Whitepapers

Whitepapers



Sales Tax Survival Guide

Sales tax provides critical revenue for states. Other than property and income tax, sales tax is the largest source of tax revenue in the majority of the 45 states that collect it. From a government operations perspective, making sure each and every sales tax dollar is collected, through audits, fines, penalties and well-developed rates and rules, is simply good business. Continued


12 Small Business Tax Tips for 2015

Read these 12 sales tax tips to increase compliance in 2015. Continued


3 Common ERP Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Managing varying filing and reporting rules incorrectly can expose businesses to unnecessary audit fines, penalties, and fees. Your ERP can either strengthen or weaken your compliance efforts. Learn more about these common ERP errors and what you can do about them. Continued


5 Sales Tax Compliance Tips

The following five sales tax compliance tips identify steps your business can take to address your particular challenges. Developed by Avalara sales tax experts, these are a starting point, rather than an exhaustive strategy, for addressing sales and use tax compliance. Continued


5 Topics Every Accountant Should Address with Clients

Have you sat down recently with your clients for an in-depth goal-setting session? Often executives don’t realize the whole-business value that accountants can provide. Take the initiative to talk with clients about where the company is now and where it’s headed. They’ll appreciate that you’re there for them year-round, not just at tax time. When you do have that conversation, make sure these five topics are on the agenda. Continued


5 Topics Every Business Owner Should Discuss with an Accountant

Most businesses see accountants as someone to contact come tax time. But an accountant can be a useful advisor on a number of topics affecting a company and offer them a whole-business approach to financial health. This paper covers five main topics that should be part of this conversation. Continued


5 Ways to Help Clients Increase Transactional Tax Accuracy in 2015

Sales tax rules and regulations are serpentine and obscure. Often, companies simply don’t know what they do to be compliant. As trusted advisors, accountants can help clients better understand their tax obligations and protect them from costly errors or audit penalties. Here are five way accountants can set clients on the right path of transactional tax accuracy. Continued


6 Common Sales Tax Registration and Filing Errors

Keeping up with tax filing and registration requirements is a complex, time consuming process. The rules for timing, nexus, even how you file (electronic vs. paper) can vary state to state, making it difficult to keep on top of your obligations. Here are six common errors that can go wrong when filing your returns and how to avoid them. Continued


7 Deadly Sales Tax Sins

No one likes calculating, collecting, remitting, or filing taxes, nor do they enjoy tracking exemption certificates, sales tax holidays, or product taxability. Because of this, many companies relegate these tasks to the back office, assuming all is well. Continued


8 Ways to Increase Your Company's Sales Tax Audit Risk

The stark reality is that most companies cannot afford to screw up sales tax. The consequences of making mistakes (mistakes far more likely with error-prone manual processes) are dire. As states look for ways to boost uncollected sales tax revenue, sales tax practices are increasingly under the microscope. Continued


Acquire companies, not headaches

Systems integration failure can be a nightmare for executives trying to execute a successful merger or acquisition. Find out how to successfully navigate the pitfalls and hazards of integrating multiple ERPs. Continued


Affiliate Nexus and the Out-of-State Seller

A federal proposal to require tax on all sales made over the Internet has garnered significant attention over the past year. The Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) would allow states to require businesses without a significant physical presence (nexus) in a state to collect sales tax from customers. Continued


Automating Sales Tax Exemption Certificate Management

Reduce non-taxed transaction audit risk, increase staff productivity and improve the sales-tax-exempt customer purchase experience. Continued


Avoiding Sales Tax Pitfalls in the Recurring Revenue Business Model

This brief outlines five things every company needs to know about avoiding sales tax compliance risk when handling with recurring billing. Continued


Beyond the Shopping Cart: Are You Doing Ecommerce Sales Tax Right?

Automating the ecommerce sales tax process within your shopping cart software solves a major challenge: accurate rates, filing, and remittance of sales tax. Continued


Business Gains Audit Pains

As successful businesses grow, so do their tax compliance risks. To avoid spending huge sums on audit fines & fees, protecting yourself against unnecessary sales tax audit risk is good business. Continued


Charging Sales Tax on Services

Governments are struggling to fill revenue gaps, and increasing the types of goods and services subject to sales tax. Do you owe and not know? Continued


Cloud Commerce and Sales Tax Compliance

When it comes to sales tax revenue, states are striking out to conquer new frontiers. Yet, unlike their forefathers before them, many lack the pioneering fortitude to stake a firm claim in fertile Cloud territory. Continued


Cloud Computing for Business

Are you lost in all the verbiage about “cloud computing,” “in the cloud” and “Software-as-a-Service”(Saas)? Well, it’s easier to get into the cloud than you think... Continued


Cloud vs. On Premise Sales Tax Solutions

Manual or even semi-manual efforts can result in errors in sales tax rates and rules, collection and remittance and associated audit-related fines and penalties. When considering which sales tax solution software works best for your company, price is only one aspect of the decision. Continued


Definitive Guide to Sales and Use Tax

In the Definitive Guide to Sales and Use Tax, Avalara experts way in on sales tax basics (rates, rules, and boundaries) as well as more complex issues such as sourcing rules and product taxability. Readers should be able to articulate sales tax basics after reading all three parts of this guide. Continued


Ditch That Dinosaur! 4 Signs it's Time for a Cloud ERP Evolution

On premise ERP's and applications are quickly becoming things of the past. The industry is evolving to the cloud. This whitepaper will help you decide if its time to take your business there. Continued


Don’t Pay That Fuel Invoice

Inaccurate fuel invoicing is an expensive problem. The complexity of fuel contracts, price volatility, and tax law changes make it harder than ever to generate accurate invoices. This whitepaper helps outline strategies to help prevent this risk. Continued


Ecommerce and Sales Tax Legislation

Given the heated debate surrounding ecommerce and sales tax, is it any wonder that online merchants are more confused than ever about whether to collect sales tax? Avalara has the answers. Continued


Exemption Certificate Survival Guide

Follow these 5 survival tactics to increase employee efficiency and lower risk of audit fines for invalid exemption certificate management. Continued


FBA Seller's Guide to Sales Tax

One of the most commonly asked questions by sellers who utilize Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is this: in what states am I required to collect sales tax? It’s a good question and one that all businesses, not just online businesses, need to address. The purpose of this report is to help sellers answer this question for themselves. Continued


Get Sales Tax Help: 10 Tips

Plenty of businesses incorrectly assume they have sales and use tax handled because their sales tax process has worked for them in the past—and as a result have incurred penalties and fines. Continued


How Sales Tax Nexus Confusion Affects Your Business

By fully understanding this obligation, your business will ultimately reduce its exposure to future negative sales tax audits. Nexus is defined as the obligation to collect and remit tax where business is conducted, however, there are a range of ways nexus is created and these rules vary from state to state. Continued


How Sales and Use Tax Affects Your Business

All types of businesses must be aware of the instances of sales and use tax, and the challenges presented by calculation, collection and remittance of sales and use taxes and documenting tax-exempt sales. Continued


How to Generate Accurate Bulk Fuel Invoices

The complexity of fuel contracts, price volatility, and tax law changes make it harder than ever to generate accurate invoices. This whitepaper helps outline strategies to help prevent this risk. Continued


How to Pick the Right ERP

However, choosing the right ERP is more than a software decision. Armed with more information, investing into an ERP yields better results and addresses time drains such as exemption certificate management and transactional tax compliance. Continued


How to be an Omnichannel Superhero

To succeed, businesses today need to sell to consumers in every channel—and each channel must present a seamless experience. Consumers expect to buy using phones, tablets, in-store and online, and everything in between. This paper presents the most effective approach to omnichannel retail and how to do sales tax right in every arena. Continued


Identification & Taxability of Digital Products

Many states routinely apply sales taxes to services, yet the shift in consumer spending leaves us a body of sales tax laws originally drafted with tangible goods in mind that are now regularly, if not uniformly, applied to intangible services. Continued


Marketplace Fairness Act 2015

The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 may not have passed, but similar efforts at the federal level are far from over. If you sell online, this affects you! Continued


Medical Device Excise Tax

The medical device tax represents a significant change to the tax requirements facing U.S. medical device manufacturers, distributors, and importers. When taken in combination with already complicated sales and use tax rules and requirements, the burden of tax compliance is now considerably greater for many companies. Continued


Motor Fuel Tax Survival Guide

Excise tax complexity makes it difficult for any company to track, calculate, and file taxes accurately. Compliance failure carries serious consequences such as significant penalties and interest, additional filing requirements, or even license suspension or revocation. Use this survival guide to help you address these challenges and successfully navigate the treacherous waters of motor fuel excise taxes. Continued


Native vs. AvaTax

While many financial systems come with sales tax functionality that can handle some sales tax management tasks, many companies find these native capabilities limited in scope and difficult to manage. Continued


Navigating the Cloud: A Sales & Use Tax Guide

It’s an undeniable fact that technology evolves faster than the law, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the cloud. This whitepaper covers the different types of cloud computing service models, their taxability, and how -- lacking specific legislation -- many state taxing authorities increasingly rely on letter rulings, administrative notices and audits to shape policy on the sales and use tax treatment of cloud computing services – all with varying results. Continued


Nonprofits and Sales Tax

There are many circumstances in which a nonprofit is required to pay or collect sales tax on a particular transaction or in general. In both cases, sales tax requirements might exist despite a general IRS exemption. By any measure, the sales tax puzzle faced by nonprofits both on the selling and purchasing side is far more complex than first appears. Continued


Out Out Darn Spotify!

To tax or not to tax digital goods—that is the question. Find out how sales tax law on downloads is changing, and which states consider ringtones, music, and other digital goods to be taxable items. Continued


Planning for growth: Could it be time for an ERP upgrade?

Time to refresh your technology? Before taking on a big upgrade project, make sure you’re clear on what you need your platform to do to make your business run more efficiently. Keep this checklist handy to help you set priorities and plan your move. Continued


Sales Tax Automation within Your ERP

Most ERP systems don’t include a sales tax option, leaving back-office staff to manage sales tax rates, rules and boundaries manually. Continued


Sales Tax Compliance in the Oil and Gas Industry

In the highly regulated oil and gas industry, managing sales tax compliance for gas tax rates by state & sourcing rules is quite complex. Avalara can help. Continued


Sales Tax Content

Sales tax content is the key to determining the correct amount of tax to assess, collect, and remit. There are two critical steps to defining sales tax content: First, you need to determine if there is any tax due. Then, in order to determine the correct rate of tax to pay on any transaction, you need to stay current on constantly changing rules. Continued


Sales Tax Implications of Drop Shipping

A drop shipment is a sale of tangible personal property (TPP), in which the seller accepts an order from a customer, places the order with a third party (such as manufacturer or wholesaler), and directs the third party to deliver the item to the customer. The third party may deliver the item using its own truck, arrange for delivery by common carrier, or arrange for the customer to pick up the item from a warehouse location. Continued


Sales Tax Quality Process and the Manufacturer / Distributor

Since sales taxes are required to be paid only once, the theory behind a resale exemption is simple: the customer (consumer or end user) will pay sales tax on the full retail price so when the reseller purchases from the manufacturer or distributor, they can be exempt from paying sales tax on that transaction Continued


Sales Tax and the Supply Chain

For businesses providing products and services along the supply chain, sales tax audit risk isn’t always obvious. And yet businesses such as wholesalers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers represent some of the highest risk industries. Continued


Sales Tax for the Clothing and Apparel Industry

Sales tax for the clothing and apparel industry dives into the deep dark caverns of product taxability, an area of complexity so arcane, even the most intrepid sales tax expert can lose her way. Continued


Shipping and not handling sales tax

Knowing when to charge sales tax is complicated enough, but charging tax on shipping and handling, too? These five guidelines help you determine your sales tax on shipping and handling obligations. Continued


So You Think You Don't Owe Sales Tax

Think because you’re not a retailer you don’t need to worry about sales tax collection? Think again. A whitepaper from Avalara. Continued


States, Rates & Debates

States and thousands of taxing jurisdictions within them are able to devise and levy their own sales taxes, set their own rates, and decide what will be taxed – or not. And they do. As a result, more than 15,000 taxing jurisdictions across the nation have generated a mystifying and complex web of sales and use taxes that are in a constant state of flux as state and local lawmakers decide which goods and services will be subject to their taxes, which will not, and when. Continued


Streamlined Sales Tax

Streamlined Sales Tax*, or SST, is an effort by states, local governments and the business community to simplify and reduce the burden of sales and use tax collection, administration, and compliance. This Q&A highlights the implications of SST for businesses selling in the U.S. Continued


Surviving a Sales & Use Tax Audit

As you prepare for the audit, it's important to know why you were selected. We'll help you navigate the process and prepare for the audit. Continued


Tax Compliance and the ERP System

Many companies overlook sales tax compliance when setting up ERP systems. Yet automating this process is simple with tremendous payout. Continued


Tax Risks in Consumer Goods and Services

Sellers of consumer goods frequently assume they have very few, if any, sales or use tax obligations. The truth is, they often do. Even small errors in rate calculations, exemption certificate management, nexus determinations, or product taxability decisions can result in costly audit fines and penalties. Continued


Taxing Natural Gas as a Motor Fuel

Natural gas is becoming increasingly popular as a transportation fuel due to its lower costs and less environmental impact. As a result, it’s gaining the attention of state regulators, many of whom are looking to add natural gas to the list of motor fuels subjected to excise tax. This paper serves as a primer for both commercial and government entities looking to understand the motor fuel excise tax implications around natural gas with respect to sales and distribution. Continued


Tech Spend Trends: Top 3 IT investments in 2015

Small businesses are growing, and their technology needs are growing with them. Find out what savvy businesses are spending their tech dollars on in 2015. Continued


The 12 Days of Sales Tax Compliance

Not five golden rings but five billion dollars are at stake for holiday online shopping. This whitepaper offers 12 days of holiday shopping tips to keep you and your customers in seasonal good spirits, and sales tax compliant. Continued


The Challenges of Use Tax Compliance

More and more states are increasing audits to collect consumer use tax. All states that charge sales tax also charge use tax. Use taxes are meant to minimize unfair competition between sales made in and out-of-state. A company buying goods outside the state or online is required to report and remit consumer use tax for the storage, use, or other consumption of tangible personal property (TPP) that was not subject to sales tax. Continued


The End of Nexus

Out-of-state businesses trying to sidestep sales tax collection obligations, and states trying to enforce a broader definition of nexus to capture more sales tax revenue. How states had passed so-called “Amazon laws” to require more online retailers to collect sales tax, and that Amazon had finally agreed to start collecting sales tax for the first time in states like New York and California and Pennsylvania — with other states in hot pursuit. Continued


The Resurrection of the Marketplace Fairness Act

The Marketplace Fairness Act is again making the rounds in Congress, which means the feds could soon formalize rules on taxing Internet sales. How will this regulatory resurrection impact state practices for taxing online sales and – more importantly – how will it impact your clients? This primer on MFA 2015 is perfect preparation for a sit-down with ecommerce clients. Continued


The Rise of Biodiesel: New Alternative Fuel, New Taxation Challenges

The growth of the biodiesel market in recent years is largely due to the enactment of the Renewable Fuels Standard in 2005. Both federal and state governments have incentivized the production of biofuels in order to decrease the environmental effects of traditional petroleum fuel. Understanding, and taking advantage of, excise tax regulations is critical to achieve financial success in the biofuels market. Find out how. Continued


Using CertCapture to Automate the Exemption Certificate Lifecycle

The Exemption Certificate Lifecycle is the recurring process exemption certificates go through from their creation, to their ongoing use in future transactions and audits, to their renewal when they expire or are classified as invalid. There are three primary components of the Exemption Certificate Lifecycle: ECM software, ERP or billing software and tax decision software. Continued


Wakefield Research Report: The Executive’s Guide to Sales Tax Risk

This report conveys why it’s time accounting and finance executives should take a closer look at how sales tax is managed within their organizations. This report highlights what those in the trenches know (and don’t know) about managing sales tax, and more importantly, why risk of non-compliance is more important in this legislative climate. Continued


You Can’t Ignore the Big Four

California, Florida, New York, and Texas (hereafter the “Big Four”) are four of the most populous states and have the highest sales tax revenue collections in the U.S. As a result, they are a good indicator of how other states might handle remote seller obligations in the future. Continued


ZIP Codes: The wrong tool for the job

Like using a tricycle to commute to work, using ZIP codes to determine tax rates is a mistake. Originally intended to help mail delivery by identifying geographic areas and zones, ZIP codes lack the accuracy sales tax compliance requires. Overcharge customers by assigning a higher sales tax rate, they’ll get angry and complain or shop elsewhere. Undercharge customers and you’ll find yourself owing a hefty tax bill at some point down the line. ZIP codes lack the city-by-city, street-bystreet, sometimes house-by-house variance in sales tax rates. Continued


ZIP codes don't mean zip for ecommerce sellers

Online sellers face greater risks of fraud as well as pressures to attract and keep customers and drive conversations. Having the right tools in place to protect the business and increase sales is critical. However, many ecommerce companies rely on ZIP codes to verify customer information, which has a high margin of error. Using a more precise technology like geolocation can slow down fraud and speed up checkout, resulting in more sales. Continued