TaxCloud Works with IBM i, Krengel Says
April 15, 2014 Alex Woodie
Congratulations! You made it to April 15, Tax Day! Hopefully you can put the 2013 tax year behind you, and start fresh with the 2014 tax year. Oh boy! Of course, there’s always sales tax to worry about. But according to the IBM i developers at Krengel Tech, there’s an easy way for retailers who rely on the IBM i server to get free sales tax processing from the TaxCloud service.
TaxCloud is a free online service that was launched by the private, Seattle, Washington-based company FedTax in 2008. Designed primarily for online retailers, the service automatically calculates sales tax for every state, city, county, and special jurisdiction in the country. It will also automatically file sales tax returns in 24 states. The service is free because TaxCloud collects a small commission from these states. It says it’s working on the other 22 that have sales tax.
This service caught the eye of the folks at Krengel, developers of the RPG-XML Suite. Because TaxCloud exposes a Web Services Description Language (WSDL) and SOAP-based Web services API, it was a simple matter to do the configuration work to allow RPG applications to “talk” TaxCloud.
In an April 1 blog post (no joke), Krengel’s Greg Bissey discusses the benefits of hooking an IBM i app to TaxCloud via RPG-XML Suite.
“Once you have your API credentials [from TaxCloud], you are ready to send transactions to TaxCloud via Web service,” Bissey writes. “This is where RPG-XML Suite enters the picture. Using RPG-XML Suite, an RPG program can compose the needed XML request and then parse the XML response that comes back from the TaxCloud service. To assist us with knowing how those XML transactions need to be structured, the TaxCloud folks have provided a WSDL file for the SOAP-based Web service and its various operations here).”
According to Bissey, the TaxCloud transactions are structured very much like credit card transactions, with “authorize” and “capture” commands. “By mirroring the processing of credit card transactions, the Web service makes it easy for developers to know where in their code to place the Web service calls for TaxCloud–usually the same place in the code that the equivalent calls are made to the credit card processing gateway,” he writes.
This does not mean that TaxCloud is in any way tied to credit card processing, he continues. “But, the design concept for the service was to make it similar since the majority of the incoming transactions would be from eCommerce websites that would perform credit card transactions at the same time as sales taxes would be need to calculated and recorded,” he writes.
Krengel’s incentive in all this, of course, is to sell licenses for RPG-XML Suite. The software isn’t the only way to integrate XML-based document processing into an RPG-based application–or even to hook into TaxCloud. A clever RPG programmer could probably figure that out by herself. But considering the learning curve necessary to get RPG developers up to speed with XML concepts, a product like RPG-XML Suite may be a big timesaver for the average RPG developer.
Editor’s Note: This article was corrected. TaxCloud file sales tax returns in 24 states, not 29. IT Jungle regrets the error.