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All About Data: How to Pull Sales Tax Reports Across Multiple Platforms

data is the new oil.

In the modern age, e-commerce rules. Hundreds of digital sales platforms span the internet, selling to millions of people throughout the world every day. While this has been a huge boon to online retailers in maximizing sales and visibility, it also creates challenges with sales tax reporting and compliance.

Sales tax requirements vary by state and local jurisdictions. But the bottom line is that sellers are responsible for collecting, reporting, and remitting sales tax in all states where they have nexus, (which is a physical or significant economic presence). This requires tracking sales carefully.

Whether for nexus determination or sales tax reporting, consolidating transaction data from all sales channels is necessary. Key data needed includes gross sales, exempted sales, taxable sales, taxes collected, location of buyers, etc. For those who are unfamiliar with raw data, exporting and understanding these reports can feel impossible. Transaction data is often scattered across different channels in different formats, and consolidating it into a single, legible report that can be used for sales tax returns is difficult and rife with potential for error.

This article provides an overview of sales tax reporting across different platforms, and why these reports are important in the first place. We’ll cover sales tax collection on the major online sales avenues, how to export data, what is needed on a sales tax report, and how SalesTaxSolutions.US handles data pulling and organization for our clients.

The Beginnings of Online Sales Tax Collection

Online sales tax collection is still in its youth, with origins going back only five years. This modern practice is rooted in a landmark Supreme Court case known as South Dakota v. Wayfair.

In 2018, this court case ruled that states can require online sellers to collect and remit sales tax once they hit specific economic nexus thresholds. This term, economic nexus, refers to a connection or a link based on sales or transaction volume. Economic nexus is what helps a taxing jurisdiction, (i.e. a state), to determine if an entity, (i.e. an online business), has enough financial impact to require sales tax responsibility.

But why is this necessary? Before South Dakota v. Wayfair, online sellers could avoid collecting sales tax if they didn’t have a physical presence in their consumer’s state. This loophole led to significant competitive disadvantages for local businesses, loss of tax revenues for the state, and an overall inequality in the digital marketplace. By ruling in favor of South Dakota, the Supreme Court changed how sales tax applies to online sellers. They determined that, in the digital era, physical presence isn’t the only way by which a business can have substantial nexus in a state. Economic activity is also a considerable factor.

How South Dakota v. Wayfair Changed Sales Tax

While this decision gave states autonomy in determining nexus thresholds and gathering lost revenue, its far-reaching effect created both challenge and opportunity for online sellers and platforms. Now, understanding and complying with multi-state sales tax laws is crucial for anybody conducting e-commerce. For example, debate-frontrunner South Dakota set its nexus thresholds at $100,000 of sales or 200 separate transactions in the current or previous calendar year. California, on the other hand, did away with transaction thresholds and set economic nexus to $500,000 of sales in the current or prior year. With so much variation, a keen eye for detail and organization is required to ensure compliance.

Is it a Marketplace Facilitator?

Adding yet another layer of complexity to online sales tax collection are Marketplace Facilitator Laws. While these laws can throw a curveball into sales tax remittance, they also can offer a degree of relief for sellers by shifting some tax responsibilities onto the facilitator.

What is a Marketplace Facilitator?

A marketplace facilitator – at the most basic level – is a platform (or marketplace) that connects sellers to consumers. Think Amazon, Etsy, or eBay. These established sales avenues allow independent businesses to list products on their platforms to be exposed to millions of shoppers every day.

But not every sales platform is a marketplace facilitator, so what’s the difference? The key lies in how transactions are processed. If the platform is responsible for processing payments on behalf of the seller and is involved in order execution, it’s considered a marketplace facilitator. Simply put, it comes down to who facilitates the entire sale.

What are Marketplace Facilitator Laws?

Since platforms like Amazon and eBay facilitate a large volume of sales for millions of businesses, marketplace facilitator laws were introduced soon after the inception of online sales tax collection. This ensures appropriate remittance, and eases burden on independent businesses by making the facilitator responsible for sales taxes collected.

However simple they may seem, marketplace facilitator laws vary. Most states require facilitators to meet the same economic nexus thresholds set for any online retailer, and while this isn’t a consideration for big shots like Amazon, smaller facilitators and their sellers must stay aware of how the mandates change from state-to-state. The confusion increases for retailers who use multiple platforms – especially when some serve as marketplace facilitators while others don’t. Ultimately, it is the sellers’ reponsibility to understand their obligations relating to tax collection and remittance for each platform they use.


Learn more about marketplace facilitator laws in this post!

Popular Platforms: Collection and Reporting

When it comes to sales tax, accurate data is essential. It can help businesses avoid penalties and audits, make return filing easier, and transform numbers into knowledge and opportunity. However, understanding how sales platforms collect sales tax and where to find and export reports can be a challenge for even the most Google-savvy. Let’s explore sales tax collection and reporting processes for the most popular sales platforms.

Amazon

As a marketplace facilitator, Amazon handles collecting sales tax from buyers on behalf of third party sellers and remits those taxes to the appropriate states. In Amazon Seller Central, retailers can download sales tax reports that show the tax collected and remitted to each state for a selected time period.

How to Access Amazon Reports

  1. Login to Amazon Seller Central.
  2. Select the three lines on the top lefthand corner of the homepage.
  3. Hover over Reports.
  4. Select Tax Document Library.
  5. Scroll down to the Sales Tax Report section.
  6. Select Generate a tax report.
  7. A window will pop up with report types, reporting range, and location filtering. For an informational report of the sales tax Amazon has already collected and remitted, choose Combined Sales Tax Report.
  8. Once you have set your parameters, select Generate.
  9. Refresh the page until you see a Download option next to the report.
  10. Download and save the excel document.

eBay

eBay is another marketplace facilitator that collects and remits sales tax on all sales made through its platform. Reports should still be pulled for informational purposes, as well as to ensure that tax is being collected appropriately. Additionally, some states require marketplace facilitator sales to be reported and exempted on sales tax returns.

How to Access eBay Reports

  1. Login to the Seller Hub.
  2. Go to the Payments tab.
  3. From the menu on the left, select Reports.
  4. Select Transaction report.
  5. Select transaction Type.
  6. Select a Start and End date.
  7. Select Create Report.

In order to get all of the necessary information for sales tax reporting, you may need to customize this report. You can do this by selecting Customize column settings and choosing the desired columns. Ensure that you have shipping details, gross sales, and taxes paid by eBay in your report.

Shopify

Unlike Amazon and eBay, Shopify isn’t considered a marketplace facilitator and doesn’t collect and remit sales tax on behalf of the sellers using the platform. Retailers using Shopify as a sales platform must be aware of nexus laws in the states they are selling in, and don’t set up sales tax collection unless they are registered to collect and remit in that state. You can learn more about setting up Shopify tax calculation and collection here.

How to Access Shopify Reports

Shopify has several different report options for sales tax. Sellers are even able to create and save custom reports. To access or create a report:

  1. Sign in to your Shopify account.
  2. Go to Analytics.
  3. Select Reports under the Analytics tab.
  4. From here, you can scroll through default Shopify reports or select Create custom report on the top right.

Additionally, you can export orders to get a report with sales tax information.

  1. Select Orders in the lefthand menu.
  2. Among the tabs in the top right will be an Export option. Select it.
  3. A pop-up window will appear. Select Orders by date.
  4. Select the date range needed.
  5. Export orders.

Other Platforms

Regardless of the platform, sales tax reports need key data such as:

  • Order/transaction
  • Order/transaction date
  • Total sales
  • Taxes collected
  • Nontaxable sales
  • Taxable sales
  • Shipping state
  • Shipping city
  • Shipping address

Here are some other major platforms and key data needed for sales tax reporting.

Etsy

Etsy sellers don’t need to collect and remit sales tax as the platform does this for them. Regardless, they can find a report with sales tax information by going to:

  • Shop Manager
  • Options
  • Download Shop Data
  • Filter for Orders and the date range needed
  • Download to CSV.

Walmart

Another marketplace facilitator, Walmart in responsible for sales tax collection and remittance. Sales tax reports are downloaded one of two ways:

  1. Walmart Fulfillment Services Report
    • Scroll down the lefthand menu to WFS
    • Select Reports
    • Orders
    • Select the date range and export.
  2. Payments Report
    • On the lefthand menu, go to Analytics
    • Payments
    • On the top right, select Download > Payments Legacy Report.

Consolidating Data

Bringing together sales tax data from multiple platforms can be challenging. Each platform exports data in a different format, with different fields and naming conventions. Without a consistent, standardized format, data needs to be cleaned up and merged in a way that ensures no errors are present. This process may involve:

  • Mapping platform-specific field names to standardized names.
  • Handling inconsistently formatted data like dates.
  • Removing unnecessary, blank or duplicated data.
  • Validating entries such as location and tax information.
  • Filling in missing required fields.

Working with raw data like the reports pulled from sales platforms takes effort and a lot of technical know-how. Some companies use automated software to help manage this, others use templates and formatting tools. Regardless of the method, sales tax return filing can be delayed when data isn’t pulled and organized efficiently.

Leveraging SalesTaxSolutions.US for Data

If you’ve followed along thus far, you know that sales tax reporting can be complex. With thousands of tax rules that vary by state, county, and city, hundreds of e-commerce platforms, and confusing data consolidation, even tax-savvy business owners often become overwhelmed. That’s why so many have turned to experts like us.

Hundreds of clients worldwide have discovered the benefits of using SalesTaxSolutions.US for exporting, organizing, and formatting sales data across multiple platforms. We offer a range of sevices tailored to your business, designed to ease the burden of managing, cleaning, and reporting sales tax data.

Ensuring Accuracy and Timeliness

One of the key benefits of our services is data accuracy. We handle the data export process ourselves to ensure all the information used for sales tax return filing is correct. Timeliness is also critical; all data is exported and prepared in a timely manner, enabling the punctual filing of your sales tax returns.

Security and Privacy

We are well aware of the security and privacy concerns our clients have. To address these, we only require secondary user access to selling platforms, which limits us to view, create, and export reports without intruding on your privacy or compromising sales security.

Data Scrubbing and Review

We take raw data and transform it into something meaningful and useful. This process involves scrubbing and reviewing the data for accuracy, fixing blank addresses, removing duplicates, and more. The result? Your raw sales data is transformed into reliable information that can easily be used for sales tax reporting.

Easy Access and Recall

All the cleaned and formatted data is imported into our very own client portal. This portal offers both you and our team easy access to all past data, providing a simple yet comprehensive tool to view and manage sales information and records. It’s the perfect blend of data accessibility and control right at your fingertips.

Audit and Penalty Risk Reduction

With meticulous data organization, we significantly reduce audit and penalty risks for our clients. But if either of these incidents happen, no worries! We gather the necessary data and send it to the Auditor or Department of Revenue to help you manage whatever sales tax roadblocks your business many encounter.


Enlisting the help of professionals like SalesTaxSolutions.US can save you time, provide peace of mind, and reduce risks. Contact us today to handle your sales tax data, so you can focus on the most important thing: growing and managing your business.

Ali Walker

Ali Walker is a writer and overall content creator at Boswick Enterprises, specializing in sales tax education and resources for businesses. Through her work at SalesTaxSolutions.US, Ali strives to cover all aspects of the ever-evolving world of sales tax, providing insights and guidance to business owners.

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