Self Serving Post by Exactor – Phew it’s easy!

It actually is easy, because they don’t support our setup (and ours isn’t very exotic at all).  Voila!  Problem not solved.

(Update: Exactor confirmed no “plug-in” available for our shopping cart which powers tens of thousands of e-commerce sites)

This new Wired Innovation Insights post is a press release masquerading as insight.

I’m getting deja vu a bit on this – but thank heavens the founder and President of a tax company and CSP states that it’s easy to comply with the Marketplace Fairness Act.  It’s just a happy convenience that his company will make millions of dollars on that 8% of sales tax collected, while we become unpaid tax agents for 46 states.

Similar to an Avalara post early on this the history of this blog – is it easy?  Or hard?

According to the blog post, it’s easy!

“Since then, innovators have made cost-efficient, automated solutions to address this burden. Those who use the “undue burden rationale” as justification for opposing sales taxes on ecommerce are either still living in 1992, or they are just trying to take advantage of the legal uncertainties that emerged from the rapid growth of the Internet. “

Nice false choice.  We’re either clueless idiots or cheats.  BTW, there is no “legal uncertainty”.  If you’re a small business located in one state and you sell online to a customer in another you don’t need to collect that states use tax on behalf of that state, if one exists.  He continues to dig:

“An online merchant selling in all 10,000 jurisdictions can comply with sales taxes just as easily as a brick-and-mortar business selling in one jurisdiction.”

BS.  Horse hockey.  (I cleaned up the first word I wrote down)  Can I be more clear?  A huge whopper.  Read any/all of the posts on this site for the whole range of complexities, costs, audit concerns… Total BS.

“Ecommerce businesses exist in the physical world and benefit from taxpayer funding. Without roads, postal systems, governments, telephone wires and fiber optic cables, Amazon is not much of a business.”

Last I checked, e-commerce sites and brick & mortars who also sell online are everywhere.  Gas taxes are paid, so is postage, local taxes… by businesses and individuals.  And Amazon has ramped up their physical presence so much, they’re collecting sales tax for about 70% of the population so far.

“If the lobbying dollars shelled out by Amazon are any indication, they have representation. Now it’s time for taxation.”

Pot calling kettle black?  It’s fairly easy to see where the vast majority of the lobbying dollars comes from on the bill.  It’s almost entirely pro-MFA and paid for by Wal-mart and other big box retailers who are flooding Washington with dollars to pass a bill sponsored by Wal-mart Womack – coincidentally the representative for Wal-mart’s home offices.  And Amazon supports the MFA.  The statement above is both clueless and incorrect.

Or… Is it hard?

Fox Business piece November 2013

Let’s take a look at their website:

It’s not a good sign when “simple” requires a suite.  (Or when I try and look at a “satisfied client” account and they apparently went out of business)

Exacto-Calc

Exacto-File

Exacto-Trac.. and more.

Let’s look just at Exacto Calc.

“The EXACTOCALC module can be easily and seamlessly integrated into any business and transaction platform where real time calculation is required, eCommerce shopping carts, accounting programs, ERP systems. Exactor’s automated wizards provide automated integration into many systems, and its SDK provides easy integration into more customized environments.”

An SDK is lovely and all, but how many small businesses have the ability to handle this, or the costs of this custom programming work?  Virtually none.  I don’t, and I’m reasonably technical.  And some systems just can’t connect.

“The plug-in wizards work just like any other plug-in that you may have installed with any windows based software. You will save the plug-in to your computer, and then double click on it. The wizard will then automatically install the files and load the Exactor module. Once installed, the user will need to configure the module (for example adding the Exactor account information, mapping their products). A detailed User Guide is available to walk you through the process of installing and using each plug-in.”

That doesn’t sound particularly easy.  Far more importantly, it would not appear to support our hosted shopping cart.  The cart is the tip of the sales tax iceberg and it doesn’t appear to even support that.  Or, our order processing software.  Or our phone orders.  Or our Amazon sales.  Or any other channel.  And why do I need a detailed user guide?  And it sounds like I’ll have to get cracking on mapping my products, that sounds time consuming.  What if I don’t classify a product correctly, who is responsible in an audit in the newly added 45 states.  Why I am, of course.

More on their SDK makes it sound even easier.

“Briefly, the basic concept is that the merchant system calls out to our system to post sales transactions and get back the tax amounts. The method of communication is a simple HTTP POST request, where you send an XML payload (using the Exactor XML schema) containing the transaction data and receive an XML response that contains the tax data. At the end of each period, we automatically generate the returns for all of the states where there are obligations. You can have multiple points of integration where Exactor touches the transaction, such as at the order management system or the Shopping Cart level; the system Invoice level, or bulk uploads etc.”

Yet again, another CSP pushing the Marketplace Fairness Act with hypothetical processes that make all this as easy as clicking a button.  It’s still false for almost all who would be affected by the MFA.

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