Are you Doing Sales Tax the Easy Way or the Hard Way?

September Small Business ChecklistWhen we started our Autopilot sales tax solution, TaxJar, we talked to merchants of all kinds. And one of the things we found out over and over again was that sellers were spending hour after hour on sales tax compliance.

Sales Tax: The Hard Way

If you have to deal with sales tax in multiple states or through multiple channels, and you aren’t automating this process, then you’re familiar with doing sales tax the hard way.

Once you’ve collected sales tax from customers in states where you have sales tax nexus, you must then remit what you’ve collected periodically. This is simple enough if you sell on one platform – say eBay – and only have sales tax nexus in your home state. But as your business begins to grow, things started to get complicated.

If you don’t find a way to put your sales tax on Autopilot, and if you sell on more than one platform, you need to pull a report from each platform when it comes time to file a sales tax return. Then you have to add up how much you collected in each state.

Don’t forget, if you have nexus in multiple states – either because you have an office, employee, warehouse or even use 3rd party fulfillment in a state – then you have nexus in multiple states and they’ll all want a periodic sales tax filing.  This might mean filling out a sales tax return monthly in your home state of New York, and three more in Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona quarterly, and then perhaps an annual report in California.

And did I mention that some destination-based sales tax states require you to subtotal how much tax you collected in every single county or jurisdiction? It’s amazing how much merchants are expected to put up with just in order to comply with sales tax regulations.

Dealing with information from multiple states?

Trying to calculate just exactly how much you owe to each state?

Juggling due dates?

That’s sales tax the hard way.

Sales Tax: The Easy Way

Fortunately for online sellers, some Autopilot sales tax solutions have come to town.

Sales tax services pull in how much sales tax you collected from the various platforms you sell on – including Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Square, or PayPal, or even through your own website with a platform like Bigcommerce, Shopify or WooCommerce.

Sales tax Autopilot solutions also mean you never have to worry again about totaling up how much sales tax you collected. If you put your sales tax on Autopilot, that’s all done for you. You’ll also get a reminder of your due dates, meaning no more $50 (or more!) late fees for forgetting a filing.

TaxJar’s AutoFile feature will even file your sales tax return for you, meaning no more filling out miles-long forms or dealing with each state’s various filing practices.

If you aren’t automating your sales tax compliance, what are you waiting for? Check out a service like TaxJar and put your sales tax on autopilot.

Mark Faggiano is the founder and CEO of TaxJar, a service built to make post-transaction sales tax compliance easier for Etsy, Amazon, Shopify and other multi-channel ecommerce sellers. Mark’s passion is solving complex problems for small businesses. Sign up for a 30-day free trial of TaxJar and put a lid on sales tax!

Business Basics: 3 Reasons You Need a Delayed Filing For Your Business

small business tax deductionsWhen a business owner files for a delayed filing, he or she is putting their business’s paperwork on hold until a later date. This may not seem entirely productive because, often, getting paperwork to go through the state for you business can be a waiting game, anyway. But a delayed filing can be strategic for the success of your business when used correctly.

Here are three reasons a business may opt for a delayed filing: Continue reading

ABCs of Small Business Industry: C is for Construction

The construction industry has had a rough few years. After the economy dipped and the Great Recession began, a lot of construction and housing projects were suspended or shut down, and the industry was easily one of the hardest hit. Because of this, many are apprehensive to start their own construction firms, and while construction is slowly picking up, one of the biggest concerns entrepreneurs in this industry have is how to protect themselves if the economy dips again. Construction IndustryBut if you start off on the right foot, and take a few precautions, you can run a successful business in the construction industry.

How do you start a construction company?

Construction is a bit different than other industries. For one, you can’t just file for a ‘Doing Business As’ name and start building houses. Continue reading

Business Basics – Estimated Tax Payments

Estimated tax payments are one of the biggest shocks for new business owners. They know that they have to pay taxes, they just don’t realize they have to send in a check four times a year! Most businesses that expect to more than $1,000 – or $500 if the company is incorporated – in taxes have to make estimated payments to the IRS. And, since the next quarterly payment is due on September 15th, we thought it’d be a good idea to do a quick rundown of what estimated tax payments are.

Estimated Tax Payment

What are estimated tax payments?
Exactly what they sound like. These payments are simply what you’d normally owe on your income. However, since you don’t have an employer to withhold and send in what you owe, you have to do it instead.
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How Quick Business Loans Can Encourage Business Turnaround

How Quick Business Loans Can Encourage Business TurnaroundIf you need quick business loans to help you out of a short-term cash flow crisis, what you don’t need is hassle when making these loan arrangements. We know all too well that any delay in making those funds available can lead to an operational headache, or threaten the survival of your business.

Reasons you may need a quick business loan

There could be an unexpected interruption in sales such as a delay in the delivery of stock that slows the flow of money coming into the business. It could be that you need quick business loans to pay for expensive new equipment or machinery in order to maintain production or cope with a sudden increase in demand. In difficult trading conditions, the customer has also become savvier, and more reluctant to make an immediate purchase, if they even make a purchase at all. As a result the retailer is late in paying you, the distributor. They, in turn, seek extended payment terms in order to assist their own cash flow. Suddenly, your usually strict 30 days terms of credit are being extended to 45 days or even 60 days. You will be paid, eventually, but later than you were expecting.

A short term business loan does not always have to be used to plug cash flow; it can be used as a tool to speed up business turnaround. Taking the right loan at the right time can be a great tactic to help you take advantage of business opportunities that come your way. The speed in which you can secure funding may determine how quickly you can push out in front of your competition or equally ensure your business does not plummet further into uncontrollable cash flow problems.

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ABCs of Small Business Industry: B is for Banking

As we enter week four of our series, we decided to look at a slightly different industry – banking. Now, focusing on banking may seem a bit odd. After all, most people don’t consider banking as something an entrepreneur can even get into. And while there are loads a regulatory loopholes to jump through, plenty of entrepreneurs do start their own bank! And running a bank can be quite lucrative. So if you have experience in the financial industry, and are looking for a change, this could be just the post for you! banking

How do you start a bank?

Like any business, you need to identify a need. Most communities are served by big-name banks like Chase or Bank of America, and people gravitate towards names they recognize. But even if it feels like your community is over saturated with corporate banks, there could be a place for a small, community bank, like if you decide to focus on serving a particular section or area of the community. Some people also like being able to meet face-to-face with a high-level executive to talk about loans or their account – something they’d never be able to do at a corporate bank.

If the market looks good, you then need to work on getting everything organized. Most states require banks to have multiple directors, who then put in an initial offering to get the bank started, usually around 25% of the bank’s starting capital. Since banks need a lot of capital to run, this is usually a substantial amount of money. Most banks sell off shares to raise the rest of their capital.

When your ducks are in a row, you file for a state or federal charter. Filing this form typically costs thousands of dollars, and requires a substantial amount of preparation. You’ll need to include information like feasibility studies, applications for the directors, projected costs, projected salaries – the state or federal government effectively needs to decide whether or not you’ll be successful before granting a charter. After this, you apply for deposit insurance from the FDIC, which requires banks to prove they have enough capital to cover any risk and losses. It will take a few months before the charter application is processed and, once it is approved, you normally have about a year to start the bank officially.

What business structures are best suited for banking?

Because banks are required to have directors, executives, and shareholders, a bank has to be some sort of corporation. However, in some states, a bank is an entity in itself. Though it is run in the same way a standard corporation is.

How stable is the banking industry?

Very. Because banks have to apply for a charter, an outside organization effectively reviews their business plan and target market, and determines whether or not the idea is viable. Banking costs a lot of money, but if you get a charter, you can usually bet that you’ll be successful. The rate at which banks fail has also slowed substantially as the economy has recovered.

Interested in community banking? Have any questions about the banking industry? Leave a comment below, or give us a call at 1-877-692-6772!

Never Miss Another Sales Tax Due Date!

Never Miss Another Sales Tax Due Date!Guess what? You owe sales tax to at least one state this month.

Did that get your heart going? Then you’re like business owners all over the country trying to get sales tax under control but struggling to do so. It’s one of the most annoying aspects about doing business these days, particularly for eCommerce businesses.

Why? Because so many states are trying to get as much money as they can, including from online business owners who sell taxable goods to customers in their state. Do you have an employee in one state? You likely have sales tax nexus there. Do you store your inventory in a warehouse in another state? Then you’re likely required to collect sales tax in that state, too.

Some states want your payments monthly. Some want them quarterly. Some even just annually. But if you’re paying sales tax to a bunch of states, how are you supposed to keep up with all these due dates?

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How to Handle Upcoming QETs

How to Handle Upcoming QETsIt’s that time once again: time to whip out the finance books and try to figure out just how much you owe for quarterly estimated taxes, or QETs. More sitting down at the dining room table, going over numbers, scratching your head trying to figure out what this abbreviation stands for…

Wait, you don’t know what this is about? Quarterly estimated taxes are a big part of the small business owner’s life as they’re constantly buzzing around just around the corner, ready to pounce and make a mess. However, many small business owners still manage to forget about them, leading to headaches and possible fines.

Instead of putting them off, read our quick guide so you can get ahead of the game!

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5 Important Steps for Creating a DBA

5 Important Steps for Creating a DBANo matter what industry you are in, your business still needs a name. Not just a good one for marketing purposes, but also a name that isn’t taken by someone else and is filed legally as a DBA.

DBA stands for “doing business as” and allows your company to do business under a fictitious name (AKA one you made up) instead of your own personal name, names of your partners, or the name of your corporation or LLC. In order to do this, you must file for a DBA.

1) Does your company even need a DBA?

The first step in creating a DBA is determining if you even need one. The answer depends on whether your business operates as a sole proprietorship or as a corporation or LLC.

For Sole Proprietorships:

The only reason to not get a DBA is if you want your business to operate under your personal name only. Picking a business name will plant the seed for your brand to grow strong – and filing a DBA will protect it.

For Corporations/LLCs:

If your corporation or LLC wants to conduct any sort of business with a name that is different than the one you filed on your corporation/LLC paperwork, then you need a DBA.

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