SpeedTax — SpeedTax Core, Plus & Pro
From the August 2011 Review of Sales & Use Tax Systems
Best Fit: Businesses with increasingly complex sales tax management and reporting needs across multiple jurisdictions that are looking to integrate real-time sales tax rates and calculations into the business’ sales platforms.
SpeedTax is an automated sales and use tax management system based on the SpeedTax Core calculation engine, allowing real-time rates, rules and other factors to feed directly into a business’ sales and financial management programs. The system, which supports all state and local taxing jurisdictions in the United States, can be integrated into most sales and financial management systems, from small business programs such as QuickBooks, to SaaS-based SMB accounting systems like NetSuite, as well as larger ERP solutions that include SAP and Dynamics. SpeedTax also offers a Sales Tax Filing and Remittance service, which integrates with the tax calculation system to provide signature-ready returns, or the option to have SpeedTax perform filing and payment as an outsourced service. The SpeedTax Pro version is designed for tax and accounting professionals and other firms specializing in state and local tax (SALT), providing them with tools for managing compliance for multiple business clients, importing tax data and additional features.
Basic System Functions:
Implementation of SpeedTax involves integrating the web-based tax calculation engine and compliance system with the core sales and accounting systems used by the business entity. After this initial configuration, the system essentially acts as a live-feed of tax rates and rules into the system, providing instant lookup and calculation of rates as sales, estimates and other transactions occur, including e-commerce activities.
The core system interface for users is the SpeedTax Console, a web-based dashboard that offers access to management of company, nexus, exemptions and transactional data, as well as return preparation and reporting functions. The Core version of the program is designed for in-house use by a single business entity, with any number of locations running on the same accounting platform. Multiple entities can be managed by professional firms using the Pro version, with a client selection screen enabling single-password access to each of the clients serviced. Since sales taxes are automatically applied to transactions as they are processed, the primary user functions in the system are centered around oversight and reporting, with users able to review jurisdictional liabilities and exemptions as well as drill down into transactions and certificates.
If performing preparation of forms in-house, the program automatically routes data into appropriate forms, including zero sum reporting, and offers a sortable list of all returns that can be reviewed, edited if necessary, and ultimately approved and printed. The program includes features for varying access rights and multi-level sign-off functions, as well as email alerts to remind users of due dates, returns pending review and other tasks. If using the compliance service, management still has review, edit and approval functions, but return filing and payment is handled by SpeedTax, which provides tracking and acknowledgements. Since the management console is web-based, it can be accessed remotely, including on mobile devices with full web functionality.
The SpeedTax calculation engine offers a rates and rules database of more than 14,000 U.S. and Canadian sales taxing jurisdictions, including all special tax items that may be treated differently by different states or counties, as well as tax holidays, maximum taxes and caps. The system also maintains a due date calendar of filing deadlines that is used for the alerts emails, along with various filing requirements per taxation area.
The system maintains real-time sales tax reports and automatically routes data and populates returns upon approval, including multi-user approval tracking, with the final product being fileable signature-ready returns. Electronic filing and payment are only available to Arkansas directly through the program, but all return printing, filing and payment processes can be handled through SpeedTax’s optional services. Since the sales tax engine is web-based and feeds data directly into the accounting and sales components of the business’ ERP, all rates and rules are automatically maintained by SpeedTax and require no updating or maintenance by the business.
Tight integration with the accounting systems enables seamless automation of rate lookups and calculation, as well as the posting to appropriate accounts in the GL. The system supports all common platforms, including .Net, Java and PHP, and integrations are available for QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics GP and AX, Sage Accpac ERP, NetSuite, Sage MAS 90/200 ERP, SAP, and various e-commerce and point-of-sale systems.
Summary and detailed sales tax reports are automatically populated with data, with historical reports extending up to seven years. Reports and returns can be saved to Excel, Word and PDF.
The web-based management dashboard provides easy navigation and selection of accounts, locations and other data, but lacks a directly built-in Help/assistance utility. However, the vendor’s support website includes webinars, FAQs, sales tax resources, an interactive state sales tax map, a free manual sales tax calculator and information on the Streamlined Sales Tax project, for which SpeedTax is a certified service provider and a certified automated solution. Live and e-support are included with the program.
Executive Summary & Pricing
SpeedTax is best suited for businesses with increasingly complex sales taxation compliance requirements, providing an integrated tax calculation system that automatically finds and routes appropriate rate calculations into the business entity’s sales and e-commerce systems. Through an optional compliance service, businesses can also have SpeedTax generate and submit all jurisdictional returns and payments. The Pro version offers additional features for accounting professionals managing the compliance needs of multiple business entities. Pricing for the Core tax calculation engine is based on the volume of transactions, with 1,200 annual transactions costing about $800 per year. The addition of the Plus forms preparation and due date monitoring system starts at $600 for a dozen annual returns. Plus can also be used as a stand-alone return preparation system, with the ability to import data from outside accounting applications.
2011 Overall Rating: