Last Updated on April 22, 2023 by Ewen Finser
The growth in e-commerce has led to a surge in demand for online shopping carts. The United States government followed suit by introducing laws requiring online retailers to collect sales tax from applicable shoppers. A 2018 landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in a South Dakota vs. Wayfair, Inc saw states given the power to levy sales taxes on online sales. States are now actively pursuing online retailers to comply with the government directive.
However, the widespread and complicated nature of tax obligations on online sales is demanding for most businesses regardless of the size of their operations. Sales tax requires a lot of management, and the process is time-consuming with numerous rules to follow.
While some companies outsource to accountants and tax attorneys, integrating third-party sales tax apps into shopping carts is preferred for most sellers.
BigCommerce, one of the leading e-commerce solutions, offers a variety of apps to facilitate the collection of required sales tax. This article discusses some of the best BigCommerce sales tax apps you should consider for your online store. The apps include the following:
Bottom Line Up Front
Businesses running on the BigCommerce platform can tap into installing third-party apps to enable sales tax compliance. Each app offers a different set of features and benefits depending on what you need to achieve. Avalara is the best choice of BigCommerce sales tax app due to its reliability, ease of use, and affordable prices.
What is BigCommerce?
BigCommerce is a leading e-commerce solution, powering over 50,000 online stores. BigCommerce offers a complete set of tools that simplify starting and managing an online store. Despite competing in a crowded eCommerce market, BigCommerce boasts an impressive client list that includes industry leaders such as EZPZ, Procter and Gamble, and GE appliances.
With the advances in tax regulations for online sales, many shopping carts integrate third-party sales tax apps to automate the process. Despite the numerous third-party e-commerce sales tax apps, BigCommerce only integrates with four.
Criteria for Choosing the Best Sales Tax Apps for BigCommerce
Consider the following evaluation criteria when choosing a sales tax app for your e-commerce store.
Support for multiple tax rates
If your online store has multiple branches or is present in various parts of the country, you will need an app to support different rates for each location. A good sales tax app should have customizable rules to support this feature.
Customers must see the sales tax in clear terms. The app should have an intuitive design that allows customers to check each item’s cost with tax included quickly. It must not be confusing or misleading in any way.
Speed and general performance
Every business wants its products to be shipped as soon as possible after purchase, so speed is an important criterion to consider. A quick-loading app can create and update tax tables in real-time, allowing for more accurate results with no lag.
As an e-commerce business, it is important to make sure that the app will integrate seamlessly with existing platforms. That way, you won’t be forced to spend extra money on new tools or learning complex systems.
Value for money
The app should have the minimum viable functionality and interface required for basic sales tax collection at a price that reflects its value.
Key Features to Look for in a BigCommerce Sales Tax App
1. Up-to-Date Laws and Rates
Sales tax compliance is complicated, with different jurisdictions applying various laws and rates. An app that can’t keep up with these changes may open your business to penalties and fines.
2. Customizable Tax Tables
Most apps will allow for customization to fit your specific business model. However, some apps may be more flexible than others when changing the tax rate, updating schedules and tables, setting rounding rules, and automatically removing tax where required on certain items (such as shipping).
3. Automated Tax Filing
The best apps will connect to your accounting software and help manage the filing of documents, such as monthly or quarterly returns. An ideal tax app should do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on growing your business.
4. Customer-Facing UI
Customers want to know how much they’re paying for their purchases, nothing more and nothing less. The best tax apps will be easy to navigate for the customer while offering the total customization required by the seller.
5. Managing Exempt Certificates
A good app will help facilitate exemption certificates and easily allow their management. This feature allows for automation and saves time by eliminating unnecessary steps during auditing. Exempt certificates are one of the most important tools needed to comply with state laws.
6. Data Import Flexibility
If your business already uses a tax app to manage sales taxes, it will have an existing set of tables and information. The best new apps will allow importing the existing data, so you don’t have to re-enter everything from scratch. This feature will save time and help avoid errors.
Best BigCommerce Sales Tax Apps
Here’s an overview of the top BigCommerce sales tax apps.
Avalara is a cloud-native tax compliance provider that offers comprehensive sales tax automation. It provides software as a service (SaaS) solution to small, medium-sized, and large enterprise organizations. As one of the most popular apps for BigCommerce, Avalara integrates with various tools such as Intuit QuickBooks, Sage, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics.
Avalara stands out from the competition with its ease of use and flexibility. It is one of the few apps that map exact locations using geospatial technology to give accurate tax rates. The automated calculations feature will provide accurate rates across all channels while keeping track of tax rate changes and tax holidays.
Because Avalara is cloud-based, users get on-demand reports and audit support. They also get access to a knowledge base for tax laws and technical documentation. With Avalara, you can manage multi-state sales taxes anywhere with the mobile app.
Integrating Avalara with BigCommerce is easy and will give your business the tools it needs to stay on top of sales tax compliance. There’s also the cross-border feature, which will help you collect and remit tax on international orders.
Avalara uses a volume-based pricing model designed to scale to the needs of growing companies.
- Basic: Starts at $19/month
- Standard: Starts at $83/month
- Custom: Ask for a custom quote
Pricing may vary depending on your business needs. The basic plan comes with a 60-day free trial.
- Features over 1200 integrations
- Advanced geospatial targeting (address validation)
- Ability to track nexus and get alerts
- Integrates with the existing system
- Not freelance friendly
- Some merchants find the transaction limits a bit too restrictive
TaxCloud is one of the best apps for managing sales tax compliance. It integrates with BigCommerce to provide top-tier tools to manage sales tax rates, exemptions, and filing. TaxCloud is free and web-based, ensuring flexibility and ease of use.
It has a state-funded option from 25 member states. Essentially, states pay TaxCloud to handle your sales tax filing for you. For this reason, the associated costs are low.
TaxCloud has a ton of great features that will benefit your business. It allows for tax rate changes in real-time and updates them in all your channels. It also allows for optional manual sales tax management, with the option of using automated calculations for online transactions.
One of the most significant advantages of using TaxCloud is merchant indemnification. In a basic sense, if either the state or TaxCloud makes an error or misses information, your business is indemnified. The state or TaxCloud will cover any associated penalties, fines, or liabilities. It’s a win-win situation that makes TaxCloud a desirable option for BigCommerce users.
TaxCloud’s rapid updates will meet the demands of BigCommerce stores with a lot of orders. With detailed reporting and compliance monitoring, you won’t miss a beat when it comes to sales tax compliance. Like other top-tier sales tax apps, it integrates with other third-party software such as QuickBooks, Bonanza, eBay, and Amazon.
TaxCloud is marketed as a free service because the 25 member states cover some of the cost. However, you will still have to pay a base price of $10 that covers the access and maintenance of reports and historical data. It also allows you to pay for what you use, for instance, when it comes to API pricing. Visit the pricing page for a detailed breakdown of prices based on the number of transactions.
- Simplified sales tax functionality
- Solid tax reporting
- It features merchant indemnity
- Integrates with existing software
- Real-time and manual management options are available
- Not entirely free
- The setup process isn’t as streamlined as other apps available
- The customer service could be better
TaxJar is a leading app for managing sales tax compliance thanks to its innovative services and features. It’s a fully distributed company founded to make sales tax compliance easy. BigCommerce merchants can choose to manage sales filings either manually or through AutoFile.
TaxJar‘s AutoFile takes the manual work out of tax filing. It calculates sales tax rates across all applicable jurisdictions and files returns state-compliantly. The AutoFile feature combines various returns for your convenience and lets you know when a new sales tax rate comes into effect.
When you use TaxJar, it means that your sales and purchases will be monitored and documented at all times. It offers jurisdiction-level sales tax reporting alongside a simple XLS report reporting tool.
One of the best things about TaxJar is the AI-driven product taxability recommendations tool. It makes it easier for you to decide what products are taxable or not, reducing the risk of costly errors. Moreover, the address validation API is a boon for any BigCommerce business to confirm their customers’ addresses.
TaxJar works with your CPA or tax professional to ensure the most efficient filing process possible. Besides, it integrates with accounting tools such as QuickBooks to ensure that your records are up-to-standard. As a sales tax compliance tool for modern commerce, it operates in more than 11,000 jurisdictions across the US, simplifying tax requirements for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
TaxJar features three pricing plans
- Starter: Starts at $19/month
- Professional: Starts at $99/month
- Premium: (Contact sales for custom pricing)
TaxJar offers a 30-day free trial with full access to professional features. Visit their pricing page for more details on the pricing plans and features.
- Extensive data import and export
- Automated filing, AutoFile
- Automictically syncs with the shopping cart and ecommerce platforms
- 24/7 customer service
- The dashboard is easy to understand
- Allows for multichannel integrations
- Only supports US customers
- The pricing plans could be more transparent
- Additional costs on Autofilling based on a pay-per filing basis becomes expensive quite fast
Vertex is an easy-to-use sales tax software platform that brings simplified compliance to your BigCommerce store. Vertex is made to help businesses find the correct sales tax rates, generate reports for taxes owed, and file them in time with states across the country. It features a hybrid portfolio that offers businesses access to automated tax filing, flexible reporting, and simplified UX enhancements.
The ability to centralize all the rates and rules is one of the best things about Vertex. There’s no need to change settings for all your sales channels; Vertex automatically adjusts the tax rates for each channel, allowing you to stay on top of your tax compliance. Its integration with BigCommerce makes it all the more convenient to use.
Merchants can map customer codes allowing for easy management and reporting of exemption certificates, which are mandatory for some states. It embeds real-time tax calculations with automated updates, delivering an uncompromised experience within the BigCommerce ecosystem.
There’s no need for custom code or sophisticated settings when integrating Vertex with BigCommerce. The process is seamless with simple, automatic syncing. Best of all, you get customer support through the customer portal, calls, and the educational resources on the website.
Vertex pricing is custom based with an annual fee alongside a Vertex Cloud License. It’s available upon request.
- Centralized tax reporting
- Real-time tax updates and calculations
- Automated data sync with shopping carts and ecommerce platforms
- Customer support portal
- Simple integrations with BigCommerce
- Custom pricing is hard to understand without asking for a quote
- It lacks a free trial option
- Only available in USA and Canada
Question: Does BigCommerce calculate sales tax?
Answer: BigCommerce integrates with third-party sales tax software to calculate and track taxes for every transaction on your store. You can use a separate sales tax app like TaxJar or Vertex to help you determine the rate and total due for each state. These tools provide you with automated tax reporting and filing capabilities.
Question: What is the best BigCommerce sales tax app?
Answer: The best BigCommerce, sales tax app is Avalara. It works with several shopping carts and supports multiple currencies, languages, and tax rules.
It integrates directly with BigCommerce to provide automated sales tax calculations mapped with geophysical data of the customers. Avalara quickly answers sales tax questions and provides a smooth, seamless experience that makes it the best BigCommerce sales tax app.
Question: Is Avalara free with BigCommerce?
Answer: Avalara isn’t free with BigCommerce. The basic plan starts at $19/month, while the standard plan starts at $83/month. There’s, however, a 60-day free trial to experience the product on the basic plan.
BigCommerce is a popular ecommerce platform that’s perfect for small and large businesses. Keeping up with sales tax requirements can be a daunting task, but you can easily handle it all with the best BigCommerce sales tax apps. The best sales tax apps for BigCommerce are Avalara, TaxJar, TaxCloud, and Vertex.
They’re not free but offer services that help you better understand your products’ taxability by automating tax calculations. When choosing the best sales tax app for BigCommerce, it’s essential to consider your business and ecommerce goals.