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Archive | July, 2019

Sales tax complexity relief is slow in coming, but there is progress

We’ve blogged a number of times on the coming sales tax armageddon that is coming due to the South Dakota vs Wayfair Supreme Court decision, unless something is done.

A new law in Colorado is the first I’ve seen that attempts to address this issue.  This quote from a member of the Colorado Senate does a good job of describing the issue:

Colorado has 344 taxing jurisdictions that include cities, counties and special districts, and 638 unique tax rates, Meneghel said. It would be a huge operational burden on small businesses to file up to about 600 new tax returns each month without the grace period that the law provides, he said.

Colorado’s solution is:

The new law also provides that businesses that sell through a marketplace facilitator such as Amazon or similar online entities are exempt from collecting and remitting sales tax; that responsibility will fall to the marketplace entity beginning Oct. 1.

That’s exactly one of the solutions we were hoping for. for one, doesn’t have a great system for helping their 3rd party Marketplace sellers handle sales tax.  It is incredibly difficult to just find out what sales occurred where.   They, on the other hand, would have no problem collecting sales tax, and submitting returns, for every jurisdiction in the US, which they probably already do.

In addition to requiring marketplace facilitators to collect sales tax on their sellers behalf, there are a couple of other solutions I can think of.

  • Instead of just a threshold of sales into a state to trigger collection of sales tax in that state, have a federally mandated threshold, below which any seller is only required to collect sales tax in the jurisdiction where they are located.

Many, if not most business licensing schemes work with a gross receipts threshold; say, below $250,000 in gross receipts, you pay a flat business license fee; above it you pay a percentage of gross receipts as a business license fee.  Why not have such a threshold for engaging sales tax complexity?

But this is really just a partial solution.  There will be a huge burden placed on a business the minute they surpass the threshold.  But at least that would allow some small businesses to avoid the sales tax trap.

  • Create a federal technical system for collecting sales tax and distributing it to the right jurisdictions

Imagine a Federally mandated tax calculation system / service you could plug into any e-commerce software that would calculate the exact sales tax due for where an order is shipped.  A merchant would then simply pay the federal tax collection agency the total sales tax collected and they would distribute it to the proper jurisdictions.

Okay, so governments don’t have a great track record when it comes to implementing technology systems.  If a Federal law existed that removed the requirement for businesses filing returns in every jurisdiction for which sales tax was collected, in lieu of using a private service that offered the above solution, that would enable private services to start offering such a collection and distribution service.  I would gladly pay a reasonable fee for a service like this.

The point is, something needs to be done to allow small businesses to simply exist in this new sales tax reality.  And imagine how much wasted time and money on sales tax compliance businesses of all sizes could recoup with a setup like this.


Handle separation – another option

We did a post last year about repairing handles that separate from the pot.  The results were not great; the metal is too thin for arc welding, and brazing worked, but the appearance was marginal.

Reader Daniel took a much simpler approach to repairing his sauce pan:

I drilled out the eight old attach spots with a 7/64 bit, reattached the handle with 1/4″L No. 3 stainless pan head machine screws, flat washers, lock washers and nuts. 3/16″ L may also work. Works better than new! Don’t throw them away; fix them!

Here are some pictures of the result.  I like it; it is simple and works.




Canada shipping is broken at the moment (now fixed)

The challenge setting up international shipping methods, as we outlined recently, unfortunately includes sometime difficulties when the software that runs our website changes as we install updates.  This happened recently and it appears to have broken our Canadian shipping in so that the cheaper shipping methods disappeared, making shipping to Canada overly expensive.

We hope to have this fixed in the next few days.

Update: this is fixed now.


Why we don’t ship worldwide

We get inquires from time to time about shipping to various countries around the world – Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Latin America, to name a few.

To understand why we don’t ship worldwide at this time, consider the following Google Trends graphic.

This shows the searches for “revere ware” since 2004, by country.  It seems pretty clear that Revere Ware interest is confined almost entirely to the US.

If it was simple to ship worldwide, we’d do it anyways, to maximize the benefit for anyone, anywhere.  But unfortunately, each additional country we ship to requires a painstaking setup process that can take hours of finagling to get right.  It simply isn’t worth it to add 170 countries on the likelihood of a handful of orders per year.

It is possible will make it easy to ship internationally using domestic inventory at some time in the future.  Until that happens, we only ship to the US and Canada.