Post by SteampunkMuseum » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:45 pm

Has anyone found a good, stable solution for changing sales tax at the city level?
Failing that, at the county level?

In Washington State, USA, e-businesses are required to collect sales tax based on the Ship To address, and there are 355 tax locations as defined by the state.

Open Cart doesn't offer this kind of functionality.

I tried the County Taxes extension by Jeff8j but it doesn't seem stable, there's no documentation, and Jeff doesn't seem to offer support any longer even though there is a new version recently released.
http://www.opencart.com/index.php?route ... order=DESC

I did get it to work for awhile, but something must have changed in my set up because it stopped working and throws an error on the Tax line for most of the defined cities.
Last edited by SteampunkMuseum on Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Post by MarketInSG » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:48 pm

Look at using geo zones to define different tax for different countries.


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Post by Johnathan » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:40 am

You could possibly use Formula-Based Fee/Discount for this. It doesn't utilize the tax system, but you could specify certain postcodes to have different taxes, if your city was able to be defined based on zip code.

You could also use my TaxCloud Integration if you wanted precise tax rates for local areas. You sign up at taxcloud.net and can then get real-time tax rates from them, accurate for U.S. state and local taxes.

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Post by SteampunkMuseum » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:47 am

@MarketInSG, I think to make geozones work, I'd have to set one up for each city in Washington State, and then one for the whole USA without Washington. I'll check into it, but it sounds like a huge amount of work.

@Johnathan, thanks for the link, I'll take a look and see if i could make it work for my needs.


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Post by butte » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:53 am

Unless every city in Washington has a different tax rate, one geozone per tax rate would work. Ditto counties. The counterpart is for tax rates (to work in conjunction with geozones). You will not have 0.01% increments from zero to whatever (20%?) to set up, there will be a small finite number of them. The "355 tax locations as defined by the state" should not have 355 different tax rates to go along with the reporting locales. Not even California has thought of that one, and it usually takes the lead in sales and use tax nonsense, over 58 counties and quite a few metropolitan and transit districts, among those still an annoying but manageable number of tax rates. The California situation is readily handled in OC with geozones and the tax settings.

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Post by SteampunkMuseum » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:35 am

@butte, thanks for your reply.
While each city *is* different, there are about 20 or so different tax rates, total, to cover all 355 cities, ranging from 7.0% to 9.5%.
I"ll take a look at setting up a geozone per tax rate, thanks for the pointer!


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Post by SteampunkMuseum » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:19 pm

@Jonathan, I think that extension just might work for my city level taxing needs.
Are you familiar with the configuration options for it?
I *think* I know what most of them would be set to, but any input and feedback would be helpful.
Thanks in advance!


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Post by butte » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:46 pm

From the software's perspective there's no telling what you're calling counties or cities except to the extent that you might have both kinds populated. If the breakdown is exclusively by cities or if cities and counties can be assigned their own geozones (counties' would tend to take in several cities' geozones), then you should be ready-set-go, just fill in a few and see how it works before going overboard.

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Post by Johnathan » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:24 pm

SteampunkMuseum: Yes, Formula-Based Fee/Discount is my extension. If you have trouble setting it up, feel free to contact me at the e-mail address in the extension files and I can give you some suggestions. For example, if the tax rate for Spokane is 8.7%, you'd set it up like this:

Title: City Tax
Geo Zones: Washington
Postcodes: 99201-99299
Rate Type: Total-Based
Cost Brackets:
- From: 0, To: 99999, Charge: 8.7%

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Post by butte » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:30 pm

That is actually nifty, Johnathan. SteampunkMuseum, the recap raises a point at, "Select whether to compare geo zones against the customer's Shipping Address or Payment Address." Washington probably has much the same zoo of rules that wiggle as California, so double-check FROM TIME TO TIME what's current with your state.

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Post by tom327 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:24 am

I had used the extension County Taxes extension by Jeff8j last year with OpenCart version 1.5.3.

It worked well, but as was mentioned he does not seem to be offering support , and I'm not sure it will work with 1.5.5?

I believe his extension was doing some sort of map look up, and not based on zip code.

I'm sure there a lot of people who would pay for a reliable extension that can do county and city based tax for a US state.

Has anyone heard of a site called Tax Cloud. It seems several other carts are using it for the county tax info.
Like Zen Cart and OsCommerce.

Maybe someone can write an extension that integrates with this free service?

https://taxcloud.net/find-a-rate/

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Post by tom327 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:51 am

Is it in theory possible to create a new zone for each zip code in your state? And then assign the right tax to each of these "zip code zones"

If you do that, would a customer in checkout have to pick the zip code somehow, instead of just picking their state?

I'm not clear how during checkout OpenCart would connect the customer's address with the correct "zip code zones" that I created.

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Post by butte » Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:59 pm

Upper of the two posts . . . look into Johnathan's above.

Lower . . . How is tied to geozones and tax rates in concert. Yes, each zip can be made a geozone and assigned a tax rate, and customers' zip codes would be picked up along with their states. You would likely prefer to make geozones that take in several zip codes where they would continue to share a given tax rate even if it changes, such as in rural counties where mail delivery is zipped but the county dads want taxes simple (higher, but simple), or in metropolitan zoos where mail delivery is superzipped but the city dads want everybody within reach to pay the city-added tax. One geozone for Los Angeles County and one geozone for City of Los Angeles, and if it makes sense then plus perhaps geozones for the independent little bergs such as Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Vernon, etc.. California has itself as a state, 58 counties, several dozen big cities and metropolitan transit districts, and quite a few little bergs, all of which tend to have their potentially own tax rates. Washington has 300-odd cities with their own rates. Nevada is straightforward. Oregon is as simple as it gets, no sales or use tax.

A dropdown menu for zip codes could easily be made from a postal list of them so that customers would not be able to mistype those, just able to pick the wrong one in a badly aimed click. Whether from a dropdown or from a textarea the zip codes would be drawn into the arithmetic fray.

You might prefer to lay that out in a spreadsheet of zip codes, tax rates, counties, cities, metropolitan transit districts, etc., so that you can at once have complete lists plopped into place from other sources (copied-pasted), and sort by whichever field-column you wish in order to see how its falling into place or apart as you build it. You can insert columns in order to add code en masse (such as for dropdowns), sort for purpose (dropdowns by zip code, placename, etc.), export as .csv (or .txt), strip of commas (or tabs) separating fields, carefully eyeball and clean up code, and plop the result into place as functional (dropdowns or whatevers).

You might prefer an extension.

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Post by Johnathan » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:04 pm

tom327 wrote:Is it in theory possible to create a new zone for each zip code in your state? And then assign the right tax to each of these "zip code zones"

If you do that, would a customer in checkout have to pick the zip code somehow, instead of just picking their state?

I'm not clear how during checkout OpenCart would connect the customer's address with the correct "zip code zones" that I created.
You'd need to only ship to the U.S. in that case. You could then repurpose the countries as states, the states as counties (or tax areas), and the customer could select their appropriate area during checkout. If you set up taxes for that area, it would then work properly using the tax system.

If all you need to charge tax for is your own state, you could also just add extra region divisions for one state. For example, instead of just a "Washington" region, you'd have multiple regions:

Washington > Adams County
Washington > Asotin County
Washington > Benton County
etc.

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Post by butte » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:27 pm

The points made hold regardless of state, but life may be simpler for one of them than for the other. Resolution by zip code granularity is probably too fine virtually anywhere (even Washington and California). Which state are you in, tom327?

[Okay, tom327 concurrently also appears in a related thread where he seems to be in New York; where zip codes range from rural Catskills to maybe even ten per city block in downtown Apple.]

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Post by tom327 » Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:22 pm

I need the tax system for New York State. Ideally, if it worked by County that would be best since that is how the different sales tax rates are divided - by county.

Also, in regard to
Jonathan said:

If all you need to charge tax for is your own state, you could also just add extra region divisions for one state. For example, instead of just a "Washington" region, you'd have multiple regions:

Washington > Adams County
Washington > Asotin County
Washington > Benton County
etc.
How would you do this? Is it possible to create new zones at the county level for a state?

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Post by tom327 » Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:36 pm

One way to do do it -

Assuming, that most people only need county sales tax for one state, then you could add a new drop down field in checkout where the customer from that particular state would also have to select their County.

But, I don't like the idea of making customer have to do more work.

Then you would make a new table with each county and its corresponding tax rate.

However, I'm not sure how you would then "insert" the tax rate into the order total calculation.

I certainly was impressed with that County Tax extension that did some sort of automatic "look up" just based on the customer's address. But no idea how that is done.

I think I will contact the Tax Cloud people to get info about what they provide to developers who want to create an extension that "taps into" their tax rate info.

If other other carts are solving this problem by using them as the information source then it looks like it is a good solution. It would be a good competitive advantage if OpenCart had default county tax capability for USA states built in.

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Post by butte » Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:56 pm

To the extent of presetting geozones and tax rates, cross-referenced together, the capacity is already built into OC. A lookup could be arranged by way of database table(s) prepopulated with readily available lists of towns, zip codes, counties, etc., so that after queries were set into play, customers' attention spans needn't be taxed. You seem to be curious how it works or would work and to be looking for an extension that already takes no effort by anyone. There may be one, but my guess is that if there were one, moreover one that works, then MarketInSG and Johnathan would have named it. That seems to mean try an existing extension that comes close enough, or use geozones and tax rates, or have a developer go at it.

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Post by Johnathan » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:36 am

tom327 wrote:Is it possible to create new zones at the county level for a state?
You can create new zones in System > Localisation > Zones. You would modify the "New York" zone to one of the counties, and then start creating new zones for all the other counties. You can then utilize those new zones for geo zones you create, which can in turn be used for tax rates.

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Post by tom327 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:03 am

Sorry, Johnathan, I don't understand what you are suggesting.

I looked at the Zones page in the Admin where it allows you to create new Zones.

It lets you select or input 4 options for a new zone:

Zone Name:
Zone Code:
Country:
Zone Status:

What are you suggesting?
I assume I would pick USA as the country.

What then? Would I make the Zone Name the NY County I want to target? Obviously, if I make the Zone Name "New York" there is no place to input the county?

So I was not clear when you wrote:
You would modify the "New York" zone to one of the counties,
How do you do that?

On the Zones page, if I go to the USA > New York zone, and Edit that, I have the same 4 options listed above. There is no way to "add" a county to the USA > New York zone.

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