Marketplace Fairness Act Myth: Free Software (Taxcloud version)

There are other posts about the real-world issues with software, the lack of actually free software to do the job.  I’m just going to focus on one provider right now who trots out how his solution is free on any site that will quote or publish him.  I don’t blame him for promoting his business, but the consistent downplaying or ignoring of the real-world issues is driving me nuts.

It starts with a shill.  Some guy who runs a sheep farm in New York must apparently spend every waking hour writing pro-MFA and pro-Taxcloud posts in awkward stilted marketing language.  Is he related to someone at Taxcloud?  Paid by Taxcloud?  No idea.  He IS in at least one of their press releases.

So this customer writes over and over how easy it is, it’s free, it’s solves everything, there are no real concerns.  Keep in mind, this person has a small farm in NY and does not appear to have any experience with more serious e-commerce platform demands.  Maybe their setup works great for him, but that’s a pretty low bar.  He just cuts and pastes talking points.

The most cursory level of support is for the shopping cart.  It’s only the tip of the iceberg for the work involved and only a small portion of all the processes that involve collecting and refunding sales tax.  But proponents trot out the ability to compute a sales tax based on the address as the entire issue.  Not even close.

So I go to Taxcloud’s website to see if any of our platform is supported (at the time of this writing 7/2013).  We have a Yahoo cart, a common cart that has been around for 20 years or so.  Of course it isn’t supported.

Yahoo cart support – NO.  “Coming soon”

Our order processing software? – No.

Amazon orders?  No.

How about Taxcloud and CEO and co-founder David Campbell stops misrepresenting how easy it is while trying to push for passage of the MFA until their own platform actually does make it free and easy.  I don’t doubt that for a tiny farm who won’t even be affected by the MFA, it might help them.  For our setup, it’s vaporware.

Or better yet, if it’s so easy, have the states collect their own taxes.


Addendum.  After seeing a slew of Taxcloud comments in articles and a number of their blog posts, they’re really pushing their agenda and completely dismissing legitimate concerns.  They’re going to get their own category on the blog at this rate. .

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