Customer story

The Vitamin Shoppe finds relief with Avalara MatrixMaster

Results

Increased compliance
Improved processes
Tax expertise

Summary

Results

  • Increased compliance
  • Improved processes
  • Tax expertise

Tax challenges

  • Tax complexity
  • Compliance risk


Product used

Avalara MatrixMaster
With a powerful database of over 15 million codes Avalara MatrixMaster is the world’s largest database of Universal Product Codes (UPC) with specialized sales taxability data.


Benefits

  • Confident compliance
  • Time and effort saved consistently
  • Improved accuracy

Company overview


Customer
The Vitamin Shoppe

Industry
Retail and ecommerce

Tax type
Sales and use

With more than 780 stores in 45 states and Puerto Rico, The Vitamin Shoppe sells a wide range of dietary and digestive products designed to help people achieve their health and wellness goals. How wide is their range? The company offers more than 25,000 SKUs in its retail and online stores.

Tax challenges


Figuring out the taxability of such a wide variety of products can be tricky; the requirements are granular, varied from one jurisdiction to another, and always changing. “I don’t have the expertise to go state by state, item by item, looking at the ingredients and figuring out the tax treatment for each item,” says Diana Rancy, sales tax manager. “It has taken me three days to research and categorize just 100 items. Can you imagine how long it would take me to do more than 20,000?”

And because state auditors are people, their views on the taxability of an item can be subjective. “I’ve had state auditors say to me, because we’re called The Vitamin Shoppe, they assume we don’t sell any food items,” Diana explains. “So even though we sell some groceries, the auditor may view their taxability the same as dietary supplements. And if the product label leaves any room for interpretation, the auditor can choose to be difficult.”

The Vitamin Shoppe needed a solution to mitigate risk.

Why Avalara?


After looking at three different providers, The Vitamin Shoppe chose Avalara MatrixMaster. “We chose them because they had clients with similar businesses,” says Diana. 

The tax specialists at Avalara are well-versed in the subjectivity of product taxability and increase their accumulated knowledge with every new case, ensuring they reference state legislative rulings to support the tax treatment recommendations they provide. “We gave them our item list and asked them for recommendations, and then compared those with previous audit results,” explains Diana.

Diana said the new tax matrix for The Vitamin Shoppe was ready for review only 30 days after the contract was signed.

Customer
The Vitamin Shoppe

Industry
Retail and ecommerce

Tax type
Sales and use

Tax challenges

  • Tax complexity
  • Compliance risk


Product used

Avalara MatrixMaster
With a powerful database of over 15 million codes Avalara MatrixMaster is the world’s largest database of Universal Product Codes (UPC) with specialized sales taxability data.


Benefits

  • Confident compliance
  • Time and effort saved consistently
  • Improved accuracy

“It would take me three days to research and categorize just 100 items. Can you imagine how long it would take me to do more than 20,000?”

—Diana Rancy
Sales Tax Manager

“It would take me three days to research and categorize just 100 items. Can you imagine how long it would take me to do more than 20,000?”

—Diana Rancy
Sales Tax Manager

Results


Diana values the time and labor she saves while minimizing tax risk, as well as the built-in audit support. “Knowing that I can lean on Avalara for guidance during an audit provides peace of mind,” she says. “If an item is being disputed, Avalara is very good about explaining why we’re treating it as taxable or not taxable. And if we need to make a change, we have a process in place to do that very efficiently.”

Diana’s long-term relationship with her Avalara UPC taxability analyst is a huge part of the value she receives from the service. “I’ve had the same point of contact for eight years,” says Diana. “She knows The Vitamin Shoppe. That’s very important.”

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