop Maryland- Tax-Free Week on Clothing and Footwear, Excluding Accessory Items

    Beginning in calendar year 2010 and each year thereafter, there will be a one week tax-free period for back-to-school shopping in Maryland during August in which the sales and use tax does not apply to the sale of any items of clothing or footwear, excluding accessory items, if the taxable price of the item of clothing or footwear is $100 or less. Accessory items that are not exempt from the sales and use tax during the tax-free week include jewelry, watches, watchbands, handbags, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, scarves, ties, headbands, and belt buckles.

    Shop Maryland- Tax-Free Weekend on Energy Star Products

    Beginning in calendar year 2011 and each year thereafter, there will be a tax-free three-day weekend during February in which the sales and use tax will not apply to the sale of any Energy Star Product listed below. Energy Star Product means an air conditioner, clothes washer or dryer, furnace, heat pump, standard size refrigerator, compact fluorescent light bulb, light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs, dehumidifier, programmable thermostat or boiler that has been designated as meeting or exceeding the applicable Energy Star efficiency requirements developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Please note that under Energy Star requirements, no dryer has an Energy Star rating and therefore dryers do not currently qualify for this tax-free period.

    For more details, see our Sales and Use Tax Alert on Tax-Free Periods.

  16. How can I determine if a church or other nonprofit organization qualifies for exemption on its purchases?

    The church or organization is required to produce a copy of its exemption certificate issued by the Comptroller's Office. You should make a note of the exemption number and its expiration date on your copy of the invoice. You may not accept an exemption certificate issued by another jurisdiction as evidence that the church or organization is exempt in Maryland. You may also verify the validity of an exemption number online. For more information, see Business Tax Tip #6, Retail Sales Involving Exemption Certificates.

  17. I am a manufacturer of the products I sell. How do I claim exemption on items purchased for use in production activities?

    When purchasing manufacturing machinery and equipment, you need only provide the seller with a certification letter that the equipment will be used predominantly in a production activity. The certification should be retained by the seller with the record of sale. Items purchased which are consumed during the manufacturing process may be purchased tax free by issuing vendors a resale certificate. Manufacturers claiming exemption on the purchase of utilities to run the exempt equipment must complete Form ST 206. You can also obtain Form ST 206 by contacting the Comptroller's Taxpayer Service Division at 410-260-7980, or toll-free 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT.

  18. Can I make "tax-included" sales?

    Yes. Effective January 3, 2008, as a vendor, you may assume and absorb all or any part of the sales and use tax on a retail sale and pay that tax on behalf of the buyer. You must, however, continue to separately state the tax from the sales price at the time of sale to the purchaser. If you absorb all or any part of the tax on the sale, you must pay the tax with the return that covers the period in which you made the sale.

  19. How do I change the name of my business for my tax records?

    To change the name of your business, you must first report the change to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. (SDAT) link to by submitting a completed Trade Name Amendment or Cancellation Form with SDAT.

    Next, send us a letter or e-mail confirming the new business name and attach a copy of your completed Trade Name Amendment, Cancellation Form or Amended Articles of Incorporation.

    Please include the following in your correspondence:

    • Former business name
    • New business name
    • Business address and telephone number
    • Nine-digit federal employer identification number (FEIN) or eight-digit Maryland central registration number

    You can contact us by e-mail at or write to:

    Comptroller of Maryland
    Revenue Administration Center
    Taxpayer Identification
    Annapolis, Maryland 21411

    To report other business-related changes with SDAT, see SDAT's Forms and Applications