Why You Might Need to be Charging International Tax

Big Cartel recently rolled out an improved Taxes area, where stores can set rates for practically any country. Big Cartel calculates and collects taxes based on your settings, so that you can balance the books and pay what’s owed to any applicable government agencies. Are you stumped about whether you need to add taxes to your store? See if any of these scenarios sound familiar.

Friendly reminder: This article is meant to get you started thinking about some possible scenarios where you may owe taxes, but is not an exhaustive list and should not be considered tax advice. Speak to a tax professional in your area to understand your specific tax obligations.

You’re based in Canada and pay a different tax rate to each province

If you’re shipping orders across Canada, you likely need to pay taxes to each province or territory where your customers reside. With our previous tax tools, you were able to set one rate for the country. The latest improvements allow you to set individual tax rates for each province, helping you to be more accurate and sensitive to each shopper’s situation.

You or your customers are in the European Union

If you’re frequently shipping to customers in the European Union, odds are that you owe VAT. Smaller sellers used to exist in a grey area, but once your sales to a specific EU country exceed 10,000 Euros, you owe VAT to that member state. Setting up tax rates for EU countries now will keep you covered when you cross that threshold.

You and your co-creator live in separate countries

While tax rules are constantly evolving, a good rule of thumb is that you should be paying taxes in the area where your business is based. If you operate your business in two locations, there are some great perks like faster shipping to your customers in each region, and some complications like paying applicable taxes to each local government. Make sure you have the minimum of taxes set to collect in each of the countries where you have a physical presence.

You’re based in the U.S. or Puerto Rico and only shipping within the country

It can make perfect sense for many sellers to keep it simple and limit their sales radius as they get to know the ropes. For stores with their currency set to USD, your sales tax for U.S. & Puerto Rico-bound orders is automatically calculated, collected, and remitted on your behalf. It’s one less thing to worry about, and you can add more shipping destinations (and manual international tax rates), as you grow.

Set your rates

Ready to collect tax? Log in to your store admin on a browser (any device should be fine, but this feature isn’t visible in our Android and iOS apps just yet), then head to the Account page of and scroll down to see the Taxes area. Here you can set up or edit tax rates. And if you encounter any bumps in the road, our Help site will help steer you straight.

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