How to Handle Sales Tax for Single Item with Caps Amount
Q - We are in the process of setting up sales tax codes for the state of Arizona. We have the Elliott system set up to default to the appropriate tax codes when the zip code is entered in the customer setup (WHICH IS AWESOME BY THE WAY!). But this is the first time we will have a third tax code for a city, and I think I finally have a structure that will work. I am attaching what I have so far here so you can see my thought process. I have just started the city tax code setup, but they will all start with “2” since that represents AZ for our setup. And then I am taking your advice and using letters for the next two digits to represent the city.
This setup will work for most transactions. However, I am a little stumped as to how the system handles the single item caps that AZ has (they have got to win an award for making things complicated).
For example, let’s say we have a sale to a company located in the city of Benson, AZ, for $12,000 for a single item. Since it is in Cochise County, the tax would calculate as follows:
- AZ state tax (Code 203) 5.6% $672
- Cochise county tax (Code 204) 0.5% 60
- Benton city tax (Code 2BE) 2.5% 125 ($5,000 * 2.5%)
- Benton city tax over $5k 1.0% 70 ($12,000-5,000 = $7,000*1%)
I don’t see how Elliott is going to calculate that city tax with the cap of $5k. And even if we have to do it manually, I can change the tax code 3 dollar amount to the $195 above instead of the $300 ($12,000*2.5%) that Elliott is calculating, but it defaults back to $300 during order billing and I have to manually change it back to $195 again there. Is there an easier way? This will be rare for us so it's hard to remember, but I am thinking you have a big client in AZ and I would think they don’t do this manually for each sale, but maybe they don’t go over the $5,000 per item cap? Other cities have other caps – Benson is just one example. Let me know if you have any suggestions in this area please.
A - We can’t handle single item caps very gracefully in your scenario. I think there are a few other states that have similar situations. In a situation like this, you can override the sales tax amount in the billing screen manually. You should do it at the time of billing selection since that's the time the sales amount will be finalized. If you really want to get sales tax to work 100% smoothly (or close to 100%), you can use a sales tax solution called “Vertex” (www.vertexinc.com), although that's a very expensive solution. We have an interface with Vertex. In addition to the upfront purchase cost, based on my customers' feedback, there’s something like a $20K+ annual maintenance fee. We do have a few customers that need to collect sales tax nationwide, and they use this solution. But most of our customers do not have the volume to justify that expense.