Sales tax is a huge deal for any business, especially if you are not properly following the laws. If you have been paying your taxes on time and accurately, then congratulations! You are doing what needs to be done to avoid fines and penalties. However, many businesses out there may need some assistance with understanding their state’s sales tax regulations and the sales tax nexus. For this reason, we have created an article that will answer the most important questions regarding how businesses should handle sales tax regulations in their area.
Why are Sales Tax Regulations Important for your Business?
Sales tax is a crucial source of revenue for any government. In the United States, state and local governments are responsible for setting their own sales taxes rates as low as 0% or as high as over 11%. Not only are these numbers confusing, but they vary depending on what city you happen to live in. Let’s say your business is located in Seattle, where the current sales tax rate is an average of .068%, which might not seem like much until it comes time to file all those receipts at the end of each quarter! So why do businesses need to pay attention? The answer boils down to this: you must collect sales taxes from customers if your company has nexus (meaning presence) within that particular state.
How do you Register for Sales Tax?
There are different requirements and procedures to follow depending on how your business is structured: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLC (Limited Liability Company), S Corporation, or C Corporation. Here we will focus on the most common types of businesses, sole proprietorships, and partnerships, which require registration with a state’s Department of Revenue to collect sales taxes from customers within that particular region.
What are the Benefits of Filing Sales Taxes?
Once registered as a seller, there are three main benefits to filing sales tax: You must keep track of all customer purchases and know what amount needs to be paid at the end of each quarter. This makes filing your taxes much simpler come April 15th!
You can receive a credit for the sales tax you’ve already paid on business expenses.
You can deduct certain sales tax expenses from your business income, which could lower your taxable income and save you money at tax time.
How do Businesses File Sales Tax?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer regarding how businesses file their sales taxes, as the process can vary depending on what state they are located in. However, most states will require some form of quarterly filing, where businesses report all their taxable sales and then calculate and pay the corresponding amount of sales tax due. This usually needs to be done online through a portal provided by the state government.
What are the Consequences of not Filing Sales Tax?
If you don’t file your sales taxes on time or submit an incorrect report, there can be some serious consequences. You may be subject to fines and penalties from your state government, which could amount to hundreds or even thousands of dollars. In addition, you could also face legal action and have to pay back any taxes that were avoided as well as interest and additional fees. So it is definitely in your best interest to make sure you are following all the filing requirements set by your state!
The Future of Sales Tax Regulations in the United States
Now that we’ve gone over some basics about sales tax regulations let’s look at what the future holds for businesses large and small.
At this time, no federal laws dictate how all 50 states should handle sales tax collection from online purchases, meaning each state has different requirements regarding who needs to register as a ‘seller.’ This is where things get complicated! For example, Amazon collects sales taxes on items shipped to 28 of the 43 states that charge them (as of April 2018), but not every item they sell is subject to taxation. On top of this, some companies have taken it upon themselves to become more proactive about collecting these fees from consumers, so their customers aren’t surprised by unexpected charges when checking out with an item in hand – like Newegg and Barnes & Noble.
To stay compliant with the law, you must understand what sales tax regulations are and how they affect your business. Businesses large and small should know about these changes to be prepared for the future of this law. We can help you navigate some of these complex rules and ensure everything goes smoothly when filing taxes or paying them on time.