Your employees (like all of us) have more than enough headaches on all fronts headed into the new year. Back in April employees surveyed said that the pandemic is the most stressful time of their entire career. Now more than ever you owe it to your people – and to your business – to ease their problems when you can.

If you handle sales tax compliance in house, you’ve got your employees handling an unbelievably complex business function – and with 65% of businesses planning to grow across state lines* in the coming year, it may be more than they can manage.

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Can you do this in-house?

TaxConnex commissioned its own recent survey* of 100 financial leaders and their concerns leading into 2021 related to multi-state sales tax obligations. The results showed an intersection of business problems. The biggest concern of finance professionals ahead of the new year is having knowledgeable staff available and 46% of respondents happen to handle sales recordkeeping and compliance tax in-house.

First, understand that keeping up with your sales tax compliance has a lot of moving parts:

  1. Understand taxability: Are your products taxable? Some products are exempt in some jurisdictions. You need to check with states where you expect your sales will be greatest.
  2. Where do you have nexus? More states and other tax jurisdictions impose economic nexus triggers for businesses selling into their state, meaning the specific transaction count or sales amount is met, requiring companies to now collect and remit sales tax in a new state or jurisdiction. You must analyze your sales patterns and especially monitor or review sales into new states.

Nexus thresholds and other requirements can also change frequently – and you might hit thresholds faster in these days of pandemic-inspired spikes in online sales.

  1. Determine how you will charge sales tax? After determining where you have nexus comes calculating sales tax. You have to examine the complexity of your company’s products and services to tell how complex a system you need to calculate sales tax (a product like SaaS, for instance, can be extremely complex).
  2. Filing and Remittance: Then paperwork begins. You’ll have to register to collect and remit sales tax in the necessary states; gather applicable data to reconcile to your general ledger; maintain a dynamic tax calendar to show where your business is registered for sales tax purposes and your filing requirements; and set up a system to retain, track and respond to correspondence from tax jurisdictions (there’ll probably be a lot of it).

When not done correctly, non-compliance or errors can bring stiff penalties – compliance is not something you should leave to chance. But it’s time-consuming and requires regular upkeep. Can you manage it with your already overworked and stressed finance department? Or will you need to hire new staff?

Maybe a look at other businesses can help. Among those we surveyed, big reasons for dissatisfaction in how they manage sales tax compliance included understanding nexus and whether products/services are taxable; filing returns; remitting taxes; and calculating sales tax. Our survey showed that 75% of companies with less than $25M are the least satisfied with their current approach toward handling sales taxes. Fewer than half (42%) of companies with $500M+ revenue are satisfied.

Is Outsourcing an Option?

Our survey also found that 47% of respondents are preparing and filing returns and 54% preparing remittance payments in-house.

Maybe you’re like some of these companies and dissatisfied with how you handle sales tax compliance. If you’re unhappy, can your employees be far behind?

Outsourcing can take the pressure of sales tax compliance off your employees. It can improve efficiency and accuracy while freeing resources to focus on other, higher-value tasks; reduce costs associated with hiring an employee dedicated to the process and software needed to maintain compliance; and leverage an experienced third-party expert.

If you look to reduce costs, increase efficiency and minimize massive risks of noncompliance, reach out to a sales tax expert. Consider working with TaxConnex™. Contact us to learn what it means when the sales tax is all on us. 

Robert Dumas

Written by Robert Dumas

Accountant, consultant and entrepreneur, Robert Dumas began his public accounting career on the tax staff at Arthur Young & Co., followed by a brief stint at Grant Thornton. In 1998, Robert founded Tax Partners, which became the largest sales tax compliance service bureau in the country, and later sold it to Thomson Corporation. Robert founded TaxConnex in 2011 on the principle that the sales tax industry needed more than automation to truly help clients, thus building within TaxConnex a proprietary platform and network of sales tax experts to truly take sales tax off client’s plates.