Destination based sales tax from out of state sales on NON Shopify Plus Stores

New Member
3 0 0

So it appears there is a major hole in Shopify's tax calculations that will cause many sellers major tax collection issues and Shopify does not have a solution to solve the problem. 

I'll use Arizona as an example. Arizona is an origin-based sales tax state for orders shipped from within Arizona. Meaning if you ship an order to Arizona from Arizona you collect tax based on your business location. Shopify works great for this scenario in Arizona.

For orders shipped to Arizona from outside or Arizona, Arizona is a destination based sales tax model. So you collect tax based on the location of where you ship the order. Shopify fails here enter every zip code for the state of Arizona.

Not really a problem if you didn't have to do it one at a time through the web interface. Once you have more than a couple thousand zip codes entered it takes 46 seconds to add a zip code to a state. So to do 2600 zip codes that's approx 33 hours of labor. Now there are several states that have this scenario (Virgina and Ohio are a couple more) so you could need to input up to 15,000 zip codes for accurate tax collection.

All we need is the ability to upload a two column spreadsheet, State name, Zip code, the same two fields you enter in the web form. This would reduce a 33-hour task to about 33 seconds.

Shopify did respond that this can be done through the API but I have yet been able to confirm this is possible.

Has anyone had success in adding state zip-codes to the database using the Shopify API on a non-Shopify Plus store?



4 0 1

Hi Brian,

I'm wondering if you made any progress on this issue.

I'm also noticing that even if I do add a specific out-of-state zipcode I want to ship to (i.e., I'm running simulation orders), the tax rates aren't even accurate.

Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated!


New Member
6 0 0

Brian and Randy,


Our Accounting Firm works with many clients in the eCommerce space, and sales tax is a huge hot topic for the entire industry. I would suggest looking beyond Shopify to address your Sales Tax needs. We have foound Tax Jar to be a great solution for many of our clients.

With that said, there are many pitfalls related to Sales Tad therefore, I always adise business owners to work with an Accountant to make sure the stay in Compliance with Sales Tax.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to us at our Polaris Tax & Accounting Website.

Joe Serrone Polaris Tax and Accounting Phone: 704) 947-3178 Web:
9 0 2

I had to enter all California zips and it was a giant pain in the neck. It works now, but I would have greatly preferred a spreadhseet-based upload as you suggest.


Shopify devs are working on this problem since the supreme court Wayfair decision has pushed this issue front and center for stores that need to collect taxes from multiple states (economic nexus). 


TaxJar actually has nothing to do with generating accurate tax rates while your customer is buying something -- Shopify adds tax to the sale. Taxjar helps you figure out what you owe and file taxes.

9 0 1

It's pretty disheartening that you discovered this issue back in January of 2018, and here we are at the end of 2019, when sales tax is such a huge issue now for online retailers because of the Wayfair court ruling, and Shopify STILL hasn't solved this issue. You were asking for a solution to be able to upload your spreadsheet, but honestly, the solution needs to be at the core of Shopify, and they need to develop code to allow online retailers the ability to collect sales tax correctly. For instance, when setting up sales tax rates in Shopify for those states in which you have economic nexus, it is ridiculous that we have to enter a random zip code in order to add a state to the tax rate table in Settings and act as though we have physical nexus. Shopify's tax rate settings should be able to handle the distinction between economic nexus and physical nexus, and then apply the correct tax laws accordingly so that we don't have to spend hours adding every dang zip code in the states in which we have issues. I am having this issue with Viriginia. I have economic nexus in Virginia, which is an origin based state. Well I don't have a physical presence in Virginia, and I happed to pick Charlottesville as the zip code I entered to add the state to the tax rate table. So now all of my customers are being charged Charlottesville sales tax. Fortunately, it is the same as most of the state. But Virginia requires out of state sellers to collect as though it were a destination based state. So I could spend my precious time working around Shopify's flaw, or I could just decide to eat that monthly cost of the sales tax I won't be collecting but still need to remit. Fortunately TaxJar is smart enough to know legally what I owe to each jurisdiction, so I'll get my payment correct even if I'm not collecting the full amount. But it's ridiculous that Shopify hasn't fixed this. Perhaps they're working on it, but for this topic, which is such a big deal right now, I really wish they'd give us some information about when we can expect this problem to be solved on the platform.

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