How can you start charging customers all around the world overnight?

After 9 months of free beta, we officially launched and got signups worldwide.

At the same time, we started our premium plan and got our first paying customers.
We have a monthly usage-based subscription model, so not the most simple and straightforward to handle payments.

As always, I looked into a solution that would be fast and simple to implement.
Being on the #tech side, Stripe was my first choice.

It barely took me a day to implement the subscriptions.
Thanks to the Checkout feature, which opens a pop-up to their website, almost no development was needed.

But when I started, I did not think of the legal requirements of doing business with companies worldwide.
And I ended up sending my first invoices with incorrect taxes. 😅

Fortunately, my accountant reminded me about my legal obligations.
I had to void all invoices and reissue them with the correct taxes…

But how would I know the tax policy for each country in the world? 🤔

The first idea was to:

  • build our own taxes database 🗄
  • write more code to get the customer’s country/tax id 👨‍💻
  • maintain the tax rates for all countries in the world at any time 🤯

But all of that is not helping me build a better product for my users!

So I started looking for another solution.
I was lucky enough to stumble onto Stripe Tax service that was still in private beta at the time.

Now all I had to do, was change a single line of code.
The customer is asked at checkout for his address, country, and tax ID.
And the service automatically applies the correct taxes! 💸

I am not sure how others have been doing this before, but I am glad I found a simple solution and got back to building something people want instead!