The rules about sales tax filing in North Carolina can be complicated and are also subject to change. A professional accountant or bookkeeper is a great asset to your small or medium business as you try to navigate these changes and avoid any late fees or penalties you may incur for making mistakes in your sales tax filing.
Here are some basic things to know about sales tax filing in NC:
- Who needs to file sales tax? If your business has an office, place of business, distribution location or employees located in NC, chances are that you need to file sales tax in NC. Some services are not taxable in NC, but there are many exceptions, including dry cleaning and laundry services, telecommunication services, prepaid phone services, video programming services, satellite radio services, entertainment venue admissions and many others. Tangible products are usually subject to sales tax, but there are exceptions to that as well, like groceries, prescription medicines and medical devices.
- How do you get a sales tax permit? Your business will need to apply for a sales tax permit. This can be done online or by mail. If you buy a business from someone else, you must apply for a new permit.
- How much sales tax should you charge? Sales tax rates vary from 6.75% to 7.5% in NC, depending on local additions to the state’s base rate. Sales tax should be charged based on the buyer’s location (not the location of your business).
- When do you need to file? This depends on how much sales tax your business owes each month. If it is $99 or less, you can file quarterly. If it is more than $100, you will file monthly and if it is more than $20,000, you may be expected to prepay a portion each month.
- How can you complete your sales tax filing? Sales tax filing can be done online or by mail.