We'll start with the most obvious question:


To understand what sales tax analysis is, you first need to know what sales tax is. So, let’s go over that and get it out of the way. Trust us, the fun part is worth the wait!

General sales tax is what we call a consumption tax, meaning one which is charged when a product or a service is purchased. Usually, sales tax is charged to the end consumer. This means that if a product or service travels from point A to reach the final consumer who is at point Z, that consumer at point Z will be charged the sales tax for the goods and services they have purchased.

Conventional and retail sales tax usually operates on two levels:

  • State sales taxes: This is a type of retail sales tax which exists on a state level, for example the entire state of New York. State tax rates may vary per state, and each state has its own regulations. For example, New York has different sale tax rates compared to California.
  • Local sales tax: This means sales tax that exists on a local level, for example in a particular city or country of a state. Any business will be faced with local sales tax in 38 states across the Unite States. All local governments have their own regulations when it comes to local sales tax, and local sales tax may vary depending on which city/country you’re located in.


While we’re on the subject, we’d like to remind you that general sales tax is different from income tax.

How? Like we said, general sales tax applies to products or services whenever a purchase, or sale, is made. In short:

Income tax is what you pay to federal and state governments based on the total income you make as a business. Sales tax is what your customers have to pay after buying something which you offer through your business.


You may have heard the term “sales and use tax” being tossed around in business forums and Youtube videos. Let’s dissect what it actually is and why it’s often coupled with sales tax. Whereas sales tax is charged on tangible goods and services which are purchases from a person, use tax applies to whatever goods or services that are bought outside of the state you’re located in, and that you plan on using in the state you’re located in, hence the name.

In short:

If you live in California and you purchase an item from California, as a buyer, you will be charged sales tax. If you’re in California, and you buy a product from the District of Columbia which you’ll be using in California, use tax will be applied to that purchase.



Great question, and you’re not the first person to ask! If we only had a penny!

Well, the easy answer would be…because governments have tax laws which prompt us to pay taxes! Again, you would ask why those laws are even there to begin with.

To understand that, you need to know what tax revenue is. We really don’t want to bore you with details, so we’ll have an “in a nutshell” approach to this question:

In a nutshell (!), a government’s income is called tax revenue. And where do governments get that income? From taxes, obviously! Whether through income, use, value-added, sales, or any sort of tax, the government gets the money it needs to sustain various organizations, such as public schools, police departments, social services, etc. General sales tax is a big part of that.

Simple, Right? Not Really!

While all of this sounds pretty simple in theory, there’s a lot more to general sales tax than meets the eye. Like we said, each state has different ways of calculating its tax rate, with some being really high, and some being very low, to none at all.

Then there’s the regulations per state, and how local governments treat those regulations. In fact, it is exactly the intricate nature of tax, any type of tax, that confuses a lot of people, sellers and buyers alike. Luckily, there are tax professionals out there like our pros at Prestige Auditors, who can assist you with these regulations and show you one or two loopholes while we’re at it!

Businesses and Sales Tax Nexus

Yes, we know, that’s a pretty worrisome title. But, no worries!

We’ll start off with what a nexus is, and why it’s closely connected with taxes.

Let’s say you’re a business owner and your business is called XYZ and it’s located in the District of Columbia. The connection your business has with a taxing authority (in this case, the District of Columbia as a state) is defined as a nexus. Basically, if you don’t have a nexus, a taxing authority cannot impose its tax laws on your business.

There are different types of nexus, and you guessed, sales tax nexus is one of them.

Back in the good old days, a sales tax nexus would be determined by:

  • The physical location of a business in a state
  • The business having employees working for it in a state
  • Possessing tangible property in a state
  • Having sales reps in a state

But we’re not in the old days anymore, are we? The advent of online businesses meant more businesses that don’t really have a physical presence in a state, which in its turn meant little tweaks in the law to address the sales tax nexus concerning online businesses. Two years ago, the Supreme Court decided that the laws of the good old days didn’t work as well in the better new days, and as a result, allowed states the right to ask online sellers without a physical presence to charge and collect sales tax from whoever ends up buying their products.

Obviously, smaller online businesses, such as family-run businesses, would see harm as a result. And this is why many states came up with the idea of thresholds. A threshold is a minimum number of financial transactions or sales a business needs to have in order for the state to impose its sales tax regulations on said business. If the total annual transaction is less than that minimum, the state will not charge sales tax for that business.

Nexus Triggers and Their Importance

Like we said, each state (unless that state has no sales tax) has set a minimum number of yearly transactions for online business, below which no sales tax will be charged. If as a business, you pass that minimum, you will have what we call a “nexus trigger,” meaning that you will be required by law to collect, file, and report taxes on the products or services which you sell, as well income tax on your total revenue.

Now, why is this important? Because failing to do so means getting hit with heavy state fines which could be damaging to your business. These state fines may take 10% of your total revenue.

In the case of online sellers selling through third-party marketplace facilitators like Amazon or Walmart, this can be very problematic. When you sell your products on these marketplaces, you really have no control over which states they go to, and you might be unaware of the states in which you’ve triggered a nexus requirement. In the case of Amazon, for example, your inventory will be stored in states where Amazon has warehouses, and this may trigger a nexus which you might not even realize. How can you file taxes if you’re unaware of the fact that you have to? This means that those state fines will hit your business and damage your total revenue.

Luckily, There Is a Solution!

Yes, the solution lies in conducting what is known as a sales tax analysis. And this is exactly what we at Prestige Auditors are here to offer your business. What we will do, is go through your business, run a sales tax analysis, and figure out the states in which you have had nexus triggers.

So? Then What?

Once we figure out the states where you’ve activated nexus triggers and have to deal with sales tax in, we’ll move on to phase two of the master plan: getting you tax exempt in those states, meaning saving you from extra sales tax! This is the end goal of sales tax analysis! Keeping you safe from state fines, and helping you avoid paying extra sales tax. You can do it legally, and you should!



If you’re a reseller of products or services, you will be charged with sales tax on the products and services which you buy. This holds true in any state. Why? Because the suppliers you buy from are required by the state law to do so. Where you purchase from is considered Point A, and you as a buyer are technically considered Point Z, even though you plan on reselling whatever it is you buy. That means you get slapped with sales tax, and when you resell those goods to end consumers, additional sales tax is charged again! This is what the law requires and this is what we call double taxation. That additional general sales tax could have gone into perfecting your business.

Here’s the good news: it still can, provided that you have the paperwork which proves that you are not Point Z, and that you will be reselling these products or services to end-consumers!

These are called tax exemption documents. By acquiring them and presenting them to your suppliers along with other documents proving that you are a reseller, your suppliers will not charge sales tax to you when you purchase from them. Instead, you will charge that sales tax to end consumers who will purchase those products from you. Goodbye, additional double taxation!


To Conclude

Sales tax analysis can be extremely beneficial for your business. Not only will you know about the nexus triggers your business has or may have in a state, you will know which states you need to acquire tax exemption documents in, and you can avoid paying additional sales tax there, as well as stay safe from heavy state fines! This can be extremely beneficial if you are located or sell your products in states which have insanely high sales tax rates.

If you are worried about nexus triggers and want to run an analysis of your business, Prestige Auditors is your go-to place! We will conduct a thorough sales tax analysis of your business, figure out which states you need tax exemption for, and handle the tax exemption process for you! Our tax professionals are always here to help you out with any additional tax-related questions you might have. On top of all this, we are also happy to assist prospective business owners with setting up their business strong from day one!

Book a call with us now, or click the button below and let’s figure out what we can do with your business!