Tell Your Accountant Before You Start Operating in Other States

map-294521_1280The most-recent edition of the NATP TaxPro Journal had an article that caught my attention: “Taking on a New Business Client: 18 Things You Need to Know.”

It was a really good article (the only item I disagreed with was the author saying to ask for a copy of the business’s “fire inspection certificate” — I’m not sure why that’s relevant for a tax preparer to have).

And I want to add a #19, or better yet, replace the “fire inspection certificate” item with: ask if the client is operating in other states.

Some small business owners — especially those who are inclined to be Joe the Window Washers — operate their businesses blissfully unaware of the fact that if they cross state borders to provide a service, they probably have various filing requirements in that state.

Examples of those “various filing requirements” might include:

  • Registering to do business in that state
  • Maybe collecting sales tax
  • Filing an income tax return in that state

It’s far better for the preparer to know about a business’s out-of-state activities up-front.

In fact, this is one of the reasons why I’m changing the way in which I work with small business clients. I’ll cover that in an upcoming blog post.

Image courtesy of user Nemo on