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State specific licensing and tax info


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    Links from above link:

    Tax Registration (PDF)

    Instructions for Application for Registration (PDF)


    Registration for Gross Receipts Tax - Vending

    Important Notices

    Tax Rulings

    Instructions for Calculating Franchise & Excise Credits for Gross Receipts Returns


Gross Receipts: [bULK] Vending

Any person within Tennessee who is operating a vending machine that: (1) is operated for the benefit of a charitable nonprofit organization, (2) dispenses merchandise with a market value of 25 cents or less, and (3) is built so that only a fixed, predetermined price can be paid for the item dispensed by the machine has the option of registering with the Department of Revenue and paying gross receipts tax in lieu of sales tax, in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-4-506. The machine must not be able to return or make change or be able to be adjusted by mechanical, electronic, or other means to change the price charged for the items dispensed by the machine. Vending machines of the type described above that are not operated for the benefit of a charitable nonprofit organization are not subject to this gross receipts tax; they are subject to the full rate of state and appropriate local sales and use tax.


Operators of machines that are subject to the gross receipts tax must register each organization for which such machines are operated and obtain a machine decal for each machine operated.


Gross Receipts: Vending

Quarterly – October 20, January 20, April 20, and July 20.


Registration for Gross Receipts Tax - Vending



Here's a form to use to pay gross tax:





As of July 2002...TN states this for vending operators




HIGHLIGHTS from the above pdf links:

* ‘Retail sale’ or ‘sale at retail’ includes charges made for the privilege of obtaining merchandise from any vending machine or device; provided, that ‘charges’ for this purpose shall be in the amount of money deposited into the vending machine or device.â€

* Sales or use tax must be collected at the 7% rate on all non-food items sold from vending machines and at the 6% rate for all food items sold from vending machines. In addition, a uniform local option sales tax rate of 2.25% must be collected on all items sold.

* All vending only sales or use tax accounts will be set up for quarterly filing.

* No requirement for a vending machine license or the purchase of vending machine tax stickers.

* Vending machine taxpayers must now register with their city and county for payment of the business tax.




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I just finished applying for my business license today after spending many hours/days researching all of the requirements. I'll share what I know.  Some of the items mentioned in this post may give some insights in requirements to explore with any other states, such as: can you register in 1 city and operate in other cities?, federal ID #, your state's charity guidelines, requirements for employees, state sales tax, unemployment insurance, etc.  I'll also share a free ebook about setting up your business entity applicable to any state if you scroll down to the 2nd para. after the codes listed below.

UTAH requires a business license for any activity that involves profit or gain. (This even includes being an independent contractor or MLM sales, etc.). The business license application is filed through the city of the business location. Usually a vending machine business would be considered operated out of the home unless there was a separate business location.

Most cities honor the business license of other cities, but some do not. Such as, I heard that Park City requires a business license to do any business there. (I haven't verified this rumor.)

(Operating without a business license can result in a Class D misdemeanor punishable by either a $1500 fine or 6 months in jail.)

For reselling retail items such as candy, the UT State Tax office told me that a sales tax license is required (no fee) rather than just paying the sales tax on candy at the time of purchase.  When you go to purchase candy (you'll want to provide the retailer with your sales tax id # and you will be exempt from paying it at that time.)  The sales tax should be added into the cost of the candy. If there are any losses that can be subtracted from the report they send you every quarter. http://www.tax.utah.gov or 801-297-6219.  You can look up helpful guides on the website for how to compute the tax (Pub. 25 Utah Sales & Use Tax (pg. 15 relates to vending), and Pub. 38 Doing Business in Utah.

The most convenient way in Utah to register a business is to apply online with the Dept. of Commerce: http://www.corporations.utah.gov at the "OneStop" Registration where one can synchronize the registration process between registering the business name, obtaining the sales tax ID #, and submitting the business license application for most cities all at one place. The first step is to verify if your business name is available (which is registered with the state, not the city). The first step is to register your business name.  You should receive verification of approval on the business name within 1 business day (closed on Fridays). Then you can complete the application process from there.  (Most city business license applications can also be done there, but some cities will require that you register directly with their office.)

Note, on the application, a code is required to identify your type of business for the State Sales Tax office. It took me a little time looking this up, but I believe this is the appropriate codes for a vending business: (this code may also be the same for some other states, because it is a designation from the census bureau).  On the UT on-line application it was designated in this order. But the number might also be combined as one number, i.e. (4542).

45--Retail Trade

454 Nonstore Retailers

4542 Vending Machine Operators

If registering your business entity as a Sole Proprietor, you can apply with your SS# or set up a Federal Tax ID # (FEIN).  Any other entity needs a Federal Tax ID # (to identify your business with the IRS).  This can be done for free at http://www.irs.gov (type in FEIN #).

You can also register a corporation yourself at this site or hire http://www.legalzoom.com who is economical (ranges between $150-$350) or a local accounting firm.  I found one I'm inclined to recommend highly from my initial interaction with them by how helpful they were in providing advice and they specialize in Small Business': Dave Larson at Main Streen Financial  (801-221-4700) www.msftaxes.com.  They charge $300 to register your LLC. + the state filing fee. (They also provides services including payroll, nationwide) .   Anyone from any state can also call them to request a free and informative ebook from them about how to structure your co. to protect your assets, avoid paying the 15% self-employment taxes, and how to audit-proof your business (Titled: "Beginning Your Company").   I plan to make a separate post to expound on this subject under the Vending Regulatory Affairs section.

Slightly off-subject, but related to your comprehensive business planning: the above ebook mentions protecting your assets through an LLC.  A consideration in addition, is liability insurance can offer viable protection to the business from lawsuits that could sue against future earnings, etc. 

Unemployment Insurance is not required or available for Sole Proprietors or Single member LLCs.  The latter business entities can have their spouses and children as employees and it still not be required. If your co. has employess or hires them in the future it is a legal requirement., but seems affordable at approx. 1%+ of the employee's gross wages.  If a claim is ever made however, you would be required to repay the amount completely that would be added to your monthly premium.  http://jobs.utah.gov/ui/dwsdefault.asp 801-526-9235  To avoid this, I would be inclined to hire any employees as independent contractors and share this info. for them to be set up properly as well.  There are guidelines for this which are primarily that you cannont require specific hours or designate how they accomplish their duties.  Or if you ever do have employees, become familiar with the minimum wage laws http://www.laborcommission.utah.gov

The SBA (Small Business Administration) has a S.C.O.R.E. office (801-746-2269) that has a free comprehensive list of most of the numbers of offices you would ever need to contact for questions about the licensing requirements and process.

Note: the hours as of this post for most of the government offices is: Mon.-Thu. 7am-6pm.

An important note regarding any charity-related vending; the Dept. of Commerce has a Consumer Protection Division that regulates the charities for the state. You can look up any charity you are considering on their web-site at: http://consumerprotection.utah.gov/

A charity I know of that offers a Vending Outreach Program on that list is the National Federation of the Blind. The Vending Outreach coordinator at 801-224-6969 happens to be in Orem, Utah. They seem quite professional and well established and very familiar with the utah "Charitable Solicitations Act" which you could familiarize yourself with on that website as well.  It's important the charity and any vending association with them are in compliance with that act because I heard rumor that some of the missing children's charities were not, thus their vendors were not protected, resulting in some states no longer allowing those charities in their states.  I would imagine it affected some of their vendor's business'.

I hope this info. saves any Utah registrees lots of time and good luck wih your vending business!


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I just voted your post for a POTD. Even though this information is specifically for Utah it is very similar with so many other states. One of the most difficult things is trying to even get correct info from these state, county and city offices. It seems if you ask three people you will get three different answers on anything involving these agencies. I was given different info on the phone so I went to each office in person. The result was about the same.

I got so frustrated after leaving several government offices with people that didn't know anything I pulled into a strip mall with a bunch of stores. I parked my car and went in and out asking the owners what they had to have and where they had gone to get their licenses. They were all very understanding as they had similar stories and most just laughed as the same thing had happened to them.

One of the most important things you have stated in your post is the part about the requirement for having licenses and possible fines, etc. if you don't. I know for a fact in many states these fines are similar to Utah - several hundred dollars and possible criminal charges. They do not care that you only have 6 machines and if you do get caught you may well have alot more trouble than you bargained for. After they charge you for operating without the required licenses and access fines they all will come after you. How do they really know you haven't been running your business longer and running more machines than what you are saying? Maybe after getting caught they will just take your word for it. Right?


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Thanks Nam,

Thanks for the POTD vote, it's nice to get a little kudos for my lengthy efforts and kudos to you for being so resourceful to get info. from existing business owners.   :)   I was a little more fortunate to not experience the type of frustration you had with your registration process, in that I made follow-up calls to various offices to ask the same questions and overall I got pretty consistent info., although one office led me astray and it took up more time to sort it out.  Overall, I found it very time-consuming to gather all of the info.

I was thinking of how helpful it would be if a central state or city office could provide comprehensive instructions in 1 spot listing the relevant considerations and actions needed for the business. But I realize there are so many types of business' with their own unique needs, that the list would have to vary too much.

I think this State Licensing forum here at Vendiscuss is very valuable in being able to share this type of info. with each other. If I had this info. it would have saved me tons of research time.

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This is my first post as a new member. I will be researching Texas laws and regulations and post when I find any thing. If you have information on Texas, please post. I want to get my business up and running as soon as possible, but need to educate myself first to ensure I can be successful.

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Vending machine sales tax is described in Virginia Code § 58.1-614 - Vending machine sales. As I understand it,

  • As it is not practical for vending machines to collect sales tax on each transaction, the operator must pay sales tax of 5.5% of wholesale purchases of goods for sale. This includes 4.5% state sales tax and 1% local sales tax.

  • A different rule applies to vending machine operators all of whose machines are under contract to nonprofit organizations. Sales of 10 cents or less are exempt from reporting. Operators must pay a percentage of remaining sales as tax, but the percentage is not specified in the code.

  • If neither of the above methods is practical, the operator should pay a sales tax based on the assumption that gross sales included an sales tax.

  • None of these provisions apply to operators who keep unsatisfactory records.

  • Operators must obtain a certificate of registration for each county or city where machines are located. The certificates authorize an operator to collect sales tax.

You can register your business and request certificates of registration using Form R-1, Business Registration Application. At the top of page 3, in section 2B, list the localities where your vending machines are located.

Operators will file Form VM-2, Virginia Vending Machine Dealer's Sales Tax Return, which is part of the VM-2 Package.

You can register on-line and get more information at http://www.tax.virginia.gov.

Like other businesses, vending machine operators are subject to Business, Professional, and Occupational License Tax (BPOL); Litter Tax; Income Tax; and myriad other annoyances

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Looking for NJ info.  Also curious about how long it takes to get everything in order so I can get started.  I have searched trying to locate vending info for NJ in the past and found the NJ gov site to be rather confusing to navigate.  If anyone has more specific links they'd care to share, I'd appreciate it.  Otherwise, I'm off for hours of confusion.  LOL  I did see one person asked about NJ and that was their only post and the only one I could find concerning NJ.


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I would love to see more info on Iowa. I've spoken to Kevin a little on the subject, and the findings do not appear positive. If Iowa is as anti-business as Utah (criminal charges for starting a business sounds more like China than America), I'm a little scared of what I will find. I've been considering doing a search for the closest SBA office to get guidance, but I'm concerned about opening my mouth to them and getting charged instead of getting help. Throwing all my money away on fees instead of buying machines would've kept me from ever getting my first location.

Is it reasonable to go to the SBA for help? Do I have to pretend that I have 0 machines located when doing it to avoid risk of being charged for a crime when I come in to ask how I can comply with the (stupid) laws? I have about 45 with another 20 going out soon, and I needed to reach this point to know the business would be successful. I can google search, but usually the results are not specific enough. The section about vending machines not being able to collect a sales tax is more rational thinking than all of Iowa's legal system may be able to handle. In reference to this quote:

"    * As it is not practical for vending machines to collect sales tax on each transaction, the operator must pay sales tax of 5.5% of wholesale purchases of goods for sale. This includes 4.5% state sales tax and 1% local sales tax."

Would the wholesale price be the sam's club price, or the vending machine sales price?

So far I've just paid the sales tax at Sam's and stuck with ignorance, but I'd like to have everything accurate before I file my taxes.

Not sure if Wendy still frequents the forum, but something caught my eye:

"UTAH requires a business license for any activity that involves profit or gain."

Does that mean they can go around imprisoning people for selling a text book on half.com? Sounds like they can go to BYU and start charging students at random. Might need to bust up some lemonade stands also.

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In Nevada, at the state level you need a business license from the Secretary of State and to register with the Department of Taxation.

The business license fee is $200 per year, however if you are running a home-based business as a sole proprietor and net less than 66 2/3 percent of the average annual wage from the previous calendar year, you are exempt:


You still need to submit the application which has an area for the exemption code.  You can file online here:


Register with the Department of Taxation at https://www.nevadatax.nv.gov/web/.  If you are only selling food, you only need a consumer use permit, no fee.  "Food sold through vending machines", "soda", and "candy" are specifically exempt from sales tax as per the Nevada Taxability Matrix here: 


If you are selling toys or other "non-food" items, you'll need to pay sales tax (8.10%) and get a sales tax permit.  Fee is $15 plus a minimum $100 security deposit.


Fictitious Firm Name - $20 - http://www.accessclarkcounty.com/depts/clerk/pages/ffn.aspx

County Business License - http://www.accessclarkcounty.com/depts/business_license/pages/index.aspx

$45 application fee and $200 initial license fee, may be pro-rated based on when in their cycle you apply.  Renewable semi-annually, fee is based on gross sales according to the schedule here:


If you are running from home you'll need current planning to sign off on the applciation.  You'll also need to visit or call the Nevada Dairy Commission to get an exemption letter stating you don't need a dairy license, unless of course you'll be selling iced cream or milk products.  Just start on the business license page and you can print out a checklist of everything you'll need.

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I've been trying to find info on Jersey as well.  What I've found is that there is no per machine liscense required just a registration which I assume just means biz reg.  I found this on the Jersey state dept of treasury site.  I might be wrong or missing something so if someone has a link to something more comprehensive, It would be much appreciated.

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