Adding an Automated Sales Tax Calculator for WordPress is Super Easy
Every day people start their online businesses by selling products of services to customers or businesses. They pick a domain name and hosting plan, build their website and eCommerce solution, and begin their sales and marketing. If you picked WordPress as your website’s CMS, you have made a great choice in my opinion. WordPress continues to be the most popular CMS on the internet today.
There are several eCommerce solutions available for integration with WordPress and each has its pro’s and cons. WooCommerce is the “official” eCommerce solution for WordPress for good reason. Although advanced features (such as shipping calculations) can be added with premium extensions, the basic framework is free. It is the most customizable eCommerce solution on the Internet and if you write PHP, it’s even more customizable. Automattic, the company that builds WordPress, acquired WooCommerce in 2015.
One of the topics that puzzled me when I was getting started was “sales tax.” Sometimes, I still brush up on this topic to make sure that my business is compliant with my state’s tax laws.
Question 1: “Do I owe Sales tax?”
I can’t answer this question for you. Sales taxes are set at the state and municipal level. For example, if you live in an unincorporated area in Georgia (where my business is currently based), the sales tax rate is 4%. However if you live in a larger metro area such as Atlanta, the sales tax rate is 8.9%. If you sell services, the chances are good that you do not have to collect sales tax. If you sell products, the chances are good that you will owe sales tax. Not collecting sales tax when you re required will come straight out of your profits.
However, a lot of business owners don’t know that they may have to collect sales tax for the community where your product is purchased or shipped to.
Check with your state and municipal laws to determine where you need to collect sales tax. Now, on to the good stuff.
A couple of prerequisites come first to following the steps you need to take before adding sales tax calculations to your WooCommerce store.
- A WordPress website
- A WooCommerce store installed
- You have products (or services) in your WooCommerce store
How to add Sales Tax Calculations to your WooCommerce Store
Step One: Login to your WordPress.com account
Several of my clients lately have installed WooCommerce into their websites from their WordPress dashboards. A lot of the “goodies” and features that make their WordPress websites even more awesome are located in their WordPress.com account. The WordPress CMS itself is free and open-source but the company that built WordPress adds more free features into WordPress.com. A WordPress.com account is required to integrate the features located below.
Step Two: Install JetPack
I highly recommend using JetPack. I installed JetPack in my first WordPress site and I still use it today. It is a very versatile plugin and it is only getting better. The free version of JetPack has a ton of functionality like site stats, preventing brute force attacks, and adding automated sales tax to your WooCommerce store. There are several premium feature levels that offer additional benefits such as automatic spam filtering, malware scanning and security fixes.
Click here to find out more about which JetPack version is right for you.
Step Three: Install WooCommerce Services
WooCommerce Services is the free extension from WooCommerce that helps generate the sales tax. How exactly do these plugins work together? As a coder, I have to say “I don’t know.” For me to know I would have to work closely with the team at Automattic. What I do know is that they do work.
Step Four: Set your WooCommerce Tax Settings
You also have to set up your Tax Settings in WooCommerce. Here is how to do that:
- Login to your site’s WordPress Dashboard
- On the left-hand side hover over “WooCommerce” and click “Settings.”
- After you have installed the plugins above you will see the “Tax” settings as the third tab from the left.
- Answer the questions as pertinent to your product or service.
Step Five: Make your Taxable Products Taxable
In order to make your WooCommerce store calculate tax, you have to have your products set to “Taxable.” Here is how to make your WooCommerce products taxable:
- Stay logged in.
- On the left-hand site hover your mouse over “Products” and click on “All Products.”
- Click on a Product.
- Scroll down to the Product Settings for that Product and on the third line down make sure the drop-down is selected to “Taxable” if it is a taxable product.
- Click “Update.”
- Test your product in teh checkout and cart to make sure it is calculating sales tax.
Or you can call a professional
If all of this seems like a huge pain, you can always call a professional such as me to get your sales tax calculations working in your WooCommerce store. Maybe you are not tech-savvy or simply have better things to do. Contact me from the simple form below and I will happy to help with making your WooCommerce store calculate sales tax.