Zones

In Solidus, any regions that you ship to are grouped using zones. Zones are groups of states or groups of countries. Zones might only have one member area (such as a zone that only consists of the United States).

Zones allow store administrators to set shipping rules and tax rates for a specific geographical area. Zones are especially useful for helping you comply with the tax variations in different regions.

Administrators can create zones that are either country- or state-based.

Zones and taxation

When you configure tax rates, you must assign each tax rate a zone. This helps you comply with local taxes for any region that you ship to.

You can only assign one zone per tax rate. However, if you have to comply with more complicated tax rules, you can create multiple tax rates for a single zone in conjunction with special tax categories, taxes with unique start or end dates, and taxes that require other special calculations.

Zones and taxes in the United States

If you are a U.S.-based company and ship within the United States, taxes vary from state to state, and many counties and municipalities have their own additional sales taxes. You should speak to a tax professional about which tax rules apply to your store.

You could also automate your U.S. tax rates by using a web service that provides U.S. tax rates. For example, you could use Tax Cloud and the solidus_tax_cloud extension.

Zones and shipments

Zones affect the shipping methods available to customers in certain regions. Shipping methods require at least one zone, but they could include any number of zones.

Shipping methods require a zone

Shipping methods require a zone. Zones can be as inclusive or exclusive as the carriers you use for shipments.

For example, if you only want to allow UPS to ship packages domestically, you could set its zone your home country only. You could be even more restrictive and make a state-based zone that only includes a few states that you wish to ship to.

No matter what countries or states your zones include, note that each shipping method requires at least one zone before it can be used.

Shipping methods can include multiple zones

If you use carriers that ship to multiple regions (for example, throughout North America, Europe, and Africa), you could configure it with multiple zones enabled.

This feature is useful in cases when you use multiple carriers that ship to different regions. For example, if you use USPS to ship to the United States and Canada, but you use FedEx to ship to the United States and Canada as well as to Europe and Africa.

Example zone configuration

Note that the following example should not be followed for a store in production. Always speak with a tax professional before determining your tax rates and shipping fees.

In this simplified example, you operate a store that is located within Arizona, United States. You need to comply with U.S. and Arizona tax laws, and create zones that define which shipping methods are available for customers from different regions. Here is some additional context to flesh out the example:

  • You operate the business out of Arizona.
  • Your stock is stored and mailed from your warehouse in Arizona.
  • You ship to all 50 of the United States and to Canada.
  • You offer USPS First-Class as a delivery service for orders being delivered within Arizona.
  • You offer UPS Ground as a delivery service to any of the 48 continental (or contiguous) U.S. states.
  • You offer only FedEx Express as a delivery service to non-contiguous states (like Alaska and Hawaii) and to Canada.
  • You are only required to apply sales tax to orders delivered within Arizona. (You have determined the Arizona tax rate by using the maximum amount of tax charged by a county and a municipality state-wide. You charge the maximum amount on all in-state orders.)

In the table below, you can see how your store could use zones in conjunction with the required tax rates and any shipping methods you wish to use:

Zone Description Tax rate Available shipping methods
Zone
In-state
Description
Purchases shipped within Arizona (taxable)
Tax rate
9.9%
Available shipping methods
FedEx Express, UPS Ground, USPS First-Class
Zone
Non-contiguous States
Description
Purchases shipped to Alaska or Hawaii
Tax rate
0
Available shipping methods
FedEx Express
Zone
Contiguous States
Description
Purchases shipped to all other states
Tax rate
0
Available shipping methods
FedEx Express, UPS Ground
Zone
Canada
Description
Purchases shipped internationally to Canada
Tax rate
0
Available shipping methods
FedEx Express

All of the zones in this table would be state-based except for the "Canada" zone, which you could configure as a country-based zone with a single country in it.

While you might choose to use zones differently in your own store, this example shows how you might want to group different states according to your own business needs.

Feedback

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If you’re interested in contributing to the docs, get started with the contributing guidelines. If you see something that needs fixing and can’t do it yourself, please send us an email.