Is a sales tax return required even if my tax due is zero?
Yes. Every business with a sales tax license is required to file a sales tax return even if no sales were made during the period covered by the return. However, if you have seasonal sales or your sales tax liability has declined, you may request less frequent filing from the state.
Many application forms for a sales tax license request an average annual liability. This information is used to determine filing frequency. Some states permit less frequent filing if the liability is small. Large liabilities may require more frequent filing or prepayments.
Once a taxpayer is registered to collect or pay sales and use taxes in a jurisdiction, returns must be filed on a timely basis. The jurisdiction will inform the taxpayer of their filing frequency and due date. The due date applies to both filing of the return and payment of the tax.
Sales tax returns are generally due in the month following the taxable event. For example, tax collected during the month of January is due on the January sales tax return which is due during the month of February. Return due dates vary by jurisdiction. Common due dates are the 15th, 20th, 25th and end of month. There are a few jurisdictions that have alternate due dates.
Looking for more information? Check out the following resources:
- Learn essential sales and use tax concepts with our Sales Tax 101 webinar on-demand
- Download our free Important Concepts in Sales Tax Administration whitepaper