Not all states charge its consumers sales tax to generate revenue. Some states rely on other forms of taxation, such as property tax or state income tax. If your restaurant is located in a state with sales tax, your gross sales are typically subject to sales tax. This means you must collect the tax when you sell something to a customer. You also need to apply for a resale permit in your state, authorizing you to collect sales tax. Normally, the permit costs nothing, but you will be required to submit regular sale tax reports along with the collected taxes — usually monthly.
Determine your tax rate. Not all restaurants in your state will necessarily have the same tax rate. Sales tax rates can vary by city and county. Contact the agency where you applied for your sales tax permit if you need to find out your tax rate. This is a percentage amount.
Distinguish between taxable and non-taxable items you sell at the restaurant. For example, if your restaurant includes a bakery, some carry-out items might be tax-free in your state. Information regarding taxable items are available through the government agency issuing resale tax permits.
Talley up the sum total of all the taxable items sold in the restaurant during the month.
Multiply your sales tax rate by the sum total of all the taxable items sold during the month. For example, it your tax rate is 10 percent, and you sold $1,000 in total taxable meals and beverages, the sales taxes due is $100. If correctly collected, you should have taken in $1,100 from customers for these sales.
Complete the sales tax forms for your state. Forms vary by state, as do instructions on how to complete them. Normally, the tax form resembles a worksheet. By completing the form according the instructions, you insert specific numerical data into different areas on the form and make calculations by adding, subtracting or multiplying numbers placed on different lines. By completing the form, you in effect calculate the sales tax due.