North Dakota Sales Tax
North Dakota Sales Tax At a Glance
State rate: 5%
Maximum combined rate: 8.5%
Tax Holidays: None
Governing Body: North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner
When making sales to customers in North Dakota, it’s important to know if you’re obligated to collect and remit sales tax to the state. Although the regulations surrounding sales tax share some similarities from one state to the next, each state also has its own specific guidelines that can impact exactly who must collect sales tax and at what rate. North Dakota is no exception to this, and whether your small business is based in North Dakota or you ship to customers from out-of-state, it’s important to stay up to date on all state and local rates and requirements.
Sales Tax Rates in North Dakota
The state sales tax rate for most purchases of tangible personal property in North Dakota is 5%, but county and local governments can impose their own sales taxes as well. That means the effective rate across the state can vary substantially, with the combined state and local rate in some places reaching 8.5%.
North Dakota also imposes sales tax at a rate of 7% on purchases of alcoholic beverages, whether intended to be consumed on-site or off the premises. Purchases and rentals of new farm machinery are taxed at a 3% rate.
The effective sales tax rate you charge your customers will depend on the final destination of the goods, or the place where the purchaser takes possession. That means that, if you have a physical store where purchases are made, you’ll charge sales tax at the combined state and local rate applicable in that jurisdiction.
However, because local sales tax rates only apply in North Dakota if you have a nexus in that specific jurisdiction, shipping to another part of the state where you have no physical presence will only require the collection of sales tax at the 5% state rate. This is also the case if you ship from out-of-state and you have no local nexus at the final destination of the goods.
North Dakota Nexus Regulations
Any retailer maintaining a place of business in North Dakota is considered to have a significant presence in the state, and so is obligated to register to collect and remit sales tax on all applicable purchases with the state. For the purposes of establishing sales tax nexus in North Dakota, the state interprets the phrase “retailer maintaining a place of business in the state” to include anyone engaged in the solicitation of sales of taxable goods on a regular or systemic basis through various means. These include but are not limited to radio or television media, catalogs, advertising flyers, telephone, and periodicals.
Other conditions that can trigger a nexus on both a statewide and local level include:
- Having service people installing, repairing, or constructing goods in the state
- Making deliveries with a personal or company vehicle, as opposed to through a common carrier
- Owning property in the state or local jurisdiction
- Having a representative or other agent making sales or deliveries, or taking orders for taxable goods
- Having any type of business location within the state or local jurisdiction
Amazon does have a customer service center in North Dakota, so if you use fulfillment through Amazon, that physical location creates a statewide nexus for you.
North Dakota’s economic nexus law requires any seller that has more than $100,000 in gross receipts of taxable sales into North Dakota in a year, or that completes sales of taxable goods in more than 200 discrete transactions into North Dakota to collect and remit sales tax from North Dakota customers even if the seller has no physical presence in the state.
Purchases subject to sales tax in North Dakota generally include those of tangible personal property, magazines and other periodicals, and admission for recreational activities. Rentals and leases of tangible personal property, as well as that of hotels and similar accommodations, are also taxable.
Many services, including communication services, are taxable, with specific exemptions including janitorial services, medical services, and transportation services. Certain tangible goods are also exempt. This list includes groceries, medical devices, prescription drugs, custom software, newspapers, and digital products.
North Dakota recognizes organizations and entities like schools if they’re public or non-profit private, skilled nursing facilities, federally chartered corporations, assisted living facilities, hospitals, emergency medical providers, and basic care facilities. To qualify, however, these organizations must obtain a Certificate of Exempt Status from the state and present it at the time of purchase. It’s important to note as well that this certificate must be issued by North Dakota, and not the federal government, to qualify.
Charges for shipping, transportation, and delivery are taxable in North Dakota as long as the item being shipped is taxable, and labor charges related to the production or installation of a taxable item are taxed as well as long as they’re included in the initial purchase price.
Registration and Filing
If you make regular sales of tangible personal property to customers in North Dakota, or you are in direct competition with in-state retailers, you must submit an application to collect and remit sales tax to the state. The application is free, although you may be required to make a bond payment before your permit is issued. This bond is eligible for refund after two years as long as you have made timely and accurate payments throughout that period.
You can register by mail or online, and you may also need to obtain a Certificate of Authority from the state if your company was legally established under the regulations of another state. If you choose to file online, you may make payments that way as well. If you file by mail, only payment by mail will be accepted. All relevant forms can be found on the state website.
North Dakota is also a member of the Streamlined Sales Tax Registration System, which allows you to register with all participating states at once. It’s worth looking into, particularly if you make sales into multiple states or plan to in the future. If you do choose to go this route, it’s important to note that you must register with all states covered under the agreement at once.
Due Dates and Penalties
Depending on your total average sales tax liability for the previous year, or your estimated liability if you’re just beginning to make sales into North Dakota, you may be assigned a monthly, quarterly, or annual filing frequency by the state. In general, you will be required to file monthly if your annual sales tax liability exceeds $25,000. Quarterly filing may be assigned to sellers with an annual liability up to $25,000, although the state will use its discretion to assign annual or semi-annual filing frequencies to sellers with lower total tax liabilities, seasonal sales, or other special circumstances.
Regardless of filing frequency, these payments are due on the last day of the month following the close of the period in question.
Monthly Due Dates
Quarterly Due Dates
|January – March (Q1)
|April – June (Q2)
|July – September (Q3)
|October – December (Q4)
If you only need to file a North Dakota sales tax return once a year, your filing and payment deadline will be January 31st of the following year to ensure tax compliance. When these due dates fall on a weekend or holiday, payments will be considered timely as long as they’re made online or postmarked by the next business day.
North Dakota requires the filing of zero returns, which means that if you hold a tax permit to collect sales tax in the state, you must file a return whether you have an actual tax liability for the period in question or not. Penalties for failing to file or pay on time include a charge of 5% or $5, whichever is more, for the first month, with another 5% added on for each subsequent month before payment is made in full. The state charges a total interest rate of 12% per year, calculated from the filing deadline to the date when all late payments are made in full.
North Dakota Sales Tax Software
One particular challenge to keeping compliant with sales tax regulations in North Dakota is the technicality of the nexus laws at both the state and local level. As a result of these statutes, you may or may not have to collect local sales tax on top of the state sales tax when you ship to different parts of the state. Using a tax calculator software tool designed to manage these types of transactions can be a great help in this situation, and TaxTools has exactly the combination of features you need to streamline your sales and record-keeping processes.
Our TaxTools software automatically assigns the applicable rate to any purchase, keeps detailed records of all sales organized by state with location data, and will ensure your returns are filed on time. You can also quickly access a trove of sales and other data through the system, and TaxTools monitors changes to local and state sales tax laws regularly to make sure you’re always up-to-date and following the proper procedures for all transactions. This can greatly simplify your small business processes, and it’s especially convenient if you make sales in multiple states on a regular basis. TaxTools also integrates smoothly with all eCommerce platforms, so you don’t have to change anything else about the way you do business.
If you’re ready to learn more about how TaxTools can help you grow your business while staying on top of ever-changing state sales tax regulations, click here to sign up for a free trial today.
Last updated August 2023