Kewal Krishan & Co, Chartered Accountants
Nexus Tax

Attention all California business owners and entrepreneurs! Are you familiar with the ever-changing nexus tax regulations in the Golden State? If not, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we will break down everything you need to know about Nexus tax regulations in California, so you can stay ahead of the game and keep your business thriving. Let’s dive in!

Introduction: Understanding Nexus Tax Regulations

Nexus tax regulations are a crucial aspect of taxation that every business owner should be familiar with. In the simplest terms, nexus refers to the connection or presence of a business in a particular state or jurisdiction, which then requires the business to comply with that state’s tax laws. The concept of nexus has become increasingly important in recent years due to the rise of e-commerce and online businesses, which can have customers all over the country without ever physically being present.

In this section, we will dive deeper into what exactly nexus tax regulations are and how they may apply to your business operations in California. We will also discuss the implications of these regulations and how they can affect your overall tax liability.

What is Nexus?

As mentioned earlier, nexus refers to the relationship between a business and a particular state for tax purposes. This relationship can be established based on various factors such as physical presence, economic presence, or even remote sales through online platforms. Each state has its own criteria for determining whether a business has a nexus within their borders.

For example, if you operate a brick-and-mortar store in California, you would automatically have physical nexus in that state. However, if you have an online business with customers in multiple states but no physical presence anywhere else besides your home state, you may still have economic nexus depending on each state’s specific laws.

Implications of Nexus Tax Regulations

Having nexus in a particular state means that your business must comply with that state’s tax laws and file income tax returns accordingly. These regulations not only impact traditional businesses but also extend to digital transactions and e-commerce activities.

For businesses operating solely within California, this may not pose much of an issue as it is their home base and where most revenues are generated from. However, for businesses with operations outside of California or selling products/services nationwide through e-commerce platforms like Amazon or Etsy – complying with multiple states’ tax laws can be a daunting and complicated task.

In addition to filing income tax returns, businesses with nexus in California may also have to charge sales tax on their products or services sold within the state. This can add an additional layer of complexity for businesses selling through online platforms that reach customers in different states.

What is Nexus and How Does it Apply to Sales in California?

In the world of sales and taxation, nexus is a crucial concept that every business owner should be aware of. Nexus refers to a significant connection or presence that a business has in a state, which can trigger tax obligations and compliance with certain regulations. In California, understanding nexus is especially important as the state has specific laws and regulations in place for businesses operating within its borders.

So, how does nexus apply to sales in California? Let’s break it down.

First and foremost, when it comes to sales tax, nexus determines whether or not a business is required to register for and collect sales tax from customers in California. According to California’s current laws, if your business has any kind of physical presence in the state – such as an office, store, warehouse or even employees working remotely – you have established a nexus and are required to collect and remit sales tax on all taxable transactions.

However, physical presence is not the only factor that triggers nexus. Other forms of economic activity can also create a nexus for your business in California. For instance:

1) Having inventory stored in third-party warehouses located in California.
2) Regularly attending trade shows or events where you solicit sales in the state.
3) Utilizing affiliate marketers or referral programs based in California.
4) Receiving rental income from properties located within the state.

It’s essential to note that these are just some examples; there are many other activities that could potentially establish a nexus for your business. Therefore, it’s crucial for businesses operating outside of California but making sales into the state to closely monitor their activities and determine if they have established sufficient nexus to trigger tax obligations.

One question many businesses may have is why exactly do I need to worry about establishing a nexus? Well, aside from being required by law to collect and remit taxes on taxable transactions made into the state of California once you’ve created enough of a relationship (nexus), failure to comply can result in penalties and interest, which can add up quickly.

Nexus is a critical concept for businesses to understand when it comes to sales tax in California. Any type of physical presence or economic activity can create a nexus for your business and trigger tax obligations. It’s crucial to keep track of your business activities closely and determine if you have created sufficient nexus within the state to remain compliant with California’s tax laws. Ignoring the concept of nexus can lead to costly repercussions, so make sure to always stay informed!

Types of Nexus: Physical Presence vs Economic Presence

When it comes to determining nexus for tax purposes in California, there are two main types that a business should be aware of – physical presence and economic presence. These terms refer to the ways in which a company can establish a connection or presence in the state, resulting in potential tax obligations.

Physical presence nexus is established when a business has some type of tangible property or physical activity within California’s borders. This includes having an office, warehouse, employees, or sales representatives located within the state. Even if the company is headquartered outside of California, any physical location or person acting on behalf of the business within the state can trigger nexus.

On the other hand, economic presence nexus involves having significant economic exposure within California without necessarily having a physical presence. This means that even if a business does not have any physical ties to the state, they can still be subject to taxation if they meet certain economic thresholds set by California’s tax laws.

One such threshold is based on sales revenue generated in California. According to current regulations, businesses with over $500,000 in sales from transactions occurring within California are subject to state income tax. Additionally, companies with at least 25% of their total sales from transactions taking place in California may also be deemed to have economic presence and thus required to comply with state tax laws.

Another factor that may establish an economic nexus is the use of independent contractors or affiliates operating under similar branding as your company but physically located in California. This could potentially create sufficient connections between your business and the state for tax purposes.

It’s important for businesses operating both inside and outside of California to understand that these types of nexus are not mutually exclusive – your company could have both types depending on its activities and operations within the state. It’s crucial then for businesses to carefully evaluate all aspects of their operations within California to determine whether they have established either type (or both) of nexus and to ensure they are in compliance with state tax laws.

Understanding the difference between physical presence and economic presence is vital for businesses navigating California’s nexus tax regulations. Companies should thoroughly assess their activities within the state to determine if they have established either type of nexus and take necessary steps to comply with all applicable tax laws. Failure to do so can result in potential penalties, fines, or other legal consequences.

Nexus Tax Laws in California: A Brief Overview

Nexus tax laws in California refer to the legal framework that determines whether a business or individual has sufficient presence or connection (also known as nexus) in the state to be subject to taxation. Nexus is an important concept in determining a taxpayer’s obligations, as it is used to establish where and how much they should pay taxes.

There are various types of nexus that can trigger taxation in California, including physical presence nexus, economic nexus, affiliate nexus, and factor presence nexus. Physical presence refers to having a physical establishment such as an office or storefront within the state. Economic nexus considers factors such as sales revenue or number of transactions conducted within California. Affiliate nexus relates to businesses with connections to other entities within the state. And finally, factor presence nexus takes into account payroll, property, and/or sales in California.

In June 2018, California adopted a new economic nexus law known as “Wayfair” after the landmark Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. This decision allowed states to require out-of-state sellers to collect and remit sales tax if they met certain economic thresholds, even without any physical presence within the state. In response, California enacted Assembly Bill 147 which expanded its existing sales tax collection requirements for online retailers starting October 1st of that same year.

The threshold for economic nexus under “Wayfair” for businesses selling tangible goods into California is $500,000 annually in gross receipts from retail sales of tangible personal property delivered into the state during the preceding or current calendar year. For marketplace facilitators (such as Amazon), this threshold is lowered down to $100 million beginning April 1st of 2019.

Aside from collecting and remitting sales tax on taxable purchases made by customers from outside of their home state (for most online retailers), “Wayfair” also requires qualifying businesses with above-mentioned levels of activity within California’s boundaries are liable for paying income taxes regardless of whether or not the business has any physical presence in California.

In addition to these laws, California also has various tax incentive programs to attract businesses and encourage economic activity. These include sales tax exemptions for manufacturers, research and development credits, and enterprise zone hiring credits.

It is important for businesses operating within California or looking to expand into the state to familiarize themselves with nexus tax laws in order to comply with their tax obligations. Seeking advice from a qualified tax professional can help ensure that all necessary requirements are met. Failure to comply with nexus regulations can lead to penalties and interest on unpaid taxes, which can have significant financial consequences for businesses.

Impact of Nexus Tax Regulations on Businesses

Nexus tax regulations refer to the laws that determine whether a business has a sufficient connection or “nexus” with a particular state, thus making them liable for certain taxes. These regulations have been subject to significant changes in recent years, particularly in California, where numerous businesses have had to adapt to new laws and rules.

The impact of nexus tax regulations on businesses can be significant, as they can affect not only their tax liabilities but also their operations and overall financial stability. With the rise of e-commerce and online sales, many businesses are now selling products or providing services across multiple states, which has made it crucial for companies to understand nexus taxation.

One of the main impacts of nexus tax regulations is determining whether a business must register for permits and licenses in different states. In California, if your company has substantial activities within the state’s borders, you may be required to register with the Secretary of State’s office and obtain a permit number. This not only incurs additional costs but also adds another layer of administrative burden for businesses.

Moreover, nexus tax regulations can also impact a business’s income tax obligations. If your company has enough nexus with California, it will be subject to state income taxation on all its income derived from sources within the state. This means that even if you are located outside of California but have customers or clients within its borders, you may still owe state income taxes.

Another area greatly affected by nexus tax regulations is sales and use taxes. With more companies operating online and shipping products across state lines, there is often confusion about when sales or use taxes should be collected. In some cases, this could lead to double taxation if both the state where the seller is located and the destination state impose sales taxes on a transaction.

In addition to these direct impacts on finances and operations, complying with nexus tax regulations can also bring potential legal issues for businesses. Failing to fully comply with these laws could result in penalties, interest, and tax audits by the state tax authorities.

Nexus tax regulations can have a significant impact on businesses operating in California. It is essential for companies to stay updated on these laws and make sure they are complying with their obligations to avoid any potential consequences. Seeking professional advice from a tax expert or consultant familiar with nexus taxation can also help businesses navigate through these complex regulations successfully.

How to Determine if Your Business Has Nexus in California

Determining whether or not your business has a nexus in California is crucial to ensuring compliance with the state’s tax laws. Nexus is the legal term used to describe a connection or presence that gives a state the authority to subject a business to taxation. This can include either physical presence, such as having an office or employees in the state, or economic presence, which refers to conducting business activities and generating sales within the state.

The concept of nexus has become increasingly important for businesses operating in California due to recent changes in the state’s tax regulations. In 2019, California implemented new rules for determining whether or not a business has nexus in the state and is therefore required to collect and remit sales tax.

To determine if your business has a nexus in California, there are several key factors to consider. First and foremost, you need to analyze your physical presence in the state. This includes any offices, warehouses, storefronts, or other physical locations where your business operates. Even having a single employee working remotely from California can establish a physical nexus.

Next, it’s essential to assess your economic activity within the state. This can include both direct sales made by your business as well as indirect sales made through affiliates or agents located within California. If you exceed certain thresholds for either direct or indirect sales into the state, you may have an economic nexus.

Another factor that may create a nexus for your business is inventory held within California for resale purposes. Under current regulations, holding inventory within the state for more than 60 days can create sufficient nexus.

Furthermore, engaging in trade shows or other temporary activities within California may also trigger nexus if they exceed certain thresholds.

It’s worth noting that some types of businesses are automatically deemed to have nexus in California due to their nature of operations. For example, transportation companies are considered to have substantial nexus if they have property (e.g., aircraft) permanently located within the state.

In addition to these factors specific to California, it’s also essential to consider any past or ongoing sales and use tax obligations your business may have had in the state. This includes collecting and remitting tax on items sold through online marketplaces such as Amazon or Etsy.

To ensure full compliance with California’s nexus regulations, it is recommended to consult with a tax professional or attorney who specializes in this area. They can help you properly analyze your business activities and determine if you have sufficient nexus in California for tax purposes. Failing to comply with these regulations can lead to penalties and potential legal issues, making it crucial to stay aware of your business’s nexus status in the state.

Strategies for Managing and Complying with Nexus Tax Regulations

Nexus tax regulations require businesses to collect and remit sales taxes in states where they have a physical presence or “nexus”. However, managing and complying with these regulations can be complex and confusing. In this section, we will discuss some strategies that businesses can use to effectively manage and comply with nexus tax regulations.

1. Understand the concept of nexus: The first step towards managing and complying with nexus tax regulations is to understand what nexus means. As discussed earlier, nexus refers to the physical presence of a business in a state. This includes having employees, offices, warehouses, or any other assets in a state.

2. Conduct an internal nexus review: To ensure compliance with nexus tax regulations, businesses should conduct an internal review to determine their level of activity in each state where they do business. This includes identifying all physical locations, employees working remotely or traveling frequently to different states, and any other activities that could create nexus.

3. Keep track of changes in state laws: State laws regarding sales tax collection can vary greatly from one jurisdiction to another. It’s essential for businesses to stay informed about any changes in these laws as they could impact their obligations under nexus.

4. Use technology solutions: With advancements in technology, there are now software solutions available that can help businesses accurately track sales and assist them with sales tax calculations across different jurisdictions. These solutions can also assist with filing sales tax returns.

5. Consider outsourcing compliance tasks: For small businesses or those without the resources for an in-house accounting team, outsourcing compliance tasks may be a more cost-effective option. There are many accounting firms specialized in sales tax compliance who can help ensure accurate filing and timely remittance of taxes owed.

6. Implement adequate record-keeping practices: Proper record-keeping is crucial when it comes to proving compliance during audits. Businesses should maintain records of all transactions subject to sales tax, including invoices, receipts, and other documents.

7. Educate employees on nexus: Businesses should educate their employees, especially those involved in sales and accounting, about the concept of nexus and how it affects the company’s compliance obligations. This will help ensure that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and can identify potential nexus-creating activities.

Understanding the concept of nexus, conducting internal reviews, keeping track of state laws, using technology solutions or outsourcing tasks, implementing record-keeping practices and educating employees are some effective strategies businesses can use to manage and comply with nexus tax regulations in California. By following these strategies, businesses can reduce their compliance risks and avoid penalties associated with non-compliance with sales tax laws.

Recent Changes and Updates in California’s Nexus Tax Laws

Recently, California made significant changes and updates to its nexus tax laws. These changes have been implemented in response to the growing number of online businesses operating within the state, and aim to ensure that these businesses are complying with their tax obligations.

One of the most notable changes is the expansion of California’s economic nexus law. Under this law, out-of-state businesses are required to collect and remit sales tax if they have a certain level of economic activity within the state. This means that even if a business has no physical presence in California, it can still be deemed to have nexus and be subject to tax.

Prior to these updates, an out-of-state business needed to have either a physical location or employees present in order for economic nexus to apply. However, now even if a business exceeds $500,000 in sales or has 200 or more transactions within California in a calendar year, it will be considered to have economic nexus and must comply with tax regulations.

Additionally, there has been an update to the market-based sourcing rules for service revenue. Previously, service revenue was sourced based on where the service provider was located. However, under the new rules, service revenue will now be sourced based on where the customer is located. This change may affect out-of-state businesses that provide services remotely but have customers in California.

Another important change relates to marketplace facilitator laws. A marketplace facilitator is an online platform that enables third-party sellers to sell goods through their platform. With these new laws, marketplace facilitators are required to collect and remit sales tax on behalf of their third-party sellers who make sales through their platform. This includes both selling tangible personal property as well as providing taxable services.

There has been an increase in enforcement efforts by California’s Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). The CDTFA has increased its audit staff and technology capabilities in order to better identify non-compliant businesses. This means that businesses operating within California should ensure they are meeting their tax obligations to avoid potential penalties and fines.

California’s nexus tax laws have undergone significant changes and updates in recent times. These changes impact out-of-state businesses, particularly those with online operations, and it is crucial for businesses to stay informed and compliant with these regulations to avoid any legal consequences.

Common Misconceptions About Nexus Taxes in

There are many misconceptions surrounding nexus taxes, especially in California – a state known for its complex tax laws and high business taxes. In this section, we will discuss some of the most common misconceptions about nexus taxes, to help you better understand your tax obligations as a business owner in California.

Misconception 1: Nexus Taxes Only Apply to Businesses with Physical Presence

One common misconception is that nexus taxes only apply to businesses with a physical presence in California. However, according to the Supreme Court ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc., states have the right to impose sales tax on out-of-state businesses that meet certain economic thresholds. This means that even if your business doesn’t have a physical presence in California, but meets these thresholds (e.g., exceeding $500,000 in sales or making over 200 transactions), you may still be subject to nexus taxes.

Misconception 2: Nexus Taxes Are Optional

Another misconception is that businesses have the option to pay or not pay nexus taxes. The truth is that once your business meets the economic thresholds, it becomes mandatory for you to register for and collect sales tax from customers in California. Failure to do so can result in penalties and interest charges.

Misconception 3: My Business Is Too Small For Nexus Taxes

Many small business owners believe that their operations are too small to be subject to nexus taxes. However, as mentioned earlier, meeting the economic thresholds set by each state makes it mandatory for businesses of any size to register and collect sales tax from customers within that state.

Misconception 4: Nexus Taxes Only Apply To Online Sales

While online retailers were initially targeted by states trying to enforce sales tax collection through the internet marketplace, all types of businesses are now subject to nexus taxes if they meet the economic thresholds mentioned above. This includes traditional brick-and-mortar stores as well.

Misconception 5: Registering For Nexus Taxes Is Complicated

Another common misconception is that registering for and complying with nexus tax regulations is a complicated and time-consuming process. While it can be challenging to understand the nuances of different state tax laws, there are several resources available to help businesses navigate these complexities, such as professional tax consultants or online tools provided by the state.

Understanding your obligations as a business owner when it comes to nexus taxes in California is crucial. It’s essential to debunk these misconceptions and stay informed about your tax responsibilities to avoid penalties and potential legal issues in the future.

Conclusion: Navigating Nexus Tax Laws in California

As California continues to evolve its nexus tax regulations, understanding and compliance are essential for businesses of all sizes. By debunking common misconceptions and embracing strategic compliance practices, companies can mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities within the Golden State. With the right guidance and tools, navigating the complexities of nexus tax laws can become a manageable aspect of doing business in California, ensuring growth and sustainability in this dynamic market environment.

Have Questions?

Understanding the Nexus 25% Tax Rule is crucial for any business owner or expatriate with ties to California. With this guide, you’re well-equipped to navigate these waters.

For tailored advice and assistance in steering through California’s tax seas, contact our COO, Anshul Goyal, at Let us be your lighthouse, guiding you to safe and compliant shores.


This article provides general information and is intended for educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal, tax, or professional advice. Businesses should consult with a qualified tax advisor or attorney to ensure compliance with all applicable nexus tax laws and regulations in California.


1. What is nexus tax?

Nexus tax refers to the requirement for businesses to collect and remit sales tax in a jurisdiction where they have established a significant presence or connection. This can be through physical or economic activities within the state.

2. How does a business establish a nexus in California?

A business can establish a nexus in California through physical presence, such as an office, warehouse, or employees, or through economic activities, like surpassing a set amount of sales or transactions within the state.

3. What are the economic thresholds for nexus in California?

For out-of-state sellers, the economic threshold is over $500,000 in sales to California customers within a calendar year, which establishes a nexus and necessitates the collection of sales tax.

4. Does California enforce nexus tax on online sales?

Yes, California enforces nexus tax on online sales. Businesses meeting the economic thresholds from online sales to California residents are required to collect and remit sales tax.

5. What is a marketplace facilitator, and how does it relate to nexus in California?

A marketplace facilitator is an online platform that facilitates sales between sellers and buyers. In California, marketplace facilitators are required to collect and remit sales tax on behalf of sellers using their platform if they meet the nexus criteria.

6. Are services subject to nexus tax in California?

Yes, services can be subject to nexus tax if the service is considered taxable in California and the business providing the service meets the state’s nexus criteria.

7. How can I determine if my business has a nexus in California?

To determine if your business has nexus in California, review your physical presence, economic activity, and sales transactions within the state. Consulting with a tax professional is also recommended for accurate assessment and compliance.

8. What happens if I fail to comply with nexus tax requirements in California?

Failure to comply with nexus tax requirements in California can result in penalties, interest charges, and potential audits. It’s crucial to ensure timely and accurate tax collection and remittance.

9. Can the nexus status of my business change over time?

Yes, the nexus status of your business can change over time due to evolving business activities, changes in sales volume, or amendments to tax laws. Regular reviews of nexus status are advisable.

10. Where can I find more information about nexus tax regulations in California?

For more detailed information about nexus tax regulations, you can visit the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) website or consult with a qualified tax advisor familiar with California’s tax laws.

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