• Sales Tax Information
  • Frequently Asked Questions

The State of Montana has no general sales tax.

Because there is no general sales tax, the state does not provide a sales tax exemption number. Vendors are often asked for their sales tax exemption number when ordering products from manufacturers or out-of-state wholesalers. Since Montana does not provide a sales tax exemption number, we suggest that you use the one number that is unique to your business, either your Social Security number (SSN) or federal identification number (FEIN).

The State of Montana does not have a general business license. However, some businesses are required to register and be licensed by the state. The license requirement depends on the type of business entity. If your business is required to be licensed, you could use your license number as proof that you are in business when ordering supplies.

Our Call Center is available to assist you on licensing requirements. Please call toll free at 1-866-859-2254 or in Helena at 444-6900.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Does Montana have a sales tax?

A. Montana does not have a generally applicable sales tax. All other states except Oregon, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Alaska do.

Q. If I am in Montana and buy something over the internet from an out-of-state seller, do I owe sales tax?

A. You do not owe sales tax to Montana but the seller is free to charge it. If you don’t like that, don’t buy from the seller. You generally do not owe sales tax to the seller’s state, but there may be exceptions. You may owe other taxes. For example, if you make travel arrangements online, you will be charged federal taxes on airline tickets and probably will be charged state and local taxes on lodging and car rentals.

Q. If I am selling over the internet from Montana, do I have to collect sales tax?

A.There is no Montana sales tax for you to collect. Your buyers may owe sales tax to their home states. You may or may not have a legal obligation to collect sales tax for a buyer’s home state.

Q.How can a buyer in another state owe sales tax on online purchases from a Montana business?

A. Legally, sales taxes are taxes on the buyer. In remote sales, the buyer generally owes sales tax to his or her home state. State and local sales tax laws generally require the seller to collect the tax and remit it to the state. If the seller does not collect the tax, the buyer is legally obligated to pay it. (It is often called a use tax in this case.) Many sales tax states have forms for residents to report and pay tax on purchases where they were not charged sales tax, such as purchases delivered from another state. In some states, this is part of the annual income tax return.

Q. How can my business in Montana be required to collect sales tax for another state?

A. Federal courts have held that a state can require a seller in another state to collect sales tax if the seller’s business has a physical presence in the buyer’s state, such as a store, a warehouse, or an office. Federal courts have held that a state cannot require a seller in another state to collect sales tax if the business has no connection to the buyer’s state other than taking orders and shipping products to customers. Some states assert that certain types of business connection other than a physical presence are enough for them to require out-of-state sellers to collect sales tax. You should seek competent legal advice whether you have an obligation to collect sales tax for another state if you are selling into that state.

Q. Is all this set in stone or might it change?

A. Federal courts have not settled the issue of what kind of connection other than a physical presence is enough for a state to require an out-of-state seller to collect its sales tax. Federal courts have restricted state’s ability to require out-of-state sellers to collect sales tax because there are large differences between sales tax laws, and requiring businesses to know sales tax laws for all states and local jurisdictions would place an unacceptable burden on interstate commerce. If states made their sales taxes simpler and more uniform, congress could give them the general authority to require out-of-state sellers to collect sales tax. The sales tax states have worked together to do this, and legislation has been introduced in congress but has not passed.

Q. How can I get more information?

A. If you have questions about the sales tax law in another state, you can check with that state’s revenue agency. You can find links to all states’ revenue agencies on the Federation of Tax Administrator’s website. You can find news and other explanations of the issues by doing a search for “sales tax internet purchases” or a similar phrase. You should look at several of the links the search engine returns. Some may be out of date, and some websites are promoting a position rather than providing unbiased information. If all else fails, seek competent legal advice.