Sales Tax Nexus – Do Not Ignore

Are you suffering from Nexus Perplexus?

Definition: A state of confusion regarding the degree of business activity allowed before a state may exert its jurisdiction to impose a tax.

Cause: The many (and often conflicting) definitions of Nexus for state tax purposes from legislative, judicial, administrative, and secondary sources.

Symptoms:

  • A nagging feeling that there are potential tax liabilities in other states.
  • A suspicion that state taxes may be lowered as a result of apportionment of business income to other states.
  • A cold sweat resulting from the receipt of a nexus questionnaire from a state where one is not currently filing.

Are your products and services taxable in your home state? How about other states where you sell? Did you know that if you charge a fee for electronically filing an income tax return in Texas that the fee is subject to sales tax?

Regardless of the sophistication of the sales tax reporting system, the system still needs to be told what is taxable and what is not.

As businesses expand into multiple states (“multi-state”), the issue arises of whether the “foreign” states can force your company to register and collect use tax. Your company’s presence in a different part of a country or state is referred to as a “nexus”.  This may be through your salespersons traveling to those states, or your hiring of jobbers, repairpersons, or independent contractors who perform installation or maintenance in a state where the company is not registered may create nexus in that state.

The level of activity performed has a direct bearing on whether another state has the ability to impose a tax.  The critical issue is to determine if the nexus exists.  A nexus review will carefully determine the facts of a taxpayer in light of not just state rules and regulations, but all applicable federal legislation, as well as relevant judicial and administrative law.  The end result is a clear picture of potential state tax exposure.

Sales Tax Nexus issues can create serious tax liabilities because companies miss the opportunity to collect tax from customers and eliminate their own burden. In addition, there is usually no statute of limitation because the company never filed a return in the state where it created nexus.

Have you received a nexus questionnaire lately? If not responded to correctly, a state may conclude that nexus exists and assess tax, penalty, and interest for all periods from the first-day nexus exists. There have been many cases where taxpayers have filed returns and paid tax to a state where nexus did not exists, based simply on a nexus questionnaire that was not properly responded to.

The sales tax nexus requirements are very different from income taxes. In simple words, activities that will not cause nexus (a filing requirement) for income taxes will cause nexus for sales tax filing purposes. Companies typically delegate the sales tax filing function to clerk level positions. Consequently, high turnover in these positions can create inconsistency in the sales/use tax reporting function.

It is often difficult to find the time and the resources to prepare a comprehensive state tax plan. Outsourcing the planning function to a state tax expert can be a cost-effective way to ensure that all state tax options are being considered. A state tax plan starts with a review of the taxpayer’s facts and circumstances, as well as future plans and expectations. The end result is a recommendation of the best planning technique(s) for lowering state tax liabilities and/or exposure.

 

16 Quick Tips to Help Keep Positive in a Down Economy

Times are tough for everyone. People are losing their jobs left and right and unemployment is at its highest level. Businesses both large and small are struggling to stay alive. When money gets tight it can be very hard to keep a positive attitude. Negativity leads to depression, and depression makes it very difficult to move forward in life.

I recently lost my full-time job after 17 years with the same company. It was due to the economy, our clients were cutting back on their marketing budgets and only doing the minimum required to continue sales. Almost all the creative work we were doing dried up and trying to find new clients became harder and harder. I saw the writing on the wall and had been preparing for the inevitable for a while. I updated my resume and portfolio, started networking more, and lined up some freelance customers.

After I lost my job family and friends were calling to make sure I was ok. I told them I was and not to worry. Honestly, I was ok, actually, I was better than ok, I felt great! I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders and now my life was my own again, I could do with it as I want. It was an opportunity for a fresh start and as the saying goes, I took lemons and made lemonade!

For many, a life-altering change like losing their job or a major decrease in sales for their photography business would lead to depression. In this article, I’m going to share 16 quick tips that helped me keep a positive attitude to continue down the road of success.

  1. Keep busy – Sitting around staring out the window is the worst thing you can do. If nothing else do house chores. Just keep moving and keep busy.
  2. Work hard – It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, just work hard to do it well. At the end of the day, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment even if you only cleaned the bathroom.
  3. Work even if you’re working for less money – If you have nothing going on and a small project comes your way, take it. Even if you have to do it for less than your normal rate, at least you’ll be working. Give it 100% effort just as you would with any other project and smile while you’re doing it. You never know what work that customer may have for you down the road.
  4. Take better than usual care of yourself – Start eating healthier and start working out. Everyone complains they don’t have time to eat right and work out, well now you do. Physical well-being significantly impacts mental well-being and response to stress.
  5. Get out of the Sweats – Hanging out in your sweats all day although comfortable, is bad for self-esteem. Get up, get a shower, eat a healthy breakfast, and dress for success.
  6. Forget about “the good old days” – Nostalgia is self-destructive. Learn from the past and think about the future you want.
  7. Network like crazy – You have some time on your hands now, start calling all your past customers. Contact people, you’ve been meaning to get in touch with. You need to stay in front of and on the minds of everyone.
  8. Take frequent breaks – You need to break up the routine. Take breaks for the usual stuff and maybe add in a few new ones.
  9. Simplify your life – Cut out unneeded expenses and distance yourself from people or activities that negatively affect you and cause stress.
  10. Surround yourself with positive people – Stay away from the doom and gloomers and find positive and successful people to spend time with, those traits have a tendency to rub off on you.
  11. Keep learning – Photography is always changing. Take this time to learn new photographic techniques, brush up on your software or learn more about a different part of our industry (HDR, DSLR video, etc.)
  12. Shoot for fun – We spend so much time shooting for others we sometimes lose sight of what makes photography fun and why we started shooting in the first place.
  13. Become a mentor – Helping other photographers learn the tricks of the trade is very rewarding for both parties.
  14. Celebrate your successes – Even small accomplishments deserve to be celebrated.
  15. Shrug off the losses – Don’t dwell on the negatives, stuff happens! Learn from it and move on.
  16. Be thoughtful – Think about others more often.

Next Steps…

Life is tough and sometimes bad things happen to good people. What separates us is how we deal with change and move forward. Being positive reduces stress, reduced stress will increase self-esteem and when you feel good about yourself, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

I’d love to hear how your lemonade turned out, please feel free to share your stories in the comments below.