PART 2: IF A TAXPAYER MEETS THE SALES THRESHOLD IN A STATE, WHAT MUST WE DO NOW?
These frequently asked questions build on our prior series of FAQs.
Q: Once a taxpayer meets the sales threshold of a state, what must be done to be compliant with the state’s tax laws?
A: You must register for sales and use taxes with the state. Depending on the state and jurisdiction, you may need to register with the local jurisdiction or parish. Please note some states may require you to register with the state’s Secretary of State before obtaining a sales tax permit from the state.
Q: How often will I need to file sales and use tax returns?
A: It will depend on each state. The state will assign you a filing frequency based on certain criteria it has established. The frequency will be either monthly, quarterly or yearly.
In the United States, the sales tax landscape has changed drastically due to the recent U.S. Supreme Court Case of South Dakota v. Wayfair (June 2018). Following this landmark decision which made it easier for companies to create nexus in states, many states have enacted legislation which establishes guidelines, thresholds for economic nexus. In a previous blog, we talked about this epic decision.
What is Economic Nexus?
In the past, companies needed to have physical presence, or “boots on the ground,” in a state in order to have nexus (or taxable presence) in a state. This meant that a company needed to have offices, inventory, employees, or contractors in a state for a certain amount of time. Companies now don’t necessarily need to have physical presence in a state for them to create nexus; they now can have nexus in a state by virtue of economic nexus. Economic nexus essentially means that companies with sales of a certain dollar amount or a certain number of transactions with a state are required to register, collect and remit sales tax. Some states require both criterion. Additionally, note that some states base their economic threshold on taxable sales, while other states mention gross sales.
We write a lot of blogs! We’ve been writing a lot of blogs about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair and how companies selling goods online will be subject to much more compliance in upcoming months and years. But today, we decided to change it up and talk about something near and dear to everyone- food!
In most states throughout the country, consumers shopping at a supermarket don’t pay state sales tax on their bread and butter, but would pay sales taxes on a hot prepared turkey dinner. If they pick up a Hershey’s bar in the checkout line, is likely to be taxed, but if they pick up a Twix bar instead, it might be be exempt. Read More
Earlier this year we shared the U.S. Supreme Court would hear a case related to online sales tax: Wayfair v. South Dakota. This ruling could settle how online purchases are taxed, potentially overturning the 1992 Quill Corp v. North Dakota ruling currently preventing states from collecting sales tax from sellers without a physical presence (or nexus) in the state.
Why is it worth it for the Supreme Court to consider this case rather than fall back on the previous Quill ruling? The world has changed a lot since 1992. As The Wall Street Journal reports, “In 1992, the justices ‘did not and could not anticipate the development of modern e-commerce,’ Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in a friend-of the-court brief.” Read More