Ruh Roh Sales Taxes May Make Some Mac App Store Deals Not So Great



I’ve been exploring the Mac App Store and discovered another little tidbit that might pose a problem for some frugally minded people – like me. I was looking for apps that I already owned that might be in the App Store and I found one called RapidWeaver.

I was about to purchase it in the Mac App Store until I found out it would cost more to do so. Why did it cost more? The answer is simple – sales taxes and that is what led me to halt one Mac App Store application purchase this evening.

RapidWeaver v5.0 sells for $39.99 in the Mac App Store and the upgrade (I own v4.0) costs only $39 directly from developer. I cannot upgrade from the Mac App Store, but I can buy it for $.99 more and basically end up with two separate licenses for the application. However, I’d end up basically tossing one aside. I’m not sure that I’d like to do that and I’m not sure if I can gift one of them to someone. I know I probably cannot sell or transfer it, but I did not check the license terms to be sure.

Now for the kicker and this is where the frugally minded out there need to pay attention.

The developer doesn’t charge sales taxes on the $39 upgrade, but Apple charges sales taxes on Mac App Store purchases. On top of that Apple charges sales taxes against the higher $39.99 price and for me that would mean an additional 8.25% in sales tax. This will add approximately $3.30 cents making the Apple total come to $43.29. A net difference of $4.30 more than the developer’s upgrade price.

I’ll be the first to say that isn’t a whole lot, but it could rapidly add up. I don’t recall many developers that sell software directly to users charging sales taxes. Although this isn’t a big deal it might matter to people who are saving for retirement or for their next Mac purchase. So check out all your purchasing options before clicking that Buy Now button in the Mac App Store. You might be glad you did.

  • Booboo332

    Is the dev’s upgrade for one licence for a single computer?  App store purchase allow use on multiple Macs including the upcoming Lion release.  

    The App store also provides a very convenient way of keeping one’s apps up to date and an easy way to download the app again if it is lost or needs installation on multiple computers.  

    Also, I do not have a credit card and and the App store works wonderfully for me.  I was unable to purchase one of my favourite programs until it came to the app store because of this limitation.  

    The ease of use and convenience is more than worth the pittance you are fussing over.The key is value created for the customer and for me the App store is a clear winner in my experience and like the app store on the iOS, this is going to help expand the market, make developers a ton of money and serve the customer very well.