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# How to Calculate Sales Tax

August 7, 2024
Bill Kimball

Businesses are then responsible for remitting it to the government. Here’s how much sales tax you can expect to pay in each state, per the Tax Foundation. Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Here is a list of our partners and here’s how we make money.

## Sales Tax Calculation and Formula

In the United States, sales tax is calculated as a percentage of the retail price of certain goods or services. The tax is legislated and regulated at the state level and provides revenue for government operations. If you’re selling goods online, you are typically required to collect sales tax from wherever your business is located.

## How to Calculate Sales Tax

Eighty-seven dollars in sales tax would need to be added to the original price of the laptop. The final price of the laptop would be \$1,287. If you are a business owner and are interested in automating your sales tax calculation and reporting requirements, click here to get more information. This could be something to consider if you live in a state where sales tax is relatively high and you happen to have made a lot of taxable purchases of goods and services. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services.

## Sales Tax Calculator

Sales tax is a tax that is paid to a tax authority for the sale of goods and services. Sales taxes can also be referred to as retail, excise, or privilege taxes, depending on the state. Sales tax is paid by the buyer and is collected by the seller. The seller has the obligation to remit the tax to the proper tax agency within a prescribed period.

## What happens if you don’t collect sales tax?

To calculate it, convert the sales tax percentage to a decimal, then multiply it by the retail price of the product or service. Another consideration is that sales tax may be charged for online sales, depending on whether the seller is considered to have nexus in a state. Generally, for tax purposes, nexus is understood to mean a physical presence, such as a warehouse, office, or employee who resides in the state.

Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon do not have any state sales taxes. Alaska doesn’t levy state sales taxes, either, but the state allows cities and counties to charge their own taxes. Besides Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon do not levy any state sales taxes. The sales tax rate in the United States ranges from 0% in the aforementioned states to 7.25% in California, with Indiana, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and Tennessee following closely at 7%.

A sales tax is a tax charged by state and local governments on most goods and services. Consumers typically pay the tax at the point of sale, and it is calculated by multiplying the sales tax rate by the price of the good or service being purchased. If you charge sales tax for your products or services, you don’t have to worry about calculating sales tax rate yourself. To use the calculator above and for the most accurate data, have your business address ready, including the street address and ZIP code. Value-added tax (VAT) systems levy consumption taxes on goods and services at every stage of the supply chain where value is added.

Some cities and counties can also charge a local sales tax on top of the state-level one, which this calculator does not account for. Easily calculates sales tax rates in your state with our free tool. Simply plug in your business address and ZIP code to reveal your total estimated tax rate. Sales tax is a simple calculation based on the percentage of a retail price of a good or service.

A business is liable for remitting sales tax in any tax jurisdiction in which it has nexus. Impact on your credit may vary, as credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations. Throughout the U.S., there are also specific weekends or days when sales tax is suspended on certain items, such as electronics, school supplies, appliances, and other types of tools.

It’s really important to know how much an item is going to cost before you purchase it. It’s not as easy as just looking at the price tag; sales tax must be calculated in order to determine the total cost. Sales tax rates are increasing, which makes the tax impact on a purchase more significant. Use these tips to learn how to calculate sales tax on your retail purchases. Calculating sales tax is simple as long as you understand state sales tax rates and collection requirements in the state(s) where the transactions are taking place. It’s important for businesses to ensure that they have complete information on applicable tax rates to remit the correct amount of tax to the government.

As a buyer, if a seller fails to charge you a sales tax, you’re not required to pay the sales tax. As a seller, if you fail to collect and/or pay a sales tax, and the tax authority determines it’s due, the authority will assess penalties and interest. They can ultimately take assets or put liens on them, which can have negative effects on your credit.

The SalesTaxHandbook Sales Tax Calculator is a free tool that will let you look up sales tax rates, and calculate the sales tax owed on a taxable purchase, for anywhere in the United States. Just enter the ZIP code of the location in which the purchase is made! Keep in mind that sales tax jurisdiction rules can sometimes be too complicated to describe rate areas by zip code, so this calculator is provided for reference purposes only. Sales taxes are required in all states that impose them.

With QuickBooks, sales tax rates are calculated automatically for each transaction, saving you time so you can focus on your business. Check out flexible QuickBooks sales tax software for your business to track sales, sales tax, and cash flow. The amount of sales tax you pay depends on the state where you made your purchase.

File as soon as possible to limit penalties. This free service is for illustrative purposes as-is without warranties. If you intend to rely on these rates, please utilize QuickBooks Sales Tax.

1. Some cities and counties can also charge a local sales tax on top of the state-level one, which this calculator does not account for.
2. Sales tax is paid by the buyer and is collected by the seller.
4. If you’re selling a service, such as house cleaning or legal work, that will depend on your state’s specific laws.

Typically, sales tax does not apply to groceries. Sales tax is also usually not applicable to businesses that purchase services or goods while running their business. Additionally, services themselves are not subject to sales tax, with a few exceptions depending on the state and what they offer. Sales taxes are administered at the state level, but they can be levied at the municipal or county level as well. Alaska, for example, has no state sales tax, but many municipalities within Alaska levy sales taxes that range from 1% to 7%.

Sales tax rates vary depending on the state and are based largely on the income of its residents. For example, Hawaii has a rate of 4.44%, while Tennessee has a rate as high as 9.55%. Sales tax provides a state or local government with funds for public services. Some examples include improving education, building and maintaining infrastructures (like roads, parks, and government-owned buildings), and hiring firefighters or police officers. Sales tax does not apply to all goods and services; most states have exemptions on certain categories, such as food, clothing, medicine, newspapers, and utilities. Sales tax is a consumption tax paid by consumers at the point of sale.