FAQs for Sellers

Administrative Rules

What is the Alaska Remote Seller Sales Tax Commission?
The Alaska Remote Seller Sales Tax Commission (ARSSTC or the Commission) was established in 2019 and is an independent inter-governmental body that coordinates sales tax collection for remote sales in Alaska.
Are businesses filing taxes with the State of Alaska?

No. The State of Alaska does not have a sales tax.

Is this part of the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board?
No. The Commission is independent of the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board but the Commission has adopted many of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement definitions.
Where can I find the sales tax rules?

The Uniform Code sets the rules for tax collection on remote sales. As jurisdictions join the ARSSTC and adopt the Uniform Code, the rules apply to that community.
The remote sales tax rules do not apply to sales and services that Alaskan businesses send out of the state.

When does this take effect?

The Commission passed the Uniform Code in January 2020. As jurisdictions join the ARSSTC, the rules go into effect the beginning of the month following 30 days after adoption.

Example:
Jurisdiction adopted Uniform Code on May 2
30 days following adoption is June 1
Beginning of next month is July 1
Business begins tax collection on July 1

There is no retroactive application or collection of sales tax.

The United States Supreme Court decision in S. Dakota v Wayfair, Inc focused on state-level taxes. Alaska does not have a state sales tax. How can the court decision be applied to local jurisdictions?

The United States Supreme Court ruled in South Dakota v. Wayfair on June 21, 2018, that states may require sellers to collect and remit sales or use tax on sales delivered to locations within their state regardless of physical presence if economic nexus exists with the state. The Commerce Clause regulates commerce between the states, it is not subdivided among local jurisdictions within a states. In S. Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., 138 S. Ct. 2080 (2018), the Supreme Court identified a statewide threshold test as a safe harbor for meeting the Commerce Clause’s substantial nexus retirement. The Supreme Court in Wayfair held that “Here, the nexus is clearly sufficient based on both the economic and virtual contacts respondents have with the State. The [South Dakota] Act applies only to sellers that deliver more than $100,000 of goods or services into South Dakota or engage in 200 or more separate transactions for the delivery of goods and services into the State on an annual basis.” S. Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., 138 S. Ct. 2080, 2099 (2018). Accordingly, the economic nexus safe harbor established in Wayfair is a state-wide test. The Commerce Clause regulates commerce between the states. Once nexus is established with a state, the inquiry is over and a seller may not refuse to collect sales tax on the basis of lack of nexus.

Is business information and sales tax filing confidential?

All returns, reports, and information required to be filed with the Commission shall be kept confidential and
shall be subject to inspection only by:

  • Employees or agents of the Commission and taxing jurisdiction whose job responsibilities are directly related to such returns, reports and information
  • Person supplying such returns, reports and information
  • Persons authorized in writing by the person supplying such returns, reports and information
  • Subpoena, order of a court or administrative agency of competent jurisdiction and where otherwise required to do so by law

Publicly available information includes:

  • Name and address of sellers
  • Whether a business is registered to collect taxes under the uniform Alaska Remote Sellers Sale Tax Code
  • Name and address of sellers that are 60 days or more delinquent in filing and/or remitting sales tax
  • Statistical information related to sales tax collection without any identifiable information for a specific
    seller or marketplace facilitator

Economic Threshold

Who must register with the Commission and use the portal to file sales tax for Alaskan municipalities?

Any remote seller who met the criteria/threshold in the previous calendar year and conducts sales in a jurisdiction that has adopted the uniform Alaska Remote Seller Sales Tax Code. The threshold is $100,000 statewide annual gross sales or 200 individual annual transactions. Sellers may only use the portal for filing taxes for jurisdictions that have adopted the code. Sales in jurisdictions that have not yet adopted the code need to continue to be filed directly with the jurisdiction using their own sales tax forms.

Does a business use only taxable transactions to determine if they meet the economic threshold?
No. The business uses all transactions throughout the State of Alaska to determine if they meet the threshold, regardless if the transactions are in a taxing community or are tax exempt. Businesses need to register if they meet the economic threshold and sell products or services into a taxing community that has joined the Commission.
Does a business that meets the economic threshold but only delivers into non-taxing communities need to register?
No, the company does not have to register until they conduct sales into a taxing jurisdiction. Once a company has a client in a taxing jurisdiction, there is taxing authority and the company needs to comply.
Does a business that meets the economic threshold but only delivers non-taxable products into taxing communities need to register?
Yes, the company does have to register because they are conducting sales into a taxing jurisdiction. Even though there is no tax to collect, the company must still report their exempted transactions.
What if a seller has physical presence in a jurisdiction but sell remotely to other places in Alaska?
The threshold is calculated only using remote sales sent outside of their home jurisdiction.

Remote Seller and Point of Delivery

What is a remote seller?

A seller or marketplace facilitator making sales of goods or services delivered within the State of Alaska, without having a physical presence in a taxing jurisdiction or conducting business between taxing jurisdictions, when sales are made by internet, mail order, phone or other remote means. A marketplace facilitator shall be considered the remote seller for each sale facilitated through its marketplace.

Where is the Point of Delivery?

Point of Delivery means the location at which property is received or service is rendered. Goods are received when the purchaser takes possession of the property. Transfer of goods to a common carrier or certified shipper does not constitute receipt by the buyer – the Point of Delivery occurs when the shipping company transfers the goods to the buyer in the taxing jurisdiction. The remote seller must collect and remit the sales tax for the final destination as known to the seller regardless of delivery to a common carrier or certified shipper.

For residents who live outside a taxing jurisdiction but use a post office box located in the taxing jurisdiction, the point of delivery will be determined by where the product or service was delivered:

  • If goods are sent via USPS or other private carrier to the post office box, tax would be assessed.
  • If the goods are shipped via a private carrier and delivered to the residence outside the taxing jurisdiction, sales tax would not be assessed.
  • Electronic services are considered “delivered” to the billing address – if that is the post office box, tax would be assessed.
  • Please see Code Interpretation 2020-05 Sourcing for Goods for examples of different delivery scenarios.

Physical Presence

What creates physical presence?
Physical Presence is established through an office, warehouse, storefront, inventory, service or sales agent, or rental of equipment/tangible property.
What if a seller has physical presence in a jurisdiction but sell remotely to other places in Alaska?
The seller will continue to file locally for all sales made within their jurisdiction where they have physical presence. The seller will check to see if any other sales should be considered a remote sale and which falls within a jurisdiction that is registered with the Commission. If so, the seller will charge the appropriate tax rate for the remote delivery address and file and remit the tax to the jurisdiction of the remote sale through the Commission. The criteria threshold applies to these types of sales, as well.

Registration

Is there a fee to register?
No.
Does a business need to register with each taxing jurisdiction for which they sell products or services?

One registration with the Commission will cover all licensing requirements with jurisdictions that have adopted the Code. If a seller has transactions in a jurisdiction that has not yet adopted the Code, the seller will need to register directly with that jurisdiction. As jurisdictions adopt the code and register with the Commission, sellers do not need to adjust any account settings and will have permissions updated to file with new jurisdiction. Once registered, sellers will get notices of new Code adoptees.

Does the Commission mail the business registration?
No. The ARSSTC will not send a paper certificate of registration, rather the seller can print their registration from the system (see Seller Registration for further information).
How does a seller close its business?
Seller should notify the Commission at least 10 days before closing or selling their business and then they must file their final return within 30 days of selling or closing their business. The Commission is authorized to disclose the status of the remote seller’s or marketplace facilitator’s sakes tax account to the named buyer or assignee. The Commission has 60 days after notification to close or sell in which to perform a final sales tax audit.

Filing

How often do sellers file?
The Commission defaults to a monthly filing schedule.
Can a business switch to quarterly or annual filing?

Contact a Program Administrator to change filing schedule.

Quarterly filing is available for businesses who have:

  • less than $10,000 taxable sales across the state in the preceding 12 months, OR
  • fewer than 12 individual transactions across the state in the preceding 12 months.

Annual filing is available for businesses who:

  • do not meet the economic threshold but voluntarily collect sales tax;
  • have less than $2,000 in taxable sales across the state in the preceding 12 months.
Does a business file even if they have no sales tax to report?
Yes. Sellers must file even if there were no sales tax collected in a filing period. Sellers must report all tax-exempt sales. If there were no sales into a community, the seller still must report a 0.
Does a business use different sales tax forms depending on taxing jurisdiction?
No. The Commission provides a single file template that covers reporting for all jurisdictions. The filing template is available through the filing system and should be downloaded each time a filing is to be submitted.
Can a seller file sales tax for a community that is not part of the ARSSTC?
No. The portal cannot accept filings for non-member jurisdictions; contact the jurisdiction and file directly with them.
How does a seller file their returns?

See ARSSTC How to Files Sales Tax Returns document

  1. Download the most recent filing template.
  2.  Populate all jurisdictions lines in template.
    1. Enter 0 for communities where there were no sales
  3.  Click on the appropriate tax filing link in Business Center.
  4. Upload filing template.
  5. Review tax form and calculations. The system will calculate applicable tax for each jurisdiction, late filing penalties and fees, and timely filing compensation.
  6. Submit tax form.
  7. Remit payment.
  8. Print receipt
How does a seller remit payment?
The seller submits a single payment to ARSSTC and ARSSTC will distribute the funds to the jurisdictions; sellers should not submit funds directly to jurisdictions. A filing is not considered complete until payment has been made.

We accept payment via ACH debit/e-check, credit card, or ACH Credit.

  • ACH Debit/e-check payments require the Commission’s Debit Block ID/Originator ID: 9000099340. A seller paying with Echeck or ACH Debit will need to enter their bank account information for each remittance. Payment information is not stored in the system.
  • Credit card payments are assessed a three percent (3%) processing fee.
  • ACH Credit payments are initiated by the seller outside of the filing portal and require ARSSTC’s bank information.
When is the filing deadline?
Filings are due by midnight of the last day of the month following the filing period (March is due by April 30). If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, the filings are due by midnight end of the following business day.
What happens if a seller files after the deadline?

An incomplete return or failure to remit all the tax due will be considered late or delinquent. There are multiple charges for late filing:

  1. Late filing fee of $25 per month delinquent up to a maximum of $100. This fee is assessed regardless of amount of tax due.
  2. Penalty of 5-20% of the tax principal (5% the first month late, and an additional 5% per month of delinquency until the maximum 20% is reached).
  3. Interest of 15% per annum of delinquent tax principal.
  4. A buyer, remote seller, or marketplace facilitator who knowingly or negligently submits false or concealed information in a document filed with the Commission is subject to a penalty of $500.
What about companies that file taxes on behalf of one or more other companies?

There are instructions specifically for bulk filers at the Commission’s Business Center/Quick Links. These bulk filers must register each individual company with the system and can use the provided XML Schema to register these companies all at once. Once registered, bulk filers can use the XML Schema for filing.

How does a business view and print sales tax forms?

The system will generate the jurisdiction-specific tax forms. A seller can access the forms through their Business Center. See How to File Sales Tax/Business Center Overview.

What happens if a payment does not process correctly?
Payments are occasionally denied due to incomplete or incorrect bank payment information. In these cases, ARSSTC will reset the payment and tax filing and add a reprocessing fee of $25. Some denied transactions require additional paperwork from the seller before they can proceed with further filings. Once the payment has been reset, the seller must resubmit the tax form in the filing portal and if it is past the due date, the system will assess late filing fees.
Can a seller amend a previous tax filing?
Yes. Amended returns must be filed within one (1) year of the original due date for the return. The seller can initiate the amended return through the MUNIRevs sales tax filing portal. The tax return can be amended only a single time for each jurisdiction. If subsequent amendments need to be made for a tax filing into a jurisdiction, contact a Program Administrator.
What happens if a business overpays or has a smaller tax burden due to amended filings?
Overpayments due to amended refunds, accidental overpayment or duplicate payment may be either applied to the account as a credit or refunded back to the seller via ACH Credit.

Exemptions

How does a seller know to exempt tax from a transaction?
There are two types of exempt sales: entity-based exemptions and product-based exemptions. Exemptions are established via a member jurisdiction’s sales tax code. The TTR tax map displays all member jurisdictions and their associated exemption categories.

For entity-based exemptions, all sales are considered taxable unless the buyer provides proof of tax-exempt status. Tax exempt entities that are in a taxing jurisdiction should have access to a tax-exempt certificate provided by their jurisdiction.

The buyer must present their proof of exemption to the seller to qualify for sales tax exemption. It is the buyer’s responsibility to maintain a current tax exemption certificate. It is the seller’s responsibility to request the certificate for every tax-exempt transaction or hold the certificate on file. The seller is required to maintain documentation of every tax-exempt sale and to provide documentation to the ARSSTC upon request.

Does the Commission provide tax exempt certificates?
Yes, for remote sellers without a physical presence in a taxing jurisdiction. This includes Alaskan-based businesses that are not located in a taxing jurisdiction, drop shippers, as well as remote sellers without a physical presence in Alaska that conduct resale transactions. The certificate is valid through December 31 of the current year. Businesses may reapply for a certificate in December for the subsequent year.

Audits and Compliance

Does the Commission conduct sales tax audits?
Yes. The Commission or member jurisdiction retains the right to request a discretionary remote sales tax audit at any time. The purpose of such an audit is to examine the business records to determine whether appropriate sales tax revenue was collected and remitted to ARSSTC.
How long does a business need to retain records of sales tax transactions for audit compliance?
3 years.