Today's Ecommerce Bits & Bytes column takes a look at some resources available to online sellers, from tax and product-sourcing resources to PayPal's brand new book for merchants.
There's been a lot of concern from small sellers about taxes thanks to the new requirement that payment processors collect merchant Tax ID numbers and report transactions to the IRS. You may be surprised to see that the IRS states: "If your online sales are the Internet equivalent of an occasional garage or yard sale, you generally do not have to report the sales if you did not receive more than you originally paid for the item you sold." - more info here on the IRS website.
If you have questions about filing taxes, you should get professional help from an accountant, but it always helps to educate yourself as much as possible. I recommend Barbara Weltman's book, J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes. The IRS also has a wealth of information on its Small Business portal and has videos and offers a Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop.
If you're setting up an ecommerce business and want to accept PayPal, a new book can help you figure out all the options PayPal has to offer. The PayPal Official Insider Guide to Growing Your Business explains the differences between Website Payments Standard, Payflow Link Gateway, Express Checkout and Virtual Terminal. In the section on Shopping Carts, it points to the PayPal Partner Directory where you can find shopping carts compatible with PayPal. It explains how to configure the PayPal Shopping Cart, including settings for sales tax and shipping & handling.
The new PayPal book is handy for your reference shelf, especially for those setting up PayPal on their ecommerce site for the first time. But it would be really nice to see a book tackle all payment methods including the ins and outs of getting a merchant credit card account.
Product-sourcing is one of the most important parts of an online seller's business, but merchants must work with suppliers - often sight unseen. Brad and Debra Schepp tackle the world's largest B2B marketplace in their book, The Official Alibaba.com Success Guide. Published last year, the book explains what you need to know when sourcing goods and how to work with suppliers - advice that will help retailers no matter where they're sourcing goods. Looking for more ideas? Get a free subscription to Web Wholesaler Magazine - they have good content sandwiched between ads for wholesalers and suppliers.
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