Saturday, June 21, 2014

Don't use zip codes for sales tax rate lookups

United States Mail Railway Post Office

Don't use zip codes for sales tax rate lookups.

Happily, at lease two of the rate lookup services use the actual street address. This is the best way, short of the actual GPS coordinates.  But zip codes? Alas, there are couple of sites that use zip codes for look-ups.

Here's an example.  I looked up the rate for my zip code of 60510.  The problem is that there are locations in 60510 that are NOT within the boundaries of the city of Batavia.  So the rate provided isn't accurate unless the "looker-upper" knows that the particular location is inside or outside the city limits. However, using the actual address will give you the accurate information you need.  But the zip code won't work.

As an aside, one particular site says that freight charges aren't taxable. Hmmmm (drumming fingers) fact, they ARE taxable in Illinois, depending on several conditions.

Remember that zip codes have no relationship to taxing districts.  The purpose of zip codes was to speed the delivery of catalogs and flyers to your house.  I forgot the name of the organization that does that...they drive little white trucks.  Dang, can't remember the name.  Anyway, zip codes were not intended, nor are they usable, as an accurate means for determining political subdivisions.  And sales taxes are all about political subdivisions.

The Sales Tax Guy

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Anonymous said...

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me. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I do think that
you ought to write more about this topic, it might not be a taboo
matter but usually folks don't discuss these issues. To the next!
Many thanks!!