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Lowell K
Level 1

Sales tax item - option not available

I have a client file that wasn't originally set up to "charge sales tax". For efficiency purposes for bookkeeping for this client moving forward, I'm trying to set up the sales tax function but when I go through 'Preferences -> Sales tax' and try to set up a new item, 'Sales tax item' isn't available even when trying to set up tax codes. I also can't set up a vendor as a 'Sales Tax Agency' meaning I haven't been able to set up anything with regards to the sales tax option in QuickBooks desktop.

With the client file initially being set up to not include sales tax, is there now a way to go back and set up the sales tax option?

3 Comments 3
Rebecca R
QuickBooks Team

Sales tax item - option not available

Hello Lowell K,


Welcome to the QuickBooks Community! Setting up sales tax is a crucial step in managing the books for yours or your clients' business. QuickBooks makes it easy to keep an accurate record of the taxes you collect and pay so you remit them to the appropriate tax agency. Let me go over the correct steps to set up sales tax in QuickBooks Desktop and provide you with a few options to troubleshoot if you're still not finding the correct settings.


The first step is to set up your clients' sales tax preferences. To do so, here are the steps you'll need to follow:


  1. From the Edit menu, select Preferences.
  2. Select Sales Tax, then go to the Company Preferences tab.
  3. Click Yes to turn on sales tax.
  4. From the Customer and Supplier Tax Codes, mark both checkboxes to allow you to assign a tax code to each customer and supplier.
  5. Change how the sales tax is displayed on forms using the Display Taxes field.
  6. In the Assign Sales Tax Codes area, choose the code you use most often for Taxable and Non-taxable items.

Next up, you'll want to create a tax agency and set up Sales Tax Items or Groups. As you've indicated in your post, you've had difficulty following the step above and with setting up a supplier as a tax agency, so I hope the steps above and the article below help point you in the right direction. You'll find all the step-by-step instructions for this process here: How to set up sales tax in QuickBooks Desktop.


If, after reading through the article above, you're still unable to find the correct settings to enable you to set up sales tax for your client, there may be an issue with QuickBooks Desktop. Keeping your software up-to-date is an important step to ensure that you don't run into problems. You can update manually or turn on Automatic Updates, and all the steps can be found in this article: Update QuickBooks Desktop to the latest release.

It's possible that you may be encountering data damage as well, but don't worry, this is easy to fix with the Rebuild Data tool and the QuickBooks Desktop Tool Hub. The articles below explain how you can use these tools to repair issues that you experience with QuickBooks Desktop.



Don't hesitate to get in touch if you need further clarification or have any additional questions. I'm here to help!



Lowell K
Level 1

Sales tax item - option not available

I've done all the steps you've outlined, but I can't set up a 'New Sales Tax Code' because: 1) when setting up a new item, 'Sales Tax Item' is not an option under "Type", and 2) when I go to set up a "Tax Agency", the checkbox "vendor is a Sales tax agency" is not available (see attached).

And if I can't set up a Sales Tax Code, the options under 'Edit->Preferences' do not save. This is where I'm hung up.  How do I add a Sales Tax Code given what I've described?

Rebecca R
QuickBooks Team

Sales tax item - option not available

Thanks for getting back to me with more information on this @Lowell K.

Since these options aren't available to you, and the articles I've shared above to fix data damage didn't help, the next step in resolving this issue is to reach out to customer support. It's likely that there's data damage that will need to be resolved by our highly trained team of customer support agents. The Contact Us button in the article below will get you where you need to be to reach out.


I wish you the best of luck! Have a great weekend.

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