Updated October 28, 2020:

An NYS certificate of authority is the document that companies must apply for to conduct operations in New York state. This typically applies to companies that are already incorporated in a different state. The certificate of authority eliminates the need to incorporate a new business entity, instead establishing the company as a foreign entity in New York state. Doing business in New York without having this certificate can result in fines or other penalties. You may also need the certificate of authority to register for other business licenses and to register with banks and vendors.

Why Do Businesses Filing for a New York State Certificate of Authority?

The most common occurrences that trigger the need for business registration in New York include the following:

  • A new physical location in the state.
  • A new employee who lives in the state.
  • A new contract or job in the state.
  • The requirement of a bank or vendor.
  • The requirement of a state licensing authority.

When Is a Sales Tax Certificate of Authority Required?

Most businesses that register in New York will also need a sales tax permit. You'll need a certificate of authority to collect sales tax from customers, and you must also register with the New York Department of Taxation and Finance. If you sell tangible property or provide taxable services, such as the maintenance and repair of property, you are considered a vendor and must collect sales tax. This also applies to the following:

  • Those who have a store, warehouse, office, or another place of business in New York and sell tangible, taxable personal property or services to customers in New York.
  • Those who have employees, agents, representatives, or independent contractors who sell tangible, taxable personal property on behalf of your business to customers in New York.
  • Those who use advertising material, such as catalogs in the state, to sell tangible, taxable personal property or services.
  • Those who regularly deliver taxable products to customers in New York state.
  • Those who have a home-based e-commerce business.

Occasional yard sales are not taxable. Tax on sales of cars and homes is paid by the buyer when the title is received.

How Can Businesses Apply for an NYS Certificate of Authority?

When you register for the certificate of authority, you'll receive a sales tax ID number from the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance. This can be done online through the state's Business Wizard portal and should be completed 20 or more days before you begin making taxable sales in New York. Complete Form DTF-17, Application to Register for a Sales Tax Certificate of Authority, and the certificate will be mailed to you within five business days.

To complete this form, you'll need to provide the name and purpose of your business, the reason for your application, your federal employer identification number (EIN), and related information. The form also asks for contact information, bank account information, and the date you plan to begin selling in New York. If you don't already have an EIN, you can apply for one for free from the IRS. You'll also need to provide the name of your registered agent. A registered agent receives service of process and legal documents on behalf of your business. The filing fee varies depending on the type of company you own and your desired processing time:

  • Limited liability company (LLC), $275 for a one-week processing time.
  • LLC, $475 for processing within one to two business days.
  • Corporation, $250 for a one-week processing time.
  • Corporation, $450 for processing within one to two business days.
  • Non-profit organization, $160 for a one-week processing time.
  • Non-profit organization, $360 for processing within one to two business days.

You can also call the office at 518-485-2889 to request a paper form to be mailed to you. It must be returned to New York State Tax Department Sales Registration Unit, W.A. Harriman Campus, Albany, NY 12227. If you go this route, your certificate will arrive within four to six weeks. Delays can occur if the office needs to request additional information. When you receive the certificate, it should be displayed prominently at your office or place of business.

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