Between Lakes and Legislation: Dissecting Michigan's Sales Tax Code

Key highlights:

  • Analyze Michigan sales tax
  • Understand Michigan sales tax deadlines
  • Become familiar with the process of registering for sales tax in Michigan
  • Learn about filing a sales tax in Michigan

Who needs to collect Michigan sales tax?

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Businesses in Michigan are generally required to collect and remit sales tax if specific criteria are met.

  • Nexus in Michigan: A company must have a physical presence in Michigan to be liable for sales tax collection. This physical presence, known as nexus, can be established in the state by having a retail store, office, warehouse, or distribution center. 
  • Remote Seller Threshold: Even if a company does not have a physical presence in Michigan, it may be obliged to pay sales tax if certain economic criteria are met.
  • Transaction Types: Most retail sales of tangible personal property in Michigan are generally subject to sales tax. This covers sales of apparel, gadgets, furniture, and automobiles. Some specific types of transactions may be exempt from sales tax, such as sales of certain groceries, prescription drugs, and certain medical devices.

Michigan sales tax rates

Michigan's sales tax rate is 6%.

Do you have a Nexus in Michigan?

The connection or presence that a firm must have within a state to be required to collect and pay sales tax on taxable sales is referred to as sales tax nexus. Various elements determine nexus, and each state has its nexus regulations and criteria. A physical presence in the state, such as an office, store, warehouse, or other facilities, might result in sales tax nexus. A company with employees, salespeople, agents, or independent contractors in Michigan may establish a nexus. Michigan has enacted a provision known as the "Wayfair ruling" that addresses economic linkage. In Michigan, the establishment of sales tax nexus is generally based on the Michigan Department of Treasury's standards. 

What happens if you fail to collect Michigan sales tax?

Penalties and interest may apply if you fail to collect Michigan sales tax or remit collected tax to the relevant authorities. The Michigan Department of Treasury determines penalties and interest rates, which may vary depending on the individual circumstances. It is crucial to remember that I am an artificial intelligence language model and may not have the most up-to-date information on certain tax rates or penalties. As a result, it is always best to check official resources or a tax professional for the most up-to-date and correct information. In general, fines and interest for failing to pay Michigan sales tax on time may include:

  • Late Payment Penalty: You may face a penalty if you do not remit the collected sales tax by the due date.
  • Interest Charges: From the due date until the tax is paid in full, interest is usually charged on the outstanding tax amount. 
  • Extra Penalties: Besides the late payment penalty and interest charges, severe infractions, such as deliberate noncompliance or tax fraud, may result in additional penalties. 

How to register for sales tax in Michigan?

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To register for Michigan sales tax, you must complete a few steps and obtain the relevant documentation. Here's a rundown of the procedure:

  • Determine your tax liability
  • Obtain your EIN
  • Register either online or by mail
  • Collect the necessary information and documentation such as business information (including your company name, address, contact information, and federal tax ID number (EIN).) Business entity type, NAICS code, SIC code, total sales data, and bank account data
  • Submit your application
  • Please wait for confirmation

How to file sales tax in Michigan?

To file sales tax in Michigan, you must do the following:

  • Register for a sales tax license: Before you can file sales tax, you must first register for a sales tax license with the Michigan Department of Treasury. You can register for Michigan taxes via the Michigan Treasury Online (MTO) system or by mailing Form 518, Registration for Michigan Taxes.
  • Collect sales tax: As a business owner, you must collect sales tax from your consumers on all taxable purchases. Michigan's current sales tax rate is 6%.
  • Determine the frequency with which you will file: The regularity with which you file your sales tax returns is determined by the amount of sales tax you collect. Filing possibilities include monthly, quarterly, and annual. 
  • Calculate your sales tax liability by totaling the sales tax you collected throughout the reporting period. To compute the sales tax liability, multiply the taxable sales by the sales tax rate (6%).
  • Fill out the sales tax return: For your filing frequency, use the appropriate sales tax return form issued by the Michigan Department of Treasury. The forms are available on their website and through the Michigan Treasury Online (MTO) system. Fill in the blanks with accurate information about your firm, total sales, taxable sales, and the computed sales tax liability.
  • File and remit payment: After completing the sales tax return, submit it to the Michigan Department of Treasury along with payment for the sales tax due.
  • Maintain compliance: By constantly monitoring your sales tax collection and filing requirements. To ensure continuous compliance, keep updated on any changes to Michigan's sales tax rates or laws.

For specific guidance and assistance with your sales tax filing needs, it is recommended that you consult with a tax professional or contact the Michigan Department of Treasury directly. 

Michigan sales tax deadlines

  • Monthly: On or before the 20th of the month following
  • Quarterly: By the 20th of the month following the quarter.
  • Annual: 28th February Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT): 28th February on or before the 20th of the month following
  • Accelerated Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) :

Until 31 December 2013:

The first half of the payment is due on the 20th of the month.

The second half of the payment is due on the last day of the month. The following month's Reconciliation payment is due on the 20th.

Beginning January 1, 2014: 75% of the taxpayer's sales tax liability for the preceding month, plus a reconciliation payment equal to the difference between the tax liability determined for the preceding month and the amount of tax previously paid for that month is due on 20th day of the month. 


The article highlights the significance of filing sales tax in Michigan and emphasizes key points to consider. Filing sales tax in Michigan is crucial for several reasons:

  • Legal Compliance: Filing sales tax ensures compliance with Michigan state laws and regulations. 
  • Revenue Generation: Sales tax contributes to the revenue generated by the state, which is used to fund various public services, infrastructure projects, education, and healthcare initiatives. 
  • Avoiding Penalties: Failure to file sales tax or making errors in filing can lead to penalties and fines.
  • Customer Relations: Collecting and remitting sales tax demonstrates professionalism and transparency to customers.
  • Audit Preparedness: Filing sales tax accurately and maintaining proper records reduces the risk of audits.


In conclusion, reporting sales tax in Michigan is a legal necessity and an important component of running a responsible business. Tax law compliance benefits the state's budget, minimizes penalties, fosters customer trust, and prepares firms for prospective audits. Taking the appropriate measures to file sales tax correctly and on time is critical for the profitability and survival of Michigan businesses.

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