Ready for Online Sales Tax?

Have you been considering online sales for your business? 2014 might be the year to get your business selling online. Online sales increased significantly more than brick-and-mortar shopping in the holiday shopping season of 2013, and this trend is expected to continue. If your business sells directly to consumers — or you’d like to — you need to be online. Don’t let sales tax hold you back.

Sales tax for online purchases can become very complex. With new sales tax laws going into place almost every month and possible federal legislation on the way, it’s only a matter of time before sales tax becomes a significant issue in e-commerce. Unfortunately, many current shopping cart solutions are unprepared for sales tax. Some brick-and-click retailers run their online orders through their regular point-of-sale systems. Chances are this will work for you as long as you serve online customers who are in your tax jurisdiction. When you branch out, you’ll need an e-commerce solution that will handle sales tax for other jurisdictions.

Washington state, which is now requiring online merchants to collect sales tax, has posted a sympathetic-sounding message acknowledging that online merchants will have problems collecting accurately in all 16 Washington tax jurisdictions (never mind those in other states). They offer databases that you can download and use for manually figuring up sales tax in each case. They suggest calling your shopping cart vendor and asking them for help, and we say good luck with that. They also remind sellers that they will still be responsible for filing correctly, for paying all sales taxes whether they have collected the right amount or not, and for refunding the correct amount to the shoppers who have overpaid. Good luck with that, too.

While choosing the right e-commerce software is key to collecting correctly, the right sales tax filing software is essential for filing correctly. Especially since your shopping cart may not be entirely reliable for collecting sales tax accurately, double-checking and correcting errors during filing is a must. Our FileLINK software verifies address information and checks rates to ensure that all of the sales tax is correct. Since it automatically alerts you to variances, you have a chance to get everything sorted out before you file — and that’s one less headache. If your goal in 2014 is to get an online store up and running, free evaluation to find out why you need Sales Tax DataLINK software to keep your business on the cutting edge.

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