So you have your Bigcommerce store set up to collect sales tax. That’s awesome. You’re all set when the sales start rolling in. Or are you?
We hate to say it, but setting up sales tax was the easy part. It’s what you do with all those dollars and cents as they come trickling in that gets more difficult.
We’ll walk you step-by-step through what you need to know to handle sales tax from the point of sale to remitting what you collected back to the state.
Step 1: Register for a Sales Tax Permit
Before you collect a penny of sales tax, you need to register for a sales tax permit with any states where you have sales tax nexus. This usually includes the state where you live, but you may also have nexus in a state where you have an employee or an office, or even where you store inventory in a warehouse.
Contact your state’s Department of Revenue (or other taxing authority) to register for a sales tax permit in any state where you have nexus.
Some states consider it unlawful to collect sales tax from customers without this permit, so get on this right away.
Step 2: Determine When to File Your Sales Tax Returns
When you register for your sales tax permit, states will put you on a filing schedule and let you know the dates your sales tax returns are due. They’ll generally put you on a monthly, quarterly or annual filing schedule.
Many states require you to file a zero return even if you never collected any sales tax during the taxable period. Make sure you check with your state before you ever miss a due date, or you may owe a penalty.
Step 3: File Sales Tax
Now comes the really fun part. When it’s time to file your sales tax return, you must determine how much sales tax you’ve collected from every buyer in states where you have sales tax nexus.
If you sell on other platforms aside from Bigcommerce, you must calculate how much you collected in sales tax through every channel.
Even once you’ve compiled all that information, you’ll find that even filing sales tax isn’t a simple task. The majority of states in the U.S. are destination-based sales tax states, which, long story short, makes your sales tax life more complicated. Most of these states require you to break down how much you’ve collected from customers in each of their districts (this could be a county, a city or even a special taxing district.) If you try to do this manually, you could find yourself spending hours with spreadsheets and tax tables trying to figure out how much goes where on your state’s sales tax filing form.
Fortunately, this is also where TaxJar has your back. We keep track of sales tax you’ve collected every day, in every state and district and through every platform you sell on (including eBay, Amazon, and Shopify and even through POS systems like Square.) And we will create a sales tax return-ready report for you with all the info you need to file in every state where you have nexus.
We’ll even AutoFile your sales tax returns for you in 26 states (and counting!) This means we take care of all the legwork so you can get back to running your online store. Our AutoFile feature includes remitting the funds you owe to the state. And, because we’ve automated this system, you’ll always pay on time or early, which entitles you to a sales tax discount from many states.
How to Connect Your Bigcommerce Store and TaxJar
Ready to get started automating your sales tax headaches? Connecting your Bigcommerce store to TaxJar is an easy one-time process. All you need to do is click the “Apps” icon in the left navigation of your admin panel.
You’ll see TaxJar is one of only about 20 apps available to Bigcommerce customers. Just click the TaxJar app and you’ll get a nice big blue button that you can click to install.
That’s it. You’re done. From here, you are set up with TaxJar and ready to automatically sort and report your sales tax totals!
There’s nothing simple about sales tax for Bigcommerce sellers, but TaxJar can help. Sign up today for a 30-day free trial!