Editor's Note: This post was updated with sales tax due dates by state for 2017 on 3/20/2017.
April is what we at TaxJar call a “sales tax perfect storm.” Because most states have a quarterly sales tax deadline in April, and most businesses are on a quarterly or monthly sales tax filing schedule, nearly every eCommerce seller will have to file at least one sales tax return this month. And that’s on top of income tax day on April 15th. Ouch!
But you can weather the sales tax storm with a little preparation. Check off these tasks to navigate the rough waters:
1.) Know your sales tax due dates – First of all, know when you’re required to file so you’re sure to file on time. Here’s a list of April sales tax due dates by state for 2017.
2.) Gather your sales tax collected (on all channels) – When tallying up how much sales tax you’ve collected, be certain you’re remembering all channels. Example: you do the bulk of your sales on the Amazon marketplace, but also sell jewelry at craft fairs on the weekends. Don’t forget to report the sales tax you collected on your jewelry! Every bit counts and must be remitted back to the state.
3.) Break down how much sales tax you’ve collected – The vast majority of states want you to break down how much sales tax you’ve collected by state, county, city and special taxing jurisdiction. You could make a big spreadsheet and spend hours poring over state tax tables, or you can let TaxJar handle this for you. Just connect your Amazon account (and any other channels you sell on) and we’ll create return ready reports for you.
4.) File your sales tax returns with each state – Next file your sales tax returns. You can do this the old-fashioned way by mailing in a paper return, or you can file online. If you want sales tax completely off your plate, you can let us file your sales tax for you with AutoFile.
5.) Remember to file “zero” returns – Be sure you file a sales tax return by the deadline even if you didn’t collect any sales tax. Most states want you to “check in” with a sales tax filing even if you don’t owe a penny. Some states, like Florida, will even levy a fine on you if you fail to file a zero return. Other states might cancel your sales tax account.
6.) Don’t discount discounts – About half the states realize that collecting sales tax puts a burden on sellers and will let you keep a (very) small portion of the sales tax you’ve collected on their behalf. Be sure to take the discount! If you choose to AutoFile, TaxJar will be sure to get your discount for you, too. Check this list to find out if your state offers a sales tax discount.
And that’s it! You’ve survived the April sales tax perfect storm. Now you can get back to doing what you do best – running your Amazon business.
Mark Faggiano is the founder and CEO of TaxJar, a service built to make sales tax compliance simple for eCommerce sellers. Try a 30-day-free trial of TaxJar today and eliminate sales tax compliance headaches from your life!
Disclaimer: This is not to be taken as tax advice and these are the opinions of a guest contributor and not necessarily those of eComEngine.
Originally published on March 8, 2016, updated May 8, 2019
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.