Licensing Permits and Taxes for Festival Craft Show and Art Fair Vendors

October 2009

Taking the time up front to ensure you meet all legal requirements for your business will save you time and money in the long-run. The three areas to pay attention to are:

. Licenses
. Taxes
. Permits

In almost all instances you will need a license in order to sell at craft fairs and shows. The show promoter will usually list the necessary requirements on their applications. You can also check with both the city and state fairly simply. The following government site is free and provides links to almost all the state sites you need to find the licenses.

In order to get a state sales tax license you’ll be required to provide your federal tax id number, specifically, your Federal Employer Identification Number or EIN. This is the number you receive when you registered your business as a sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation etc.

Although the procedure may differ slightly from state to state, in most states you can apply for a state sales tax license online at the state government website or you can pick up an application at your local county office. There is no charge for the form or for the sales tax license.

It typically does not take long to receive your sales tax license, but want to apply well in advance of your first show. It will be mailed to you and is usually good for one year. In addition, in most cases, it will renew each year that you pay your sales taxes.

The amount of sales tax varies among the states. Know the exact tax rate of the states where you conduct business and collect them. You don’t want to later find yourself liable for uncollected sales tax. Usually, you pay sales taxes on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, depending on your gross sales in that state.

In some cities there are also county and municipal sales taxes, that addition to state sales tax. They may even require a temporary sales license. It is a good idea to check with show organizers to determine all the requirements for selling at a particular show.


While this is not the case with all shows and fairs, in some areas you may need a permit in order to sell in that local area or municipality. If you are not sure and you are attending a show for the first time, it is always a good idea to contact the show organizers and find out whether you are required to obtain a permit. It is always better to check on this in advance and make certain that you know what is required before you arrive and discover that you do not have all of the required paperwork.

If you are selling food, you will have additional state, county and city health regulations, permits and inspections you may have to consider. Again, the show promoter should be very aware of the requirements all vendors must meet and most likely can provide contact the permits. If you can’t get this information local city government office for help.



This is a great article on how to get licenses, permits and what to do about state taxes.  DIdn’t know cities and counties had taxes I had to pay attention to too.

By Wana Do Shows on September 24, 2009

Get your EIN number over the phone 800-829-4933.  You can call the IRS and in a few minutes get your free tax ID number.  I didn’t realize how easy it wasy.  You can also register for it online or via snail mail.  Just did it over the phone and wanted to share.

By Georgia's Glass on September 24, 2009

What tips do you have for finding a commissary restaurant?

By Sly Vann on September 24, 2010

Will I need a temp.sales license for a one day show in PA if I have an out of state business license?

By Ellen Hockensmith on September 23, 2013

Do i need a PERMIT to sell crafts and things at flea markets and farmer markets ?

By marvin whitehead on April 7, 2015

What do I need to obtain to sell crafts and antiques at flea markets, festivals and farmer markets?  Also, am I able to do fairs in neighboring states once I obtain what I need from DE. I currently live in New Castle County, Middletown DE

By Kathleen Locker on April 13, 2015

I would like to have an art/craft sale at my home.  Do I need a permit for this?  I live in Washington County, Oregon.

Thank you,

By Sally Kramer on August 4, 2015

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