This post is part of a weekly series by the Magento Enterprise Edition subscription support team covering tips, tricks and hints to some of the most common, and uncommon, issues as submitted by support customers.
Over the past few months, our support team has provided assistance to numerous customers on the issue of taxes on an almost daily basis. In this post we will describe a couple of tips that will prevent having issues with configuring taxes prior to launching your store in a production environment. Defining tax rates and zones is typically taken care of right before launch and such an effort and configuration is typically specific to your business requirements and rules.
Importing tax rates using the CSV import has been a frequent issue. Normally when creating the CSV file to import, users were editing with Microsoft Excel. Since Magento requires all the strings in the CSV file to be enclosed with double quotation marks and Excel removes these, Magento will not read the CSV file properly (this is applicable to all CSV import files in Magento).
If you need to apply tax to the shipping fees, please keep in mind that Magento's default setting is the complete opposite. This however can be modified by selecting on the dropdown located under System> Configuration > Sales > Tax > Tax Classes > Tax Class for Shipping the desired tax class for your selected carriers fees.
While the tips described above may be applicable to a wide audience, as previously mentioned configuring and managing your store taxes sometimes may require advanced settings depending on your business specifics.