Sink or Swim: A Guide to Surviving Sales Tax in 2017

Businesses may feel out of their depth as states look to test the waters on tax compliance in the coming year.

Sales and use tax compliance can be a complex problem for many businesses. It almost feels like you need a bowie knife to cut through the regulatory red tape, although knowledge may be a better weapon in this case. So stay sharp with Avalara’s 2017 Sales Tax Survival Guide.

Published every year to help businesses better understand the challenges they are up against when it comes to complying with sales and use tax regulations in the U.S., Avalara’s latest Survival Guide is refreshed for 2017 with insight into what’s new and what’s changed at the state and federal level, common challenges around sales tax compliance, and tips for staying on top of your tax obligations.

sales tax

States are testing the waters in 2017

States are facing budget deficits and they need revenue from taxes. Sales and use tax is one of the largest generators of this revenue, but collecting it has become more difficult as how Americans buy, sell and consume goods and services has evolved beyond what’s defined by state tax laws. For example, Congress has yet to act on outdated federal internet sales legislation; services now outpace goods in consumer spending but aren’t taxed with the same consistency; and digital delivery of software, books and other media and streaming services have states perplexed when it comes to setting standards for taxability.

This has led many states to get aggressive – hiring more auditors, expanding nexus definitions (a connection with a state that triggers an obligation to collect and remit sales tax to that state) to target out of state sellers, implementing use tax reporting policies, increasing state and local sales tax rates, and extending sales tax to more products and services.

Survival of the fittest

While not every aspect of managing transactional tax causes pain for every business, it’s pretty certain that at least some areas will pose a challenge given how quickly the rules changes.

The 2017 Sales Tax Survival Guide walks you through 10 critical compliance challenges, from determining nexus to managing exempt sales to understanding the implications of drop shipping on your business and dealing with audits and lawsuits. Each section is also buoyed with best practices for overcoming these challenges, and links to addition information should you need to go more in depth on a topic.

It’s a must-read reference for anyone who is responsible for tax compliance in their business. And it’s available for download here.

Shore up compliance

As helpful as it is, no guide is a replacement for good practices. The most valuable takeaway from the Survival Guide is a greater awareness of just how burdensome tax compliance can be on a business – large or small. Trying to keep up with ever-changing state tax rates and rules puts a strain on accounting and finance teams in terms of the research and due diligence required.

You can remove that burden with tax automation software like Avalara AvaTax. Much of the work that goes into proving sales and use tax compliance – calculating tax rates, verifying customer information, updating taxability rules, applying exemptions, remitting sales tax and even filing tax returns – can be handled easily and efficiently in your accounting system with little to no manual work required. It’s easy to set up and use, guaranteed accurate, and budget friendly. Avalara is a preferred provider of tax software for more than 500 e-commerce, shopping cart, ERP and accounting systems and used by more than 20,000 companies worldwide. Talk to your system or application provider about using AvaTax to manage transactional tax.

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Permission to reprint or repost given by Avalara. Content previously published at www.avalara.com/blog.

Don’t Get Fooled by Nexus Rules

April 1 is commonly known as April Fool’s Day. It’s also the date when Amazon started collecting sales tax in four more states — Maine, New Mexico, Hawaii and Idaho —bringing the total to 45 states and the District of Columbia.

Amazon is no fool and sales tax nexus is no joke. States are tired of losing revenue from tax-free remote sales and are starting to crack down on businesses who fail to register or collect sales tax when their sales activities are deemed substantial enough to warrant it. Amazon’s decision to volunteer to register to collect sales tax in more states may simply be pre-emptive to ensure that, should their sales into that state meet nexus thresholds in the future, their bases are covered.

While merely speculative as to motive, it is a smart move – and one that other companies may want to consider. The Quill v. North Dakota decision is decades old now, and the physical presence standard for nexus doesn’t adequately cover e-commerce. Congress still has yet to rule on new federal online sales tax legislation, despite multiple opportunities to do so. As a result, states are starting to reinterpret nexus to their own benefit in an attempt to collect tax revenues they feel are owed them. Under these broader terms, businesses can establish nexus through such activities as attending trade shows, engaging drop shippers, hiring remote employees, and (yes) online sales.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em

Amazon was one of the first e-commerce sellers to challenge remote seller nexus rules – an action which dubbed those policies “Amazon tax” or “Amazon laws.”  In the nine years since the e-commerce giant took New York to court over its 2008 Amazon tax law, the floodgates have opened to even more nexus changes at the state level, first with affiliate nexus and click-through nexus, and more recently with economic nexus laws.

The penchant for states to change or introduce new nexus laws has made it increasingly difficult and risky for businesses who sell online or into multiple states to keep track of their sales tax obligations. While it may not make sense for smaller to mid-size e-commerce sellers to volunteer to collect sales tax as universally as Amazon is now doing, it would be wise to have a solution in place to help you manage sales tax nexus — one that will scale with your business as it grows or changes.

Know your nexus

Nexus is an issue that Avalara gets asked about a lot. So much so, that they created a page on their website dedicated solely to helping companies understand nexus and even find out what nexus laws apply to each state where they do business.

Companies frequently engage Avalara’s professional services tax experts to help them determine their nexus obligations. And complying with multistate nexus is one of the biggest motivators to companies deciding to onboard Avalara’s tax automation solutions. Avalara’s software makes critical sales tax decisions automatically, pulling from the largest and most comprehensive tax database in the world and applying accurate, verified, up-to-the minute rates and rules to all your transactions. In most cases, Avalara is a simple integration to existing financial systems so setup is fast and easy. Avalara can also assist with exemption certificate management, as well as filing and remitting of sales tax returns.

For a refresher on nexus obligations, read Avalara’s guide, Everything you wanted to know about nexus (but were afraid to ask).

Permission to reprint or repost given by Avalara. Content previously published at www.avalara.com/blog.

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SBS Group to Host Dynamics 365 Webcast for Microsoft Partners with MSDynamicsWorld.com

The webcast will discuss the latest Stratos Cloud Alliance initiative – the Stratos Dynamics Digital Transformation program – and how it helps Microsoft partners sell Dynamics 365.

SBS Group, a leading information technology services and consulting firm, has announced they will be presenting a webcast with MSDynamicsWorld.com focused on a special program for Microsoft partners to sell Microsoft Cloud Solutions. The webcast will occur Thursday, April 27 at 12 p.m. ET.

The webcast, entitled “Survive the Digital Disruption – Build a Dynamics 365 Practice in 30 Days,” will introduce SBS Group’s Stratos Cloud Alliance, a new program for Dynamics partners looking to expand their breadth of solutions while minimizing investment. The Stratos Cloud Alliance offers three flexible partner models (including a white-label option) where partners can leverage a comprehensive portfolio of Microsoft Cloud Business and Productivity Solutions, ISV Products and Tools, and Partner and Customer Services. Additionally, attendees will be introduced to Stratos Cloud Alliance’s new initiative, Stratos Dynamics Digital Transformation (S2DT), a program to help partners build a Microsoft Dynamics 365 practice in 30 days.

The presenters for the webcast are Joseph Longo, Scott May and Dave Wallen. Longo is the Chief Operating Officer at SBS Group; May is the Director of Channel Programs, Stratos Cloud Alliance at SBS Group; and Wallen is the Vice President of Marketing at SBS Group. All three presenters bring over 60 years of Dynamics partner experience combined.

Registration for the webcast is free. To register, visit http://bit.do/D365-30-Days.

The Stratos Cloud Alliance partners receive best-in-class e-commerce capabilities from a dedicated partner team and access support services designed to simplify onboarding and streamline the partner experience. To learn more about the Stratos Cloud Alliance, visit http://www.dynamics365partner.com.

About MSDynamicsWorld.com
MSDynamicsWorld.com, a GuidePoint Media publication, is the leading global independent authority covering the world of Microsoft Dynamics. MSDynamicsWorld.com is the Microsoft Dynamics community’s resource for news, expert advice, tips, best practices, white papers, case studies, and analysis.

About SBS Group
SBS Group is a national Microsoft master VAR (Value Added Reseller) with Gold level competency in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). Over the past 30 years, they have been recognized as Microsoft Partner of the Year, Inner Circle Member and Microsoft President’s Club member multiple times. The company is headquartered in Edison, New Jersey and operates offices across North America. For more information, please visit SBS Group’s website at http://www.sbsgroupusa.com. Follow us on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/sbs-group, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sbsgroup and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SBSGroupUSA.


To read the full release, click here.

SBS Group Announces Partner Tiers for New Stratos Cloud Alliance Program

The Stratos Cloud Alliance assists technology partners in selling Microsoft Cloud Solutions to their client base.

SBS Group has announced the partner tiers for their new Stratos Cloud Alliance program. SBS Group is designated as an indirect provider through Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. Formerly called a Tier-2 Distribution Partner, an indirect provider connects Microsoft and resellers of Microsoft’s cloud solutions including Dynamics 365.

Technology partners will be able to partner with SBS Group to help ease the complexity of selling Microsoft solutions. There will be three tiers, or partner levels, for interested technology partners to consider and choose from: Cloud Agent, Cloud Partner and Cloud Merchant.

The Cloud Agent tier is for partners with limited internal resources or who want to offer their customers cloud services as a value-add to their core business. Cloud Agents bring their customers to Stratos, who takes care of the onboarding, billing, administration, and support. The Cloud Agent will receive a recurring commission through the life of the account. The Cloud Partner tier is a true distributor model for partners who want to build a practice based on Microsoft business solutions. Cloud Partners directly manage the entire customer lifecycle including pricing and billing with Stratos providing customer support. Some of the benefits for Cloud Partners include an increased recurring commission and their own co-branded online marketplace. The Cloud Merchant tier is a true distributor model for partners who want to invest in a practice based on Microsoft business solutions as a core business focus. Cloud Merchants directly manage the entire customer lifecycle including pricing, billing, and first tier customer support. Cloud Merchants also have their own custom marketplace with access to Stratos’ entire suite of CSP products bearing their brand as well as receiving a recurring commission. All partner tiers are powered by best-in-class e-commerce capabilities and include dedicated partner teams and support services designed to simplify onboarding and streamline the partner experience.

The Stratos Cloud Alliance (SCA) features a comprehensive portfolio of Microsoft Cloud Business and Productivity Solutions, ISV Products and Tools, and Partner and Customer Services. The SCA offers value-added features and benefits for ERP and CRM resellers, Managed Service Providers, Accounting and Consulting firms.

To learn more about the Stratos Cloud Alliance, visit: http://www.dynamics365partner.com.

About SBS Group
SBS Group is a national Microsoft master VAR (Value Added Reseller) with Gold level competency in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). Over the past 30 years, they have been recognized as Microsoft Partner of the Year, Inner Circle Member and Microsoft President’s Club member multiple times. The company is headquartered in Edison, New Jersey and operates offices across North America. For more information, please visit SBS Group’s website at http://www.sbsgroupusa.com. Follow us on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/sbs-group, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sbsgroup and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SBSGroupUSA.


To read the full release, click here.

SBS Group Becomes an Indirect Provider through Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider Program

SBS Group is launching the Stratos Cloud Alliance to assist technology partners in selling Microsoft Cloud Solutions with a focus on Microsoft Dynamics 365.

SBS Group announced it is now an indirect provider through Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. Formerly called a Tier-2 Distribution Partner, an indirect provider connects Microsoft and resellers of Microsoft’s cloud solutions including Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft PowerBI, and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

The CSP licensing model helps companies sell Microsoft cloud solutions to their customers. Indirect providers own the entire billing process and directly manage support of services to customers, which drives new business value through the cloud.

The Stratos Cloud Alliance (SCA), SBS Group’s new program, will be able to drive customers to Dynamics 365. SBS Group has vast experience with Dynamics having operated in the Microsoft ERP and CRM spaces for over 30 years. The Stratos Cloud Alliance will leverage that knowledge and experience to provide superior Dynamics 365 implementation, training and support services for technology partners to resell. Additionally, the Stratos Cloud Alliance will offer unique partner enablement services, giving partners the option to develop, market, and deliver their own Dynamics 365 solutions and services.

“We serve several communities including customers, partners, independent software vendors, and Microsoft,” said James Bowman, President and CEO of SBS Group. “It is our mission to deliver innovative solutions that serve the evolving needs of these communities. Seven years ago, we pioneered the Master VAR program, enabling other Dynamics partners to grow their businesses. Last year, we led our Microsoft Dynamics community into the ‘cloud’ when we launched one of the first online Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Marketplace focused entirely on Dynamics solutions. We are leveraging these experiences in launching the Stratos Cloud Alliance. This program will help ERP and CRM-focused partners in their digital transformation process and enable Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) and IT-focused solution providers to expand their solution portfolios for their customers.”

Stephen Boyle, Vice President, U.S. Partner at Microsoft Corp. added, “Microsoft is very excited to add SBS Group to its portfolio of indirect CSP providers. SBS Group is a good example of the value CSP provides Microsoft channel partners to provide Microsoft Cloud services to its customers. The company’s depth and experience with Dynamics will be a tremendous asset in delivering the real value of our intelligent business applications to the channel and most importantly our shared customers.”

The SCA features a comprehensive portfolio of Microsoft Cloud business and productivity Solutions, ISV products and tools, and partner and customer services. The SCA offers three flexible partner models (including a white-label option) with value-added features and benefits for ERP and CRM resellers, Managed Service Providers, Accounting and Consulting firms. All partner tiers are powered by best-in-class e-commerce capabilities and include dedicated partner teams and support services designed to simplify onboarding and streamline the partner experience.

To learn more about the Stratos Cloud Alliance, visit: http://www.stratosalliance.com/.

About SBS Group
SBS Group is a national Microsoft master VAR (Value Added Reseller) with Gold level competency in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). Over the past 30 years, they have been recognized as Microsoft Partner of the Year, Inner Circle Member and Microsoft President’s Club member multiple times. The company is headquartered in Edison, New Jersey and operates offices across North America. For more information, please visit SBS Group’s website at http://www.sbsgroupusa.com. Follow us on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/sbs-group, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sbsgroup and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SBSGroupUSA.


To read the full release, click here.

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