Set up Taxes in PrestaShop v1.4

by Curt Donohue on April 4, 2011

In this tutorial, I will show you how I set up taxes in PrestaShop version  You will see how to work with state and county level taxes in the USA as well as how to deal with a bug that exists in this release of PrestaShop.  It is my understanding that PrestaShop has already corrected this bug and we will see the fix in the next version when it is released.

There are a couple things you should be aware of before watching this video. First, this video will be dated at some point since Prestashop says they have fixed that bug I mentioned above.

Second, in the first video, you will notice I talk about the Bug Tracker.  Well, the Bug Tracker has gone through some significant changes and doesn’t look the same anymore.  Don’t let that stop you, though.  To get to the thread I mention in the video, go here.

Third, I use an incorrect term when I’m describing how to fix the bug.  I speak of the “single quote” many times.  I really meant to say “apostrophe” anywhere I said “single” quote.  On my keyboard the apostrophe is the character directly below the quotation mark character (on the same key).  Sorry if that is confusing.

Since the video will be outdated, hopefully soon, I decided not to re-record it.  I’ll replace it after the next version of PrestaShop comes out and I verify that the bug has been fixed.

After you watch the videos, please let me know if this does or does not work for you.  There are a lot of steps and it would be easy to make a mistake.  Also, I believe that these tutorials should help anyone trying to figure out how to set up taxes, whether your are from the USA or not.  For those of you with a VAT, or other taxation system, please let me know if this was helpful.

If someone wanted to teach me a bit about these other taxing systems, I would be happy to put a video together showing how to set up PrestaShop for your system.

OK, on to the videos…

Part 1

Part 2


Learn PrestaShop 1.4 Fast!

Curt Donohue

Curt Donohue is a PrestaShop enthusiast and the creator of as well as PrestaShop 1.4 Tutorials.

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joey July 23, 2013 at 4:02 am

Hi Curt,
I am using PrestaShop™, and the sales tax was working, now it stopped, I don’t know what happened, the last purchase did not charge sales tax, and I went and added to cart, different items and it does not add, what do I do?

Curt Donohue July 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm


It’s impossible to say without looking at your issue. Did you change any settings? If you changed any setting, turned any new modules on, or off, or made any other changes at all, that may be your issue.

You’d need to go back through everything you changed and put it back to where it was one change at a time so you can isolate which change is causing the problem.

If you didn’t make any changes, I would contact PrestaShop directly and see if they can help.

Steve December 7, 2012 at 4:10 am

Hi Curt,

Great tutorial!

I am in the process of rebuilding our e-commerce site from scratch, using Prestashop 1.5 and am still finding my way round the software and the Prestashop way of doing things. I realise that this was posted some time ago but wondered if you planned to do a similar tutorial on this subject using Prestashop 1.5, as the structure is completely different and I’m really struggling to get the taxes to work correctly based on destination.

My problem is that our shipping zones do not correlate exactly to tax zones – we have only 3 tax zones:
Local = 5%
UK = 20%
ROW = 0%

but we have something like 23 shipping zones based on weight/size of package & delivery destination: local/UK/offshore non-UK/Europe/various International zones.

My problem is tying it all together so that a local customer pays the Local GST (5%), a UK customer pays the UK VAT (20%) and everyone else pays no tax (as there is no mechanism for us to handle taxes for any other jurisdiction.

So, the problem is, that with the tax zone being entered in the product details, it can only apply to one zone, so I really need to be able to get Prestashop to set the tax based on destination ONLY irrespective of what the products are in the cart.

Can you help at all please?

Heather August 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Hi Curt,

Thank you for this awesome tutorial. I am confused about one thing. I can’t understand why tax rates would be specified at the product level. I would assume the only relevant fact about tax at the product level is whether or not a product is taxable at all. It seems the rate applied should depend solely on zip code or region and calculated based on the tax rule for the region, as setup in shipping and tax sections of the back office.

Can you explain why the tax rate is selected in product or is this or is it just a quirk of Prestashop? Also, it seems from your tutorial that the only way for the system to calculate tax rates properly for products is to select the highest incremental tax location (so, in your example, Montrose County and tax rates are set to be additive in the county, such that the total percent is equal to the country rate plus state rate plus county incremental rate). That way, if a customer is located outside of that county, the lower rate would then apply?

Thanks, Heather

Curt Donohue September 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Hi Heather,

First your welcome. I’m glad the tutorial was helpful. Also, I appreciate your thorough question.

Regarding how the tax rate is calculated and why it is selected in the product screen, I live in the US and would agree that our taxing system would not necessarily require the ability to choose the type of tax at the product level. You would probably only need to know if it was taxable or not an they the software would need to determine what taxes are applied based on location.

However, I’m not familiar with any other type of taxing structure outside of the US and don’t know for certain that this ability would not be necessary at some point in the future here in the states.

I’m guessing that, with the tax options designed the way they are, this gives PrestaShop the ability to provide options for a world-wide audience, instead of just one area. Keep in mind that PrestaShop is a French-made piece of software, so they definitely need to serve more than just our taxation system.

Regarding your question about the “highest incremental tax location,” I believe you’ve described it well. I’ve not studied the code to really see how PrestaShop’s logic works, but it is clear that you need to select a top level tax first, such as a State tax, here in the US.

Then, if you created additional rules and selected the relevant options, the code would look for other qualifiers (i.e. zip codes) to determine if more taxes should be included, such as a county tax.

So, basically, it works from the top (highest) level and moves down the food chain to come up with the total tax.

Thanks again for your question!

John Ceballos April 23, 2012 at 11:14 am

Hello Curt, thank you very much for this tutorials, very help full.
I have one question and I do not if you have it in your tutorilas but maybe you can help in how to upload a file in to prestashop shopping cart, so my coustomers will buy one of the pictures of my clinet, he is a photographer and he want to sell pictures on line like one of those web sites where they sell stock photography, fotolia, etc…he wants to sell his photos thru the web site.

So I was wondering how I do that in prestashop. there is a tutorial or instrucctions??? or can you help me on this one since you are the expert.

Thanks, hope to hear from you.
john ceballos

victor January 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm

How can i add a fixed tax for example of 30$ for a carrier, i mean i need to add a tax not in % from the price of the product. Please help me

Curt Donohue January 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm


I don’t think it’s possible to do that in Prestashop using taxes without some custom coding.

The only thing I can think of that is reasonably close is adding an “Additional Shipping Cost,” which you can do in your product detail. The downside to doing that, is that you would have to add it to each product you want this “tax” to be associated with.

Anders September 29, 2011 at 7:57 am

Thanks, man!

This really helped me a lot!

I’m very grateful!

Curt Donohue September 29, 2011 at 8:27 am

You’re very welcome Anders

Sam Nelson July 22, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Thanks so much Curt! You saved me on a project. It seems like the taxes work differently than version 1.3.

I appreciate your site and the tutorials you are providing!

– Sam Nelson

Curt Donohue July 22, 2011 at 10:40 pm


You’re very welcome and I’m glad I could help.


Terri Aigner July 19, 2011 at 11:28 am

I am a web designer using Prestashop for the first time. I am not sure I ever want to use it again after this, it is so difficult to find everything.
I would like to see instruction on how to change items on the Products Global Information Page. We sell car trailers, and do not NEED length, width, heighth, etc.. I want to delete those fields completely. The items are not shipped via traditional delivery methods.

Curt Donohue July 19, 2011 at 11:39 am

Hi Terri,

I understand your pain. PrestaShop is a complex piece of software, as it needs to be to do everything it can do. If I understand your question correctly, you want to change the PrestaShop core files to remove certain input fields in the Product Information page. Is that correct?

If that is correct, I’m sorry but I don’t know how to do that. Also, I would not recommend you do that. You could affect other calculations in the software and create an even bigger headache for yourself.

Have you considered checking out any simpler e-commerce software packages? Or, perhaps, just setting up a WordPress blog with the WP-Ecommerce plugin? Those are much simpler options if you don’t need the horsepower that PrestaShop can offer.

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