The Devil that is Lurking – Sales Tax | Nan McKay


Whether to collect sales tax is a major research area. Online sales flew under the radar for a long time, but most states are now aware of online businesses and are starting to put regulations in place to require sales tax collection.

Look at Amazon as an example. They did not originally collect sales tax but now are required to collect it. These requirements differ from state to state. You are in the potential sales tax zone when you are making online sales.

I strongly suggest you research it. There is a Sales Tax Nexus Guide to review, located at  Another reference is “Online Sales Tax Compliance: e-Commerce Guide for 2021” at

Because the requirements differ from state to state, the best advice is to call your State office that handles sales tax and start asking questions. I was surprised to learn that I had to collect sales tax on my online courses if they were recorded and not done live. I don’t see a lot of sites with online courses doing this, but you don’t want to get caught and have to pay a lot back.

Here’s the kicker. If you sell courses on the web, as most people do, you are selling to the world – many states and even some countries. So here’s the rule in one state I researched.

You have to keep track of all the courses you sell online. If you sell to someone in your business's state, you have to charge sales tax. If you sell to someone outside the state, you don’t have to charge sales tax.

However, you have to keep track of all the courses, in case there is someone in that state who purchased your course, to prove to the state which ones were living in your state.

I still have to figure out exactly how you figure in advance whether to charge that customer sales tax. I’ll write more on this as we go along.

Look at sites like SamCart, Shopify, and Etsy, which handle sales tax issues if you use their services to sell digital and other products online.



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