Before I get started on my rant about Magento, I need to make it clear that I LOVE open source software and I absolutely LOVE this particular open source ecommerce platform. I think that Magento has tremendous promise and is an excellent choice for a company’s ecommerce platform. Now that I’m done with my praise, I’ll get to my rant…

Honestly, they have to be kidding! I know that the whole point of open source is to get the programmers work where they get paid. Hey, WordPress is open source. It’s not like these guys are independently wealthy and just make cool software out of the kindness of their hearts. However, Magento is far from an enterprise level platform. Even with the additional features, Magento is not at that level. Case and point… They can’t even process sales tax correctly.

The latest release of Magento (1.3.1.1) didn’t fix a bug that was created when they released 1.3.1. This bug is a rather serious bug that makes Magento practically useless for ecommerce. Since ecommerce is what this platform is supposed to be used for, Magento 1.3.1 and beyond are worthless until they fix this bug. The bug is that no matter how you setup your tax groups, there is no way to enter an order into the Admin interface that doesn’t get charged taxes if you have a tax setup for that postal code.

Now, a careful ecommerce guy will read that last sentence and find another flaw with Magento. Yes, Magento does their taxes based upon zip codes. There is no state in America that allows you to base your taxes on a postal code. Postal codes are setup by the US Post Office (which is NOT a government agency). Our local and state governments recognize cities and municipalities ONLY, not zip codes.

In my opinion, Enterprise level software should be able to handle sales taxes properly. Magento doesn’t. There is plenty of work left for the folks over there before they have an Enterprise level application. How about the fix the community edition tax problems before releasing “Enterprise” software.

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  1. I forgot to mention that the reporting doesn’t report accurately for each store. You have the option to view sales/etc per store, but the report is always for the total system.

  2. Anybody interested in e-Commerce should consider using the WP e-Commerce Plugin which is also Open Source.

    We have specifically made the Plugin work with these US tax scenarios:

    Scenario 1
    My shop is in Illinois. If a person living in Illinois orders from my website, they are required to pay sales taxes even if the product is delivered out of state and I am required to collect it and send it to the state. This is because the person making the purchase and my store live in the same state.

    Scenario 2

    My shop is in Illinois. A person from New York orders product on my site and has it delivered to someone in Illinois. I am required to collect sales taxes. This is because the product is being delivered in the same state as the shop lives. This would be best done by using the field your using for Calculating shipping rate or the shipping address postal code, as this is based on destination.

    Scenario 3

    My shop is in Illinois. A person from New York or any state other than Illinois and has the product delivered to them or any state other than Illinois.
    I am not required to collect the tax. The burden falls on the consumer to pay the use tax to the state they live in. Although, this is rarely enforced for small purchases.

    The latest nightly build is by far our greatest release yet. It will be announced soon as a Beta version.

  3. Also I’ll be speaking at WordCamp UK about Plugins and WP e-Commerce. If you’re interested then please visit 🙂

  4. To update the progress on this… Version 1.3.2.1 for Magento was released yesterday and had no resolution to this important tax calculation bug 😦

  5. Mike

    It ain’t cheap either. $9000 a year? Its original appeal was that it was an inexpensive way to get good cart features (free.) I’d have no problem with $500 for clients that need the hold out features provided with enterprise, and charging extra for direct support, but $9000 per year? Come on.

    Plus their development framework of a million bits of code in a million files in a million folders, just flat out sucks to customize.




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