Does eBay Charge Tax? The Acts of Tax on eBay


When you’re buying or selling on eBay, the topic of taxes might arise. Does eBay charge tax? Here’s what you need to know.

First, it’s essential to understand that eBay itself does not impose taxes. Still, tax laws and regulations vary depending on the location of the buyer and seller. As a result, sales tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), or Goods and Services Tax (GST) may be applied to your transactions.

As a quick overview: for US sellers, eBay now automatically collects sales tax on transactions based on the buyer’s shipping address and remits it on your behalf.

For international transactions, you need to be aware of your applicable tax laws and obligations and understand when VAT or GST may apply. Always stay informed about your local tax laws and ensure that you comply.

We believe that your head is full of taxing questions. To help you understand, we’ve formed this article with questions, too (with the answers, obviously). Keep reading on, and your taxing questions will be answered soon enough.

How Was the Sales Tax Collection on eBay Back Then?

Back in the days when eBay was just founded, taxing was not implemented as well as it is today. Read on to find out how it has evolved since the early days.

The Early Days of eBay and Sales Tax

In the early days of eBay, sales tax collection was left entirely to individual sellers. As a seller, you were responsible for knowing your state’s sales tax rate laws and collecting the appropriate sales tax for transactions involving buyers from your state.

Many sellers found this process confusing and sometimes failed to collect the required sales tax. As a result, the responsibility of reporting and paying applicable taxes often fell on the buyers themselves, creating an additional burden for eBay users.

The Evolution of Tax Collection on the Platform

In recent years, eBay has transformed its approach to sales tax collection to simplify the process for buyers and sellers. With the enactment of the Marketplace Facilitator laws, eBay started collecting sales tax on behalf of its sellers in several states.

To keep up with changing legislation, eBay continually expands the list of states where it collects and remits sales tax. This streamlines the tax collection process for eBay users and ensures better compliance with state tax laws.

Today, eBay even provides a Tax Table feature that allows sellers to input state-specific sales tax rates. Additionally, the following resources can help you stay informed about eBay’s sales tax policies and obligations:

The Tax Landscape: Quill, Wayfair, and the Changing Laws

Two events shaped taxing in the world of ecommerce, specifically eBay, to become what it looks like today. There is the Quill Case and the Wayfair Decision.

The Quill Case and Its Impact on E-commerce Taxation

In the 1992 Quill Corp. v. North Dakota case, the US Supreme Court ruled that a state cannot require an out-of-state seller to collect sales tax unless the seller has a significant physical presence (or nexus) within the state. This decision laid the groundwork for tax-free e-commerce, allowing online sellers to avoid collecting sales tax in states without physical presence.

As a result, e-commerce experienced rapid growth, and many brick-and-mortar retailers found themselves at a competitive disadvantage. States began to lose significant tax revenue as online shopping increased.

The Wayfair Decision: A Game-Changer for Online Sales Tax

Fast forward to 2018, when the South Dakota v. Wayfair decision changed the landscape of e-commerce taxation. In this case, the Supreme Court effectively overturned the Quill ruling, allowing states to require remote sellers to collect sales tax if they met certain economic nexus thresholds. This has significant implications for eBay sellers and other online businesses.

Since the Wayfair decision, most states have implemented economic nexus laws. This means that even sellers without a physical presence in a state may be required to collect and remit sales tax based on their sales volume or the number of transactions within the state.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the economic nexus standards in the states where you do business.

  • Understand the thresholds for economic nexus in each state
  • Monitor your sales volume and number of transactions
  • Be prepared to collect and remit sales tax when required

All eBay sellers must stay informed about tax laws and understand the potential impact on their business. Keep an eye on state-level changes and be aware of any changes affecting your tax obligations as an e-commerce seller.

How Does eBay’s Sales Tax Collection Look Like Today?

Does eBay even tax the sellers and buyers? If so, how does it do it? And in which states in the US does taxing occur? Read the following points, and you will have the answers.

Does eBay Charge Sales Tax on Purchases?

As a buyer, you might notice eBay charges sales tax on certain purchases. This is because eBay is required to collect sales tax on behalf of its sellers for items shipped to certain states. The amount of tax charged depends on the shipping destination, the item type, and the applicable tax rates.

How Does eBay Collect Sales Tax for Sellers?

eBay collects sales tax automatically for sellers who don’t have a tax exemption. This occurs during the checkout process, ensuring your customers pay sales tax correctly. This simplifies your sales tax obligations as a seller, as eBay remits the collected taxes on your behalf.

To be tax exempt, you must provide your tax exemption certificate to eBay. Once approved, you won’t be charged sales tax on your purchases, nor will eBay collect sales tax on your behalf for the items you sell.

The tax exemption certificate can be received by submitting your application to the E-gov system.

Which States Is eBay Charging Sales Tax for in 2023?

In 2023, eBay collects and remits sales tax for shipments to states with marketplace facilitator laws. This includes the majority of the states in the United States. For an up-to-date list of states and their respective sales tax rates, refer to the official eBay help page.

Remember, state tax laws and rates can change, so it’s essential to stay informed. Regularly checking the eBay help page ensures you’re aware of any updates or additional states where eBay collects sales tax.

Tax Responsibilities for eBay Sellers

Understanding your tax obligations is crucial for success. This section will provide a clear overview of the necessary tax responsibilities and how to manage them effectively.

Do I Have to Collect Tax on My eBay Sales?

Yes, you must collect and remit sales tax for the items you sell unless the items are exempt. Different states have different tax laws and rates, so it’s important to research them.

My Buyer Is Complaining About Sales Tax. What Should I Tell Them?

If a buyer complains about sales tax, politely remind them that sales tax is a legal requirement regulated by state or local authorities. You can encourage your buyers to verify their tax rates on their state’s website or provide a link to eBay’s help page explaining sales tax.

Providing transparent and accurate information can help maintain a positive relationship with your buyers.

How Do You Collect Sales Tax Without Facilitator Laws?

In states without facilitator laws, you must collect sales tax independently. You can set this up in your eBay account by selecting the appropriate states and tax rates for your sales.

Setting Up Your Sales Tax Collection

To set up a sales tax collection for your eBay account, go to the Payments tab and select Tax Settings. Here, you can input the rates for each state in which you have a tax obligation. eBay will then automatically charge your buyers the appropriate amount of sales tax.

Filing Sales Tax Returns for eBay Sales

Once you’ve collected sales tax from your eBay sales, it’s essential to file and pay your taxes on time. Each state has different filing requirements and deadlines, so it’s crucial to keep track of these to avoid penalties.

Tools and Solutions for eBay Tax Compliance

Several tools are available to help you stay compliant with sales tax regulations on eBay, such as tax automation software and online resources. These tools can assist with calculating, collecting, and remitting sales tax on your behalf.

Navigating the Sales Tax Maze as an eBay Buyer

As an eBay buyer, you may have questions about sales tax on your purchases. In this section, we’ll help you navigate the sales tax maze and explore important topics that affect you.

How Does Sales Tax on eBay Work for Overseas Orders?

When purchasing items from overseas sellers, you might be charged import duties or taxes. These are typically calculated based on your country’s regulations and collected by the shipping carrier or customs agency. Research your country’s import rules and fees before buying internationally to avoid surprises.

Here’s a calculator for you to estimate the fees you’ll be charged with.

Does eBay Charge Sales Tax on Used Items?

Sales tax on eBay generally applies to all items, whether new or used. Individual states determine these tax rates, which can vary depending on location. Check your state tax requirements or use eBay’s tax table to estimate sales tax and factor it into your purchasing decisions.

Sales Tax Comparison: eBay vs. Other E-commerce Platforms

You might wonder how eBay handles sales tax compared to its competitors. eBay automatically calculates, collects, and remits sales tax for most states in the US. This relieves you of the burden of dealing with tax authorities.

Other e-commerce platforms, like Amazon and Etsy, also provide automatic sales tax calculation, collection, and remittance; however, they may charge additional fees for this service. It’s essential to compare each platform’s offerings and associated costs before selecting.

The Pros and Cons of eBay’s Tax System

Regarding eBay’s tax system, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider. Pros:

  • Automated sales tax calculation, collection, and remittance
  • Tax compliance is more manageable, especially for small businesses
  • No additional fees for handling sales tax

However, there are also some challenges with eBay’s tax system:

  • Limited customization options for sales tax settings
  • Potential for inaccuracies, as tax laws change frequently
  • Buyer confusion, as some buyers may not understand tax policies

Before committing to selling on eBay or any e-commerce platform, research and weigh the pros and cons of their tax systems. By doing so, you’ll ensure the chosen platform aligns with your specific needs and preferences.

How Do I Avoid Sales Tax on eBay?

As a buyer, it’s difficult to avoid sales tax on eBay entirely because it’s required by law in many jurisdictions. However, you can reduce the impact on your wallet by purchasing from sellers in states with no sales tax or lower rates.

As a seller, you can’t control which states charge sales tax, but you can manage the amount you charge. Keep your business tax-exempt by obtaining a resale certificate, which will allow you to collect sales tax on eligible items.

After all, as intriguing as it sounds, avoiding tax, no matter how clean it is conducted, will put you in a dangerous place. It’s down to each individual and their morals.

Does eBay Have a Report Showing How Much Sales Tax Was Charged?

Yes, eBay provides a transaction report that includes detailed information on the sales tax collected in your transactions. To access this report, navigate to your Seller Hub, then go to the “Reports” tab, and find the “Sales Tax Report” option in the dropdown menu.

This report can be downloaded in a CSV format, allowing you to analyze the data and keep track of the sales taxes collected throughout the year. It’s important to review this report regularly as a way to stay compliant with tax laws and avoid surprises during tax season.


Remember that eBay typically calculates, collects, and remits sales tax for you in most of the US. However, it’s important to consider specific state-by-state requirements and stay on top of changes in sales tax laws.

Keeping yourself informed about sales tax regulations can save you from future headaches and potential penalties. You can either subscribe to eBay’s newsletter for updates on tax changes or consult a tax professional for guidance tailored to your business. Another good thing to do is to stay organized with your transaction records for accurate tax filing.

Remember, it’s not just about complying with the rules – staying informed helps you make better business decisions and maintain a successful online enterprise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does eBay automatically deduct taxes?

eBay automatically collects and remits sales tax for many states. This is because of the Marketplace Facilitator laws enacted in numerous states. Familiarize yourself with the list of states where eBay acts as a facilitator to stay informed.

Why and how does sales tax impact e-commerce sellers?

Sales tax impacts e-commerce sellers because it’s required by law to collect tax in states where they have a sales tax nexus. As an e-commerce seller, you must understand your tax obligations, including the collection and remittance of sales tax, according to various state regulations.

How do I charge sales tax for states without facilitator laws?

In states without facilitator laws, you must set up tax tables within your eBay account for proper tax collection. This enables you to specify tax rates depending on the buyer’s location. Stay updated on each state’s facilitator law situation to ensure compliance.

Do I still need to file sales tax returns for eBay sales?

Yes, even with eBay collecting sales tax, you still cannot avoid paying sales tax and need to file sales tax returns for all applicable states. It’s essential to accurately report your sales and tax figures and maintain thorough records to ensure you’re fulfilling your tax obligations.

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