Sales tax reporting is complicated and really a pain. If you don’t have the data and the right tools to do it, it’s practically impossible to meet some state’s standards and formats.
Solving The Difficulty of Reporting Sales Tax
Some states are harder than others, but we’re in California where it’s one of the most complex and hardest to do to meet their intended requirements of paying different tax rates to every district in California. We have made these tools because we needed them ourselves just to be able to report our sales tax correctly without having to purchase Ava Tax or Tax Jar, the two leading services that seem to have a monopoly over this space that is created by the lacking features in most ecommerce platforms to either get the data, report it, or both.
It’s Easy for a Traditional Store
If you have one store, in one location, and sell all your goods there, then it’s pretty easy. All your sales are using one sales tax rate, and that is all you really need to report. Easy. But who these days limits their sales to only their storefront? These days, even brick and mortar stores have a website that takes orders and ships them out to any city in their state (or any state for that matter). But for most small businesses, there is only a single-state-nexus, so most reporting will be for cities in the business’ home state.
Ecommerce Websites: Not So Easy for Shipping Orders
If you have websites, or even multiple websites or sales channels, and ship delivery of products to multiple locations in your state, which almost all Ecommerce websites do, then suddenly the complexity goes through the roof if your state has multiple sales tax rates for different districts (counties/cities), and also wants you to report them all individually, like California does. On top of that, the state’s list of districts may not even have all of the districts that you’ve collected sales tax in, in which case those amounts for the unlisted districts need to be applied to it’s county at the county rate and tallied, and reported that way.
What’s worse, at least in California, the worksheet is in MS Excel format, not in a universal format, so it might not work for some Apple computers or other operating systems.
Many businesses end up just reporting their sales into just their own district just because their website doesn’t even have the reporting capability and find a large discrepancy of what they have collected vs what the state wants them to pay for sales tax at the state rates.
WooCommerce Just Doesn’t Have the State Sales Report!?
I know. How is this even possible. If you have WooCommerce, you may have tried to look for your sales by State, so you can at least report your total sales at all, and found that they simply do not have the report. How could they not have this report, seeing how it’s a must-have to know your state’s sales in order to report sales tax? Honestly, we don’t know and it’s really lame. But, it’s hard not to notice that they SELL premium plugins that do have the report, and both collect this report data and then have further paid services to report it to the state for you… how convenient that a huge open source platform has a missing state requirement that makes people have to purchase it! I don’t know if that’s their strategy or not, which would be a bit scammy in our opinion, but in any case, that’s where our solutions come in to help avoid an extra purchase and get this done without more money having to be spent.
The Solution: Free Tools from WooTaxReports.com
Seeing this as a huge annoying burden that no one should have to buy yet another monthly paid service to handle, we’ve made the basic tools needed to make this reporting possible for WooCommerce site owners that need to report their sales and sales tax in any state, with more or less 2 main steps:
1) Free Sales by State and Tax by District Reports
We’ve put out a free tax sales and sales tax reporting plugin for WordPress that will cover the first aspect: getting your sales data – both the total by state for a quarter (or any time period), and in a list broken down by district (city/county).
2) Combining Multiple Reports and/or Reporting Templates
We’ve added more free tools to our website to help combine multiple reports, and even insert them into a state’s worksheet order, so that you can copy paste the final totals quickly and easily into your state’s reporting format spreadsheet. Use our sales tax report combiner tool to combine multiple sales tax reports into one, and/or formatting it by inserting it into a state reporting template format.