A Bite out of Apple: Zip Codes Strike Again

Even the big boys get it wrong sometimes. A recent article on The Mac Observer, a website dedicated to all things Apple, highlighted a new problem with ordering from the Apple website—they used zip code to calculate sales tax rather than the shipping address. The problem with using a simple zip code is a big problem in states with LOST, or local option sales tax, because one zip code can have multiple rates within its borders.

The article author contacted Apple’s customer support where the customer service representative told him there was no workaround to get the correct sales tax rate and that zip code was the only way the tax rate was calculated. Even using the full 9-digit zip code didn’t make a change, the author reports. While it might not seem like a big deal, to a consumer spending $1500 on a new, expensive computer that extra $15-20 can be irksome. Add that up over the course of all of Apple’s online transactions for hardware purchases and it could easily rack up to become a big mess. It’s up to Apple to refund all that overcharged sales tax to their customers. If they don’t, they could be held accountable by the states where they didn’t charge the correct rate. If the rate was too low, it could also result in extra interest in penalties.

The problem is that Apple now has to self-audit all of its data since the beginning of this issue to find out where the troubled invoices are and who they need to remit sales tax to, whether it is the customer for an overage or the tax jurisdiction for an underpayment. Apple will need to work its computer magic to get through that mess. If you’re not a big powerhouse like Apple it can be daunting when you discover one mistake you made over and over. The best way to solve the problem is to use automation to make your life easier and track back through past filing reports to find errors and fix them. Our RecoveryLINK software does just that. Sign up for a free evaluation today to find out how easy it is.

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