Getting Started

Building Blocks

Subscription Features

Localization

Invoices

Credits

Billing Features

Taxes

Payment Methods

Direct Debit Payments

Configuring Gateways

Fraud Management

Hosted Pages

Attach Additional Data

Migration

Open Source Resources

Other Features

API Integration

Third Party Integrations

US Sales Tax 

The tax applied on the final sale of a product or service in the US is called Sales Tax. Unlike VAT or GST, sales tax is not a flat rate that is applied to your invoices across the board; it differs from state to state and product to product, not to mention the ten thousand plus taxing jurisdictions in the US you might be obligated to remit tax to.

Sales Tax Rules 

Sale Tax depends on three main factors: your nexus (or which states you have a connection with - you are only liable to pay tax in states that you have a connection with), the products or services in your product catalog (different tax rates apply to different products) and when you are exempt from taxes (this can differ from state to state as well).

Nexus and Registration

The first step is to figure out which agencies and consequently, which states, you are liable to pay taxes to. This depends on which states you have a connection to (whether that connection is physical - like a warehouse where you are storing goods or non-physical - like a contact that helps contribute to your sales).

Your company's connection with a state is called nexus. Nexus is the benchmark that determines whether your company can be held liable to pay sale tax in a state. You are not liable to pay tax in states where you do not have a nexus.

You will have to register to pay tax in each state where your company has nexus. This includes registering in your home state (where your company is domiciled), states that you frequently visit for business, states where you have fulfilment services, remote employees and affiliate marketing programs. Registration gets your business an official sales tax license. All states require businesses selling taxable goods in their state to register at least 1-2 weeks prior to selling.

Sales Tax Rates

Determining the correct tax that you should apply on your invoices means accounting for

  • The tax that applies to the products in your product catalog: certain kinds of products are taxed differently in the US (for example, food products are exempt from tax in California).

  • The layers of tax that apply to a particular (customer's) address: state, county, city, local and special district taxes (for example, the sale tax rate in Minnesota is 6.875% but can be as high as 8.375% depending on local and municipal taxes). The key is to use your customer's complete address (as opposed to his ZIP code alone) to keep you informed of what tax you are liable to collect from him - each tax jurisdiction is defined by a variety of criteria and can vary from one address to the next. It is not unusual to have multiple sales tax rates within a single ZIP code.

Exemptions

As mentioned, you should check with your individual state government as to which goods and services sold in your state are subject to sales tax. That being said, the following transactions are usually tax exempt:

  • Resold items – Retailers and resellers don't typically have to pay sales tax on wholesale purchases since it's assumed that the end consumer will pay sales tax on these items at the point of purchase.

  • Raw materials – If you produce and sell goods that will be the raw material for other goods, these items are typically considered sales tax exempt.

  • Non-profits – Sales made to non-profits are exempt from sales tax in some cases.
    If you are selling to a non-profit, make sure you get a copy of their tax exemption certification (issued by the state).

State-specific exemptions - Many states offer limited periods where purchases can be made tax-free, it is worth keeping an eye open for them (for example, Texas offers an exemption on sales tax in August during the period leading up to the beginning of the new school year). They are commonly referred to as "sales tax holidays".

Invoices

You can configure invoice settings to suit any specific tax requirements you might have at the Invoice Customization page.

Configuring USA Sale Tax in Chargebee 

This section will walk you through configuring Sale Tax in Chargebee.

Step 1: Update your organization address

Make sure you've added your organization address at Settings > Site info. You cannot configure taxes in Chargebee without completing this step in your initial setup.

Step 2: Enable Tax

Go to Settings > Taxes and click the Enable Tax option.

Step 3: Choose a Price Type for USD

Once taxes are enabled, you will be redirected to a page containing all the currencies that you have enabled for your site. Step 3 is configuring a price type (the price that you quote for your product/service/addon can be either inclusive of tax, where tax is included in the price, or exclusive of tax, where tax is added to the price) for each of these currencies.

US Sales Tax regulation calls for the price of your product to be exclusive of tax. Choosing a tax exclusive price type here will ensure that Sales Tax always shows as added to final price in the invoices.

Note

If you are selling to the US in a different currency, check out how to configure price type for a region so your invoices are aligned with regulation here.

Step 4: Click Add Region and select United States

Click on Add Region and select ‘US' from the region list.

You will now be redirected to a US Sale Tax configuration page.

Step 5: Enter your tax registration number

Enter your tax registration number and your tax registration label here.

Step 6: Add your tax rates

Next up, add your tax rates to Chargebee so it can automatically apply the appropriate amounts to invoices. There are three ways you can do this:

  • Via CSV

  • Via Avalara - a third party application that automates what tax rates are applicable to a particular invoice or,

  • By manually entering the tax rates into the configuration page.

Option A Upload a CSV

You can add your tax rates to Chargebee by uploading a CSV file with the tax details you want Chargebee to be aware of.

Depending on your tax requirements, you need to provide some or all of the following details in the CSV file:

  • Country code (2-letter ISO 3166 alpha-2 country code)

  • State code (ISO 3166-2 state code)

  • ZIP code

  • Tax name (State tax, County tax etc.) and tax rate

  • Jurisdiction type (locale or federal, for example), name (name of the jurisdiction), and the code assigned to the jurisdiction name. This information enables you to easily categorize your taxes according to the jurisdiction, for reporting purposes.

If you need to configure more than one tax rate in Chargebee, you need to repeat this information in the CSV file, for each tax rate. You can use this option to configure up to four different tax rates.

How will Chargebee determine what tax rate to apply

Chargebee will determine which tax rate is applicable to a particular invoice by matching the address information of the customer with the information you have configured in your CSV file.

Order of matching location information:

  • If the customer's subscription shipping address is available, it will be used to find a match in the CSV file. If a match it found, Chargebee will apply the corresponding tax rate to the invoice.

  • If the shipping address is not available, Chargebee will try and match the customer's billing address with the CSV file. If a match is found, Chargebee will apply the corresponding tax rate.

  • If both shipping address and billing address information do not match the information in the CSV file, tax will not be applied.

Option B Use Avalara

Avalara   is a cloud-based SaaS solution for taxation and compliance requirements.

With Chargebee's Avalara integration, you can handle taxation with ease, eliminating the need to manually configure tax for each of your taxable region or nexus. Avalara automates accurate rate determination, address validation, tax filing, and reporting, while complying to jurisdiction rules.

Avalara also handles tax rate updates, so you won't have to manually update the tax rates each time they change. All you need to do is integrate your Avalara account with your Chargebee site and take care of the few prerequisites explained below.

See also

How to set up your Chargebee-Avalara integration.

Option C Enter your tax rates manually

You will need to provide a Tax label and the tax rate for each tax that you would like Chargebee to apply to your invoices.

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