How To Prepare Your Drop Shipping Business For Taxes

This Is A Great Moment For Reflection

It is never easy to lose your job or sense of security. However, this can be a great blessing in disguise because it forces you to reevaluate your life. Are you someone who just knows that they do not want to continue working for other people? The pandemic might be the right time to leave your comfort zone and strike out on your own. We will explore some of the reasons people are too intimidated to take the steps to become an entrepreneur. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Many people have lost or been furloughed from their jobs. There is high anxiety all around.

Economic Hardship Often Spurs Innovation

A great number of amazing companies like Uber, Square, and Instagram were birthed in the last recession. Hardship often leads to amazing innovation. It will not be surprising if we see many innovative companies coming out on the heels of this pandemic. Think about how many talented people have been furloughed and now have the time to devote their energies elsewhere. Millennials and Gen Z have shown that they are generations that embrace the challenges of being an entrepreneur.

What is Drop Shipping?

Dropshipping is a fulfillment method where the selling merchant does not stock or own inventory. When a customer buys a product, the seller purchases the item from a third party. The third party is usually a wholesaler or manufacturer who then ships the product directly to the customer. In dropshipping scenarios, the seller does not handle the product directly. This is a particularly popular form of e-commerce.

Dropshipping Can Make Sales Tax Complicated

Dropshipping is a new and innovative way of doing business. This is very exciting but also comes with unique operational challenges. This is particularly true when it comes to figuring out relatively simple things like sales tax.

In a traditional brick-and-mortar sales environment, sales tax is rather straightforward. Customers are usually making purchases from their stores and the retailer collects the sales tax from these purchases at the checkout. This is all happening in the same state in one location, so there is little confusion.

With drop shipping, the retailer could be in Kansas, while the order is forwarded to a supplier in Delaware and then shipped to a customer in Tennessee. This makes it confusing about who charges the sales tax and to exactly what state sales tax is owed.

What is A Tax Resale Certificate?

You must understand that tax resale certificates can also be used on items that will be resold. Office supplies, such as new computers for your employees, would not fall under the category of retail.  It would be considered fraud not to pay sales tax on these items.

If this is confusing for you, just think of tax resale certificates as state tax exemption certificates.  Some states call them exemption certificates or reseller’s permits.

Is The Tax Resale Certificate The Same As A Seller’s Permit?

Even though tax resale certificates are called reseller’s permits in some states, it is important not to confuse them with seller’s permits. A seller’s permit allows a retailer to charge tax on items that they are going to sell to a customer. A tax resale certificate allows you to buy items that are intended for resale without paying a sales tax on those items. 

Does A Vendor Have To Accept My Tax Resale Certificate?

It is extremely important to a retailer’s bottom line that they do not pay sales taxes on goods if there is a possibility that the tax can be exempted on a state level. However, it is also crucial to understand that a wholesaler is not required to accept your tax resale certificate in some states. 

What If A Customer Presents Me With A Tax Resale Certificate? 

A customer can also present a tax resale certificate to you as a retailer and it is your discretion whether or not you want to exempt them from the required sales tax. It is always a good idea to check on the certificate because you will be held responsible, if the certificate is expired or fraudulent, for the unpaid state sales tax. Verification is key in making sure that the correct due diligence has been completed to authenticate the tax resale certificate.

The Various State Tax Laws Can Be Confusing

Dropshippers must understand that each state has its unique tax laws related to retail sales tax that are constantly changing. There are many different definitions of what is nexus and what manner of tax resale certificates are acceptable. Some states accept resale documentation from other states, while many do not.

Third-party fulfillment companies make this even more difficult to comprehend.  A large company like Amazon can have one shipment travel through a dozen states, which can often trigger nexus.

Do Not Be Caught Unaware

Many dropshipping third-party suppliers are being unpleasantly surprised by large fines and hefty audits. This has made them require retailers to pay sales tax or be able to present valid tax resale certificates. However, the type of documentation required for each state can vary greatly.

Getting A Tax Resale Certification Is One Of The Best Things You Can Do As An Entrepreneur

If you decide to start a business, a tax resale certificate can save you money on taxes.

In short, a tax retail certificate allows you not to pay sales tax on items that you plan to resell. This can also apply to supplies that are going to be used in products that you will resell, such as wood for a cabinet.

However, the process can be difficult and the rules are different for each state. That is why TaxResaleCertificate should do all the hard work for you. We can make sure that you get all the advantages of a tax resale certificate without having to deal with the hassle of government red tape. Let us handle the hard stuff so you can proceed to run your business with confidence. Make sure you check out our second blog in this series so you can learn even more valuable information about tax resale certificates.