Category Archives: Accounting, Taxes & Legal

Articles on regulatory aspects of online selling, including sales taxes, VAT and intellectual property issues.

Ecommerce Accounting: All Online Sellers’ Questions Answered

Answers to all the most important questions about ecommerce accounting, from software and data integration to taxes and reporting

Ecommerce accounting with apps and charts

This post is by Mike Cortes, owner of ecommerce bookkeeping and financial coaching service Zynergy Books.

Accurate bookkeeping is the foundation for any ecommerce business. Proper accounting can take that foundation and build a successful future for you and all that you worked hard for.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs view ecommerce accounting and bookkeeping as burdensome and put it off until the end of the reporting period. What many fail to realize is that procrastination could be costing them tens of thousands of dollars annually, by not properly planning and strategizing with their bookkeeper and accountant.

The goal of this article is to empower you, the ecommerce professional, to take action on your finances and reap the rewards that you so greatly deserve.

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29+ States Are Bringing in Sales Tax Economic Nexus. Are You Ready?

Sales tax will never be the same again after South Dakota v. Wayfair, as a majority of states jump on this new opportunity to tax remote sellers.

US sales tax states and economic nexus chart

Shown above: remote seller nexus by state as of October 4, 2018

U.S. sales tax will never be the same again, especially for online sellers.

Why is that? Well, a Supreme Court ruling on June 21st, 2018 threw out the idea that liability for sales tax had to be based on having some sort of physical presence in the state.

Now, due to the South Dakota v. Wayfair case, states can introduce something called economic nexus. There are no tests of physical presence at all for economic nexus. Instead, a seller can become liable to sales tax based on the total number of orders shipped to customers in that state, or the total dollar value of those orders.

Today, 29 U.S. states have adopted economic nexus, and more could follow suit. How did this seismic shift in sales tax come about? What are online sellers’ new obligations, and what do they need to do to fulfill them?

We’ll also look at the services provided by post sponsor Avalara, to help sellers handle their sales tax responsibilities.

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Intellectual Property For Amazon Sellers: Know Your Rights!

CJ Rosenbaum explains how to develop your intellectual property rights, protect them and remove hijackers when selling products on Amazon

Intellectual Property For Amazon Sellers: Know Your Rights!

This post is by CJ Rosenbaum, Partner and Managing Attorney at Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C.

At first glance, intellectual property law can seem a frightening subject for online sellers. But, in reality, it’s not as complex as you may think. In fact, there are just two main areas that sellers need to know about – developing and protecting their intellectual property rights.

The development of your intellectual property rights includes creating trademarks, understanding copyright, obtaining patents and designing enforceable trade dress. Once you’ve developed these, protecting your rights simply covers how to spot violations of your intellectual property and what to do about them.

In this article, we’ll cover all the basic information that Amazon sellers need to know about intellectual property law. We’ll look at the ways your listings and products are protected, how to enforce your rights and how to remove listing hijackers.

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Financial Management Made Easy: Tools and Services For Online Sellers

Managing your finances can be a nightmare. These tools and services reduce headaches, increase accuracy and help find new opportunities.

Very often, marketplace sellers focus on the more exciting parts of their business, like product sourcing, and shy away from areas that they find boring, or difficult, like managing their finances.

This can be counterproductive, because no matter how you feel about getting your finances in order, it’s a necessary part of running any business. It’s a discipline that sellers need to embrace, and become proficient at, so they really understand the numbers that matter.

You don’t have to spend hours in Excel to keep on top of your record keeping and accounts. There are tools and services specifically made to help manage bookkeeping for ecommerce businesses. These help make the process more efficient, while also minimizing the risk of errors.

There are also tools that produce reports to help you see how your business is doing. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you are busy all day dealing with suppliers, listing products and providing customer support. But being able to see how profitable you are, at any time and at any level of detail, is crucial to business success.

Expanding into new product lines, or increasing purchase levels to get better discounts, can also make a big difference to your business. Some sellers choose to take out loans, or use other cash flow solutions, so they can take advantage of new opportunities when they present themselves, or plan for the seasonal ups-and-downs of ecommerce.

In this post I’ll walk you through the Financial Management category of the Web Retailer directory. It covers Cash Flow and Loans, Accounting Connectors, Ecommerce Accounting and Sales Tax and VAT.

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Sales Tax and Amazon FBA: Have We All Been Getting It Wrong?

Alex Knight interviews attorney Paul Rafelson about US sales tax for Amazon FBA sellers, and the MTC’s amnesty. Should you opt in?

Alex interviews Paul Rafelson

As you may have seen, sales tax is a rather hot topic for Amazon sellers at the moment, following the Multistate Tax Commission’s decision to hold a US sales tax amnesty for online sellers.

With the October 17th deadline looming, there is much debate about whether Amazon sellers are even liable for sales tax, and whether they should make a voluntary disclosure under this amnesty. This week, I spoke to Paul Rafelson, a state and local tax attorney, to get his opinions on both of these topics.

What Paul said surprised me, as it was very different to the orthodox view of FBA and sales tax. Ultimately, he believes that Amazon sellers who fulfill their orders using FBA may not be liable for sales tax at all. His contention is that sales tax “nexus”, usually the key consideration for Amazon FBA sellers, is actually irrelevant, because Amazon itself is the “retailer” under sales tax law and should be responsible for collecting sales tax themselves.

We also talked about the MTC amnesty, which Paul believes Amazon sellers should not comply with because, in his opinion, it is a bad policy, based on a weak understanding of the realities of selling on Amazon. He also fears that if sellers comply, they could be hit with further taxes, such as income tax and franchise tax, and end up crippled by a huge compliance burden.

You can watch the full interview with Paul below, and we’ve also included a full transcript of the conversation.

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