So you know you have sales tax liability and are ready to tackle sales tax.
This step-by-step guide will walk you through getting compliant and using TaxJar to handle all of your sales tax headaches. By the end of this walkthrough, you'll be all set up to file your sales tax returns successfully!
If you haven't already, sign up for a 30-day free TaxJar trial to get started.
Step 1: Double Check Where You Have Sales Tax Nexus
You're here because you know you need to deal with sales tax. Your first step in ensuring you're handling sales tax correctly is to figure out where you have "nexus."
"Nexus" is a physical presence or connection with a state that's significant enough for you to be required to comply with that state's sales tax laws. You will automatically have nexus in your home state, and the most common causes for nexus in other states are employees, salespeople, physical storefronts, warehouses or offices, and inventory.
Click here to find out more about where you have sales tax nexus.
Keep in mind that if you sell on Amazon FBA, you have sales tax nexus in the states where Amazon stores your inventory. Read more about FBA and sales tax nexus here.
Step 2: Link Your Shopping Carts to TaxJar
First, follow this link.
Then choose your platform and follow the directions in TaxJar to link your shopping cart. This allows us to pull in your sales tax data and help you handle sales tax.
If you sell on more than one platform, you can go back and add another. TaxJar works best when you've linked all of the carts or platforms you sell on!
Need help? Here's more info on how to link your shopping cart to TaxJar.
Step 3: Register for a Sales Tax License in Your Nexus State(s)
If you have sales tax nexus in a state, that state requires you to register for a state sales tax license before you begin collecting sales tax from buyers in that state.
Click here for instructions on how to register for a sales tax license in every state.
Need help with registrations? We recommend Windward Tax. Fill out this short contact form and someone from Windward will get back to you and help you register for your sales tax permit(s).
Step 4: Add Your Nexus States to Your TaxJar Dashboard
Login to TaxJar and add your nexus states on your TaxJar dashboard. (We'll add some detail a little later to make sure you're all set up!)
Step 5: Make Sure Your Cart is Setup to Collect Sales Tax
Once you've determined where you have sales tax nexus, you need to make sure you are collecting sales tax from customers through all the carts on which you sell.
Click your shopping cart(s) below for instructions on how to set up sales tax collection:
Step 6: Fill Out Your TaxJar Business Profile
TaxJar needs a little bit of information about your business to create sales tax reports for you. Click here to fill out your TaxJar business profile.
Step 7: Tell Us Your Sales Tax Filing Frequency in Every State
Some states want you to file sales tax monthly, others want you to file quarterly, annually or even semi-annually. Your state gives you this information at the time you receive your sales tax permit.
Once you've received your filing frequency from the state, login to TaxJar and tell us your sales tax filing frequency for each of your nexus states.
Don't skip this step! This ensures that your TaxJar dashboard shows you the correct due dates and provides you the correct amounts of sales tax to file when your tax return is due.
If you don't fill this step out, your dashboard defaults to monthly filing, but that might not be correct for every state.
Step 8: Get to Know TaxJar!
1.) View your TaxJar Reports by clicking on the “Sales Tax Report” button on your TaxJar Dashboard. You'll use this info for each state when it comes time to file a sales tax return.
2.) Click on the Expected Sales Tax Due tab in your Report to see an estimate of what you should be collecting. Use this if you feel like your sales tax collection may be set up incorrectly. (Keep in mind that, for now, your Expected Sales Tax Due tab doesn't account for differently taxed or non-taxed sales, so if you sell items like groceries, clothing or supplements the amounts in this tab may be off.)
3.) Get an overview of sales totals and sales tax collection in all states in the Detailed Sales Tax Analysis report. Ex: You can use this report to find transactions on which you didn't collect sales tax.
4.) Visit your Transactions page. Here you can filter specific transactions by state name or date or sales tax collection, etc.
Step 9: File a Sales Tax Return
Once you've set up your TaxJar account, sales tax filing is simple.
When it comes time to file a sales tax return for a state, simply use the data in your TaxJar state reports. Here's more on how to file a sales tax return with TaxJar. Once you've filed, be sure to enter any payments into your TaxJar payment history.
Or, let us file your sales tax returns for you! If you'd rather not even bother with filing manually, TaxJar can also AutoFile your sales tax returns for you.
Follow these instructions to enroll in AutoFile. Once you're enrolled, we'll file your sales tax returns for you every time they're due.
Step 10: Do Something Else - Your Sales Tax is Handled!
Congrats! If you've followed these steps sales tax filing is going to be a breeze from now on. Now you can get back to doing what you do best - running your business!