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New York State's Tax Website: One of the Country's Best?

author photo of Tom Mazurek

I regularly receive questions from clients and colleagues about the taxability of products and services for New York sales and use tax purposes. As a SALT practitioner, I’ve built up quite a knowledge-base over the years of how things are taxed, whether there are any potential exemptions or whether a specific product or service has ever been addressed in an advisory opinion or decision. After a while though, it all kind of gets jumbled up in my head, which is why I’m lucky to work in a state that has such an extensive website teeming with sales and use tax forms, publications, technical bulletins, notices, advisory opinions, etc.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance often gets a bad rap, but no one can question the amount of information they make available to businesses and tax professionals on their website at: http://www.tax.ny.gov/. If you need to research the taxability of a particular product or service in New York, you will very likely find some type of guidance that addresses your issue. As someone who does a fair amount of multi-state tax research, the same can’t be said for most other state tax websites.

The sales and use tax homepage [http://www.tax.ny.gov/bus/st/stidx.htm] is the starting point to access the State’s Sales Tax Web File system, to lookup forms and applicable sales tax rates and access a wide-range of information. One of my favorite information sources is the Sales Tax Bulletins. A Tax Bulletin is an informational document designed to provide general guidance in simplified language on a topic of interest to taxpayers. There are close to one-hundred sales tax bulletins available on specific industries, products and services. They are extremely helpful because they provide guidance in plain English, which is great when explaining a complicated issue to a client or someone who is not very knowledgeable about sales tax lingo. They also provide references to the specific sections of the tax law, regulations and technical memoranda that address the issue. The Department has also done a great job issuing and updating bulletins on relevant topics like computer software, drop shipments, promotional materials and internet data centers – all of which were issued in 2014.

Another great feature of the website is the section on audits/bills/collections [http://www.tax.ny.gov/enforcement/] which provides information (including videos) on audits, the taxpayer’s rights and responsibilities during an audit, and payment and collection issues, including instructions for paying a tax bill or assessment online or challenging a tax department action. Under most circumstances, I recommend consulting a tax professional before responding to any assessment or notice given the specific format required for appeals and the potential time limitations.

Definitely check out New York State’s website the next time you have sales and use tax questions or issues, and I think you will be impressed with the variety of topics covered and the depth of information that’s available just a few clicks away.

Feel free to contact me with questions or comments (or suggestions regarding future blog topics) at Tom Mazurek, or on Twitter @TronconiSegarra. Thank you.

Tom Mazurek

Do you have questions about NEW YORK (and/or MULTI-STATE) sales tax - or does your business need assistance with other tax issues? Please use the "Request a Consultation" link on Tom Mazurek's FIRM PROFILE page to submit your business sales tax question and/or consultation request.

Other recent “New York (NY)” posts by Tom Mazurek, CPA:

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Comments

2 Responses to New York State's Tax Website: One of the Country's Best?

  • Posted by LEONARD on December 9, 2015 10:40am:

    Help needed!
    A NY Subsidiary licenses a trading program it designed to its Parent company in NY and other customers.
    Does the Subsidiary have to charge and collect sales tax from the parent company.

    Len

    • Posted by Author photo of Tom Mazurektommazurek on December 9, 2015 11:18am:

      Len,

      Thanks for your question. Without knowing all the facts here, I cannot give you a definitive answer, however, I can tell you the following:

      The subsidiary would need to charge the parent sales tax if the parent and subsidiary are separate legal entities. The fact that they are commonly owned or part of the same consolidated group doesn’t change the fact that you have a retail sale between two different legal entities here (for sales tax purposes). Same goes for charging tax to other customers.

      Whether the software is taxable and where tax is due, depends on a number of circumstances.

      Tom

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