Join us for this live webinar on Thursday, September 24 at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern. Register here for free. 

Death and taxes are often linked, if for no other reason than that doing one makes the other seem not so bad. Both also share the trait of tending to sneak up on people. And there’s no time when a tax surprise is less welcome than in the middle of an IPO or an acquisition. But how can taxes — especially sales taxes — be a surprise to a business? The number of ways is itself surprising.

Consider this: Your company has a reasonably flexible corporate telecommuting policy, and when the nature of day-to-day work is amenable, your people are empowered to take advantage of it. On this particular day, a child with an unscheduled flu forces one of your executives to head to his or her home office. And it just so happens that the corporate office is 20 minutes away, in a neighboring state. Poof! Today you have nexus in a state where you didn’t yesterday. You have to charge sales tax for shoppers today — shoppers who would have had a tax-free experience yesterday.

It’s hard enough trying to master the shifting tax landscape everywhere that you have a physical presence, but that reality can shift from day to day. And it doesn’t have to be caused by a corporate acquisition when a casual flu bug can do it.

Want to try something very un-entertaining? Try figuring out the taxes when you sell a piece of entertainment online. If you sell digital downloads, a sports event is taxed differently than a music concert. And it depends on the state. And the county. Unless you’re in a geography where content distribution is sales-tax-exempt because it is covered by an admissions tax scheme.

Then there are audit issues. With digital sales, your company can lapse into international sales without even trying.

To figure all this out, we will be joined by the head of ecommerce for a footwear site with three physical stores and plans for a dozen more, a business-to-consumer site, a business-to-business site, 100 full-time workers in the U.S., plus a couple of hundred outside the U.S. — mostly at their Chinese manufacturing operation. (The tax burden in states where they have tax responsibility can double — or be cut in half — from day to day.) We’ll also have a media company CFO and an attorney specializing in tax issues, all ready to share their secrets for managing the annoying complexities of sales tax.

Register here for free.


Scott Cohn, Vice President of ecommerce, Chinese Laundry
Lisa Serwin, CFO, VentureBeat
Jordan Goodman, Sales and Local Tax Partner, Horwood Marcus & Berk

Moderator: Evan Schuman, VentureBeat


This webinar is sponsored by Avalara.