If you are a business owner in the United States of America, you would be aware of the different tax compliance that is associated with every locality. However, do you know that many states also have a separate sales tax involved in many cases? There are different types of businesses and the tax policies are also different for each of them. However, sales tax is subjective according to the state where the business is conducted and in case the state does not have a relevant nexus, the tax jurisdiction cannot obligate you to pay these taxes. Hence, being aware of this rule specifically can help you conduct a more profitable business depending on the location where you are residing or conducting the business. In case you have business spread across multiple locations and states, the sales tax charged will also be done as per the law of those particular state. In case your location have sale tax imposed, then your business need to be registered for the same. Failing to do so and pay the sale taxes can lead to hefty fines.
Rules to register for sales taxes
The first and foremost thing to do is check where you have rules related to sales tax in the state where you are operating the business. Once you are sure about this, you need to register your business with the sales tax authorities. In some cases, it can be also any other local tax authority, as per the requirement of the state. The following are a few things to remember:
In certain states it is mandatory to do the registration at the earliest to be operational in the location. In other states, there is more leniency and registration can be done within 30, 60 or 90 days since the business becomes operational there. Beyond this time which is formally known as the economic nexus threshold, there will be consequences like barred from conducting business or fines. In order to collect the tax, this registration is essential and should be done within the next invoice cycle in these cases.
The procedure is very straight forward. You have to provide the tax department with a few information related to your business like the legal and registered name of the business and its registered address, identification related documents of the owner which can be anything like driver license, social security number or other relevant cards, the monthly sales of the business and the projected monthly sales expected in the states where the registration is being done.
There is a certain amount of fees for registration and it varies from one state to another. However this is not mandatory in every state and you have to check the rules related to this. For example, there is a sales tax registration fees in Arkansas and Connecticut but it is free in California, Florida and many other states.
The rules are subject to change is updated frequently hence before you start with the procedure, it is wiser to check the most recent update if any, for the rules.
If you are registering in multiple states, then you have register through the Streamlined Sales tax registration system. This system has 23 member states and whether you are registering for all or a few of them, the procedure will become much more simplified and less repetitive.
Calculating the sales tax you need to pay
You must also be aware of the amount of sales tax that your business is liable to pay. This can be done by using a state sales tax calculator. You have to enter the relevant figures in the specific calculator for the state and you will be able to find the exact amount. Tally this with the sales tax deduction that the authorities is recommending for you and this way you can make sure that excess is not being paid and your profit is amplified.
Sales tax is a complex part of business and have to be understood thoroughly in order to make sure your profit is always on the higher side. Take help from professionals in this field if you are not confident and they will be able to assist in the work to make it seamless.