Tax tips for newbie sellers?

  • Hi all,

    I wanted to post this questions because I'm interested on how you all view or approach sales tax if you sell your work.

    The reason I was thinking about this topic is because I have some down time and was considering offering pet portrait commissions to a group of people...But the more I think about it the more I think about invoices and taxes and headaches. And so then I think maybe I should just work on some personal work instead lol. But I also don't want to go on forever being intimidated by these tax realities.

    For me personally I'm not math or accounting minded. I prefer simplicity which seems to be something that simply doesn't exist when it comes to filing taxes correctly. My mom is an accountant and after having a long conversation with her about nexus and destination/origin state taxes and then also county taxes I was so lost and a little concerned I wouldn't be able to realistically keep up with it. I mean if I sell something digitally for a few bucks how do I even find out where the purchaser is located to make sure I charge tax correctly - I guess etsy keeps track of that but what if you want to sell outside of etsy? And if someone purchases something do I need a program that calculates their tax before checkout or do I just factor it out of the overall profit once the sale's done (is that even a thing?). Do I keep a detailed spreadsheet or is there some useful software most people use? Do you hire an accountant or do it all yourself? How does one stay meticulously organized without going insane or spending ridiculous amounts of time on it all. Or maybe that headache is just part of the process?

    If you sell online what's worked for you and do you have any tips or learning resource recommendations to help it all make sense? Do you recommend sites like etsy or setting up an independent shop on your own website? I used to like etsy but it has it's limitations when it comes to calculating taxes so I wonder if it's even worth using it versus just selling independently.

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