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Set up sales tax in QuickBooks Desktop

You may be required to collect taxes for certain goods and services you offer. QuickBooks helps you keep an accurate record of these taxes so you can easily monitor and remit them to the appropriate tax collecting agency.

This article is part of a series on Sales Tax. It covers the usual sales tax workflow in QuickBooks Desktop.

It also helps you complete other sales tax-related tasks.

If you encounter problems while working on your sales tax, see Resolve common sales tax issues.

Note: Before you set up your sales tax items/groups, make sure you check the tax rates and requirements with your tax agency.

To start recording sales tax in QuickBooks Desktop, you need to turn on this feature and set up sales tax items or tax groups.

  1. Go to the Edit menu, then select Preferences.
  2. On the Preferences window, select Sales Tax then go to the Company Preferences tab.

    User-added image

  3. Select Yes to turn on sales tax.
  4. Set up the sales tax items or sales tax groups for each county, district, city, etc. where you collect sales tax. Click Add sales tax item to do this.

    A sales tax item is used to add and calculate tax charges when you make a taxable sale.

    To create new sales tax items:

    1. From the Type drop-down, choose Sales Tax Item.
    2. On the Sales Tax Name field, enter your preferred name for the tax item. It is advisable that you use the location of tax for the name. Further information can be entered in the Description field.
    3. On the Tax Rate (%) field, enter the specific rate for the item.
    4. On the Tax Agency field, type the name of the collecting agency (set up as a Supplier). If the agency is not in the list yet, select Add New to set it up.
    5. Select OK.

    To edit an existing sales tax item:

    1. Go to the Lists menu, then select Item List.
    2. Find the sales tax item you need to update.
    3. Right-click on the item, then select Edit Item 
    4. Update information like the sales tax name, rate, and tax agency.
    5. Select OK.

    Set up sales tax group for multiple sales tax items that appear on the same sales transaction. When you set up a sales tax group, you can track and report sales taxes individually although they show as a single line item on your invoices and sales receipts.

    1. From the Type drop-down, choose Sales Tax Group.
    2. On the Group Name/Number field, type your preferred name for the tax item group. Further information can be entered in the Description field.
    3. Enter each sales tax that you need to include in the group. If the tax item is not set up yet, select Add New, then follow the steps in creating a tax item.
    4. Select OK.
  5. Assign sales tax codes. Sales tax codes help you track taxable and non-taxable sales and/or customers. Setting up and assigning the correct sales tax code allows you to run a report that divides the total taxable and non-taxable sales. When you turn on sales tax in QuickBooks, two tax codes are automatically created: TAX (taxable) and NON (non-taxable). TAX is used for items and customers that you need to collect tax for. NON is used for items and customers that are exempted from tax such as non-profit organisations, out-of state sales, or items that your customers will resell.
    1. Go to the Lists menu, then select Item List.
    2. On the Item List window, select Item then New (or Edit Item).
    3. From the tax code drop-down, choose Non Taxable Sales (or Non Taxable Labour).
    1. Go to the Customers menu, then select Customer Centre.
    2. Right-click the customer name you need to set up as non-exempt, then select Edit Customer:job.Note: If the customer is not set up yet, select New Customer & Job > New Customer.
    3. On the Edit customer screen, go to the Sales Tax Settings tab.
    4. From the Tax Code drop-down, choose Non-Taxable Sales (or Service). On the Resale No. field, enter the customer’s resale certification no.
    5. Select OK.

    If you want to create a tax code specific to your business needs, select the Tax Code drop-down then choose Add New.

  6. Set the Sales tax basis (Accrual or Cash). Take into account your company’s accounting an preference.
  7. Set up your preference for paying the sales tax (Monthly, Quarterly, Annually).
  8. Select OK.

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