Almost every seller in Idaho needs a seller’s permit, to collect sales tax, and to send in the tax. However, you don’t need to do that if you qualify for the occasional sales exemption. You can take advantage of this exemption if both of these are true:
- You don’t make it publicly known that you sell taxable products and services. (You aren’t in the business of selling.)
- You make only two or fewer sales during any 12-month period (or calendar year for yard sales).
You don’t need to fill out a form or submit any paperwork to the Tax Commission if you qualify for the occasional sales exemption.
Who can’t use the occasional sales exemption
Here are some common situations where you can’t use the occasional sale exemption:
- Hosting or selling at organized events like rummage sales, carnivals, or holiday bazaars. This applies to everyone including religious groups, nonprofits, and schools. See Promoter-Sponsored Events and Sales a Nonprofit Makes or Sales Schools Make.
- Sales involving motor vehicles, snowmobiles, recreational vehicles, boats or vessels, or aircraft. Specific rules apply to these sales. See Motor Vehicles – Private Parties and Nondealer Retailers for more information. Note that there are some special occasional-sale exemptions, such as selling a motor vehicle to a close relative or capital asset transfer. See Exemptions.
- Renting out lodging for 30 days or less (short-term rentals). See Hotels, Motels, and Short-Term Lodging and common charges for property and services.
Yard sales and estate sales
Yard sales (or garage sales) are typically a one-weekend event (three days) where you sell your own items, at your own residence. Holding a yard sale with someone else – whether a family member, neighbor, or friend – counts as a sale for each of you. You can’t have more than two in any calendar year.
You can sell the contents of the house or storage facility for a deceased relative or friend (estate sale) and count it as one of your sales under the occasional sales exemption.
You can’t use the occasional sales exemption if you’re in the business of selling (a retailer), which means you do any of these:
- Run the sale for more than a few days
- Sell somewhere other than your own residence
- Buy items to resell
- Sell items for someone else (consignment)
- Sell items at the sale that you also sell at a business you own
Organized sales that charge admission or have two or more sellers who pay to sell at the event are promoter-sponsored events and don’t qualify for the exemption.
Selling and rehoming pets
“Pets” include animals such as dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, snakes, rats, mice, hamsters, and lizards, among others.
Selling or rehoming a pet would qualify as one sale under the occasional sales exemption if you aren’t in the business of breeding, raising, or selling pets. Selling an unplanned litter or rehoming a litter of strays for a small fee – such as to cover the cost of spaying or neutering – could qualify as an occasional sale. However, selling or rehoming for a substantial fee probably wouldn’t count as an occasional sale.
You can’t use the occasional sales exemption if you’re in the business of selling pets. Instead, you’ll need a seller’s permit, to collect sales tax for each pet you sell, and to send in that tax. However, you don’t need a seller’s permit if you only sell through a registered marketplace facilitator that reports, collects, and sends in Idaho sales tax for you.
Note that you don’t have to collect tax on the sale of animals through 4-H or Future Farmers of America (FFA) at a fair or the spring lamb sale. You also don’t have to collect sales tax on the sale of livestock at a public livestock market. Livestock include cattle, calves, mules, horses, swine, sheep, and goats.
The same two-sale limit for the occasional sales exemption applies when you sell online. You could sell a group of your own items at one time and count it as one sale, which would be like an online yard sale.
You can’t use the occasional sales exemption if you make more than two sales in any 12-month period. You also can’t use this exemption when you’re in the business of selling. That includes if you ever resell items or sell other people’s items for them (consignment).
If you don’t qualify for the occasional sales exemption, you need an Idaho seller’s permit. Or, sell only through registered marketplace facilitators that report, collect, and send in Idaho sales tax for you. You’ll just need to verify that they’re reporting your sales.
Note that the occasional sales exemption never applies to renting out lodging for 30 days or less (short-term rentals). See Hotels, Motels, and Short-Term Lodging and common charges for property and services.