As a fully registered business in the state of Texas, we collect sales tax from our customers on each purchase and send it off to the Sales Tax office in Austin, Texas. Depending on the total amount we owe in taxes in a year, those taxes are paid annually or quarterly. I knew that our sales tax was due on January 20th. We did our inventory right after the first of the year and I've been massaging the numbers off and on since then.
Back in the days when we ran our business through QuickBooks, the tax numbers popped right out. We pay taxes in quite a few locations so it can be tricky. We do shows in Boerne, Kendall County, in Sequin, Guadelupe County, in Columbus, Colorado County, in Cypress, Harris County as well as having sales here at the studio in Cat Spring, Colorado County. When I fill out the tax forms, I need to specify how much we took in at each location and then the Texas state website does the calculations.
We had several issues with QuickBooks, most importantly, it's lack of functionality with inventory. We had to keep a running total of what we had and change the numbers with each sale because QuickBooks couldn't do it. It was a recipe for disaster and meant we had to check and re-check to make sure out list was accurate. We now use Shopify to handle our sales. It's cheaper than what it cost us to have seperate merchant accounts at the places you need - American Express, Discover, Visa and MasterCard - and I love the inventory control. It runs our website and all of that is wonderful.
The only thing that Shopify doesn't do well is sales tax. The software was written in Canada and I think it's predicated on the idea that taxes are pretty standard. The Canadians have a standard country wide sales tax of 5% and then each province can add an additional tax and decide which items are to be taxed. While these taxes vary from province to province, they are the same within any specific provence. Not at all like here in the US. Each state within the our country sets its own sales tax and rules. Here in Texas the standard percentage of 6.25% can be increased by any city, county or taxing agency. So even our different venues in Texas are taxed at seperate rates. Our shows in other states are taxed completely differently also but because we only do those shows once per year and pay our sales taxes before we leave the venue, the calculations are easier.
WAIT! YOU MEAN RIGHT NOW?
So I looked up at about 2 pm on Friday January 20th and realized our taxes were due that day. Well, crap. Drop everything and get those taxes finished! All the information I needed was available in Shopify but it doesn't just pop easily out of the program. I needed to create several different reports and grab my handy calculator.
The Texas State website requires we pay our taxes on line which is great. No writing checks and sending them through the mail. Unfortunately, the state website has a very short list of credit cards it will accept which does not include either our company card or my personal credit cards. The whole process gets a bit more complicated.
For now, our taxes are fully up to date! Whew! We are good to go.