Why head of Boxzooka, N.J. e-commerce fulfillment center, thinks Supreme Court ruling is fair

Brendan Heegan knows more than a thing or two about calculating costs during e-commerce fulfillment deliveries.

As the founder and owner of Boxzooka, a fulfillment and global e-commerce center in Secaucus, some of the $5 million in annual revenue he racks up comes from international orders.

And those orders, he said, are not easy to fulfill.

“Landed cost, duties, taxes, currency issues — all of things that make it a roadblock for retailers to embark on selling internationally — we solve those problems,” he said.

So, when Heegan hears that Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling — one that will allow states to collect sales tax on all orders shipped inside their borders — he doesn’t necessarily buy the argument that it will be hard for small businesses to keep track of all taxes owed (as was stated here).

Heegan lives in that world every day.

“When people buy from overseas, more often than not, there’s going to be duties or taxes assessed with the import of the item,” he said. “If they don’t know that up front, if the retailer just sells internationally and doesn’t include the duties and taxes up front, sometimes the consumer will feel it’s bait and switch or they’ll get sticker shock when they realize they’ve got to pay more.”

That, he said, can lead to big problems.

“They might refuse it and have it sent back,” he said. “That’s a chargeback risk to the retailer.”

Heegan admits calculating all of the necessary taxes isn’t easy, but he feels there is enough software available for domestic purchases that retailers will be to handle the expected coming new regulations.

“From a domestic standpoint, sales tax has been assessed by states for as long as the United States has been there,” he said. “They change from time to time. We’re used to it.

“Every software out there generally has a function to be able to charge the local tax within the U.S.”

Heegan said the ruling makes sense.

“At the end of the day, it brings transparency and it levels the playing field,” he said.

“And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”

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