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Sales Tax: The Forgotten To-Do

This is article is the first in PrestaShop’s Guest Blog series. Its content was created by Matthew Grattan of Avalara.

The Holiday Season is a time for relaxation and reflection, unless of course you’re one of the many companies launching a new ecommerce site for the upcoming online shopping frenzy. Cyber Monday and Black Friday cause much of that frenzy as many people prefer to find the best bargains on the Internet rather than fighting mobs of people at the local mall. Last year, online sales jumped to over $2 billion on those two days and 2012 is forecasted to be another banner year (via Mashable and TechCrunch). The new website needs to be functional and ready to take orders in November come hell or high water, or even a code freeze for that matter.

The planning for the new ecommerce site started months back. At Avalara’s ecommerce partner conferences in the spring, the project manager or business owner for this undertaking is always easy to pick out in a crowd – they are the attendee who looks like they’ve just shot-gunned a six pack of Mountain Dew and haven’t slept in a couple of days. They visit every vendor booth, some multiple times, taking in as much information as possible. They’re an oddity at trade shows more concerned with collecting datasheets and business cards versus tchotchkes for the wee ones.

This is a person of urgency whose job is to ensure that all of the pieces of the puzzle for a successful ecommerce platform launch are in place – and there are a lot of them! A domain name, hosting plans, product categories, design, content, SEO, digital marketing, social media strategy, search, email marketing, payment gateway, merchant account, shipping account and many more. It’s this required checklist that creates many sleepless nights.

Fast forward to October and just weeks away from the platform launch, we get a call from a now even more urgent project manager, “We need a sales tax solution and we need to be live immediately. Please help us!” Sales tax, in many ecommerce projects, gets forgotten as the key focus is on functionality that will drive more visitors and a higher conversion rate – simply put, more people buying more stuff. Sales tax, on other hand, is money you collect from customers to give to the government which is more about the new fire truck your local city needs and less about your company’s revenue or ROI.

That said, there are those occasional customers that have the vision or battle scar reminders from past mistakes, to set up their sales tax solution months before their ecommerce platform launch. This gives them ample time to get buy in from the accounting team who is typically the key stakeholder for the sales tax function.  From a technical perspective, it ensures that sales tax calculations are integrated into the pre-launch test cycles. Finally, it’s just another box the project manager can check off of that long “to do list.”

Note:

PrestaShop and Avalara have a prebuilt connector that insures end to end sales tax automation so you and your customers can enjoy the holiday shopping season with ease.

To learn more about sales tax compliance and how to automate your manual process, join us for a free webinar on November 13th. Sign up now to receive a special Q4 incentive!

Register for the Webinar!

Download PrestaShop’s Holiday Guide!

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