I've been writing a series on generosity this month, and that won't stop. I'll be sure to post one today on the topic (a second discipline). But I wanted to take a second to write to you about a topic that's important for e-commerce site developers. See, I love the WooCommerce platform. So I really enjoy interacting with WooCommerce consultants.
But let me scare you for just a sec – in a good and helpful way, I hope!
Taxes, Taxes, Taxes
How many different tax jurisdictions do you think are in the US? Did you think it was 50 (one per state)? Or maybe five times that (for major metropolitan areas)? Nope. The last I checked it was over 9,000.
That's crazy isn't it. When you go to develop an e-commerce website, and you go to configure tax collection, what do you do?
If you loaded a list of tax codes – one per state – it's not enough. But guess what? Zip-code based lists (which you can also get) don't cut it either?
Why? Because there are multiple tax rates even within a zip code.
And you want to hear something even crazier? Some products may require different taxes than others.
So, let's just agree that just because you want to create a WooCommerce site doesn't mean you also want to become a tax specialist, right?
When you build an e-commerce site, and you only put limited tax calculations on the site, the result is that the end-user is supposed to send their tax renumeration to all the different jurisdictions that they owe. That never happens. And legislation keeps circling around that's going to put the onus on the site owners, rather than shoppers.
But you don't have to worry about it. You don't have to stress.
Last night I got on an emergency call with a guy in New York that was a WooCommerce consultant. He was working thru some issues, but then the topic of taxes came up. And as we talked, we were clear that he didn't want to become a tax expert.
And that's where the good news comes in.
TaxNOW & AvaTax
TaxNow is a WooCommerce extension. It's sole focus is to integrate WooCommerce with an online service called AvaTax, from Avalara.
The process is transparent to the end user – because it's all happening in the background. Because the tax calculation is on the fly, based on street level addresses (not zip codes or states).
But you get to tag the product, so that the taxes get calculated correctly (downloadable, physical, services, etc).
There's more than enough for you to learn and master when dealing with WooCommerce, and it's extensions. So you can decide to become a tax expert or simply a really great WooCommerce consultant. My suggestion? Outsource the tax calculations as soon as possible.