Do I need a business license to operate a garage sale if it is profitable and a significant source of income?

I'm a coupon shopper. I'm able to purchase merchandise at local stores for 90 percent off retail utilizing coupons. In my city I'm allowed four garage sales a year. I'm planning to have one per quarter to sell the stockpile I accumulate every three months. Usually, my stockpile's worth ranges from $3,000 to $5,000. Because this is a significant source of income, do I need a business license for tax purposes or for any other reason? I want to keep the spirit of the garage sale (cash only, no receipts, no tax).

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Each locality differs in its approach to garage sales. Some require a permit or license; others do not, as long as you stay within the maximum number permitted each year.

It would be worth speaking to the local town clerk or a business attorney to see if there are any issues concerning the amount of money earned and if there's a tipping point that requires more substantial registration.

Your reselling of merchandise also raises some concerns--it's unlikely that the merchants would want to give resellers 90 percent discounts on their merchandise; they'd rather give that to the end-user customers as a means to build a loyal customer base.

Your all-cash/no receipt/no sales tax policy could also run you afoul of the taxing authorities, as you really are treating this like a business. Speak to an accountant to make sure your bases are covered.
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