Government Requirements
California Sales and Use Tax Return BT-401
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This form is used to report and pay state sales tax. If you registered for a sellers permit, you must complete this form, even if you only sold wholesale and don't owe sales tax.
 
Before we begin  The goal of the BT-401 form is to calculate sales tax and then divide it into the proper categories.

The basic 7.5% state sales tax is actually three state required taxes: 6.25% state sales tax, ΒΌ% county tax, and 1% local tax.

In addition, if you conducted business in any other county or city that voted to increase its sales tax beyond 7.5%, there are one or more district taxes with tax rates ranging from .0125% to .5%

 
How often  Usually a quarterly payment and reporting requirement
 
Due date  Usually one month after calendar quarter-end:April 30, July 31, October 31, January 31. A few businesses complete this form annually, large businesses complete it monthly.
 
What you have to know  Before completing this form online or on paper, you need to know:
  • Your total sales - with and without sales tax
  • Your total non-taxable sales
  • The sales you made in each special taxing district in California (Sales made in districts where you have facilities or people - including your delivery people.)
The Board of Equalization doesn't want to know how much sales tax you actually collected - because you are responsible for collecting the right amount. They are only concerned with your total sales.
 
How to submit  There are two ways to submit BOE-401 and pay sales tax. Want to pay by credit card? Go to http://www.boe.ca.gov/elecsrv/internet.htm. The regular merchant fee for credit card transactions (about 2.5%) will be charged to you as a "convenience fee". You can also pay with your credit card over the phone by calling 1-800-2PAY-TAX. The same fees apply.
 
Questions?  For questions or to periodically check to make sure the tax rates haven't changed, visit http://www.boe.ca.gov/sutax/sutprograms.htm or call the Board of Equalization at (800) 400-7115.
 
 
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