Shopify's tax breakdowns different than others? Why? (another California question)

_leo
Visitor
3 0 0

Shopify's tax breakdowns different than others? Why? (another California question)

I am really having trouble understanding the way Shopify breaks down taxes and how I'm supposed to report tax for different districts. We are a mail-order only company based in San Diego with a physical office/warehouse from where we ship our product. Here is Shopify's tax breakdown for an order shipped to San Jose, CA 95136 (I have Shopify Tax if it matters):

 

_leo_1-1681182186799.png

 


Here is how TaxJar breaks it down:

_leo_2-1681182330302.png

 

 

Here is how Avalara breaks it down

_leo_4-1681182599633.png

 

 

And here is what CDTFA shows:

_leo_3-1681182468275.png

 

 

⁉️What's going on here? These are all different!? It may not really matter because I can attribute this sale to Santa Clara County--but shopify's finance reports don't really make this easy.

 

Now here is an example of a more confusing order shipped to Oak Park, CA 91377:

_leo_5-1681183563506.png

 

Here is what TaxJar shows:

_leo_6-1681183616451.png

 

and Avalara:

_leo_8-1681183731654.png

 

and finally CDTFA:

_leo_9-1681183797838.png

 

 

⁉️ Here, everything other than Shopify points to this sale being attributed to Ventura county - However Shopify has zero mention of Ventura. If I just go by Shopify numbers, it looks like I would attribute this to San Diego??

 

I have many orders that  show a cryptic "San Diego Co Local Tax Sl" breakdown that seems like it should actually be the ship-to address' country.  

 

How am I supposed to report these?

 

Thanks for anyone that made it this far.

 

 

 

Replies 4 (4)
tongbo
Shopify Partner
12 0 0

Hi @_leo, founder of Sidr Tax here. The county attribution depends on how the tax engine and reporting service map from an address to a county.

What's happening for you is that your tax engine (probably Shopify Tax?) has a different mapping from address to county than the ones used by Taxjar and Avalara. This happens some times because even the same zipcode can map to different counties. So it really matters what tax engine you are using, and the logic behind it.

 

_leo
Visitor
3 0 0

Thanks @tongbo, that technically makes sense, but I would have assumed something like government mandated financials would (should?) leave little to interpretation/ambiguity.

 

so, that still leaves me in the dark with the Shopify tax reports not attributing to some regions (the Ventura example above). 

tongbo
Shopify Partner
12 0 0

Hi @_leo, I fully understand where you are coming from. However, given that the tax jurisdiction changes all the time (thousands of changes each year?), and the fact that it's extremely difficult to be 100% accurate on the address to tax jurisdiction mapping, some level of error is expected. The state governments are also well aware of that, so they won't be mad about some small degree of errors.

_leo
Visitor
3 0 0

haha, @tongbo , but isn't this what computers are for?

 

A lookup table is not hard, it's just tedious work and should be automated. The tables should be readily available (CA for example: cdtfa.ca.gov), the ship-to city is on the order, they just need to be cross referenced. I understand if amounts are off 0.25% here and there... but entire jurisdictions just not accounted for?  I don't buy it.

 

Shopify can do better, especially if we are paying for it (Shopify Tax).