Destination based tax reporting - Shopify fail?

7 0 23

I am at a complete loss. I need to report my sales taxes in Minnesota, which has destination-based reporting. In order to report, I need my taxable sales number for each jurisdiction in which I collected taxes. I can get the total of tax I collected, but NOT my taxable sales number.

I have looked at the Shopify tax reports, which only tells me the tax collected and the percent tax in each jurisdiction, but not the taxable sales in each jurisdiction.

I have pulled an orders report, which gives me the tax collected in each jurisdiction for each order, but only for the total order and not the line item. Some of our line items are non-taxable (clothing, here in MN). So I can't get a taxable sales number for each jurisdiction from that without going through each individual order.

I have tried TaxJar, which gives me an incorrect number. (State tax does not come out correctly for state taxable sales). Tax Jar has claimed the discrepancy is due to 1. time zone differences (?) or 2. Zip+4 being absent (?). Niether explanation is valid, because if the time zone they use to calculate taxable sales in the same as the time zone they use to calculate taxes, then it shouldn't matter what time zone Shopify uses. And according to their explanation of the zip+4 problem, I should see a lower number of tax collected and the number for my tax collected is higher.

I have tried the Data Export app, and they have tried to piece together a report for me, but the tax numbers they come up with don't match the taxable sales they come up with, and they also don't match the tax shopify claims I collected.

This seems really basic, and destination-based sales tax is one of the reasons why we switched to Shopify in the first place. They are not delivering. It's also why I tried Tax Jar, who is also not delivering. This is math. Somewhere inside Shopify, there is a number on which my sales tax is based. WHY CAN'T I REACH IT?

I've tried support from Shopify and from both apps, and they've all failed, but it seems to me like this is Shopify's issue, since they are the ones collecting my taxes.

Someone please help.

Replies 7 (7)
Shopify Partner
1 0 0

Hey Janna!

Your concern is definitely valid & with tax time around the corner I can see why it's important you get this figured out ASAP! I've looked into this for you and found a great provider fo the services you're looking for called Avalara. They have advanced tax calcualtor with over 12,000 jurisdictions as well as the ability to apply specific tax rules to each of the products.

I reached out to their chat team to ask about the specific issue you're running into and they informed me that they can definitely provide the full sales tax reporting you're looking for!

A potential hurdle: They can only offer this service to those who are subscribed to a Shopify plus plan. The good news is that they can connect directly to your Shopify account to generate reports of your business' taxes. You can read about it on Shopify's Help Centre here or go directly to their website!

I hope this helps!

PS: The All Are Welcome website is beautiful & I love the mission behind the designs. Well done 🙂


7 0 23

Thanks for your input, and for your compliments, but I don't want to pay for a Shopify Plus plan. My sales aren't big enough to warrant this. This is basic reporting that should be available natively. I'm frankly amazed that I should even have to consider a $5/month app to fill this gap. I am hoping someone from Shopify can give me a reason as to why this doesn't exist, other than they need the opportunity to soak their users for a Plus plan. Since you saw the mission of my site, you'll understand this is much more about love than money and I don't have the budget to upgrade.

17 0 3

Hi Janna! Marc from TaxJar here. I completely understand your frustration on this issue, and I agree with you, there's no need to get a Shopify Plus plan. I can't speak to why Shopify is unable to provide you with what you need, but I do know that TaxJar can provide you with the correct totals if we have zip+4. I understand the article you mention states that not including zip+4 will result in lower totals, but it's also possible for it to result in higher totals, which is what's occurring in your case. 

My colleague Jenn emailed you about this a couple days ago. When you get a moment to reply, we'd love to help you further. Cheers!

7 0 23

Thanks for your help. I just responded to her. I still don't see how this is a Zip+4 issue since the only number that is off is the state sales tax, which is not subject to the zip+4 issue.

Shopify Partner
660 0 148

Hi Janna,

Well, I'm not a tax expert, so maybe there is something I'm missing here, but our app Better Reports is able to generate very flexible reports, which may help you here.

For example, we could create a custom reports that shows the total sales for each shipping state or zip code.

We have a 14 day free trial. Feel free to reach out to me directly at to discuss further.


New Member
1 0 2

Hey girl - hopefully this is helpful. I am from Minnesota too and it's such a PIA to find the proper reporting. But - I will defend Shopify because I have used PayPal, Etsy and Square and Shopify has by far the best system! Here's how to pull the correct data for filing in MN.


Go to your orders tab & click  "Export" & select "All Orders". Pull the report and delete everything except the quarter or month you are filing sales tax for. 


This is honestly inconvenient as hell and I wish Shopify would fix this. 


Then, in column BJ-BK it has "tax names" and that is where you can filter and count up the taxes you collected for different counties... make sure you count their order total AND shipping. Seriously. It's annoying.


The capabilities that Shopify has they literally need to improve this and "do better". I hope that helps. E-mail me if you need any more help

15 0 26

Has anyone found a Shopify solution yet? For prior month and quarter reporting (Depending on state), I had been using the method that @cleanhavennatur (Charlene) was using, but now I'm realizing that the total from the Tax column is Higher than the total from the Finance -> Tax report. This is because if there is a refund or partial return, those Tax columns (BJ:BK) in the Excel export aren't updated to reflect refunded orders/taxes. So essentially you'd be overpaying. September matched for both reports, but I'm seeing this for the first time in October. Fortunately, I had only 2 partial refunds last month, so I was able to easily adjust it. There is a column (AY) for Refunded Amounts where the refunded amount is updated, BUT this Includes the tax refunded. So to calculate it correctly, you'd have to figure out what portion of this refunded total is the Product cost and what portion is the sales tax (based on your prices and applicable sales tax rate for that state), and then subtract the refunded taxes from the total taxes (BK), and and then subtract the product amount from the Subtotal column (J).

It becomes even more complicated if you refunded a portion of the amount for whatever reason (i.e. you forgot something and gave them $10 off their order), this is included in that Refunded Amount column, but doesn't adjust their tax liability, since it's not a refund of the item and they didn't receive taxes back. So then you can't subtract that total from the Subtotal Column (J).

Is there anyway that Shopify can just add a Net Total column, by State/Tax Zone under -> Reports -> Finance -> Taxes, for which the "Amount" column is based in that report? This is not a difficult fix, and this essentially affect the LARGE MAJORITY (if not all) of the stores on Shopify

So far, every state that I've looked into has this Total Taxable Sales box to input next to Taxes due when filing. And some of them are Monthly!