Investing Answers Building and Protecting Your Wealth through Education Publisher of The Next Banks That Could Fail
Investing Answers Building and Protecting Your Wealth through Education Publisher of The Next Banks That Could Fail

Sales Tax

What it is:

Sales tax is a consumption tax levied on goods and services purchased at the retail level, paid by the consumer and submitted by the retailer to the governing tax authority.

How it works (Example):

In the United States, the sales tax is imposed on retail items. It is paid by the consumer to the retailer, usually as a percentage of the retail cost, who submits the payment to the state.

Sales tax rate and application varies dependant on the state. Sales tax can be applied by counties, cities and regions in addition to the state sales tax.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: The Most Important Tax Changes to Know Before Filing Your Tax Return]

Why it Matters:

The imposition of this tax affects the consumer directly on each purchase for nonexempt goods and services. Some consumers may find it advantageous to "cross the border" to pay less taxes than in their home state for larger purchases.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found that sales taxes are one of the least harmful types of taxes for the economy; they minimally hinder growth and investment.

Many consider sales tax to be regressive, as it is a larger burden and percentage of income for low-income earners.

The only federal sales tax was imposed in 2010 via the health care reform law which taxes a 10% federal sales tax on indoor tanning services.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: How to Avoid an IRS Audit]

Related Terms View All
  • Auction Market
    Though most of the trading is done via computer, auction markets can also be operated via...
  • Best Execution
    Let's assume you place an order to buy 100 shares of Company XYZ stock. The current quote...
  • Book-Entry Savings Bond
    Savings bonds are bonds issued by the U.S. government at face values ranging from $50 to...
  • Break-Even Point
    The basic idea behind break-even point is to calculate the point at which revenues begin...
  • Calendar Year
    If Company XYZ starts its fiscal year on January 1 and ends its fiscal year on December...