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Price Comparisons With Sales Tax

Posted Sept. 14, 2012 by philip

If you live in the same state as a major retailer, the addition of sales tax can make a big difference in the total price of a build. With Amazon now charging sales tax in California (and starting in several other states soon), finding the cheapest prices is no longer a trivial task.

To solve this problem, PCPartPicker now provides fair price comparisons by allowing you to factor in sales tax rates for price calculations. On your preferences page, you can enter the sales tax rates for in-state retailers. Once those values are saved, all part pages, part lists, category lists, and markup will reflect the updated prices. When PCPartPicker chooses the cheapest price for a given part, it will automatically factor sales tax into account depending on the retailers and rates you have entered. (Note: sales tax rates are stored with your user account, so you will need to be logged in to have it included.)

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Justin95 [1 Build] 3 points 23 months ago

This is a great feature, nice job Phil. :D By the way, did anyone else notice that the "next page" button on the completed builds section finally works? I haven't been able to switch pages forever.

 
 
philip [Staff,Submitter] [8 Builds] 2 points 23 months ago

Sorry about that - I inadvertently broke that while refactoring some code a bit ago. Thankfully it is fixed now.

 
 
LegendOfVirgil 1 point 23 months ago

I don't know if you already addressed this at some point or not, but why does microcenter prices not show up?

 
 
philip [Staff,Submitter] [8 Builds] 1 point 23 months ago

There is currently a bug where in-store only deals are not being flagged properly - I'm fixing that up and then should have them back up shortly.

 
 
LegendOfVirgil 1 point 23 months ago

alrighty, was just curious as to why it was on the merchant list but prices weren't showing up

 
 
dlf [1 Build] 1 point 23 months ago

As a fellow Texan you should know that our sales tax is upwards of 8 1/4 (0.0825) the 25 thousandths make a difference of a few dollars. Since we can input our zip code perhaps the site should be able to tell from that what our state is and adjust for the sales tax.

 
 
philip [Staff,Submitter] [8 Builds] 3 points 23 months ago

I'd love to be able to automatically enter tax rates given an address. This was a quick first pass to get it working and out the door.

Interestingly, when I researched it (wanting to do as you mentioned and derive the sales tax from zip code), I found that zip code alone is not sufficient to determine the tax rate. Within a given area, there can be multiple zones with different tax rates - in many cases there may be a different rate just across the street (while even in the same city and zip code).

Things also get a bit complicated because the taxing responsibilities for companies change frequently with either laws (or threats of law leading to negotiations like Amazon/Texas), company expansion/contraction into/out of regions, etc. Keeping track of what companies need to be taxed for each state/region could get tricky.

So in the end the tax rate auto-entry problem was a bit more complicated than I was willing to bite off right now. I'm sure there is a solution available that could fill in all the necessary tax data from an address though... perhaps something for the future.

 
 
paulwatanabe [1 Build] 1 point 23 months ago

Also, I'd like to add a few more points in support of being able to enter our own rates. 1) Where I live, my local Microcenter, and my local Best Buy are all in different counties, with different sales tax rates. 2) It's possible to make purchases from some local retailers as a reseller, using tax-exempt status.

 
 
dan_175 1 point 23 months ago

Just an FYI you should put a disclaimer that it is technically the buyers responsibility to pay sales tax, regardless of if the retailer does. Just to cover your ass so no one can accuse you of abetting sales tax fraud.

 
 
paulwatanabe [1 Build] 1 point 23 months ago

Excellent addition, very helpful, well done sir.

 
 
ZydusTech 1 point 23 months ago

One thing I noticed, the prices that are showing up for NCIX on the comparisons, are their prices in Canada. Ex. the Cooler Master HAF 932 Advanced, comes up as $129.99. Which is actually the price in Canada, the US price is actually $161.99.

 
 
philip [Staff,Submitter] [8 Builds] 1 point 23 months ago

Definitely an anomaly there - I've removed the prices there until I can investigate further. Thanks for letting me know.

 
 
EgaoNoGenki 1 point 23 months ago

Hi. How are you coming along with expanding your catalog? I can't wait to buy more goods from here. (However, unless there's a good reason, I usually buy one of each.)

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