Navigating the Complexities of International Tax & Duty for Ecommerce
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Navigating the Complexities of International Tax & Duty for Ecommerce

In this episode, we interview Heather Wight, tax technology solution expert at international tax and duty compliance specialists Avalara. Heather gives expert advice and guidance for ecommerce teams needing to manage tax and duty compliance.

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Whenever tax and duty handling is mentioned during an ecommerce migration, it usually raises a few sighs because it’s a highly complex area and people working in finance and compliance are used to headaches. In this episode we interview Avalara’s tax technology solutions manager, Heather Wight, to get an expert view on the latest tax developments.

Tune in to get practical advice about the realities of handling tax & duties for international ecommerce. After 14 years at DHL building up a formidable knowledge of cross border trade, supporting a wide range of businesses to understand and plan for compliance, Heather moved to Avalara this year as a tax specialist and is ideally placed to give ecommerce teams real-world advice.


  • Key international tax policy developments and their impact on ecommerce
  • What merchant problems does Avalara solve and how?
  • What’s the integration path on leading ecommerce platforms?
  • Where’s the roadmap heading?

Key discussion points

  • You publish an annual tax changes report; can you summarise the key domestic and international tax policy developments in 2022 and what impact they have on ecommerce businesses? 
  • What are the latest cross border compliance obligations ecommerce businesses need to be aware of?
  • You indicated legislative changes are coming through that could affect the taxes and duties for businesses have to charge and shoppers have to pay – can you explain IOSS and what merchants need to do?
  • Duties are always an interesting topic when selling cross border; what have you seen work for merchants when it comes to handling duties?
  • At DHL did you see significant percentage of refused deliveries when customers wouldn’t pay at the delivery point?
  • Let’s focus specifically on the US market, where there are state level laws to contend with: what do ecommerce teams need to understand, in terms of how the sales tax system works? What are the risks of getting it wrong?
  • How frequently do people get caught out?
  • How has the mandate for electronic filing impacted businesses and in which countries is this now the legal requirement?
  • Everyone is sick of the word Brexit but it has added complexity for people selling between the UK and EU, what impact has this had in terms of UK merchant’s tax/duty obligations? 
  • What problems does an Avalara integration solve – what processes/actions are automated that an ecom business would otherwise have to dedicate resource to?
  • How does the platform handle varying tax rates and exemptions e.g. goods that are tax exempt, customers that don’t need to pay VAT?
  • Let’s talk about integrations with ecom platforms: which platforms does Avalara currently have a proven connector for, and are there any news ones in the pipeline? 
  • How does an integration work: what effort is required from the Client, what do they need to do before they’re able to use Avalara on for example Shopify or BigCommerce? 
  • What’s the typical integration & licensing cost for a new customer – what’s the commercial model?
  • Finally, many businesses simply defer duty handling to the end customer, it’s the path of least resistance: what evidence do you have that accurate charging for tax & duty when an order is placed is better for CX, conversion and reducing returns? 
  • What resources, other than the annual report, does Avalara provide to help ecommerce teams stay up to date?

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