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North Carolina: Specialty Markets and Sales Tax

  • Nov 5, 2013 | Gail Cole

 North Carolina: sales tax is due on flea market sales.

Sales made at flea markets and specialty markets, fairs and festivals, and sporting and entertainment events are subject to tax in North Carolina. Vendors are required to register with the North Carolina Department of Revenue and collect and remit sales tax on the transfer of all taxable tangible personal property. Both state and local sales taxes apply, although the “applicable local and transit rates of sales and use tax vary depending on the local jurisdiction where a sale is sourced.”

This North Carolina Department of Revenue website, along with specifics pertaining to sales tax exemptions and reporting requirements for different vendors and operators.

Seasonal sellers

Sellers who engage in business “for six or fewer consecutive months” in North Carolina should register as a seasonal filer. Seasonal filers are not required to file returns during the off-season. However, a seller who attends even “a single event or function” in North Carolina “for the purposes of making sales at retail is required to register to obtain a Certificate of Registration.”

Exempt sales

Certain items are exempt from sales tax in North Carolina. The example given by the Department of Revenue is “retail sales of products of the farm, forest, mines and waters in their original or unmanufactured state by producers in their capacity as producers….” While sales tax does not need to be collected or remitted on sales of exempt items, returns must still be filed.

However, anyone selling his or her own household property is “not required to apply for a Certificate of Registration.”

Specialty markets or events

Operators of specialty markets and events (the person overseeing a farmers market or holiday bazaar) “must maintain a daily registration list” of any vendor selling “or offering goods for sale” at the specialty market or event. In addition, operators must verify that all vendors “exhibit a valid certificate of registration” visible to both the operator and customers.

Specialty market is defined as a “location, other than a permanent retail store, where space is rented to others for the purpose of selling goods at retail or offering goods for sale at retail.”

Flea markets

Sellers at flea markets must also display valid certificates of registration, to be verified by the flea market operator. However, a certificate of registration is not required for a person selling only “his household personal property,” so long as he “provides a certified statement attesting to that fact to the flea market operator.” Those certified statements must be made visible to the public, and operators must keep a record of all such vendors.


Sales of food at retail are subject to the reduced 2% rate.

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.