How to Calculate Quarterly Sales Taxes

by Jessica Kent ; Updated September 26, 2017

Businesses are subject to sales tax. The applicable sales tax rate is based on the state and county where the business is conducted. Many states do not require the collection of sales tax on sales of clothing, food and over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Quarterly sales tax is due March 15 for the period Dec. 1 through Feb. 28; June 15 for the period March 1 through May 30; Sept. 15 for the period June 1 through Aug. 31; and Dec. 15 for the period Sept. 1 through Nov. 30.

Calculate Quarterly Sales Tax

Determine the amount of total sales for the quarter. Calculate total sales, total taxable sales and total non-taxable sales.

Record the amount of total sales on the quarterly sales tax return. State taxing agencies require the total sales amounts for a quarter, regardless of whether they are subject to sales tax or not, for informational purposes.

Record the amount of taxable sales in the appropriate space on your state's quarterly sales tax return. Multiply the taxable sales by the applicable tax rate to calculate the quarterly sales tax.

Calculate credits provided by your state. For example, New York State provides a vendor credit of up to $200 per quarter if the business files the sales tax return on time and remits payment with the return.


  • The states of Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire and Oregon do not impose sales tax on the sale of any goods or services.

About the Author

Jessica Kent started writing professionally in 2002. Her articles have appeared in publications including the New York State Bar Association's "Family Law Review," "Valuation Strategies" and "Metropolitan Corporate Counsel." Through her writing, she strives to assist people in making informed financial decisions. She is a Certified Public Accountant in New York. Kent holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Binghamton University.

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