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#1 2017-05-07 00:07:45

Registered: 2015-09-04
Posts: 80

Backlight Cart - Computing Proper Amount of Sales Tax

I've started playing with the cart and noticed it does have a provision for calculating and applying sales tax for sales (yay!).

But North Carolina (like most of the other states) actually have multiple components to the overall sales tax rate that is imposed:  a base rate of 4.75% and local rates with an optional transit tax that are added to it, the value of which varies based on which county the buyer lives. … _4-17.html

(For purposes of this post, I'm not even bothering with whether the state imposes origin-based or destination-based sales taxes or remote-seller nexus which makes something that is already frightfully complicated even more hideous than it ever needed to be!  For my needs, I'm only collecting tax for North Carolina buyers...the T&Cs will include a provision that the buyer will comply with their jurisdiction's tax laws including sales and use taxes.  When I file my income taxes, NC expects me to list all of the out-of-state purchases I make and charges the sales/use tax right there on the D-400 return.)

Ideally, I'd have some sort of mechanism to have the user select their county if they're in North Carolina and a lookup table I can either upload a CSV file where I could associate the county name with the tax rate to be used or enter them manually as key-value pairs.   This would probably be the simplest way to handle the vast majority of Backlight cart users who are in destination-based states who probably aren't computing or collecting out-of-state sales taxes, either.

Other option would be a phplugins hook that would be given the address which would return the appropriate rate to use for the given city/state/country/postcode whenever the cart needs the sales tax rate for a computation.  This may also allow for individuals in the EU to compute VAT properly based on the sales thresholds that vary from EU member to EU member...generally if you're under an EU country's threshold, you use your own VAT value).

For now, I could probably get away with setting the maximum sales tax rate of 7.5% imposed in the state (which amazingly isn't Charlotte in Mecklenberg County anymore as it was for so many years!) but it means that the calculation will only be correct for my neighbours in Durham and Orange counties...everyone else in the other 98 counties (including my own!) will be overcharged to the tune of 0.25-0.75%.  That might not make them happy... sad

The other option would be setting it to Wake County's rate of 7.25% (which is where I live) which means that for sales into Durham and Orange to the west of me...I eat the extra 0.25% which is probably the way I'm going to go with this for the time being.  I don't know how many sales (if any) starting out are going to be delivered in those two counties and Wake County's rate is next in line for being highest in the state.

I had given thought to making it really easy by frankly ignoring sales tax entirely and hoping they don't notice me but in this day and age where governments are getting smarter about employing big data...yeah, I'm not really interested in finding myself on the wrong side of the prisoner's dock answering to tax charges.  smile


(Trust me, I'd understand if you guys want to punt on this with no hard feelings...US sales taxes are hideous at best and most enterprise-grade products use a sales tax engine that is constantly updated with the tax rates applicable by ZIP code which means monitoring 50 states and all of the jurisdictions within them and often complex maintenance of the underlying databases.  Bleeeecccch!)


#2 2017-05-07 00:41:03

rod barbee
From: Port Ludlow, WA USA
Registered: 2012-09-24
Posts: 17,830

Re: Backlight Cart - Computing Proper Amount of Sales Tax

WA state sales tax is similar, it's based on the destination. What I do is charge for my own jurisdiction. That means that sometimes I collect less tax than I should and sometimes it means I collect more. But I'm just selling books with the cart and they're not high ticket items where a half a percent in sales tax makes a big difference.
Frankly, I don't think most in-state buyers realize that sales tax is determined by destination.

Just a user with way too much time on his hands., Backlight 2/3 test site


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