Cynthia Stine: From the Edge of Ruin to FBA Success

Cynthia Stine literally risked her last $200 to start her FBA business.

At the time the Dallas-based entrepreneur was working as a PR consultant and publisher. She was behind on bills due to slow paying clients. Adding to her financial burden, she had recently adopted a special needs son who’s medical and educational needs meant she needed more monthly income.

Crunching the numbers, Cynthia realized she needed to earn approximately $1500 more per month to take the pressure off. And this new income source would have to be flexible – something she could do in the dead of night while her son slept.

That’s when she found FBA. Because she could begin by selling things from around the house, and there were no upfront fees, she could invest her last $200 wisely. Soon her business was growing and she was making the $1500 she needed for her son’s school, and then some.

Drowning in a Sea of Sales Tax

Soon Cynthia realized she needed to charge sales tax to her buyers, and not just buyers in her home state of Texas. In fact, selling on FBA meant that she had to charge sales tax to her buyers in any state where Amazon stored her inventory.

At first she started out downloading a long and complicated spreadsheet from Amazon. This would have been fine had I only had sales tax nexus in one state, Cynthia said. But for a seller to figure out sales tax compliance in multiple states, you really needed to know advanced MS Excel. And I didn’t.

There was also no easy way to figure out how much you’d collected in those tricky destination-based sales tax states that require online sellers to break down sales tax collected by taxing jurisdiction.

Complying with sales tax requirements was taking hours of Cynthia’s time each month, and eating into the time she could grow her business or watch her son grow up.

In the early days when I was dealing with sales tax and only had that Amazon spreadsheet, I could easily spend an hour a month on Arizona alone.

Something had to give.

How Cynthia Stine Uses TaxJar to Make Sales Tax Simple

Realizing how much sales tax compliance was eating into her bottom line, Cynthia was actively looking for a sales tax solution that understood FBA sellers when TaxJar came onto the scene.

As one of TaxJar’s earliest adopters, Cynthia loved how she could collect sales tax through Amazon, and then have TaxJar transform the numbers she could once only find on that complicated spreadsheet into detailed, easy-to-read and return-ready reports for each state.

She also immediately realized that TaxJar’s customer service set them apart from other solutions.

One of the things I like best about TaxJar is how they listen to customers. When I was first getting started, I could ask for a feature, and a week later it would be there.

These days, instead of spending an hour just on Arizona, she can handle a whole month’s worth of filing in 14 Amazon states in less than an hour.

Concluded Cynthia: TaxJar takes what used to be an excruciating process, and makes it easy for FBA sellers.


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