Laurie Lingafeld, Sales Tax Supervisor for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, gives a presentation on filing sales tax online during the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce Joint Luncheon at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Laurie Lingafeld, Sales Tax Supervisor for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, gives a presentation on filing sales tax online during the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce Joint Luncheon at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Borough gives how-to on online tax filing

The borough has offered the option of filing sales tax online since April.

During a presentation before the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce on Wednesday, a representative from the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s finance department explained how local business owners can begin filing online their sales taxes for the borough and local municipalities.

Laurie Lingafeld, sales tax supervisor for the borough, explained the process by which local business owners can register with the borough’s online portal and begin filing their sales tax information online.

The borough has had the option of filing sales tax online since April, Lingafeld said on Wednesday, and even though less than a quarter of borough business owners have signed up, over $3 million in sales tax has already been processed online.

Lingafeld said that for business owners, the process of filing sales tax information online rather than using traditional paper forms simplifies the process, gets the information to the borough quicker and saves the business owner from having to do the math when determining the different exemptions for different municipalities in the borough.

“They don’t have to wait in line, it’s instant, and it’s accurate,” Lingafeld said. “A lot of times people will make a math error, which will cause them to pay a sales tax return short, which means they get charged a penalty. Once they see it all online they can see what the correct dollar amount is due, and then they can pay it right away.”

The borough also offers a 5% credit on the amount of sales tax owed for businesses who file on time, and Lingafeld said that the online form makes it easier for people to receive the credit.

The benefits are similar on the borough’s side, because more accurate filings means time saved in the borough’s finance department that would otherwise be spent following up on discrepancies.

“We get a lot of returns in incorrectly, and we have to try and figure out what the taxpayer is doing,” Lingafeld. “This saves us a lot of time because it eliminates us having to review a lot of returns that could possibly be incorrect.”

Lingafeld provided step-by-step instructions in her presentation on how to register with the borough online at https://salestax.kpb.us/st/account.

Lingafeld noted that the program automatically factors in the different tax exemptions that exist throughout the borough, saving people from doing those calculations manually.

For seasonal businesses or owners who know they will not have any revenue for a certain month, there is an option to file a “zero return” for a given tax period ahead of time as an alternative to pre-filing.

In an example of how simple the process was, Diane Somers, owner of Diane Somers Publication Specialist, said that she was able to register her business on her phone during the presentation, by following the instructions given by Lingafeld.

“I think it is really simple,” Lingafeld said. “People might be scared or unsure of how they can transfer everything over, but once they plug in the numbers and see ‘Oh I just have to pay this much’, the people that have signed up are using it in repetition. They’re done with paper.”

To learn more about registering the sales tax for your business online, call the Borough Sales Tax Division at 907-714-2175 or email salestax@kpb.us.

Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com.

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