efileSalesTax.com

From the Aug. 2010 Issue

As its name would suggest, efileSalesTax.com is a completely web-based sales and use tax compliance system. The program supports filings to three states (California, Florida and Illinois), with all subsidiary county, city and special taxing districts included, along with alternate forms and supporting schedules and worksheets. The web-based system is available in both English and Spanish and is based on a pay-per-filing basis or a yearly unlimited filings license.

Basic System Functions

After logging into the secure efileSalesTax.com website, the system opens into a very utilitarian and sparse workspace, providing quick access to business entities, starting new returns, accessing prior period filings, and accessing other system and account functions. The main interface is based on the state module selected, showing only clients associated with that state. After selection of an entity from the business/client list, the user is offered a simplified screen for selecting the appropriate form type and whether the return will be filed electronically or on paper. Data-entry screens are simple and easy to understand, and the program provides good linking between related schedules and forms, simplifying navigation.

As a web-based system, no installation is required and setup is very brief, with the program only collecting basic data prior to completing returns. The program can be used to manage any number of business entities, but with entities divided by state and no overview of all businesses. 4.25

Compliance Capabilities

The efileSalesTax.com system supports filing only to California, Florida and Illinois, including all sub-jurisdictions and special taxing districts, plus Florida solid waste and surcharge returns. It does not offer any forms for other states or entities. To initiate a new sales and use tax return within the program, the user simply selects the state to which the entity is filing, the business from the selection list and then the form.

For California, options for electronic filing include the 401-A, 401-ASR (Split Rate Form), 401-EZ, 401-GS and the 1150 prepayment form. Filers using forms 401-A with schedules A, B, C or G can use the program to file paper-based returns. Data-entry fields are intuitive and generally follow the order and presentation of paper forms, with some fields automatically calculated. Data can also be imported from QuickBooks.

For electronic filing, the system integrates with the online services department of the selected state’s taxing entity, with data uploaded and users having the option to pre-schedule electronic payments to occur on the due date. Since the program is web-based, all tax tables in each of the state modules are automatically maintained by the vendor. 4

Integration/Import/Export

Although the program is web-based and offered as a pay-per-use system, efileSalesTax.com allows users to store previous filings indefinitely, and in PDF format, helping to keep things paperless. Users can also save returns to their local computers or file servers. For preparers or entrepreneurs managing multiple entities with sales tax reporting requirements, the efileSalesTax.com system offers various tools, including customizable cover letter templates and other communications, plus a Reminders feature that can email or text message the user to alert them of filing deadlines, due dates or other calendar items. The various state versions of the program do not integrate, which could be valuable to some filers as a timesaving feature for basic business data. The program offers direct data import from QuickBooks. 3.75

Help/Support

The web-based system includes line-by-line Help and instructions for form fields, along with a quick FAQs section. The company’s online Resources center includes general and program-specific guidance, a tutorial demo and general tips, plus additional printable forms in English and Spanish, links to the California Board of Equalization and other sites. Technical support is included with program use, but the company routes most requests through email, with no direct phone number for support available on the website. 4

Summary & Pricing

The web-based efileSalesTax.com system is offered on a pay-per-filing model for California and Illinois at $6.95 per return with discounts available for prepayment, or $199 per year for unlimited filings. The Florida version costs $29 per year for single businesses and $99 per year for consolidated filers or tax professionals supporting multiple companies (up to five companies, $20 per five after that). All three versions can support any number of businesses. Although the programs do not integrate with each other, they do enable import of QuickBooks data and provide good basic management tools for those handling small business sales tax filings in those three states.

2010 Overall Rating 4

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