Amazon Seller Taxes: Essential Guide for Online Entrepreneurs


Selling products on Amazon comes with a variety of responsibilities, one being the need to understand and manage seller-related taxes. As an Amazon seller, you may encounter various types of taxes, such as sales tax, depending on the location where the buyer resides or the location from which your products are being sold. Staying informed about your tax obligations could be crucial for running a successful e-commerce business on Amazon.

In order to properly navigate through the complexities of Amazon seller taxes, it’s essential to set up your account accurately and to be well-informed about the necessary tax documents. For Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sellers, managing sales tax might become slightly more complicated due to the multiple locations from which products could be shipped. Being aware of potential expenses and deductions, as well as understanding the different business structures and their tax implications, can greatly impact the bottom line of your online business.

Key Takeaways

  • Amazon sellers must understand and manage a variety of tax obligations, particularly sales tax.
  • Proper account setup and familiarity with tax documents are crucial for tax compliance.
  • FBA sellers should pay close attention to sales tax for multiple shipping locations, while being mindful of practical expenses, deductions, and suitable business structures.

Understanding Amazon Seller Taxes

Tax Basics for Amazon Sellers

Amazon sellers need to be aware of two main types of taxes: income tax and sales tax. Income tax refers to the tax owed on the profits generated from selling on Amazon. This amount depends on the seller’s total income and tax bracket. Sales tax, on the other hand, is collected by Amazon on behalf of the sellers in states where it is required, and is based on various state and local regulations.

It is crucial for Amazon sellers to maintain tax compliance. To do this, they must be knowledgeable about state sales tax laws and whether they have a sales tax nexus within particular states. A sales tax nexus is a connection or presence in a state that obligates a seller to collect sales tax.

Amazon Sales Tax Collection

Amazon collects sales tax on behalf of sellers in states where it is required, as a result of Marketplace Facilitator laws. Large online marketplaces, such as Amazon, are responsible for collecting and filing sales tax for sellers using the platforms in these states.

State Sales Tax Rate
California 7.25%
Florida 6.00%
New York 4.00%
Texas 6.25%

While Amazon handles the majority of sales tax collection, sellers are responsible for setting up tax settings within their accounts to ensure proper collection and compliance. Amazon charges a fee of 2.9% per transaction to calculate and remit these taxes on behalf of the sellers.

Income Tax Obligations

Amazon sellers are also responsible for reporting and paying income tax on their profits. Sellers are provided with a 1099-K form, a sales reporting form issued by Amazon and similar businesses. This form allows the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to receive annual and monthly gross sales information, including sales tax and shipping fees.

  • Individual sellers must report income on their personal tax returns
  • LLCs and corporations must file separate business income tax returns

It is vital for Amazon sellers to keep accurate records of their sales and expenses, as well as set aside funds for potential tax liabilities. Consulting with a tax professional specialized in ecommerce and state tax laws can be beneficial for navigating the complexities of Amazon seller taxes.

Account Setup and Tax Documents

Setting Up Your Amazon Seller Account

When setting up an Amazon Seller account, it is crucial to understand the responsibilities that come with it, including tax liabilities. During the account setup, you will need to provide accurate tax information and register for the correct sales tax collection. Luckily, Amazon provides a Tax Document Library within Seller Central to help you keep track of all tax-related documents.

In addition to providing your own tax information, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the software and tools offered by Amazon, which can help simplify tax reporting and compliance. Using these tools can be invaluable in ensuring that you stay on top of your tax obligations.

Essential Tax Documents for Amazon Sellers

For Amazon sellers, there are a few tax documents that you should be aware of, which include:

  1. 1099-K Form: This form is an essential sales reporting document issued by Amazon. It provides the IRS with annual and monthly gross sales information, including sales tax and shipping fees. If you qualify, Amazon will automatically generate and send you a 1099-K form for the previous calendar year.
  2. Form 1040: This is the standard U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form, where you report your income and deductions. As an Amazon seller, you should include the income generated from your Amazon sales on this form.
  3. Tax Document Library: Available on Seller Central, this library contains Amazon-issued tax forms, such as the 1099-K form, as well as other useful tax resources that can help you maintain compliance.

Here’s an example of what a 1099-K form may include:

Field Description
Gross Amount Paid The total amount paid to you through Amazon
Number of Payment Transactions The total number of transactions for the year
Tax Year The tax year for which the form is being issued
Sales Tax Collected The amount of sales tax collected (if applicable)
Shipping Fees The amount of shipping fees collected

It is essential for Amazon sellers to stay informed about their tax obligations and maintain proper documentation. By setting up your account accurately and using Amazon’s resources, you can help ensure that your tax reporting is as accurate and hassle-free as possible.

Navigating Sales Tax for FBA Sellers

Sales Tax Nexus and Amazon FBA

When Amazon sellers use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), they ship their products to Amazon warehouses for customer fulfillment. Due to FBA’s presence in multiple locations, Amazon sellers might establish a sales tax nexus in various states. A sales tax nexus occurs when a seller has a significant connection to a state, such as inventory storage or an employee.

With FBA, sellers may need to collect sales tax in states where Amazon has a warehouse, even if their own businesses are based elsewhere. To determine which states require sales tax collection, FBA sellers should carefully review the sales tax nexus rules in each state where Amazon has a fulfillment center.

Sales Tax Permit and Remittance

Before collecting sales tax, FBA sellers must obtain a sales tax permit for each state in which they have a nexus. It’s important for sellers to apply for these permits before starting sales tax collection to avoid penalties or fines. Once permits are granted, sellers set up sales tax collection within their Amazon Seller Central account.

To set up sales tax collection, follow these steps:

  1. Login to Amazon Seller Central with the correct credentials.
  2. Click the “Settings” button and choose “Tax Settings” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Configure the tax settings according to each state’s requirements.

As an FBA seller, it’s crucial to stay updated on marketplace facilitator laws. These laws require large online marketplaces, like Amazon, to collect and remit sales tax on behalf of their third-party sellers. Thus, in some states, Amazon directly handles sales tax collection and remittance, simplifying the process for FBA sellers. However, it remains the seller’s responsibility to know which states administer marketplace facilitator laws and if Amazon automatically collects sales tax in these states.

In conclusion, understanding sales tax nexus and securing the right permits are key steps for FBA sellers to navigate sales tax regulations. By staying informed about state requirements and marketplace facilitator laws, sellers can confidently manage their tax obligations and maintain compliance in today’s ever-changing e-commerce landscape.

Expenses and Deductions

Common Amazon Seller Deductions

As an Amazon seller, it’s important to be aware of the expenses and deductions that can help reduce your taxable income. Below is a list of common deductions that you may qualify for:

  • Inventory: The cost of goods sold (COGS), which includes the price you paid for the products you sold on Amazon, and its related costs such as shipping and handling fees.
  • Shipping costs: Expenses related to sending your products to customers, such as postage, packaging materials, and costs incurred while using Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service.
  • Fees: Payment gateway fees, referral fees, and commissions paid to salespeople or business agents.
  • Advertising: The cost associated with promoting your products, such as Amazon Sponsored Products campaigns or other online advertising expenses.
  • Office expenses: Items you purchase for the day-to-day running of your business, like office furniture, equipment, and stationery.
  • Mileage: The cost of traveling for business purposes, like visiting suppliers or attending trade shows.

Home Office Expenses and Supplies

If you operate your Amazon business from a home office, you may be eligible for additional deductions related to your home office expenses. Some of these deductions include:

  1. Utilities: You can deduct a portion of your home utility costs, such as electricity, gas, water, and internet service, based on the percentage of your home that is used exclusively for business purposes.
  2. Home office furniture and equipment: If you purchase items like desks, chairs, and computers for your home office, you may be able to claim a deduction for these expenses.
  3. Rent or mortgage: If you rent your home or have a mortgage, you can deduct a portion of these payments based on the percentage of your home used for business purposes.
  4. Depreciation: You can claim depreciation for items that have a limited lifespan, like computers and printers, which can help offset the initial cost of these assets.

By taking advantage of these deductions and keeping accurate records of your business expenses, you can significantly reduce your tax liability as an Amazon seller.

Annual Filing Requirements

Form 1099-K and Amazon Sellers

Amazon is required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to send Form 1099-K to all sellers who have made over $20,000 in gross sales and have had over 200 transactions in a calendar year1. This form reports the total amount of unadjusted gross sales, which includes all sales and transactions made through Amazon. It is essential to keep in mind that any Amazon fees, returns, or refunds are not deducted from the total reported on Form 1099-K.

Filing Your Tax Returns

When it comes to filing taxes, the process differs based on the business structure of the Amazon seller. Below, we outline various business structures and their corresponding tax filing requirements:

  1. Self-employed/sole proprietors: Most Amazon sellers fall under this category. For them, any income earned through Amazon is considered self-employment income. Therefore, they need to complete Schedule C and attach it to their individual tax return. The deadline for filing Schedule C typically falls on April 18, 20232.
  2. Partnerships: If the Amazon seller operates as a partnership, they are required to file Form 1065. This form is used to report the income, gains, losses, deductions, and credits of the partnership. It’s crucial to note that the partnership itself does not pay taxes, and the profits and losses are passed on to the partners. The deadline for filing Form 1065 is March 15, 20233.
  3. S Corporations: Amazon sellers operating as an S Corporation must file Form 1120-S. This form is used to report the income, deductions, and credits of the S Corporation. Similar to partnerships, S Corporations do not pay taxes at the corporate level. The income, deductions, and credits are passed on to the shareholders. The deadline for filing Form 1120-S is also March 15, 20234.
  4. C Corporations: For Amazon sellers operating as a C Corporation, they must file Form 1120. The C Corporation itself is responsible for paying taxes on its income at the corporate level. The deadline for filing Form 1120 is April 18, 20235.

In all cases, it is recommended to consult with a tax professional, as each seller’s situation may differ. Remember to consider state and local tax requirements in addition to federal tax obligations.

Business Structure and Tax Implications

Choosing the Right Business Entity for Amazon Sellers

When starting an Amazon business, it’s crucial for sellers to understand the various business structures and their tax implications. The choice of business structure will impact the taxes they pay and the liabilities they face.

  • Sole Proprietorship: This is the simplest business structure, where the individual owner and the business are considered the same entity. It is suitable for small businesses with low revenues, but owners are personally liable for all business debts and obligations.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC is a more formal business structure that separates the business assets from the owner’s personal assets, providing liability protection. It’s a popular choice among Amazon sellers because it offers flexibility in taxation and can be treated as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or a corporation for tax purposes.
  • Corporation: Corporations are separate legal entities from their owners and provide the highest level of liability protection. However, they are subject to double taxation, as both the company’s profits and the owner’s dividends are taxed.

Amazon sellers should consider factors like liability, taxation, and ease of management when choosing a business entity. Registering a business in states like California, New York, or Texas may provide potential tax benefits or incentives, but each state has its own rules and regulations.

Tax Differences by Business Type

Understanding the tax obligations and differences for each business type is crucial for Amazon sellers to make the most informed decision.

Business Structure Income Tax Sales Tax Additional Taxes
Sole Proprietorship Taxed as personal income at the owner’s tax rate Collected by Amazon on behalf of sellers in most states Self-Employment Tax
LLC Taxed as personal income (Single-member) or partnership income (Multi-member) Same as Sole Proprietorship Same as Sole Proprietorship or payroll taxes for employees
Corporation Taxed at the corporate tax rate, and dividends are taxed as personal income Same as Sole Proprietorship Payroll taxes for employees

It’s essential for Amazon sellers to maintain accurate records of their gross sales, including sales tax and shipping fees, to properly file taxes and stay compliant with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state tax authorities. In certain states like Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, Amazon sellers need to obtain a business license or permit to operate legally.

By carefully selecting the right business structure and keeping up with tax regulations, Amazon sellers can minimize their liabilities and focus on growing their businesses.

Accounting and Record-Keeping

Maintaining Accurate Financial Records

Maintaining accurate financial records is essential for Amazon sellers, especially due to the various fees and expenses involved in running an online business. Whether you’re a sole proprietor, S Corporation, or any other business structure, bookkeeping is a crucial aspect of managing your finances.

It is vital to keep track of your income and expenses, including Amazon seller fees and other costs associated with platforms like eBay and Shopify. Accurate record-keeping helps you understand your financial performance, obtain loans, and comply with tax regulations. Some important aspects to consider include:

  • Separating personal and business expenses
  • Recording transactions consistently
  • Monitoring inventory levels
  • Reviewing financial statements periodically
  • Staying updated on tax requirements

Additionally, using software such as Jungle Scout can help monitor sales data and inform your business decisions.

Utilizing Accounting Software

Investing in accounting software is a smart option for Amazon sellers looking to simplify their financial management. Numerous applications cater specifically to the needs of eCommerce businesses. Some popular options include:

Software Features
QuickBooks Comprehensive accounting tool, supports integrations with Amazon, eBay, and Shopify
Xero Cloud-based accounting software with eCommerce integrations
Zoho Books User-friendly accounting platform with inventory management and support for multiple platforms
GoDaddy Bookkeeping Budget-friendly solution designed for sole proprietors and small businesses, integrates with Amazon, eBay, and Etsy

These accounting software options help automate bookkeeping tasks, generate financial reports, and ensure compliance with tax requirements. They also allow you to collaborate with an accountant, facilitating informed decisions and long-term financial planning. When selecting software, it’s essential to evaluate features, compatibility with your existing platforms, and pricing to find the best fit for your Amazon business.

Additional Resources for Amazon Sellers

Amazon sellers have access to a variety of resources to help them navigate the complex world of taxation. These resources include educational materials, seller support, professional consultants, and more.

Educational Resources: There are several available resources that can help sellers familiarize themselves with tax-related topics. Some popular options include attending professional tax seminars, signing up for online courses specifically focused on eCommerce taxes, and participating in webinars hosted by tax experts. These educational costs might be considered a business expense.

Seller Support: Amazon provides seller support to its online retailers through the Seller Central platform. This support includes information on obtaining tax licenses, understanding product taxability, and managing sales tax settings for multiple locations. The platform also offers a Tax Central area with helpful articles, FAQs, and access to third-party consultants.

Professional Consultation and Fees: Many sellers choose to rely on tax professionals for assistance, advice, and filing services. Hiring a tax consultant can be particularly beneficial if the seller’s taxation needs are complex or if they require assistance managing multiple tax jurisdictions. These consultant fees, like education costs, can be claimed as a business expense.

Subscriptions and Tools: There are several third-party subscriptions and tools available to help Amazon sellers manage their tax obligations. These tools offer features such as tracking sales tax for each order, categorizing products by taxability, and even providing direct integration with Seller Central or other eCommerce platforms. It’s important to consider the cost of these subscriptions when budgeting for tax expenses.

Donations and Tax Exemptions: Sellers may be eligible for tax benefits or exemptions if they donate products, contribute to charitable organizations, or partake in other philanthropic activities related to their business. Documentation of these activities can play a crucial role during tax filing.

Maintaining Seller Status: Maintaining good seller status is essential for all Amazon businesses. Proper tax compliance, including obtaining necessary tax licenses, timely tax payments, and accurate reporting of tax liabilities, contribute to maintaining seller status and avoiding potential account suspension.

By utilizing the resources mentioned above and keeping well-informed on tax matters, Amazon sellers can ensure they remain compliant with their tax obligations and make the most of their online retail business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the typical tax deductions for Amazon FBA sellers?

Amazon FBA sellers can benefit from a variety of tax deductions to reduce their taxable income. Common deductions include:

  • Advertising and promotions expenses
  • Cost of goods sold, which covers the cost of inventory purchased
  • Shipping and storage expenses
  • Fees paid to Amazon for FBA services
  • Office expenses like computer hardware or software
  • Travel expenses for business-related trips

Always consult a tax professional to understand the deductions applicable to your specific situation.

How does Amazon handle sales tax remittance for sellers?

Amazon, as a marketplace facilitator, collects and remits sales tax on behalf of sellers for orders shipped to customers in specific U.S. states. Amazon calculates, collects, and remits the sales tax on behalf of sellers based on the product’s tax code, shipping address, and any applicable sales tax laws.

At what sales threshold will Amazon issue a 1099 form to sellers?

Amazon issues a 1099-K form to sellers who meet the following requirements:

  • $20,000 in gross sales
  • 200 individual transactions

This form is used to report payment card and third-party network transactions and is essential for preparing your tax return.

What marketplace facilitator tax responsibilities does an Amazon seller have?

As Amazon collects and remits sales tax in certain states, the seller’s responsibility is to ensure that their product listings have accurate tax codes assigned. Sellers should also stay informed about any changes to sales tax laws in the states they operate in.

Can sellers use an Amazon sales tax report for filing taxes?

Yes, Amazon provides sales tax reports to sellers, which detail the sales tax collected on their behalf. This report can be useful during tax preparation as it helps sellers track the taxes that have been remitted by Amazon.

Are Amazon sellers responsible for paying taxes on income generated from sales?

Amazon sellers are responsible for reporting and paying taxes on the income generated from their sales. This includes federal and state income taxes as well as self-employment taxes. It’s essential for sellers to maintain accurate records of their income, expenses, and sales transactions, and to consult with a tax professional to ensure compliance with all applicable tax laws.