If you sell online, it’s time to get your ducks in a row.
Last week, the Supreme Court made a decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. that says that states and municipalities could now require online retailers to charge customers sales tax, no matter where that retailer was itself domiciled.
Essentially, the Court ruled that in the 20+ years since the existing legal precedent was established (allowing online sellers to usually avoid charging sales tax), the world has shifted enough that new standards should be applied.
So, like I said … if you have ANY sort of tax issues with your business, we need to get those handled ASAP, because, an entirely new set of problems are on the horizon.
One thing we DO know: this is at least a big win for online sales tax compliance software makers.
Now, until actual guidance is established by various states and municipalities, and enforcement measures made clear, there is no immediate emergency.
That said, if you sell goods online, it is probably a good idea to begin investigating a good sales tax compliance solution. Each state and municipality will establish their own revenue “threshold” for when purchases from within their bounds will incur sales tax, and each will be scrambling to do so in the next few months.
But this much is clear: you WILL get into hot water if you sell online and don’t begin to plan for online sales tax collection. Fortunately, there will be (and already are) effective, relatively-inexpensive softwares to make this easier for you.
And we’ll see what kind of guidance comes forth.
As always, we are on your side.
But what happens if you DON’T get in compliance with online sales tax collection? Here’s a taste…
Online Sales Tax Hazards Businesses Need to Know
“Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.” – Harper Lee
The first thing to know about the sales tax issue is that it’s typically not a “federal” matter.
That means that you will be dealing with state and municipality collections divisions, courts, etc. if you somehow find yourself running afoul of sales tax standards.
However, once you DO find yourself in the crosshairs of a local or state sales tax issue, it is often a tip-off to the IRS enforcement division, and a federal audit might not be too far behind.
And whether or not you sell goods online, you have to be aware of the consequences here.
So, what are some of the consequences of not paying sales tax?
Immediately owing a big chunk of change
It very well might be that a state or municipality could come after you for a large amount of money, and it’s really only a matter of time before you might get hit with a letter that bears unpleasant news.
Oh, and you’ll owe interest
On average, states charge a 6.4 percent interest fee on late remission of sales taxes. That might not seem like a huge amount, but there’s another piece to the puzzle…
The average PENALTY fee that states levy against a late filer of sales tax is 17.85 percent. Combine that with the interest fees, and we’re talking about some serious change that could be due.
And then the liens start piling up
This is the worst case scenario. Your personal and business credit can be affected, vendors can start charging you much higher interest rates on any sort of credit arrangement, and on the personal side, lenders might decrease your personal credit line, close your accounts to future charges, or raise your interest rates on future purchases.
This is why it pays to have someone on your side. Here at Dickmann Tax Group, we go to bat for businesses and individuals on a regular basis in these matters. We can work with states to set up a payout agreement or a payment plan to help you pay back what you owe, as well as help to repair the consequences of any federal actions.
But the main lesson?
Get your online sales tax ducks in a row.
Dickmann Tax Group