FAQ about updates to our Partner Program Agreement and API Terms

On December 6th, 2021, Shopify sent a summary of upcoming updates to our API License and Terms of Use ("API Terms") and our Partner Program Agreement ("PPA"). These changes will come into effect on January 5, 2022 and include terms related to the Digital Services Tax (applicable in certain jurisdictions).

The following are some frequently asked questions related to these changes, and how they affect partners and developers.

Why is Shopify introducing new PPA and API terms?

We're updating our API Terms and PPA to support the growth of Shopify Partners and developers while maintaining the security and integrity of product and services offered on the Shopify platform.

What is the Digital Services Tax?

In certain jurisdictions, a Digital Services Tax ("DST") is applied to products and services that are sold digitally. The DST is calculated as a percentage of the gross revenue from the sale of a digital service and will vary based on the jurisdiction where a merchant’s business address is located. For example, a merchant with a business address located in Italy pays $100 for an app. Since the DST rate is 3% in Italy, the Partner will owe DST of $3 on that transaction.

To accommodate this surcharge in the applicable jurisdictions, a Regulatory Operating Fee will be applied to Partner public app and theme sales starting January 5, 2022. The Regulatory Operating Fee applies if the merchant’s business address is located in one of the listed jurisdictions. The percentage might vary depending on the jurisdiction.

DST rates by country or region

DST rates by country or region
Country or region DST rates
United Kingdom 2%
Italy 3%
Turkey 5%
India 2%
Spain 3%

Will this Regulatory Operating Fee be charged retroactively?

No, we will not apply this Regulatory Operating Fee retroactively. This fee will only apply from January 5, 2022 onwards.

How can I see what Regulator Operating Fee applies to my account?

From the Partner Dashboard, Partners can view the applicable Regulatory Operating Fees (if any) from the payouts page in the Partner Dashboard, in the payouts CSV, or using the Partner API.

Where can I learn more about Regulatory Operating Fees?

For additional information related to Regulatory Operating Fees, refer to Shopify Partner earnings.

What marketing activities are regulated under the PPA?

In order to keep up with new and emerging technologies, we have expanded the scope of marketing activities that we regulate to include, but not be limited to, social platforms, SMS, and email marketing. As always, we require our Partners to engage in responsible marketing practices, in compliance with applicable laws, rules, regulations, and directives. Marketing should always be respectful of the merchants being marketed to, ensure that any required consent has been secured, and avoid any activity that could be considered invasive or spamming behavior.

We’ve updated the Customer REST Admin API resource to differentiate between SMS and email marketing consent to meet regulatory requirements. Partners that collect and store marketing consent information must sync (backfill and in real time) accurate SMS and email marketing consent data to Shopify.

The API should be integrated into a Partner’s channels so that when a Partner receives consent data, the data sync happens in real time.

Will Shopify be deprecating the accepts_marketing property?

Yes, we will be deprecating the accepts_marketing property in the Customer REST Admin API in late 2022. We expect Partners to begin using the new marketing consent fields immediately. We will continue to support the accepts_marketing API endpoint in the meantime.

Shopify has made it easy for merchants to begin capturing SMS consent at checkout. Merchants can enable this new feature by following the steps outlined in the Shopify Help Center.

We use the consent record with the latest consent_updated_at time, so Partners need to make sure that the latest consent record has the most up to date time. Otherwise, make sure that the phone number is not already associated with another customer. It will only update the consent if it is a unique phone number.

How does confirmed opt in work?

The state gets marked as pending until we get an updated consent state.

This behavior is expected. We allow for NULL values for UNSUBSCRIBED status, but we store as SINGLE OPT IN in our database.

Merchants are now able to collect SMS consent at checkout without the need to edit checkout.liquid. We advise that all Partners work with their merchants to implement this new consent workflow directly within Shopify and remove all the 'checkout.liquid' edits related to SMS or email marketing consent. Merchants can enable this new feature by following the steps outlined on the Shopify Help Center. All consent collected through checkout.liquid edits must be passed back to Shopify.