CRE Loaded Configuration and Setup Made Easy!

Published: 19th January 2009
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How do I charge a new TAX?

You may create and charge for as many taxes as you need to in order to comply with the law as it applies in your locale. The osCommerce tax system depends upon 5 things. Basic geographical Country definitions which define countries and states geographically, Zone definitions which define relationships between political areas, Tax Zone definitions which define the area legally affected by a tax, Tax CLASS definitions which define classes of goods which may be taxed in different ways, and Tax RATES which define the tax itself.

To charge a new tax, you must assure that all 5 of these factors are addressed. The tools needed to configure the tax system are found in Admin / Locations and Taxes.

How do I configure a tax zone?

The tax zone setup in osCommerce (and it's CRE Loaded Edition) is versatile and more useful than it would appear at first glance.

The term Tax Zone is in fact, a misnomer. Looking at the title of this tool could lead you to believe that you are simply selecting a zone in which to apply a tax, which is not the case. This is a precursor of other terminology ills which afflict this otherwise elegant feature so pay close attention to the following details.

Tax Zones are USER DEFINED. You may define a new tax zone (as many as you wish!) by selecting the Tax Zone option under the Admin tool's Locations / Taxes menu. The Insert button is used to Insert a new zone. Pressing it presents an editing area on the right of the screen which asks you to enter a zone name and description. Doing so is simple enough - fill in your choices and press the insert button, which will promptly present your first opportunity to go wrong.

On inserting the new zone you will be presented with a zone list entry that features the name of your zone and an infomation / control area to the right of it which contains some current information for the selected zone. It will contain the information you entered and a line that tells you the number of zones, which at this point should be zero (0). Now, this seems contradictory because obviously you are looking at at least ONE zone in the list, having just created one. This should be a clue!

Having created a zone, you must now DEFINE the zone. This is done by selecting the zone you wish to define and pressing the details button. You will then be presented with an empty screen with a header line with 3 headers, country, zone and action, with buttons below the action heading labeled back, and insert. Don't zone out on me, just press the insert button now.

This takes you to a screen that tells you it is now displaying 0 of 0 countries with an action area on the right of the screen that is titled New Sub Zone and contains two drop down menus labeled country and zone. At the bottom are two buttons labeled Cancel and Insert. The country box contains a list of countries, and at this point the zone box says Type Below and contains no other options.

Use the country box to select the country in which your sub zone is located. The zone dropdown will now contain a list of regions within the selected country and the default value of All Zones. Select the zone you wish to include and press the Insert button. Congratulations, this User Defined zone will now allow you to charge taxes in one region of one country. To add other regions to this zone (as for VAT charged throughout the EU), simply add another country entry (they need not be unique) and add the desired subzone as before. Thats it!

As you can see, you may create very versatile zoning structures that will allow you to handle just about any zoning related task. These zones can be used for shipping, and for payment in some modules depending on the features supported by the module author.

How do I configure Gift Voucher handling in the cart?

Gift Voucher handling is done via Modules / Order Total using the Gift Voucher module. As with any other module clicking the install button installed the module into the cart, following which you may click the Edit button to configure the settings.

Gift Voucher and coupon handling is also affected by choices made during coupon creation and by tax module settings.

How do I configure Shipping?

Before starting to sell products it is necessary to configure shipping. This is done in two places. Admin / Configuration / Default Shipping Settings and Modules / Shipping.

Default Shipping Settings include :

Country of Origin United States

This is the country of origin given in shipping quotations.

Postal Code Example: 94558 - a postal zone. Code will vary by country.

Enter the Maximum Package Weight you will ship Example 50.

The maximum weight of a package you will shio, entered in the units you will be using to measure weight for shipping. Note that osCommerce 2.2 MS2 does NOT have support for multiple units of weight. You must convert all weight data before entry.

Package Tare weight. Example : 0

The estimated weight of the packing material in a small to medium package as you expect them to be shipped from your store. Used to refine shipping estimates.

Larger packages - percentage increase. Example : 10

A percentage by which the cost of a larger package should be increased.

Allow Free Shipping Example : true

Will your store allow free shipping or not. If this isn't true, it shouldn't happen.

Free Shipping For Orders Over Example : $5,000.00

The size of an order which must be exceeded before Free Shipping comes into affect for shippable products. Note : This does not affect Virtual Products.

Provide Free Shipping For Orders Made Example : national

You may limit Free Shipping to National orders, International orders, or both.

Shipping Estimator : True or False.

Turns off default display of the shipping estimator on the Checkout Shipping page. Note that the Estimator will be available via a button if this display option is False.

Modules / Shipping

Here you can select which shipping modules to use, and in what order you wish for them to be displayed. Settings will vary from module to module and are not documented here.

Final Note :

Before shipping can be used at least one product in the cart must have a weight. Should the weight of all products be zero, your shipping options will be limited to free shipping.

How do I create a Gift Voucher (or Gift Certificate)?

Creating a Gift Voucher is as simple as creating a product with a model number that begins with GIFT. Ideally this should be all uppercase. The price of the product is the value of the Gift Voucher - though this need not necessarily be so. (IE : The cart does not force you to describe a $25 Gift Voucher as a $25 Voucher - you can describe it as a $50 voucher if you want - though the cart will not give the client credit for more than the price of the voucher). It is sound practice to keep the description in line with the price of the Voucher, and with the model number as well - I suggest GIFT25 for a $25 Gift Voucher , GIFT50 for a $50 Gift Voucher, etc. Configure Gift Vouchers via the Admin's Coupon / Gift Voucher too.

How do I create a new tax class?

Tax Classes are created using Admin / Locations and Taxes / Tax Class

On clicking the link for this tool you are presented with a list of Tax Classes in a display that looks much like the standard catalog display. Each line contains a Tax Classes name and the currently selected tax class will have a control panel on the Right allowing you to Edit or Delete the class. The control panel will also contain a brief discription the types of goods which would belong to the class.

Beneath the list of existing tax classes is a button which will allow you to create a new tax class. When you press the button you are presented with a new panel at the right of the screen which will allow you to enter the name of the class and a description of what type goods should belong to this class.

The actual Tax Class code does nothing more or less than label a product to allow other parts of the cart to apply Tax Rates bases on these definitions. If no tax rate is defined for a particular Tax Class it will not be taxed.

How do I create a new tax rate?

You may create a new tax rate by using the tool at Admin / Locations and Taxes / Tax Rate.

This menu appears like the category menu - with one line for each tax rate defined. It contains columns for the Priority of the tax (which affects how the tax is applied), the Tax Class (defining goods to which the tax rate is applied), the Tax Rate (expressed as a percentage) and a control panel on the right which offers the option of Editing or Deleting the entry. The control panel offers some information about the tax rate including the date added, the date last modified and a brief description of the tax rate.

Below this list is a button which allows you to add new tax rates. When you press the button a new blank entry is created and the control panel changes to allow you to enter information for the new tax rate.

Tax Class and Zone are selected from drop down menus, with the options created using the Tax Class and Tax Zone tools displayed for your selection.

The Tax Rate is entered as a percentage. Decimal points are allowed, but no other symbols should be used. (ie - it is not necessary to enter the percent sign either before or after the number).

The Description field is an alphanumeric label for the tax. This is not a matter of convenience - this field also serves as the name of the tax and is used to label the tax on the Invoice and Order pages. You must fill out this field.

The Priority is an integer (whole number) which need not be unique. Tax rates are applied to the product sub-total based on these priorities. Tax rates which share a priority level are calculated based on the same subtotal amount and added together before being added to that subtotal. Tax rates with different priorities are applied to the product subtotal in sucession - with higher priorities taxes being applied to a subtotal which includes taxes previously applied. (ie - the taxes are compounded.)

How do I create a payment zone?

See "How do I configure a tax zone?" as they use the same zone structure.

How do I setup a downloadable product?

A product becomes downloadable when it is assigned an attribute including the downloadable file option. In CRE Loaded 6.15 and earlier versions this is a special option presented each time an attribute is added to a product, or edited. In order to make a product downloadable you must :

1. Create an attribute

2. Create one or more options associated with that attribute

3. Assign the attribute to the product completing all of the required fields which include :



Sort Order



Expiry Days

Maximum Downloads

4. Set configuration values in cart admin / configuration / downloads as follows :

Enable Download

Download by Redirect

Expiry Delay (days)

Maximum Number of Downloads

Downloads Controller Update Status Value

Downloads Controller Download on hold message

Downloads Controller Order Status Value

How do I change my shipping weight units?

This has no simple answer for osCommerce 2.2 based carts This release does not use units in its cacluations, but assumes use of one type of unit throughout and allows the use of any unit. Added contributions such as World Zones may vary from this standard.

To change units in World Zones (the "zone" module), you can edit includes/languages/zones.php . Look for a line that says something like : define('MODULE_SHIPPING_ZONES_TEXT_UNITS', 'lb(s)');

Change the 'lb(s)' to 'gms', 'kgs', 'oz(s)' or whatever string you need displayed using PHP quoting standards. Remember to use a PHP safe editor set to save files with Linux end of line characters.

For other modules which display actual weights, start with this approach, checking the language module and searching for the currently displayed unit. As we are working to migrate all text strings into language files this should work for you.

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