Is This Your Situation: Your Business Is Spread Over Multiple States

Opening a location in a different state can be an exciting sign of growth and expansion for your business. But before you crack open the champagne, make sure you know some of the potential tax and business ramifications of opening a location across state lines.

Managing Remote Offices

Technology has made it easier than ever to communicate with workers near and far. Keep in mind time zone differences when working with your offices across the country. Everyone knows this, of course, but when you’re in a hurry it’s easy to forget that while you’re in the office, colleagues across the country are still sleeping. 

To ensure smooth communications among workers at various locations nationwide, you may wish to set a few simple and basic ground rules:

  • Ask that meetings be held between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Eastern time to accommodate everyone.
  • Install a common instant messenger system on all office computers and request that workers keep it open throughout the day for quick messages.
  • Establish regular conference calls or webcasts for team members so that routine updates keep everyone notified of project progress and other important details.

Accounting and Tax Issues

You’ll also encounter several accounting and tax-related issues when operating businesses in multiple state locations:

  • Employment taxes: State unemployment funds collect taxes at different rates. Make sure that your payroll processor understands these differences and adjusts payments appropriately.
  • Sales taxes: Businesses must charge sales tax for the states in which they have a physical location. If you have an office, branch office or warehouse in multiple states, you must register with each state’s sales tax bureau and collect and pay the appropriate taxes for each state. States also have different regulations regarding specific taxes. Some states charge varying amounts for food versus luxury goods, for example. Make sure you review the requirements for the states in which you’re doing business and keep accurate records for each.
  • Insurance: States can also have differing laws as to when your company must carry different types of insurance to protect workers. Some states set a minimum threshold of two employees or more for different types of business insurance, while others raise that number. Each state’s employment commission website provides information on requirements for businesses operating in each state.
  • DBAs: “Doing Business As” names are registered at the state or county level. If you are doing business under a name other than your company’s registered legal name, you will need to set up DBAs in each state.

Expanding into additional states is an exciting time for your company. Make sure that you do it right by checking with each state’s taxation, insurance and business divisions to comply with the laws.

© IndustryNewsletters 2017