Intuit Adds GPS-Based Tax Calculator for Mobile Merchants

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Accepting payments on the go is taxing enough without having to worry about the government's cut.

To address this pain point, Intuit added a geolocation feature to its GoPayment mobile card reader, an add-on card reader for smartphones. This update allows Intuit's technology to automatically determine where a payment is being accepted and apply the appropriate tax rate.

Mobile card acceptance has matured in recent years as vendors have developed systems that they say can serve many of the functions of traditional point of sale systems. Intuit's technology seems to take this trend a step further, using smartphone technology to do things that are beyond the capabilities of most cash registers.

"Even people with fixed locations are challenged to calculate the right sales code and also to be able to take advantage of weird tax situations," says Trevor Dryer, lead product management for Intuit’s mobile payment and point-of-sale services, in an email.

"For example, some states don't tax basic food items, others do tax holidays for certain types of items," Dryer says. "So it's hard for a merchant to keep all of this straight, and this new geolocation tax feature within GoPayment does this automatically."

Merchants with fixed locations also frequently sell at events, he adds.

Many such merchants contributed video testimonials to Intuit as part of an online sweepstakes.

Pascal Sellem, master stylist for Celebrity: An Atlanta Hair Salon, says in one video that Intuit's reader is "great in the salon as well as doing house calls and other events."

An independent hair stylist, Alfredo Kierszman, says in another video that GoPayment allows him to accept payments at weddings and commercial shoots. "I'm not just limited to the salon," he says.

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