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Level 2

Invoicing Customer for Sales Tax EXPENSE (Not liability)

Some vendors charge us sales tax on equipment purchases for out of state customers that we need to be reimbursed for. These are not tax liabilities since the vendor is the one paying the state for the sales tax amount.


We are recording the sales tax on our vendor bill as an expense line item to a "Sales Tax Expense" account.


When we invoice the customer, if we use a Customer Tax Code that generates a tax sales tax amount - it's my understanding that this creates a liability to that payable sales tax account. Since we simply need to be reimbursed for the tax amount, how do we record this on the customer invoice?


I thought we could create a non-inventory item for "SALES TAX" but I'm not sure if that's the proper way to achieve this.

2 Comments 2

Invoicing Customer for Sales Tax EXPENSE (Not liability)

Let's get this sorted out, ChiColorLabel.


You can enter a sales tax adjustment to reimburse your out-of-state customers. Below are the steps to complete the process:


  1. Go to the Vendors menu then select Sales Tax > Adjust Sales Tax Due.
  2. In the Sales Tax Adjustment window, set the Adjustment Date to the date where you want to start tracking sales tax.
  3. From the Sales Tax Vendor drop-down, choose the sales tax agency you pay sales tax to.
  4. Set the Adjustment Account. Note that it should be an Expense account as you will be reducing sales tax.
  5. In the Adjustment box, make sure Reduce Sales Tax By is selected, then enter the amount of Sales Tax to be adjusted. (This will be the value you have from the Sales Tax Liability report.)
  6. In the Memo field, enter a note about the adjustment. Example: Adjustment to zero out the sales tax.
  7. Select OK to finish.
  8. Pay sales tax.
    • From the Vendors menu, select Sales Tax then Pay Sales Tax.
    • Select the Bank Account, Check Date, Show Sales Tax Due Through, and Starting Check No.
    • Put a check-mark on the Sales Tax Due and the Sales Tax Adjustment showing in the list. Note that they zero out each other.
    • Check your Sales Tax Liability report and the sales tax up to that point will now be zero.


To know more about how sales tax works in QuickBooks Desktop, check out this article: Refund sales tax collected from tax exempt customers. On the same link, you'll find other sales tax-related write-ups for future reference.


Please let me know if you need clarification about this, or there's anything else I can do for you. I'll be standing by for your response. Have a good one.

Level 13

Invoicing Customer for Sales Tax EXPENSE (Not liability)



The situation you're describing sounds an awful lot like a resale situation.  If that's the case, why is your vendor charging you sales tax on equipment that you're reselling?  You should be able to file a sales tax exemption certificate with your vendor, no?  

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