Sales Tax 101

How to Troubleshoot Your Sales Tax Problem

by Jennifer Dunn

Troubleshoot your sales tax problem

We talk every single day to online sellers who have no idea how to go about solving a sales tax problem.  There are a few reasons for this:

  • There’s no IRS for sales tax – individual states govern sales tax, and every state does it a little differently.
  • Most sales tax info is full of lingo and acronyms – you want an answer, not a session with a legal dictionary!
  • Sales tax experts can be hard to find – Your regular CPA often outsources sales tax to a SALT (sales and local tax) expert. Finding an answer isn’t always as easy as calling your tax preparer!

That’s one of the main reasons we created TaxJar – to help you wrap your mind around the wild world of sales tax so you can easily handle your business’s sales tax obligations. In fact, you can contact TaxJar Support right now and we’ll happily help you solve your sales tax issue. But I thought I would also put together a list of other ways that we troubleshoot sales tax issues in hopes that it helps you, too. Here’s the list:

Search the TaxJar Blog

Just click the search button at the top of this post and ask your sales tax question. We’ve heard many of them before and chances are we have a blog post about them. You can also find information about your specific state on our Sales Tax By State page. We pride ourselves on providing you information in human language, not legalese!

Bonus: If you have a specific question about using TaxJar, you can also search the TaxJar Help Center.

Best for when you need help with:

  • Interpreting sales tax in plain English
  • State specific guidance
  • Answers to common sales tax questions

Watch a Video

Sometimes you want to learn visually rather than digging into a blog post. I totally get it! You can also check out TaxJar’s YouTube channel for answers to your most common sales tax questions, too. If you sell on Amazon FBA you might want to start with our Amazon FBA Sales Tax Bootcamp.

Best for when you need help with:

  • Hands on sales tax tutorials
  • Visual sales tax tips in plain English

Ask Another Online Seller

The Sales Tax for eCommerce Sellers Facebook group is full of online sellers from all over the U.S. and the world. Chances are at least one of the nearly 5,000 members has been in your shoes and can help answer your question. Join today and receive instant help!

Best for when you need help with:

  • Hands on advice from people who have been in your shoes
  • Commiseration when things don’t go as planned

Contact Your State’s Department of Revenue

Sometimes a call or letter to a state’s taxing authority is the quickest way to troubleshoot a sales tax problem. This can be especially true if you have questions about your specific sales tax obligations (i.e. what’s your sales tax ID number? When are you supposed to pay?) or about other state-specific aspects of sales tax (i.e. do I need to charge sales tax on this product?).

Here’s a list of the quickest way to skip the automated menus and talk to a human about sales tax in every state. Be warned: sometimes the person answering the phone isn’t always a sales tax expert. If you are asking for information that could cost your business a lot of money it’s best to ask for the answer in writing so you can refer back to it in case of future trouble.

If you really want to arm yourself with knowledge, you can first look up the state’s sales tax laws. Here’s a list of what constitutes sales tax nexus in every state to point you in the right direction.

Best for when you need help with:

  • Questions about your individual sales tax account, filing frequency, notices from the state or other issues
  • Questions about taxability of certain products (some products are taxed differently in various states)
  • Rulings on how specific sales tax laws apply to your business

Contact a Sales Tax Expert

Sometimes only an expert’s assistance will do the trick when it comes to troubleshooting sales tax. Perhaps you’ve received an audit notice or have found that you owe back sales tax in a state and need a Voluntary Disclosure Agreement.  Sales tax experts can also help with complicated situations such as if you live internationally or have entered into a drop shipping agreement with multiple parties involved.

You can find a list of vetted sales tax experts here.

Best for when you need help with:

  • Complicated sales tax questions that involve unclear laws or multiple states
  • Legal issues
  • Sales tax audit, fine or penalty issues

I hope these tips help you troubleshoot your sales tax issue! Do you have other methods of troubleshooting a sales tax problem? Let us know in the comments!

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