The 10 Proven Best Free Mobile Messaging Apps

Developers the world over are constantly innovating. They design and develop messaging apps that let us stay connected conveniently to each other in this fast-paced modern world. Most of these apps require you to subscribe or pay to download and install. Quite a good number though are available absolutely free-of-charge.

We are going to highlight, and briefly explain, our selection of the top ten best free mobile messaging apps as of the year 2018. These apps generally let users make free voice and video calls, share instant messages, photos, and even text messages. We hope this will help you get started hassle-free. A selection of the 10 proven best free mobile messaging Apps.

#1: WhatsApp

This is perhaps the king of mobile messaging apps. It was jointly developed by Brian Acton and Jan Kuom. The app was taken over by Facebook Inc. in February 2014. It presently boasts of over 1.5 billion total users who are spread out in over 180 countries. It is also visited by 450 million users monthly and 315 million users daily.

The app basically lets users send each other instant messages, make video and voices calls, and send free text messages among other features. It does have a payment option which, at the moment, is limited to India alone. This is the WhatsApp Pay feature. All the transactions are processed by the Unified Payments Interface.

#2: Facebook Messenger

Closely trailing WhatsApp is the Facebook Messenger. As the name suggests, it was indeed developed by and is owned by Facebook Incorporated. It boasts 1.4 billion active users as of December 2017. It is presently installed on 87.5% of all Android devices in circulation. It does have a payment option which is still in beta version at the moment.

This messaging app enables two Facebook users to chat, exchange files and photos, make video calls, and even send each other text messages. It does not require the subscribers to share their telephone contacts as each user logs in with his Facebook username.

#3: WeChat

WeChat stands apart from the top messaging apps in that it originates from the most unlikely location – China. By the close of the year 2017, it had around 963 million monthly active users. It is basically a social chatting tool that lets its users chat freely with their friends. It also has a friend-finder tool which enables you to track the location of your contacts via the GPRS functionality.

It does support a range of payment options. These include Native In-App Payments, QR Code, Quick Pay, and In-App Web-Based. Because of this, it brings along the benefit of utmost convenience to its users.

#4: Telegram

This Russian-developed instant messaging app is cloud-based. This simply means that it stores all the conversations, files, and data in a cloud. It thereafter avails this data to its users regardless of their precise locations on the globe. It grants its users the ability to send instant messages, exchange photos, files, videos, audio, and stickers.

At the moment, it has 180 million active users globally. The app has variants that are compatible with various operating systems and platforms. Among these are iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows Phone, Linux, and Windows NT.

It also has a payment option. This option basically acts as an intermediary between the end user-payer, the bot developer, and their preferred payment platform.

#5: Snapchat

In sharp contrast to other mobile messaging apps, Snapchat is multimedia. This simply means that it handles and transfers files of various formats and types. It lets users chat instantly, share files and photos, and hold live video conferencing, among others.

It had a whopping 187 million daily users as of the end of 2017. It is also available in 22 languages and is mainly popular among North American and European teens.

Other than sending each other messages, the app also allows users to send money to one another. The money is relayed by use of Square Cash’s email payment platform.

#6: Line

Unlike most other mobile messaging apps that are restricted to mobile devices, Line accommodates several electronics. It can work well via cellphones, personal computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It is free-of-charge and commands an active user base of about 217 million people. It is mainly restricted to Asia though.

With this app, users can chat; make conference voice and video calls, exchange photos and stickers, and even play games! It does have a payment platform called LINE Pay. This provides a secure and trustworthy payment service.

#7: KIK

Developed by the Canadian company, KIK Interactive, this software is a freeware instant messaging mobile app. It is available free-of-charge via the iOS and Android operating systems. It is also free to operate as it utilizes your smartphone’s data plan or the Wi-Fi connectivity to send and receive mobile web pages, instant messages, videos, photos, and sketches.

In the year-ended 2017, it had 300 million active users. It is especially popular among US teens. The app launched its own digital currency called Kin. With this currency, users will be able to earn and buy items from inside the app.

#8: IMO

IMO supports and works well alongside other big instant messaging names like Yahoo!, AIM, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, and MSN Messenger. It basically lets you chat instantly with all your contacts in the aforementioned social networking sites. This saves you a great deal of time and effort as it absolves you from the need to log in to those sites separately.

Other than sending and receiving instant messages, the app also lets users make and receive video and voice calls, for free! At the end of 2017, the app had been downloaded 500 million times especially by the younger range of teenagers.

#9: Viber

Founded in 2003, this social chatting app bears several similarities with most other mobile messaging apps. It is cross-platform in that it can work well across several operating systems and platforms. Examples of these are iOS, Microsoft Windows, Android, Linux, and MacOS. It had a whopping 980 million registered users worldwide as of the year-ended 2017.

Apart from merely chatting, the app also enables its users to make phone calls to each other, absolutely free! Other than that, it also enables users to exchange media – like images and video records. It has no payment platform of its own.

#10: Kakaotalk

Closing our list of the top mobile messaging apps is this free mobile instant messaging application for smartphones. With a pretty small user base of just about 49.7 million10, this app is mainly limited to South Korea and much of Asia. It does have a bright future though as more and more people are anticipated to download it in the future.

The app is loaded with free text and free call features. It also works well across several platforms as MacOS, Bada OS, Android OS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Windows, and Nokia Asha.

It also comes along with KakaoPay which basically allows users to pay for certain products online using their KakaoTalk account. It also allows users to safely transfer money to their respective bank account from their Kakaotalk chat. They do this without necessarily using any of their authentication certificate or one-time-password (OTP).

Conclusion

Mobile apps for Android and iOS are indeed here to stay. Moreover, they also play a crucial role in enhancing how we connect to and share with people all around us. You just cannot afford to overlook them at all; not when you own a smartphone.

For this reason, you have to make every effort to download and install at least one of the free mobile messaging apps. The 10 best free mobile messaging apps we have identified and reviewed above will usually give you the much-needed starting point.

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Developing a Technology Business

A technology business, in today’s society, can be very successful. It seems like everywhere you look, all businesses use some sort of technology in order to complete their daily tasks. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bank, a coal mines, etc; all businesses use some sort of technology.

A technology business can help others to achieve their daily goals whether it is for personal reasons or for business reasons. But when developing a business along these lines, you must know what you are doing in all aspects to the form of technology business that you have opened, so that one believes that you are capable of handling their situation. When it comes to business operations and technology, trust plays an important role.

Professionalism is also a key factor. What if you were working for a company that had viable data that needed to be handled and if they couldn’t trust your company, you, or your employees to handle that? Professionalism, privacy, integrity, and more should at all times be maintained.

You will also need all of the tools, whether it’s machines or software programs, that will allow you to operate sufficiently and efficiently. You will want to offer your customers everything possible for the type of service or business that you are performing/conducting. For instance, just logging into a system to retrieve lost information is fine, but what if you could offer them more?

A technology business must also stay up-to-date on all areas of their field. Technology changes fast and that means that your business will too. You and your employees will have to stay up-to-date on all new processes, programs, and anything along those lines in order to be able to offer your customers the latest and possibly the best for them or their business. Technology is helpful; but it is also demanding.

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Small Business Computer Support Tips

If you have or operate a small business then you know how difficult it can be to get quality small business computer support that is reliable and cost efficient. Large corporations have the resources to throw money at in house IT departments. The truth of the matter is that you and your compnay are probebly superior off.

Outsourcing your small business technology needs has a number of advantages not available with full time in house departments. Although there are also positives to having a dedicated staff, these are greatly outweighed by outsourcing your business computer repair and support to a outstanding IT company that you can outsource.

The worst thing an owner of a small business can do is neglect the importance of getting IT support from professionals. Your brother in law who “knows his way around a computer” is simply not going to be able to meet the needs inherent in running a small business in 2010.

A good IT organization will be able to catch most issues before they become full blown issues and can prevent disasters before they start. In addition, having access to firm that offers small business computer support allows you to train and educate yourself and your employs on the proper ways to work on the computer and online so that mistakes are not made that could be very costly (for example Fred in sales opening that email with the virus that infected the entire office etc.).

In the United States, businesses expend regarding $200 billion a year on technology related products and services. This is no small chunk of change for your typical small business owner, and the effects on financials can be devastating.

By outsourcing you small business technology you enjoy the following benefits.

– The all to familiar problem of needed tech support but at the same time your guy is on vacation is removed b/c with the support of a business, there is always backup. By spreading the responsibility, you can be extremely confident someone will be there to help you when you need it.

-Using an outsourced IT business also means you have access to a wide range of experts in individual fields that would cost tons of money were you to hire each expert separately. This lets you tap into resources for a variety of tasks like phone support, anti-virus and other Internet security systems, computer network maintenance or even data backup.

-Rather than having the overhead of full time employees, outsourcing allows you to frequently pay a relatively low monthly fee, saving thousands (plus a lot less paperwork).

Now that we have talked regarding the benefits of outsourcing your small business computer support, here is some tips to cut costs and how to make sure you are choosing the correct small business technology service provider.

– Try and buy all of your gear at the same time and from the same vendor. Standardizing your platforms allows for quicker fixes which means lowers costs. Also, when you buy everything together you make sure that everyone has the same version or update, Nothing is worse than running into compatibility issues when working with colleagues.

-Make sure the IT company you go with provides 24/7 support. This is simply a must as disasters don’t care about business hours and will strike at the worst times completely ruining your day, your week, or even worse.

-See if the potential firm offers a wide arrange of services or if it deal primarily with only certain aspects of business technology.

Hopefully by now you realize how essential it is to yourself and your business that you have a legitimate, dedicated small business technology provider. You should also be well versed in how to pick the best firm for your specific company have an understanding of the benefits of outsourcing your companies IT services.

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Resources For Your Small Business

In order for your small business to succeed in a market filled with “big box” stores, or other well-known established businesses, you might work longer hours and wear many hats. You also might be competing with businesses online. This is where small business technology can help. Technology resources can help you and your small business become more efficient, and help you better understand the marketplace.

Solving Business Technology Needs

All independent businesses should have the basics:

  • Business Computer – Even a modest computer can handle all the day to day tasks that most small businesses generate. You can either use a desktop or a laptop; they’re exactly the same except for portability. They key idea is reliability. To help keep your computer reliable, learn how to use it properly, invest in a virus detection program, and limit your web surfing from your work computer to help keep it virus free.
  • Printer – Many brands offer all-in-one products that include print, copy and fax capabilities. These products usually are the best choice for small businesses. They normally can print in color or black and white and are usually very easy to install and use. Most come with software that makes setting up your print, copy, and fax preferences a breeze.
  • Software Programs For Business – You’ll need office based programs that can create documents, spreadsheets, and possibly graphic designs. There are numerous office based programs that can accomplish these tasks. You can choose to purchase them or can take advantage of various free products. Use the Internet to search for facts and to find out what other independent business owners use and recommend.

With these basic business technology purchases, you should be able to efficiently complete tasks such as writing letters to clients, designing advertisements and other marketing pieces, tracking inventory, sales and profitability, and creating other important documents, such as price guides, catalogs and mailing lists, etc.Always backup your data on a separate computer in case of a catastrophe. There are many backup technology resources available to make sure you don’t lose your data – your most important asset.

Creating Your Business Website

One common misconception is that a small business doesn’t warrant or justify the expense of a business website. Think again – especially if you operate locally.

ComScore, a leading source of Internet audience research and measurement, reported 40 percent of all online searches in 2007 related to local information. Today’s consumers expect you to be online – and they may even be accessing your site from a desktop, or a laptop or mobile device while they are out and about. It may be to find your location, for a contact number, or even a price comparison. But if they can’t find your company online, you’re missing out on plenty of potential business.

Creating a business website provides you with the free marketing opportunity to submit to the local search options in Google and Yahoo!, as well as rank in the traditional results for local searches like “landscaping Cleveland Ohio,” “accountants Seattle WA,” or “wedding photographer Naples Fla.”

Whether you’re creating a business website for a startup or an established company, be sure you choose a developer with experience and expertise in both design and Web marketing. They can help ensure your site is visible to the search engines and user-friendly to visitors, as well as help you identify other affordable online opportunities for your independent business.

Buying and Planning a Business Park

Business parks can be an affordable choice in commercial real estate because it offers access to businesses your company could possibly network with. Businesses are grouped together based on the products and services they offer to make them appealing to potential customers. The spaces a business park has to offer can be flexible and allow businesses to expand easily if they need to.

Buildings are designed for general and light-industrial use purposes where the rents are often cheaper than retail properties and similar to industrial park rents. Business parks can be mixed use and strategically positioned near the Interstate for the greatest exposure with state of the art facilities. Large parcels suited for major distribution warehouses or employment centers and even doctors’ offices.

Smaller sites are functional for a variety of business applications away from busy city congestion near residential communities. Areas are landscaped with trees, service roads and parking for access within the business park specially designated to accommodate business offices. As a developer, you will make a decision to the extent that grading and clearing takes away from the natural beauty of the site.

Business parks are normally located in suburban areas where land tends is less costly and building codes are less restrictive. Companies can either lease space or purchase buildings, depending on how the park is set up. In some cases a business park association may charge annual fees to cover ongoing landscaping, security, and basic maintenance, and security costs, and they tend to have regular meetings in which officers are elected to maintain organizational influence over operations in the business park.

The current trend surfacing today are business technology parks also defined as suburban office and lab parks which are designed to provide a first class environment for local, national and international office and research firms. An entire business technology park can act as an interface between the business community, companies inside the park and others which are technology-based.

In the planning process for business parks, all utilities, including a storm water control plan, must be available businesses to tap into whether buying or leasing. In most states no exceptions or special attention will be given to developers who decide to locate the park in an area not serviceable by a municipality. There some areas where it is geologically not feasible for water and sewer line extensions and doing a geological study will be necessary to determine how to make the park certifiable.

Business IT Solutions – Expand Your Business by Resolving the Existing Problems

Requiring and implementing a business development solution entirely depends on what goals you have for the business. Whether you need business process solutions for hiring staff, training staff, lowering production costs, resizing products, increasing profit or reducing overheads, you need to fix your requirement according to which you can search for the solutions. Here, business technology solutions come into play and govern and manage all your business hassles.

Business specifications – How IT solution can facile the process

Nowadays, any business issues or problems can be narrowed down by business solutions. Be it a case of human resource issues, a professional human resources analyst or staff management consultancy can help you out by managing all the personnel problems. They help in providing relevant information and support which is required to move forward in a way that works best for both the company and staff.

For issues involving productivity, profit margins or expense related business problems, a business improvement system comes into picture that works extremely well for businesses of all sizes. They analyse the core of the business processes and information in order to determine what needs to be done and what needs to be checked.

Systems like this offer a business improvement solution that allows an individual business to track real time information on their profitability. It enables the managers and business owners to notice the possibilities of downfalls in the business and suggest corrective measures to improve those areas before problems run out of control.

On the other hand, clients can get maximum benefit by availing business technology services from remote clients. The expense and infrastructure to set up an IT department can be avoided as the virtual IT service providers are extremely proactive and ensure flexibility in the business process. Irrespective of the geographical difficulties, organizations can easily avail the services of virtual IT programs.

Similarly, the utility service providers offer various packages for their customized services that is cost-effective to any company. These service providers work in close association with their clients so that the business technologies can work effectively corresponding to the goals of the organization.

Therefore, proper implementation and use of such useful services can help your business to keep pace with the current market.

Ann Arbor’s Business Community Booming

Michigan has seen tough times in the past few decades. As car companies continue to infiltrate the American automobile market, the Big Three have taken hit after hit in terms of sales and job losses. With one industry tailing off, another one is rising: tech-based businesses.

Technology is one place where Michigan is surging. The fundamentals of tech-based businesses are perfect for the entrepreneurial spirit found in Michigan. With so many people out of work, entrepreneurs and business incubators are yearning to get business flowing again. These business men and women have turned to the internet to get their income back on track.

The tech industry in Ann Arbor, Michigan is at the forefront of this economic overall in Michigan. Due to the wealth of resources and enthusiasm fostered at 3 local universities, Ann Arbor is able to make ideas a reality. Many small drops of ideas and capital are turning into one big industry.

Because the resources for web-based businesses are relatively easy to acquire and utilize, small businesses are making a push in Ann Arbor and the country is taking notice. Many wonder how Ann Arbor can survive in one of the worst economic and business climates in the country. PBS aired a Newshour Special on the small city in December of 2009 that analyzed some of the great businesses and business people of Ann Arbor seeking this answer.

Time and time again, these researchers and inquirers found that the tech business is doing it’s part. Many small towns across the country can learn from the approach this small town in Michigan.

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Top 5 Sales Tax Nexus Issues for Technology Companies

Sales Tax Checklist for Technology Companies

  1. Do you make internet sales? (On all internet sales, sales tax is due…assuming the product/service is taxable. The issue is whether the seller has a duty to collect and remit or whether the buyer is required to self report.)
  2. Do you have affiliate relationships (for generating sales) with out-of-state companies?
  3. Do you have sales representatives travel outside of your home state?
  4. Do you engage in trade shows outside of your home state?
  5. Do you have employees or agents that perform services on your behalf outside of your home state?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you could be creating a sales tax liability outside your home state. Also, remember income tax nexus is not equal to sales tax nexus. The rules apply differently.

Overview

Nexus is a “connection” or “link”. Sales and use tax nexus refers to the connection between a person or entity and a taxing jurisdiction sufficient for that jurisdiction to require the person or entity to comply with its sales and use tax laws.

The current basis for determining when sales and use tax nexus exists is found in two Supreme Court cases; Quill Corp. vs. North Dakota [May 26, 1992], and National Bellas Hess, Inc. vs.Department of Revenue of the State of Illinois [May 8, 1967]. In both Quill Corp. and National Bellas Hess, Inc., the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the taxpayer, limiting the states’ ability to impose its taxing authority over interstate commerce. The guidance derived from these two cases can be employed in today’s markets to manage sales and use tax compliance responsibilities.

While most States continue to reference these cases when defining sales tax nexus thresholds, the States continue to pursue expansion of their sales and use tax authority. With nexus being the foundational element that requires a company to collect and remit sales tax, it’s important to note some of the difficulties in determining whether a company has sales tax nexus or not.

As with most sales and use tax related matters, determining whether or not sales tax nexus exists requires some level of interpretation of a state’s statute as it applies to the activities of the entity. With that backdrop, here are the most common issues that technology companies struggle with from a sales tax nexus perspective. Also, it should be noted that sellers do not actually “charge” sales tax. Rather, seller’s “collect and remit” sales tax. This can be important. For example, as in the case of internet sales, sales tax is always “due”. This issue becomes whether the seller has the obligation to collect and remit the tax or if the buyer is obligated to self report.

#1. Affiliate Nexus, “Amazon Laws”, and Click-Through Nexus

The internet has resulted in a shift in our buying patterns and a decline in sales tax revenues. With our current tax system and the nexus rules as outlined above, an out-of-state retailer (translation – a retailer without nexus in the state) selling goods to a consumer or business over the internet is not required to collect sales tax. It is the buyer’s responsibility to self-assess the tax and voluntarily remit use tax to the state. Most businesses are aware of this nuance but many consumers are not.

States ensure compliance with these laws through business audits; however, the states don’t have the bandwidth, nor is it practical, to audit every consumer. So instead of going after the consumer, states are looking to implement taxing rules that require the out-of state business to collect the tax.

This is why “affiliate nexus”, and the “Amazon Law” or “click through nexus” have evolved. These are ways in which states have tried to use the existing nexus standards to require out-of state retailers to collect the tax that otherwise would not have been collected. The typical scenario occurs when an out-of-state business forms a relationship with an in-state business (often referred to as an affiliate) for the sole purpose of customer referrals via a connection to the out-of-state business’s website. For this referral, the in-state business receives some type of commission or other consideration. The relationship established through the affiliate programs creates nexus for the out-of-state business, creating an obligation to collect and remit local sales tax. Multiple states including Illinois and California have introduced recent affiliated nexus legislation mainly targeting large internet retailers such as Amazon, hence the title “Amazon Law”. In reaction to this legislation, Amazon has dropped their affiliate programs in most of these states. By dropping the affiliate programs, the company intends to terminate its nexus with the state and avoid prospective sales tax collection responsibility. However, this can be problematic as most states deem nexus to exist for a period of at least twelve months subsequent to the activity that created nexus.

The State of New York has passed legislation, called the “commission-agreement provision,” that creates a rebuttable presumption that a person (seller) making sales of tangible personal property or services is soliciting business through an independent contractor or other representative if the seller enters into an agreement with a New York resident under which the resident, for a commission or other consideration, directly or indirectly refers potential customers, whether by a link on an internet website or otherwise, to the seller (click through nexus). The presumption applies if the cumulative gross receipts from sales by the seller to customers in the state who are referred to the seller by all residents with this type of agreement with the seller is in excess of $10,000 during the preceding four quarterly periods ending on the last day of February, May, August and November. The presumption may be rebutted by proof that the resident with whom the seller has an agreement did not engage in any solicitation in New York on behalf of the seller that satisfies the nexus requirement of the U.S. Constitution during the four preceding quarterly periods. N.Y. Tax Law 1101(b)(8)(vi).

Technology companies should review their affiliate programs and understand which states, specifically, have “Amazon Laws”, “affiliate nexus” rules, or “Click-Through Nexus” rules. This is a constantly changing area that requires close monitoring. At the time of publication, California passed a 1-year repeal of their “Amazon Law”.

#2. Traveling Sales Representatives

The idea of a sales representative sitting in a home office in a state other than where corporate headquarters is located is a clear example of an activity which establishes sales tax nexus in the state where the sales representative is based. However, what happens when that sales representative travels into other states to meet with prospects or customers? This type of activity frequently occurs with technology businesses as the sales representative meets with the prospect to demonstrate their product. Whether or not this type of activity creates sales tax nexus will depend on the state and the frequency of the activity. Each state’s rules are slightly different in terms of the threshold that needs to be met to create nexus. However, for some states, a sales representative traveling into the state for a single day will create sales tax nexus. While other states have more lenient thresholds, a general rule-of-thumb is that three days of activity of this type will create nexus for sales and use tax purposes.

Texas prescribes that out-of-state sellers engaged in selling, leasing, or renting taxable items for storage, use, or other consumption in Texas must collect use tax from the purchaser. “Retailer engaged in business in this state” can include, in addition to other activities, any retailer: Having any representative, agent, salesman, canvasser or solicitor operating in Texas under the authority of the retailer or its subsidiary to sell, deliver or take orders for any taxable items. Texas Tax Code Ann. 151.107(a)(2); Texas Tax Publication 94-108, Engaged in Business (Sales and Use Tax), 11/01/2006.

Nexus Strategy: Instead of face to face customer presentations, technology businesses may consider conducting product demonstrations via the Internet through Webex, GoToMeeting, or another similar application.

#3. Trade shows

Technology companies are frequent participants in trade shows. Typically, companies attend trade shows to promote their products and services. A company may promote its products and services via representative employees or agents and/or display its wares via a kiosk or booth. In either of these scenarios, the company is performing a type of solicitation.

It is the solicitation activity that determines whether or not nexus has been created. However, a number of states have established specific thresholds (number of days in attendance at a trade show) in order to establish when a company attending a trade show has created nexus in the state. For example, California has set a standard of more than fifteen (15) days – i.e. if you attend trade shows in California for fifteen days or less, you have not created nexus in the state of California (assuming this is your only activity within the state). Cal. Rev. & Tax. Cd. 6203(d); Cal. Code Regs. 18 1684(b).

Nexus with Michigan is not created if the only contacts a person has with Michigan consists of: (1) attending a trade show at which no orders for goods are taken and no sales are made or (2) participating in a trade show at which no orders for goods are taken and no sales are made for less than 10 days cumulatively on an annual basis. However, this rule does not apply if a person also conducts the following activities: soliciting sales; making repairs or providing maintenance or service to property sold or to be sold; collecting current or delinquent accounts, through assignment or otherwise, related to sales of tangible personal property or services; delivering property sold to customers; installing or supervising installation at or after shipment or delivery; conducting training for employees, agents, representatives, independent contractors, brokers or others acting on the out-of-state seller’s behalf, or for customers or potential customers; providing customers any kind of technical assistance or service including, but not limited to, engineering assistance, design service, quality control, product inspections, or similar services; investigating, handling, or otherwise assisting in resolving customer complaints; providing consulting services; or soliciting, negotiating, or entering into franchising, licensing, or similar agreements. Michigan Revenue Administrative Bulletin 1999-1, 05/12/1999.

Technology businesses should carefully plan where they will attend trade shows and understand the sales tax nexus thresholds associated with each state for this type of activity.

#4. Employees or Agents Performing Services

Technology businesses that send employees into a state to provide implementation, installation or repair services are creating nexus for sales and use tax purposes. The fact that this is a non-selling or non-solicitation activity does not mean this activity does not create sales tax nexus. On the contrary, these activities are more likely to create nexus for sales and use tax purposes.

The Washington State Supreme Court, in a recent ruling, asserted that a manufacturer whose employees traveled into the State with the sole purpose of meeting with customers simply to manage the relationship was sufficient to create nexus. This activity was seen as a mechanism that created a market in the State and as a result created nexus for the manufacturer. R W R MANAGEMENT, INC., Appellant, vs. STATE OF WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, Respondent, 10-332, 06/27/2011.

Using non-employees to support clients can have a similar effect. For example, a technology hardware business that uses a local resource to repair or perform other maintenance for its customer is providing the service via an affiliate and is deemed to have created nexus for sales and use tax purposes. Whether the person providing the service to the customer is an employee of the business or not is immaterial to the states. The fact that the person is present in their state and performing a service on behalf of the out-of-state business is sufficient to create nexus for the out-of-state business.

Technology businesses should evaluate non-selling related activities they perform in each state including installation and maintenance/support services as well as services provided via a third-party representative when assessing their sales and use tax nexus foot print.

#5. Income tax nexus does not equal sales tax nexus

There’s often an assumption that where a company has income tax nexus, they also have sales tax nexus. End of story. This is true, but only partially true. The second half is that a company can have sales tax nexus without having income tax nexus. The threshold for sales tax is much lower than that of income tax. For example, the solicitation of sales is generally considered a sales tax nexus creating activity whereas this same activity will not, by itself, create income tax nexus (See P. L. 86-272). The most well-intentioned CPA firms are prone to assuming that because nexus has not been created for income tax purposes, sales and use tax nexus doesn’t exist. This is certainly not intended but is the result of limited knowledge of sales and use tax laws.

In Pennsylvania, out-of-state vendors/sellers who maintain a place of business in Pennsylvania and sell or lease taxable tangible personal property or taxable services must register and collect Pennsylvania sales and use taxes. Pa. Stat. Ann. 72 7202; Pa.Stat. Ann. 72 7237(b); Pa. Code 61 56.1(a) “Maintaining a place of business” in Pennsylvania includes, in addition to other activities: Regularly or substantially soliciting orders within Pennsylvania through a solicitor, salesman, agent or representative regardless of whether the orders are accepted in Pennsylvania; Pa. Stat. Ann. 72 7201(b); Pa. Code 61 56.1(b).

Technology companies should be aware of the specific expertise their CPA firms have in providing sales tax advice. Sales tax is a unique discipline with differing rules from state to state.

Conclusion

Establishing sales tax nexus is often the culmination of multiple nexus creating activities. For example, a technology business may spend three days in a state, soliciting orders, two days at a trade show, and a day or two implementing their products. Each of these activities can create sales tax nexus by itself but should also be viewed in relation to other nexus creating activities.

An important note is that once sales tax nexus has been created, the need to collect and remit sales tax is triggered (assuming what you are selling is taxable in the particular state). Sales tax nexus is associated with the legal entity and spans all sales channels. For example, if you have a direct sales channel and an internet sales channel, once nexus is established in a state both channels are subject to the sales and use tax laws of that state.

How Technology Affects Business Operations

Technology transforms business daily at an accelerating rate. All business branches and departments literally absorb new hardware and software, while the Internet and intranets facilitate and speed up business operations immensely. Data has become virtualised, companies’ target markets and objectives get continually globalised and business communication is currently media-based at an unprecedented degree.

Virtual databases

Gone are the days of pen and paper data management. The same fate seems to await internal company digital databases whose role is being taken over by cloud computing services such as Gmail or Google Docs. The Internet is the most efficient tool of the present day business when it comes to handling information. More and more companies deploy their data and run them entirely within the clouds, which allows larger groups of employees to access, share and edit them online from everywhere at any time. Apart from online storage, the Internet also provides the opportunity to collect data. It facilitates and accelerates gathering business intelligence on competitors, conducting research on market demands and looking for new clients.

Global marketing and e-commerce

Another use of technology in business is the application of online solutions in marketing and sales. For the companies it means globalising their target market. Their clients and partners, on the other hand, enjoy increased availability of the services. E-commerce, online advertising and customer service have made business international, providing worldwide outreach for brands like Amazon or Microsoft. In addition to that, social media marketing gave rise to viral marketing tactics and have come to constitute immensely efficient means for company and product promotion.

High-tech communication

Business communication is another aspect which has been revolutionised by the advance of social media and other technologies. While mobile phones, emails and PDAs have become the basic means of communicating both with clients and remote co-workers, fast transport opportunities and online conferences allow for meeting business partners from all over the world, physically or virtually. Top-down and horizontal communication between employees is largely facilitated by intranet technologies. Their overriding function is to streamline the workflow, which is achieved by providing workers with more accurate and individualised information and executing their concentration on strategic objectives. Finally, the Social CRM enabled enterprises to manage and maintain relationships with their clients, keep them up-to-date with the companies’ offers and establish rapport.

Business technology traps

Technological solutions ensure tremendous upsurge in the access and speed of all business operations, eliminating physical and geographical barriers to market development. Nevertheless, along with these benefits, a number of concerns about the implementation of business technologies arise. Security issues are at stake since computers may be hacked into and data stored in clouds and company databases is prone to theft. Furthermore, the use of high-technology entails continual demand for updating expensive software and hardware. Finally, the ubiquity of communication devices and the need to stay constantly in touch may lead to the employees’ frustration and a sense of their entrapment by technology.

In a nutshell, it is no overstatement to say that technology has redefined business in terms of data management, marketing techniques and communication at all levels. As a result of the use of Internet, companies gradually become more global, and owing to the intranets and a plethora of new communication means, the workflow is faster than ever before. On the other hand, data security breaches and employees’ anxiety caused by the proliferation of ways to contact them at any time are not uncommon obstructions to the smooth functioning and productivity of technologised businesses.

Understanding VoIP Phone Technologies for the Small Business

The small business sector has always been the workhorse of the U.S. economy. Until now, however, it has been a challenge for the SMB sector to fully leverage new technologies as cost-effective business tools that make sense for their needs. That email server will cost you as much as it costs a major corporation to use, in many cases, more, but you have less to work with. VoIP phone technologies for small businesses are a major step forward. Nothing is more important than communications, especially to small business, and these technologies offer significant advantages.

Understanding VoIP phone technologies for small businesses means understanding the costs involved. This means much more than simply using your Skype program to cut the long distance phone bill in half. Instead, it means adopting a complete solution that consolidates and reduces costs, as well as pushes the productivity factor well forward. Technology is no longer just a tool, but it is a way of doing business. The main cost benefit is that these solutions are integrated, meaning that your new system combines a range of Unified Communications solutions like Presence, IM, chat, video calling and conferencing in one platform that can be in place quickly. And the transition to the new system is seamless using Session Initiation Protocol that integrate much of your existing hardware; no orphaned investment and rapid, easy transition.

The tools that are available include remote operations, collaboration, and extended communication tools. Business is conducted in “real-time,” meaning it happens now. Clients do not want to wait to see your new product or service. This can provide an opportunity to turn a phone call or an email into a video session, and can result in a close, but not if you have to take hours to “set it up.” Collaboration is a productivity tool that turns separate employees in to a seamless team that speeds up document processing, customer management, and in-house operations. Remote operations allow for immediate responses, no matter where you or your staff are located. Small business should be fast and flexible, and VoIP is the key to that goal.

A trusted partner is vital to business growth. With VoIP solutions, finding a trusted partner means that a large and complex part of your business technology burden becomes a transparent, powerful tool for growth and streamlining operations. This company should not start with a sales pitch, but instead it should start with a meeting to establish where you are and what your business goals are. A reliable, well-established company that offers the right combination of technology, cost, and service can do much more than just cut your monthly bills, but they can also help drive your business to the next level. You already know that you are headed this way, but any delays only serve to defer that potential growth, and can any businessperson afford that?