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So I’m preparing for my first art fair next month. I have my tax ID number and I’m aware of the sales tax for my location but I’m wondering if its legal to just build the sales tax into the cost of the product (like they do in parts of Europe) rather than charge more at point of sale? The research I’ve done says that some states don’t allow this (for example, rather than have someone buy a twenty dollar item and charge them an additional 2.50 tax, I could just make the cost of the item an even 22.00 and pay my taxes from there). But I can’t find any definitive answer as to whether Illinois allows this.

I’m trying to avoid a) having to have a bunch of nickel/dime costs and change and I am nervous with all the individual city/state taxes that I might calculate something incorrectly. Besides, it just seems easier to charge a flat fee...no surprises at check out.

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Maybe you can contact the local sales tax collection office where your show is.

I am in Connecticut and you are allowed to charge customers with the tax included.  It is much easier than taking the time to add it and to have to make change for cash sales.  The instructions for the sales tax return even provides a formula to figure out the base sales when its time to file.  But, I agree with Cindy, that you should contact the sales tax office and ask that question.

Whew, I’d love to be able to do that and just have everything in the booth cost easy rounded totals.

I'm in Illinois and have always set up the pricing on my Square card reader so that the price includes the sales tax. I change the ta rate as needed depending on the venue. After the show I pull a report that shows how much tax was collected and remit that amount to the state. No issues so far.

What do you do for the cash sales?

I put all sales, including cash sales, through the square.

If you're using Square, just put your sales tax rate into your Square.  The people buy the item at the price you put on it and Square adds your sales tax at point of sale.  No math required.  So when you plug in $22 Square adds say $ 1.25 and you tell your customer, "with tax that comes to $23.25."  Simple as that.  Everyone knows they have to pay sales tax.

That may be true but not everyone is using Square or credit cards. I’m just trying have to have and use as little coinage change as possible. I guess I can’t avoid it. I also hate it because Chicago sales tax is so outrageous.

You need to use Square or something like it.  It's very very simple and the simple readers are free.  If you limit yourself to cash sales, you limit your sales.  If you have a smartphone you can use Square or Intuit or Quickbooks.  I have done 30 shows in the last 2 years without a single cash sale.  And I've done several where everyone paid in cash.  In that case, I round it off to the nearest dollar and one of us gets a deal, usually the collector.    Whatever you do, PAY the tax! The last thing you need is unreported tax issues.

If Chicago sales tax is "outrageous" -- your collectors already know that.  They don't expect you to pay it without charging them.

I DO have square, but not everyone uses it. It will most likely be a mix of cash and credit sales, which I was trying to avoid having to bring a ton of coinage for nickel and penny transactions...flat fees are so much easier. I guess there’s no way around it.

You may be aware of this but cash sales can be run through Square as easy as cc/dc.

We do exactly what Carol Joy Shannon does. It works like a charm! The Chicago customer already KNOWS how ridiculously high sales tax is here, so they are used to it. This is indeed the proper way to do it.

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