If you have a business based in New Mexico, or if you’re thinking of expanding to sell to customers there, you need to know about the sales tax regulations and requirements in the state. The fact is, however, that New Mexico doesn’t have a traditional sales tax. Instead, it has what’s called a gross receipts tax, and the main difference between that and a sales tax is that the gross receipts tax is levied directly on the seller as opposed to on the buyer.
Since most sellers simply pass on the cost of the tax to the buyer, either lumped in with the purchase price of the item or listed separately, New Mexico’s gross receipts tax functions much like the sales taxes in other states in many respects. There are some important differences, however, and so it’s important to understand exactly how the state’s system works to ensure that you’re compliant whenever you sell to customers in New Mexico.
The base rate of the gross receipts tax in New Mexico is 5.125%. Just like sales taxes in other states, local jurisdictions can put additional taxes in place in their area, and that means that the effective rate across the state can vary quite a bit. The highest gross receipts tax rate in New Mexico is 8.8675%, and there are a range of values in between.
These local taxes can be levied at the city, county, school district, transportation district, or special purpose district levels, and they may be changed as frequently as twice a year, depending on local ordinances. The state puts out new rate schedules in July and January that will reflect these changes, but no explicit announcements are made concerning specific local tax rate adjustmens, and so that’s something you will have to monitor to ensure you’re always using the most current rate.
If you have a physical location within New Mexico, you will have to pay tax at the rate in force in that physical location, regardless of whether your customers come to you to make purchases or you ship the goods to them directly. Businesses based out-of-state shipping to customers in New Mexico will pay tax at the 5.125% state rate.
Just as with sales tax or any other type of business tax, New Mexico can only compel sellers to pay gross receipts tax on sales to New Mexico customers if those businesses have a nexus in the state. The New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue considers anyone engaged in business activities in the state to have nexus there, and qualifying activities include but are not limited to:
Other conditions that can trigger a nexus and require the payment of the gross receipts tax include:
These regulations cast a wide net, and so it’s likely that if you make sales into New Mexico on more than an occasional basis, you will meet their criteria for having a nexus there. Amazon does not currently have any warehouses located in New Mexico, so if you use fulfillment by Amazon, you will not have a nexus condition triggered by having your goods stored in their warehouses.
Although the effect is quite similar to a conventional sales tax, the gross receipts tax in New Mexico applies to everything unless it’s exempted, rather than being added on to specific types of goods as sales taxes typically are. That means that all goods sold in New Mexico are covered under the tax, along with all services provided. Essentially, any revenue received from business activities in the state is taxed, and that includes shipping and handling charges no matter how they’re listed on the receipt or invoice.
Certain classes of goods are exempted, and these include foods intended to be prepared and eaten in the home as outlined by the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This includes most groceries and household staples, although it doesn’t cover hot prepared foods, alcohol and tobacco, and pet foods. However, even specified items are not exempted unless they’re purchased in an establishment that meets the definition of a “retail food store” as outlined by the state.
Prescription drugs are also exempt, although over-the-counter drugs are not. Medical services are only exempt if they’re provided by the administrators of the Federal Military’s TRICARE program.
If you’ve determined that your business is eligible for the gross receipts tax, you must register with the state before you can file a return and make payments. To do this, you can submit a paper application, or you can apply online through the New Mexico e-filing services and receive a Combined Reporting System ID number. There is no fee to register in this way.
Once you’ve been issued your ID number, you’ll also be assigned a filing frequency, which will be based on your expected total tax liability per month. Filing frequency options include:
Filing and payment can be completed online through the Taxpayer Access Point.
Your New Mexico state gross receipt tax returns and payments are due on the 25th of the month following the close of the period in question. If this date falls on a weekend or holiday, returns and payments will be considered timely if made by the following business day.
|January – March (Q1)||April 25|
|April – June (Q2)||July 25|
|July – September (Q3)||October 25|
|October – December (Q4)||January 25|
Semi-annual returns are due July 25th for the period running from January through June, and on January 25th for the period running from July through December. Even if you have no tax liability for a particular period, you must file a return as long as you have an active registration with the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue.
Returns and payments submitted late will be subject to a penalty of 2% of the total tax due per month or fraction of a month that it’s late. The maximum penalty that can be assessed is 20% of the total tax due, and interest will accrue as well on a daily basis. The rate of that interest can vary, and it will also depend on the period the tax payment was due for.
Keeping up with the specific rates and regulations in New Mexico can be a challenge, particularly because they change so often. This situation is compounded if you’re selling in multiple states at the same time, but it’s essential that you stay compliant with all applicable tax laws so that you can continue doing business in the state, and so that you don’t incur any penalties or added costs. The best way to ensure that you’re up to date on the latest developments in New Mexico gross receipts tax, as well as sales taxes in other states, is to take advantage of the powerful software TaxTools places at your fingertips.
With this program, you can be sure that you’re always paying your tax at the correct rate, and that you’re keeping thorough records regarding the location and nature of individual sales. TaxTools can also generate any needed reports, and it integrates smoothly with all ecommerce platforms, so you won’t have to change anything about the way you do business.
If you’re ready to learn more about how TaxTools can benefit your company and streamline your processes, click here to sign up for a free trial today.