Weekly Amazon News Round-Up

This week in Amazon news, Staples is closing 200 stores, Forbes gives advice on avoiding sales tax and Oscar winners see a bump in Amazon sales.

Keep reading to learn more.

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Understanding Amazon’s Gated Product Categories

People call Amazon the Everything Store because you can buy just about anything there.

But for Amazon sellers, it should be called the Nearly Everything Store because you can’t sell everything there, at least not without Amazon’s permission.

Confused? Keep reading to understand Amazon’s gated product categories.

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Build a Business, Not a Sandcastle

Starting Your Business

We’re just going to come out and say it:

Amazon  is the easiest way to start selling on-line.

Keep reading to find out why we think this is true and how you can get started selling online.

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New Shipping Rates and Delivery Dates for Amazon.it

If you run a business on amazon.it then you must be aware of the new shipping and delivery changes that took place last week.

This is just a reminder for sellers having an account on Amazon Italy that the delivery rates and delivery estimations changed for Books, Music, Video and DVD products.

Keep reading to learn more.

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Amazon Repricing Playbook: The Pyramid

Data ScienceAmazon is the king of repricing. They have an inventory of tens of millions of items (maybe even hundreds of millions, once you add in digital items).

And they’re always experimenting with pricing strategies. Depending, on the item, the season, the marketplace and other factors, Amazon might apply different repricing strategies to the items they sell.

Today we’re going to look at a page out of the Amazon Repricing Playbook. We’ll analyze the strategy Amazon used to reprice a book on data science (don’t worry, the irony isn’t lost on me). Keep reading to learn more.

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How to Wrangle Sales Tax the Easy Way

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Mark Faggiano, CEO of TaxJar.

Sales Tax 101 for Online Sellers

Sales tax. Collecting and remitting it is one of those little administrative details that can derail a perfectly good eCommerce business.  In the best case, you sell on one channel out of one state and have to deal with sales tax filings a few times per year. In the worst case, you find yourself with “sales tax nexus” in 15 states.

That means following 15 sets of state rules and regulations, filing dozens of tax returns a year, and watching your hair gradually grow gray in the process.

Well, in the very worst case you find yourself the subject of a sales tax audit, but we won’t get into that tale of woe today.

These four basic steps will help you get a firm grip on sales tax:

Get Clear on the Basics of Sales Tax 101

All but 5 individual U.S. states levy sales tax in order to pay for things like schools and roads. As a merchant based in a state, you are required to collect sales tax – based on a state and local rate – and remit it to the state. Basically, you are helping them collect their tax money from your buyers.

Figure Out Your “Nexus”

You are required to collect sales tax in any state where you have “nexus.” While all states have their own laws and regulations about sales tax, most consider “sales tax nexus” to be equivalent to a “physical presence.” For many online sellers just starting out, this is just your home state. But once you get bigger and have employees, offices or warehouses in multiple states, your sales tax nexus becomes much more complicated.

A note to FBA and other 3rd Party Fulfillment Sellers: Most states have language in their sales tax regulations indicating that storing goods in a warehouse in the state creates sales tax nexus. Because of this, Amazon sellers could find themselves collecting sales tax in all 15 states with Amazon Fulfillment Centers.

Register with the States

Once you’ve determined where you have sales tax nexus, register with the state (or states) for a sales tax permit. Most states consider collecting sales tax without a permit a crime, even if you’re just trying to follow the law.

Set up Sales Tax Collection Through Your eCommerce Channels

Most eCommerce platforms will help you automate sales tax collection, but you have to tell them where you need to collect.  Many channels will assume you are only collecting in your home state until you tell them otherwise, so check and double check to avoid incurring penalties.

File Taxes

Once you’ve registered for your sales tax permit, states will assign you a sales tax filing date – usually monthly, quarterly or annually. Be sure you always file a sales tax return on that date. Many states will penalize you for failing to file, even if you owe $0 in sales tax.

When you’re dealing with multiple state laws, you’ll likely have questions.  Where do I have nexus? How much sales tax do I collect? Sign up for a 30-day free trial of TaxJar and we’ll automate your sales tax collection.

Mark Faggiano is the founder and CEO of TaxJar, a service built to make post-transaction sales tax compliance easier for multi-channel ecommerce sellers. Mark’s passion is solving complex problems for small businesses. He previously cofounded and led FileLater to become the web’s leading tax extension service for both businesses and individual taxpayers before being acquired in 2010.