Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25th--Why is today important in my world?

Today is July 25th.   

I've been dreading it.

But as with most things I dread, now that the time has arrived, I realize it's not so bad.  For now, for a while, the worst is over.   

The significance of the date?   If you guessed  that it's the deadline for quarterly sales tax submission in the State of Kansas, then behold, you'd be correct!    

For small businesses here, the 25th of the month following a quarter is when retail sales taxes are due to the Kansas Department of Revenue.   And glory be, mine are done and on their way!   For the first time, it took me about 1 1/2 hours rather than weeks to do.  I had good notes from the last filings.  And hopefully all is in good order.  The routine gets easier and faster...once you know what to do.   Until then,  hassle and heartache can't begin to describe the experience!  

I'm not one to fuss about the actual paying of taxes.   Far from it. I think taxes serve a valuable purpose.   I've only fussed that the processes seem needlessly cumbersome at times, ...but again, it gets easier once you've done it right once.   

So I bring this up not to complain, but as a note to new folks starting their businesses that State and Local sales taxes are something to keep your eye on.   I had my own set of misperceptions about how and when these would be handled.   The thing I did right was to collect the sales tax in the first place.   I won't even list the things I did wrong!  :-)

If you are starting your business,  make sure you know if you need to collect sales tax in your state, under what circumstances, and if so, how much.  Then find out when and where and how to submit them.  In my state, whether you pay taxes varies according to whether sales are made wholesale or retail.   It varies when selling online if the buyer is from my state or another.  There is a State tax and added to the State tax is a local tax.   The amount of sales tax varies according to the city from which the item is purchased.   

The good news?   ArtFire does much of the hard work for me.   (If you have a storefront, it may do the same for you.  Check it out though, don't assume or you may owe taxes you have not collected.)   I only need to make sure I'm keeping on top of sales made outside of ArtFire and that I'm using the most current sales tax charts.    

I'm not sure it's so easy though once you start making mega-sales and doing a lot of selling locally.   It may become a time-consuming task again at that point.   (I'll gladly worry about that when it happens!)  

In the meantime, if you would like some info on this topic, here are a few starting places:

The U.S. Small Business Administration   (a great site for all topics regarding starting and maintaining a small business)

The Tax Foundation   (This site is full of fun facts, comparison charts between states, etc.   Dated 2011 though so may be a little behind)

Also, look for your State website, then the Department of Revenue, Taxation, or whatever name they've chosen to call themselves, and get the real scoop on what you need to do.  

I'm no tax expert.   (Ask the folks at my Department of Revenue, they'll tell you!   :-)   My first couple of attempts required numerous e-mails and several phone calls.   I had about $3 to pay, but an overdue notice waiting for me for $500.  Not a good way to start.) 

But it gets easier, I'm happy to say!     ...And now that mine are done, I can wish you all a happy day and I can get back to the fun part--making jewelry again!  

Sharyl ~ Sharyl's Jewelry

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Graphics Credits:

Yellow Nervous Smiley:

Blue Confused Smiley:

Green Embarrassed Smiley:

Yellow Studious Smiley:

Purple Side Grin smiley:

Green Upset Smiley:

Yellow Winking Smiley:

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Shirley said...

You know, that's one of the things that is holding me back from actually opening a shop. I don't want to deal with all that paperwork stuff, but I do understand it is reality, so thank you so much for the links and the info. Now you can go play with beads! Yeah!!!

Alice said...

Sharyl, I didn't know you live in Kansas!!! I live just about 30 miles south of Topeka in a small town.

I don't have any online sales as of yet--but someday hope to have a successful online shop. So for now I have only sales from shows which makes it much easier. My husband made up a handy spread sheet to help me figure the taxes, and I pay online. I remember the first time I did it and was a nervous wreck, but it gets easier as you go.

Sharyl said...

Thanks to you both for leaving comments!

Shirley, I make it sound rather intimidating, and I think for many of us various aspects of owning your own business can be so. I found this tax process extremely frustrating the first time around, but pretty easy this time. I think the hardest part is having any notion you need to do something in the first place! (Which is why I really posted this.) None of the challenges are insurmountable though, or so many of us wouldn't be here doing it. Honest. :-)

Alice, so glad to find another Kansan in our group! I know we at least one more! Glad you also found a way to manage the sales tax challenge! Thanks for sharing this idea!