While chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells targeting CD19 can cure a subset of patients with B cell malignancies, most patients treated will not achieve durable remission. Identification of the mechanisms leading to failure is essential to broadening the efficacy of this promising platform. Several studies have demonstrated that disruption of CD19 genes and transcripts can lead to disease relapse after initial response; however, few other tumor-intrinsic drivers of CAR T cell failure have been reported. Here we identify expression of the Golgi-resident intramembrane protease Signal peptide peptidase-like 3 (SPPL3) in malignant B cells as a potent regulator of resistance to CAR therapy. Loss of SPPL3 results in hyperglycosylation of CD19, an alteration that directly inhibits CAR T cell effector function and suppresses anti-tumor cytotoxicity. Alternatively, over-expression of SPPL3 drives loss of CD19 protein, also enabling resistance. In this pre-clinical model these findings identify post-translational modification of CD19 as a mechanism of antigen escape from CAR T cell therapy.