Some of our customers are Tax Exempt (e.g., public schools)...

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Tourist
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Hello - I am hoping that someone has solved this problem already...

 

We are a specialty publishing company, and we sell books to speech-language pathologists. Often, our customers purchase their books through their school districts, which means that their purchase is exempt from sales tax, even if they are in the same state as our business nexuses (nexi?).

 

I know how to go to the "Customer" listing and set an existing customer as tax-exempt; however, this requires that the customer be registered first, and it disrupts the natural purchasing process for them to have to let us know and have us set them as exempt before they can complete their purchase. 

 

It would be far easier for customers to simply be able to indicate their tax-exempt status while they are entering their order. In our current website, we simply have them enter their tax-certificate number along with their address. This is routine for school districts and Universities; it works seamlessly.

 

I have not yet discovered a way to do this within Shopify. It seems like it should be easy - and it seems to me like a tremendous oversight. Surely, I am note the first person to run into this.

 

Any suggestions for ways that customers could indicate - DURING CHECKOUT - that they are tax-exempt so that the system will know not to charge them sales tax even when they are in our state(s)?

 

Thank you in advance for any input.

- Scott

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Shopify Partner
191 13 36

Scott,

 

Only Shopify Plus shops can edit their checkout pages. You can literally create any checkout experience you want.

 

Regards,

 

Sam

Shopify Themes and Custom Apps | hello@achieveapplabs.com
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Tourist
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Thank you, Sam, for replying to my query. I’m afraid I don’t know what Shopify Plus is - we’re on the middle tier (just called “Shopify” on their website… not “Advanced” Shopify). I looked for the checkout template and did not find it, so I assume that we are not on the level that is required for editing that.
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Tourist
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Okay, figured out what Shopify Plus is. Sorry, no. I’m just a small little publishing company. And, I see that I can’t edit the checkout template. That’s a shame.

 
Does anyone else have suggestions about this? I figure that I can’t be the first person to run into the problem...
 
Is there perhaps a complete replacement checkout app that I can use instead? Thanks in advance for any input.
Scott

 

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New Member
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Scott,
Goodman’s here. Saw your post and wanted to chime in. Please know that we also sell to dealers that are tax exempt in our antique business also. In our experience Shopify is lacking in support of anything with regards to tax exempt sales support. We have had issues where they don’t generate a report for tax exempt sales. We require this information in our state to pay our monthly retail sales and use tax report. We also have the issue that your having with regards to our customers being able to shop online. Of you hear of anything please post it here and we will do the same. Hopefully Shopify will soon realize that many business owners sell to customers that are tax exempt and begin supporting all the features needed.
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Shopify Partner
191 13 36

You can make customer accounts mandatory and ask that tax exempt customers sign up and provide their details prior to checking out. 

Shopify Themes and Custom Apps | hello@achieveapplabs.com
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Tourist
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Thanks for your response. I've spent hours, now, trying to find a workaround, but no such luck. It is frankly stunning to me that such a basic aspect of business for what I assume is not a trivial number of shops is not supported by this platform. Even though I have devoted an unbelievable amount of time to preparing my Shopify store, I am considering scrapping this project and moving to a different platform because of this (and a few other) basic issues that Shopify simply hasn't attempted to address. (I collect this information routinely on my current Joomla-based shop.)

 

For example, I'm also having trouble collecting purchase order information (most of these tax exempt customers pay with POs.) The only recommendations that people have suggested is to collect the PO number in the cart field, but that is not an appropriate place for it.

 

Even more frustrating is that I have just discovered that even if I add in the purchase order in the admin for orders by hand via Metafields, I still can't get that information to print on the invoice!  That's a non-starter for me, because the school districts won't pay the invoice if the purchase order is not included on the invoice. Heck, I can't put it on the shipping label either, as I currently do. (And, I can't even get my favicon on the shipping label, as I currently do.)

 

I know that I'm just a small customer, nothing of importance to Shopify, but seeing how such fundamental issues have been ignored for years despite a fair number of requests from others does not give me confidence that I selected the right platform. Sigh.

 

I'll be sure to post back here if I figure anything else out... I wish you luck!!! - Scott

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Tourist
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Thanks, Achieveapplabs -- Yes, that might be the only solution, though it disrupts the checkout flow. 

 

These tax-exempt customers generally pay with a purchase order. I have discovered that there is also no way to collect the purchase order number during checkout. Even if I enter that by hand in the admin section using metafields, I still have a problem with not being able to print that PO number on the invoice or receipt. That basically means that I cannot get paid unless I write the PO number by hand on the invoice. If you happen to know of a solution to that, I'd be thrilled.

 

Thanks again for responding to my post.

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Shopify Partner
191 13 36

Hi @jsyaruss,

 

Don't give up on Shopify just yet. I've read through your requirements again and my suggestion is let a developer help you. A custom app can bundle the whole solution with both online store and back-office functionality.

 

You need customers to be able to update their account as tax-exempt. This is so tax is removed on the order. That option could be built into your My Account page, but recommended not to be automatic as it could be abused. So you would approve the action within the app. For tax-exempt customers a new PO# field should display in the Cart page when placing new orders. That PO# will technically be an Order or Cart attribute https://shopify.dev/docs/themes/liquid/reference/objects/cart#cart-attributes

 

Your invoices, I'm not sure how that currently works but not impossible to carry the PO# from the order to your invoice. Please email us at hello@achieveapplabs.com and would be happy to help further and provide an estimate. 

 

Regards,

 

Sam

Shopify Themes and Custom Apps | hello@achieveapplabs.com
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Tourist
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HI Sam - Thanks so much for getting back to me. I’ll think about what you have described and reach out if I decide to go that way. Fortunately, the tax exempt issue is just for a small percentage of our customers (school districts in our 2 states where the customer enters the order on their own - typically, they send the PO to us, so we can address it).

Not having an easy way to get the PO number on the invoice is a bit more of a challenge, since this is typically required. It needs to be on the invoice AND on the package. I have been doing quite a bit of searching for a solution to that with meta fields. I’ll think on it some more.

Thanks again for being responsive to my queries. I’ll reach out if we decide to go for an app.

Take care
Scott
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