By law, you are required to make your business records available for inspection by an auditor from the Comptroller's Office at any time during business hours. The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that you collected and paid the sales and use tax correctly. Your records must adequately distinguish taxable sales and purchases from non-taxable sales and purchases. If you do not have adequate records, the Comptroller's Office may compute a liability by projection from available records, by a survey of similar businesses or on any other reasonable basis.
You must keep all records pertaining to sales and purchases for four years. You should keep the kinds of general business records that are appropriate for your type of business. These general business records might include a general ledger, subsidiary ledgers, journal entries, bank statements, check stubs, and federal and state income tax returns. An auditor must be able to follow the flow of each transaction and match up all documents pertaining to that transaction. Documents or books of records that are incomplete, missing or illegible are not adequate records.
You will also need to keep, where appropriate:
- Original invoices
- Resale certificates
- Bills of lading
- Sales slips
- Receipts for purchases
- Purchase orders
- Mailing or shipping documentation for out-of-state deliveries
- Cash register tapes
- Documentation for exempt sales
- Completed copies of any Real Property Contractor 1% Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificate (Form COT/CD 132) used in qualifying purchases by contractors and subcontractors.
Reproductions of records made in the regular course of business, as well as computerized records are permissible if you follow certain guidelines.
You are not required to collect tax on articles that you have delivered to an address outside the state of Maryland if you have no reason to believe the articles are intended for use in Maryland. Your records should clearly state that an item was delivered out-of-state.