Charged sales tax for printing wedding invites - is this right?
June 1, 2012 3:05 PM   Subscribe

Sales tax question: We hired someone to print our wedding invitations - we did all the design. The person we hired does this as a small side business in addition to her day job. We got the invoice for the printing today and there is a charge for sales tax. She is in the same state as us (CA) but in a different city. I was surprised at the charge - is this normal? I'm not sure what the status of her business is, if it's a sole proprietorship or a corporation or what.
posted by emily37 to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Response by poster: Also, just to clarify - she is providing the materials that the invites are being printed on. So technically we are being provided "goods" in addition to just a "service".
posted by emily37 at 3:07 PM on June 1, 2012

It sounds like you were charged sales tax on just the tangible goods, which is appropriate, same as if you had purchased pre-printed cards at the store. Had she provided the design services, that part would not have sales tax applied.
posted by dayintoday at 3:10 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: what about the fact that most of the charges are for printing services?
posted by emily37 at 3:14 PM on June 1, 2012

You need to confirm the California Sales and Use Tax laws. In Maryland, I have to charge sales tax on the bottom line of the invoices I send out, even though about 90% of the bill is service; not deliverables.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:15 PM on June 1, 2012

"Printing services and supplies" are taxable in California.
posted by dayintoday at 3:18 PM on June 1, 2012 [9 favorites]

Her orginational status has no bearing on her obligation to collect sales tax
posted by MattD at 4:13 PM on June 1, 2012 [5 favorites]

Dayintoday's got it. Also, your vendor is marking up the paper supplies, that is part of why she is able to charge tax.
posted by vignettist at 10:03 PM on June 1, 2012

vignettist is almost right. She is not able to charge tax, she is required to charge tax under the law. The alternative would be for you to declare the expense on one of the schedules of your Form 540 at the end of the year and pay it then. She is doing it right.
posted by Old Geezer at 8:37 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

what about the fact that most of the charges are for printing services?
When I order printing I'm always charged sales tax. It's a tangible good, not a service even though it says "printing services."
posted by Bunglegirl at 8:46 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

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