Customer story

Zillow Group moves fast and thinks big on tax compliance

Results

Integrated systems
Increased compliance
Enabled growth

Summary

Results

  • Integrated systems
  • Increased compliance
  • Enabled growth

Tax challenges

  • Company growth
  • Tax complexity
  • Compliance risk
  • Process inefficiency


Products used

Avalara AvaTax
Dynamically delivers sales and use tax calculations, based on the latest rules and rates in our tax engine, to a shopping cart or invoicing system at the time of purchase.

Avalara Returns
Automatically gathers data from AvaTax to prepare and file sales and use tax returns and remit payments across multiple jurisdictions every filing cycle.


Benefits

  • Easy integration
  • Confidence in compliance
  • Future-proofing for growth

Company overview


Customer
Zillow Group

Industry
Software

Tax type
Sales and use

Integrations
Zuora

Zillow Group is a Seattle-based power player in real estate. The company serves consumers in renting, buying, selling, and financing homes, and operates one of the most popular suites of real estate mobile apps. Its experts are regularly called upon by major news outlets to comment on the housing market.

Tax challenges


Zillow Group’s rise from Seattle startup to national juggernaut is no accident. “One of our core values is ‘move fast and think big,’” says Jason Heckel, senior director of tax. “We try to operate quickly and be very efficient in everything we do.”

Despite its bold, forward-thinking ways, the company got by for many years using old-fashioned, manual processes to manage its sales tax obligations. But when Zillow Group acquired Trulia in 2015, its tax dynamic shifted dramatically, increasing the company’s potential exposure. This spurred Jason’s team to reevaluate its compliance situation.

“I try to stay in front of anything that might pose a tax risk to the company,” Jason explains. “Your exposure only grows as time goes on. Our business was expanding, and we could see that it was just going to increase. We knew we needed a better solution.”

Why Avalara?


Zillow Group’s search for a comprehensive solution was driven primarily by the desire for easy integration with its existing business systems. Jason also wanted an all-in-one solution, rather than piecing together individual tools from multiple vendors.

“I contacted several vendors,” remembers Jason. “Some had a software solution, but not a compliance team that could produce the returns. Some were vice versa. I knew we needed a software solution that was easy to use, easy to plug in, and had the back-end side of tax compliance Zillow Group needed.” In the end, Jason asserts, the choice was easy.

Avalara’s team walked Jason’s team through the solution, making sure everyone understood it fully and clearly. “The implementation was really smooth,” says Jason.

Customer
Zillow Group

Industry
Software

Tax type
Sales and use

Integration
Zuora

Tax challenges

  • Company growth
  • Tax complexity
  • Compliance risk
  • Process inefficiency

Products used

Avalara AvaTax
Dynamically delivers sales and use tax calculations, based on the latest rules and rates in our tax engine, to a shopping cart or invoicing system at the time of purchase.

Avalara Returns
Automatically gathers data from AvaTax to prepare and file sales and use tax returns and remit payments across multiple jurisdictions every filing cycle.


Benefits

  • Easy integration
  • Confidence in compliance
  • Future-proofing for growth

“Within a couple of hours, we had our development sandbox up and we were evaluating transactions.”

Jason Heckel
Senior Director of Tax

“Within a couple of hours, we had our development sandbox up and we were evaluating transactions.”

Jason Heckel
Senior Director of Tax

Results


Risk mitigation is the primary benefit for Jason and his team. “Sales tax, because it’s based on revenue, is the elephant in the room,” says Jason. “If you’re not compliant, it can get real ugly, real fast. Avalara, in that regard, helps me sleep better at night.” 

Automation also has its advantages as Zillow Group’s business continues to grow in size and complexity. The company’s revenue has roughly tripled over the past four years. “It’s not slowing down,” says Jason. “We just publicly announced another pending acquisition, and the ability to take in a new revenue stream, port it into Zuora, and immediately be compliant — that scalability is really nice.”

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