As I start this post I am on the phone with the IRS…AGAIN. I nearly choke on my derision when the canned voice tells me for the millionth time how all their “representatives” are helping other “customers.” Yeah, right. I guess “indentured slaves” sounded bad.
If they really believed in customer service they would have called me back when we got disconnected like Amazon does. But NOooo. I get to sit on hold another 20 minutes because they are not allowed to make outgoing calls from the call centers.
Also if they really believed in customer service they wouldn’t ask me “verification” questions that are really about trying to find new sources of income to take from me and to determine if they should flag my return.
If I were a customer, they wouldn’t send an agent to my house to intimidate me for no reason (two years ago), and they might even give me the benefit of the doubt since they tend to make mistakes themselves from time to time like losing hard drives with private taxpayer data on it.
Now we all get that the IRS is not our friend, but most people don’t really get how much our enemy they are until something goes wrong. I’ve had the IRS make so many mistakes over the years that I no longer raise an eyebrow when I get certified letters from them. They’ve threatened my house and business numerous times with scary letters. I know they are wrong because I know myself. They are bullies who think we are all deadbeats.
Today it took nearly an hour to get their mistake fixed and even then I didn’t get a “we’re sorry” or even an acknowledgement that the mistake was their fault. When I talked about the documentation that I had, the agent said, “Well I don’t know about any letter you may have received…” and I said “it’s the IRS’ letter! Why don’t you know about it?!?”
They charged me $50 to fix their error. I’m welcome to send a copy of my proof/letter to them to get this fee waived. Not corrected, not returned, but waived. Like they are doing me a big, fat favor.
OK, so all this impotent rage makes me really appreciate good customer service and it made me think about why people are so afraid of taxes. It is complicated. It is adversarial. You are by default wrong and a liar which is disheartening.
I’d like to tell you that state taxes and state sales taxes are easier and that state collections agencies are nicer…but they aren’t. They can be nastier and they tend to move faster than the IRS. Whereas the IRS allows for negotiations and installment payments, many states do not. Timely compliance is in your best interest.
State sales tax is a growth industry – one that has states redistricting just so new tax areas can be created. Federal with its 1 million+ lines of tax code is bad enough, but the States are a contradictory mess of rules and exceptions…and we are responsible for knowing each state’s lingo and quirks. When other sellers tell me they are waiting to set up their sales taxes in other states, I know where they are coming from. They are praying that the federal government streamlines the process for us online sellers. You know things are bad when we are praying for congress to help us pay our taxes. But I digress.
What the tax collectors nationwide need and don’t have is TaxJar.com helping to make taxes more friendly and easy to comply with. Most business owners are trying to do the right thing but they need help at a price they can afford. Mark Faggiano is a real sweetheart of a CEO who takes phone calls and really listens to his (gasp!) customers. That would be us, online sellers.
Almost every feature we’ve asked for in the past has been integrated into the current version of TaxJar:
- Integrate with the platforms we sell on from Amazon, eBay, Square, PayPal, Bigcommerce, to Shopify and more
- See how much sales tax you’ve collected from all platforms at a glance
- See how much sales tax you actually collected vs. how much you should have collected
- Allow us to tell TaxJar our start dates having sales tax nexus in a state so we don’t remit too much sales tax to any given state
- Remind us when our sales tax filings are due
- Detailed but easy-to-read reports with all the information we need to fill out sales tax returns. Even in those pesky destination-based states!
- Historical data that allows us to go back and add previous months’ or years’ sales tax numbers so everything is in one place
- Keep track of Amazon nexus states for us
In fact, they do just about everything for us except set us up in each state and file our taxes for us. But wait! That’s not true anymore. As of today, TaxJar.com will now file your sales tax returns for you in 26 states…and counting!
Their new AutoFile from TaxJar service includes:
- Regular emails telling you how much you owe
- File your state sales tax return for you
- Pay what you owe directly from your bank account
- Record payment in TaxJar for you
- Confirm when your AutoFile is complete
Talk about an Easy button! This makes compliance a heck of a lot easier. It is $19.95 per filing. Regular TaxJar is $9.95 for most sellers (unless you are really big). You can decide on a month-by-month, state-by-state basis if you want them to file for you or if you want to file for yourself. There are 26 states set up for this service already – including all the Amazon nexus states except Arizona – with plans to ultimately cover all 50 states.
If you are already filing sales tax in multiple states, I don’t have to tell you what a pain it is and how much of a difference TaxJar already makes with that painful process. With this new service, a lot of online sellers can do something crazy like focus on their businesses instead of trying to interpret each state’s weird online forms and legalistic “instructions” that were not written for humans.
If you have a state where you pay annually, AutoFile is once a year. If you have a state that requires filing monthly, then it would be a monthly charge of $19.95 for that state.
I have a mixture of quarterly, monthly and annually so January is a $%#@ pain when it comes to filing. Every state wants me to file and I’m still in the post-holiday retail dumps. Have they no compassion? Next January we can all have TaxJar do it for us instead. At least TaxJar understands our pain.