Eleven states hold Back To School sales tax holidays in August

Back To School sales tax holidays in August

Back To School sales tax holidays in August

Back to school sales tax holidayEleven states have already announced that they will be holding their annual Back To School sales tax holidays in August. Here is an up-to-date list of the dates for the various tax holidays as well as a summary of what’s exempted from the usual state taxes.

Alabama: August 1-3. The tax holiday includes clothing (<$100 per item); computers, computer software, and computer supplies (<$750 per item); school supplies, school art supplies, and school instructional material (<$50 per item).

Arkansas: August 1-3. Clothing (<$100 per item); clothing accessories or equipment (<$750 per item); school supplies, school art supplies, and school instructional materials (<$50 per item).

Connecticut: August 17-23. Clothing (<$300 per item); shoes (<$300 per item).

Florida: August 1-3. Clothing, shoes, and accessories (<$75 per item); school supplies (<$15 per item); computers and computer accessories (<$750 per item)

Georgia: August 1-2. School supplies and school instructional materials (<$20 per item); clothing and shoes (<$100 per item); computers and computers software (<$1,000 per item)

Louisiana: August 1-2. The Louisiana sales tax holiday is one of the most expansive and includes far more than school supplies, clothing, and computers:  “The exemption applies statewide to all consumer purchases of tangible personal property, other than vehicles subject to license and title and meals furnished for consumption on the premises where purchased, including to-go orders, provided that the property is not for use in a business, trade, or profession.”

Missouri: August 1-3. Clothing (<$100 per item); school supplies (<$50 per purchase), computer software (taxable value of <$350); personal computers (<$3,500); computer peripheral devices (<$3,500).

New Mexico: August 2-4. Clothing and shoes (<$100 per unit); desktop, laptop, tablets, or notebook computers (<$1,000 per item); computer hardware (<$500); school supplies for use in standard classrooms (<$30 per unit).

Tennessee: August 1-3. Clothing ($100 or less); school supplies ($100 or less); and computers ($1,500 or less).

Texas: August 8-10. Clothing; school supplies; shoes; and backpacks (<$100 per item)

Virginia: August 1-3. School supplies (<$20 per item); clothing and footwear (<$100 per item).

Amazon’s vested interest in universal online sales tax

universal online sales tax

universal online sales tax

With the addition of a new Amazon distribution center in Kenosha, WI, the number one largest online retailer will soon be collecting sales tax from almost 50% of the American population.

Amazon will begin collecting Wisconsin sales taxes on Nov. 1 and the state expects to benefit to the tune of $30 million per year.

universal online sales tax

Beginning Nov. 1st, Wisconsin will become the 14th state Amazon collects sales tax for. The mega-retailer has arrangements to add at least 6 more states to that list over the next 3 years.

Amazon currently has nexus is 18 states. Nexus, a physical in-state business presence, has long been the determining factor behind which businesses have to collect sales tax. Nexus is created by brick and mortar stores, distribution centers or warehouses, call centers,  offices, sales people, and sometimes just by sending an employee to a convention.

The mega-retailer already collects sales taxes in Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. Amazon has a physical presence in all of those states except for Georgia and New York.

Georgia passed a law in January requiring all online retailers doing business within the state to collect sales taxes and Amazon complied starting last September. New York won a court appeal upholding the state’s right to claim nexus is created when an out-of-state retailer pays in-state affiliates a commission to promote their products or services. New York refers to this as “click-through nexus”.

Amazon shut down its Connecticut affiliate program back in 2011 to avoid click-through nexus in that state but may be thinking about restarting the program as it recently announced that it will begin to collect Connecticut sales taxes and invest $50 million over the next two years for a jobs initiative.

Amazon has distribution centers in New Hampshire and Delaware where neither state has a sales tax. It also has centers in Indiana, Massachusetts and Nevada and has agreed to begin collecting sales tax in these states in the near future.

Amazon has acknowledged that it has nexus in Tennessee and South Carolina, but made special deals with those states which allow it to postpone sales tax collections for a time. Tennessee Gov. Haslam agreed to hold off on an Amazon tax until 2014 if the retailer agreed to send notifications to all customers about how much tax they owed on their purchases going back through 2012. South Carolina made a deal that exempts the company until 2016 in return for a promised distribution center and its 1,200 jobs. The state left itself an escape clause saying the agreement would be nullified should the Marketplace Fairness Act pass and create a standardized set of federal regulations.

This patchwork of regulations, state-by-state agreements and endless legal battles seems to be the main impetus behind Amazon’s support for the Marketplace Fairness Act or universal online sales tax. This law would significantly ease Amazon’s burdens while simultaneously increasing the burden on other smaller online retailers. Amazon stands to significantly widen its lead over the competition.

Fall brings tax breaks for energy efficient appliances

tax breaks

tax breaks

Energy start tax breakOctober is Energy Awareness Month in hopes consumers will learn to make better decisions about energy usage. Purchasing energy efficient appliances often will often get you tax breaks.  As part of this campaign, several states hold sales tax holidays for the purchase of energy efficient appliances.

Georgia held its sales tax holiday from Oct. 4 – 6. During this time, residents could buy energy and water efficient appliances worth up to $1,500 and avoid sales taxes. Virginia held its holiday from Oct. 11 – 14. Residents could avoid sales taxes on certain energy efficient products worth up to $2,500. North Carolina will be holding its holiday from Nov. 1 – 3 on Energy Star qualified products.

The federal government also offers a federal tax credit for energy efficient appliances that lasts until the end of the year. All these programs are a good way for consumers to upgrade to better appliances while saving money on taxes.

Read more at Parade

Virginia joins crowd in demanding sales tax collection

Virginia sales tax collection

Virginia sales tax collection

Amazon begins sales tax collection

Virginia passed a law requiring  collection of sales taxes by large online retailers like Amazon.

Virginia has become the latest state to start requiring large online retailers to begin sales tax collection from Virginia residents. This new law went into effect as of September 1st, 2013. The Virginia state sales tax of 5.3% now applies to out-of-state sellers that maintain a distribution center, warehouse, fulfillment center, office, or similar location in Virginia that facilitates the delivery of tangible personal property.

Amazon for example now needs to collect sales taxes from Virginia residents because it has two large distribution centers in the state. This law does have an exemption for retailers that have less than $1 million a year in revenue.

Virginia increased sales tax rate to help pay for roads

increased sales tax rate

increased sales tax rate

Virginia increased sales tax rate to help pay for roads

Virginia increased its sales tax from 5% up to 5.3% to fund new road construction.

Virginia increased sales tax rate from 5% up to 5.3% to fund new road construction. Virginia’s new transportation bill has increased sales taxes across the state to help pay for new roads to relieve traffic congestion. This bill increases taxes by more in Northern Virginia than in Southern Virginia because traffic problems are worse in the north.

The state tax rate increased from 5% up to 5.3%. The bill increased the tax rate in Northern Virginia by an extra 0.7% so the tax rate in Northern Virginia is now 6%. However, the tax rate for food sales will stay the same as the bill made an exception for these sales.

This bill also reduced gas taxes which should cause gas prices to drop by about 6 cents a gallon this summer.

Read more at INSIDENOVA


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