Sales Tax Tips

Before you start collecting sales revenue, register to collect sales tax.

Sales taxes vary by state and are imposed at the retail level.It's important to know the rules in the states and localitieswhere you operate your business because if you're a retaileryou must collect state sales tax on each sale you make, says RalphAnderson, a CPA and small-business tax specialist with accountingfirm M.R. Weiser.

Before you open your doors, be sure to register to collect salestax by applying for a sales permit for each separate place ofbusiness you have in the state. A license or permit is importantbecause in some states it's a criminal offense to undertakesales without one. In addition, if you fail to collect sales tax,you can be held liable for the uncollected amount.

If you're an out-of-state retailer, such as a mail-orderseller, who ships and sells goods in another state, be careful. Inthe past, many retailers have not collected sales taxes on the saleof these goods. Anderson advises you to be sure you or youraccountant knows the state sales tax requirements where you dobusiness.

Excerpted from Start Your Own Business

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