Tax issue Google Shopping and Shopify causing mismatched value (page crawl) [price]

Bjorn29
New Member
3 1 0

Hello everyone,

We are experiencing problems related to mismatching values (page crawl) [price], in our Google Merchant Center. We are showing product prices including VAT, but in the EU new VAT rules for e-commerce will apply from 1 July 2021. Which basically means that you charge a foreign customer the VAT rate of his EU member state. 
 
So there's a setting for this in Shopify (Store settings > VAT > VAT calculations)
  • Tax is included or not based on your customer's country
    Your customer's local tax rate is used for the calculations
I think maybe this setting is causing the mismatch in the page crawler, assuming Google uses foreign country (probably US?) page crawlers? Which eventually feeds a product without VAT, causing a mismatch with the product price on our shop page including VAT.
 
Example from live product:
  • Value in feed:  149.00 EUR
  • Value on website:  123.14 EUR
  • 149 - 123.14 = 25,86 VAT ( => 149 / 121(Gross)  *  21 )
So i think (again assuming Google crawls from outside the Netherlands), the page crawler sees a product price of 123,14 EUR. The product price without VAT. Which is correct according to the Shopify setting.

FYI: We are using an app called Tax-Exempt-Manager. But this reduces the VAT for B2B customers in the checkout-page, only IF a valid VAT-id is being submitted. We use product prices including VAT on all pages.
 
Anyone else having this issue or is this a known issue? 
Any advice is more than welcome!
 
Thanks in advance.
Replies 29 (29)
EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1553 93 374

While I do not have a solution, I want to confirm with you that your findings are correct.

 

So when you submit a price to The Netherlands, then regardless of location, for example the US, the price must be what is submitted in Google Merchant Center. IE VAT inclusive.

 

The solution is to only exclude VAT, when the customer enters a delivery address or payment address outside the US. This means, you should not change the address prior to knowing where it is going.

Meaning in the checkout when the details are entered, not prior.

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
MarkyDjbox
Tourist
5 0 2

Hi -we seem to be having a similar issue but it is only impacting some and not all of our products. Those impacted seem to be noted with "Automatic item updates active [price] VAT"

I am confused as to how it can impact some but not all products. If anyone has any input or ideas it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1553 93 374

Google does not check every page every day.

I recommend to make sure that the price you submit, is the price a customer pays and sees regardless of location.

However, if you want to provide ex vat for non EU countries, you can exclude the VAT after the delivery address has been added, not before.

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
MarkyDjbox
Tourist
5 0 2

Hi and thanks for your time and reply. 

We only want customers to see the VAT inclusive price. Most of our products are absolutely fine but some (around 200) adjust to the ex VAT price. We only have one price field in Shopify. We do not show ex VAT pricing anywhere else. Its very strange. Its like Google is calculating and displaying the ex VAT price itself but I don't know why or how it chooses the products.

It's very frustrating and I've been trying to sort it a couple of weeks...... 

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1553 93 374

Also make sure your structured data is correct. You can test the prices using: https://search.google.com/test/rich-results

 

Every product you list on Google, must be VAT inc. so those 200 products either don't list them in the feed, or update the pricing.

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
MarkyDjbox
Tourist
5 0 2

Hi, and again thanks.

I saw that tool yesterday and I can't see any issues that would cause the problem. There is only one price field we use in Shopify and its OK for the majority of our products. We do not have nay b2b or wholesale plug ons. We have chosen that vat be applied on all goods.

We are connected to Google via API and another app. We have deleted all feeds (we had 2 at one stage) and reset.

When looking at the feed in merchant centre it shows 2 imports for some products. One for local inventory (that we don't use) and one for search, and display and ads. The local inventory price is Inc VAT but the other is not. Same product, the same Sku, same feed. So Google is getting the right info but randomly deducting the VAT.

Any ideas. Thanks. 

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1553 93 374

Without looking into your account it would be hard to guess.

My advice, contact the app support team as they are submitting the data.

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
LydiaVeer
New Member
2 0 0

Hello!

 

I am experiencing exactly the same problem. Have you discovered a solution yet? 

 

Many many thanks for your reply!

 

Lydia 

MarkyDjbox
Tourist
5 0 2

Hi

 

We bounced around between Google and the App provider and found that by disabling automatic updates in Google merchant centre the pricing seems to be ok. It's less than ideal but it has worked for us. 

I hope that helps.

 

KooKooOskar
New Member
3 0 0

Hello we have the same problem, but when we deactivate atomatic product updates in merchants center, the products just get rejected...

 

Issue:

Pic_1_VAT_Option.png

Pic_2_rejected_products.png

  

Starting position: (example used: KW4000 -> 69,90€ with 19% German Tax)

 

  • We want to keep net prices the same, for every EU country (58.74€)
  • Therefore we want to charge a country with higher tax rate a higher price (example: France 20% Tac -> 80,57€)
    • For that we have activated the following feature in Shopify (see Pic_1):
    • “ Include or exclude tax based on your customer's country

Your customer's local tax rate will be used for calculations. “

 

Now the following issue arises:

 

  • Our Micro data / source code shows net prices (58.74€) in order to calculate the gross price for each country
  • Google crawling sees those net prices and rejects products on Merchants center because:
    • Price in product Feed to merchants center is gross price for Germany (19% -> 69.90€)
    • Google crawling sees net prices on our website (58.74€)
      • -> Rejects our products (see Pic_2)

 

Do you have a solution for that problem? Or maybe an Idea on how to get one of my solutions working:

 

  1. Have German gross prices on Website no matter what country (69,90€), BUT only charge the country based tax in checkout (80,57€).
    1. For that we would have to find a solution to charge country based tax without ticking the location based tax option in Shopify (Pic_1) correct?
  2. Find out how to make the crawling bot see the German prices (69,90€
    1. In source code: instead of net price + tax (58.74€ + 20%) we make it German price + tax difference (69,90€ + 1%)
  3. Find any other workaround for location based tax charge, without the tick at the shopify option (Pic_1)

 

Thank you for the help!

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1553 93 374

Regardless of where a user is located, if a user clicks on your German link, even if they are located in a different country, must see the same exact price as you have submitted in the data feed.

 

IP based price modification is not allowed if you want to use Google Shopping.

 

If you want to show different prices you need to allow for the user to manually change the country they are located in using a drop down.

 

Reference: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/4752265?hl=en#:~:text=Make%20sure%20your%20landing%20pag...

 

That is the first thing you need to change.

 

Once you have fixed that you can update the pricing structured data to be correct using: https://feedarmy.com/kb/shopify-microdata-for-google-shopping/

 

 

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
MarkyDjbox
Tourist
5 0 2
Hi - we dont export much outside our own region so I don't have an
answer or help on this I am afraid. All I do know is once we turned off
automatic price updates in Merchant centre the isseu went away for us.
KooKooOskar
New Member
3 0 0

Hello,

 

The changes you suggested where already like this in our shop.

 

Now I have found out, that the problem lies with this part: currency=EUR in the link google uses to crawl:

?currency=EUR&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Google%20Shopping (I dont know if I am allowed to post our site 🙂

 

When I do Rich Test from Google with the normal link on my page, the microdata shows the correct price (gross). But as soon as the part currency=EUR is added, the micro data/rich test shows only net prices. 

 

Does anyone maybe know where this could result from, as we cannot make google to remove that part. Our default currency in the shop is EUR, might be something with the schema?

 

Thank you for all the help!

LydiaVeer
New Member
2 0 0
For us it helped to resubmit the site map. After google recrawled. Prices were fine ( also no automatic adjustment of price)
EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1553 93 374

I recommend you disable the option where users outside Europe are VAT exempt.

 

You are not allowed to change the price based on user IP, if you want to use Google Shopping.

 

However, if you want to ignore the above, simply write a feed rule by stripping out the currency=EUR part of the URL.

https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/7450276?hl=en

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
DazC
Excursionist
13 0 12

I’ve run into this problem recently as well.

 

We have a UK based store that sells predominantly domestically, but is configured to sell internationally. Shopify is set up to charge tax based on the customer location (shipping address). This works in so far as UK customers get charged the price we enter in to the catalogue (VAT inclusive price) and customers outside of the UK get charged the net price with no tax component.

 

Where it goes wrong, as you’ve noticed, is with Google Merchant Centre.

 

I noticed on our website that if you visit it cold you see the VAT inclusive prices, but if you add something to your cart and go through checkout far enough to enter your delivery address, and choose e.g. a US address, then not only does Shopify recalculate the cart to remove taxes - as one might expect, and hope - but from that point onwards the customer sees net prices throughout the website, including on collection pages and product pages.

 

I originally thought this might be how Google is seeing these prices too, but I think it must be IP based instead since it seems unlikely the Googlebot is adding products to cart etc.

 

The problem is - I don’t know how to fix it. It seems the location specific pricing (how is this done? IP geolocation?) functionality is opaque and can’t be disabled. What if a US customer placed an order to ship to the UK? VAT would have to be added, etc.

 

The only way I’ve found to fix this is to disable the option to “Include or exclude taxes based on the customer’s location”. But what disabling this means is that the price (incl VAT) is the price everyone pays, regardless of location, with the only difference being that this number doesn’t comprise a VAT component outside of the UK. This means we’d be overcharging our international customers by 20%, and it would be obvious to them that we’re ripping them off, all in service of trying to fix a Google price mismatch.

 

We’re not willing to do this at this point, but we’re running out of options. As things stand Google has done automatic price updates for almost all of our products, which has messed up our Google listings (they show ex VAT prices), and since our customer base is 90%+ UK, this won’t do either.

 

Why is Shopify trying to guess what the price will be for a customer before they have even added anything to their cart and said where they want to ship it? Why is this price modification functionality opaque and unconfigurable? 

Very frustrating…

KooKooOskar
New Member
3 0 0

Hi, 

 

we solved the issue. I cannot fully reproduce how, but will tell you all I got:

 

- the issue starts with the merchant center crawler who uses this link ending: /currency=EUR or whatever currency.

- this selected some other country, which we do not charge tax for and therfore it showed google net prices.

- we have the geolocation app, install it and activate the country selector. Then go to your site and look at the countries you can select. I think with th currency=eur ening, it selects the first eur country.

- I cannot recall fully, where you can edit this list, but its in shopify settings. 

 

Solution:

we put a country into the list, we dont even ship to (Andorra) and added a tax override of 19% (german VAT). Google now crawls andorra prices (net, but + our tax) so no price mismatch.

You should try out some countries, but if you cannot add any other british pund countries, just remove all but UK.

 

cheers

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1553 93 374

@DazC As you correctly mention, the price ex vat should only show, when the customer has added the shipping / payment details, not prior to this.

 

It is also correct that the prices you submit for the UK, must be the same regardless of where the user is located. As this is a requirement for Google Shopping.

 

So for customers that are in a different country, you need to setup a new store or use multicurrency setup.

 

If you are only targeting the UK, then the prices must be inc vat.

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
DazC
Excursionist
13 0 12

@KooKooOskar wrote:

Hi, 

 

we solved the issue. I cannot fully reproduce how, but will tell you all I got:

 

- the issue starts with the merchant center crawler who uses this link ending: /currency=EUR or whatever currency.

- this selected some other country, which we do not charge tax for and therfore it showed google net prices.

- we have the geolocation app, install it and activate the country selector. Then go to your site and look at the countries you can select. I think with th currency=eur ening, it selects the first eur country.

- I cannot recall fully, where you can edit this list, but its in shopify settings. 

 

Solution:

we put a country into the list, we dont even ship to (Andorra) and added a tax override of 19% (german VAT). Google now crawls andorra prices (net, but + our tax) so no price mismatch.

You should try out some countries, but if you cannot add any other british pund countries, just remove all but UK.

 

cheers


Unfortunately this doesn't work for us.  I don't know your GMC setup, but Google is crawling our URLs with "currency=GBP" in, which ought to return VAT inclusive prices, but doesn't.

 

We aren't using any kind of geolocation app for pricing, so there shouldn't be anything causing issues one way or the other with this.

 

Thanks for your help, though 🙂