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Thomson RIA Compliance — InSource Sales & Use Tax


From the August 2005 Review of Sales & Use Tax Software

InSource is a comprehensive, Windows-based software product that produces over 560 state, local and Canadian returns, including 190 returns in the 46 states and the District of Columbia; 270 local returns in the states of AL, AK, AZ, CO, ID, IL, LA and MN; and returns for Revenue Canada (GST/HST), British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Prince Edward Island. InSource Sales & Use Tax provides Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), XML, and Internet-based return capabilities in the 14 states that have fully implemented electronic filing programs for sales and use tax. Specialized state and local returns for food and beverage transactions are now exclusively available in InSource to support businesses in this segment.

InSource Sales & Use Tax is a comprehensive, high-end system that will definitely appeal to the medium-sized and larger enterprise. InSource is a good fit for businesses operating with multiple divisions or multiple taxing jurisdictions, while serving the needs of accounting practitioners who represent clients throughout the United States. InSource users typically
spend $10,000+ to implement InSource, which definitely qualifies it as a high-end system. Thomson RIA also offers a lower-priced web-based version of InSource called InSource Express RS Sales & Use Tax. InSource Express RS was designed with smaller companies in mind, as they can purchase access to the specific taxing jurisdictions they require. The cost of InSource Express is based on individual user usage and the number of taxing jurisdictions to which they require access — a tailored approach to exact needs, appealing to businesses operating in a
limited number of states. InSource includes a tax rates subscription service, which maintains more than 40,000 current and prior rates for 6,500 jurisdictions.

New for 2005, InSource has introduced an enhanced rate subscription service based on ZIP+4 granularity for even greater accuracy with the ever-expanding special tax districts.

Navigation & Data Entry – 5 Stars
InSource setup is complex and forms the foundation for successful implementation. Setup follows the ultimate computing needs of the user. InSource can be set up to interface with accounting programs or it may be used by accounting practitioners who wish to employ ASCII or spreadsheet data import or manual data entry. InSource features an intuitive, easy-to-use graphical interface. The program features drop-down menus, icons and tabs. Returns are automatically populated with basic client information and are stored by filing period. Users can easily move between forms and related documents or access prior-period filings.

Whether data is entered manually or imported, InSource automatically computes applicable sales tax returns and prints them together with related schedules. It also provides user-
customizable management reports with complete audit trails. The InSource database becomes a powerful analytical tool, capable of creating exception reports to highlight known problem areas, compare period-to-period amounts to catch reporting errors, and to analyze underlying inconsistencies between jurisdictions.

Paper Filing, Electronic Compliance & Payment – 5 Stars
Compliance, whether in paper or electronic form, is the strength of the InSource system. It offers powerful, accurate calculations and approved return formats. Print preview is available and allows for last-minute adjustments and changes prior to filing of all returns whether paper or electronic. InSource fully supports electronic filing and payment of taxes where applicable through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), XML or Internet-based Returns, depending upon individual state and local requirements.

Rate Updates – 4.5 Stars
Tax rates are updated monthly via CD-ROM or are available on the Internet. Tax rates are maintained in InSource by date, ensuring exact application of law. InSource allows users to process prior-period credit transactions resulting in correctly produced amended returns based upon actual tax rates in effect.

Help/Training – 5 Stars
RIA offers context-sensitive help, up-to-date forms and filing instructions, a manual, tutorial, instructor-led workshops (regional or on-site), web-seminars, annual user’s conference (with over 21 hours of sales & use tax specific sessions), and traditional phone-based and online support.

Relative Value – 4.5 Stars
As noted earlier, InSource is particularly well suited to the medium-sized and larger enterprise with complex calculation and filing requirements with multiple entities and/or multiple jurisdictions. This is a high-quality product, offering powerful and flexible data management with superior, intuitive and timesaving compliance tools. One user I spoke to has been using the product for three years and said that initially they “had integration problems.” He went on to say, “We update monthly, and tech support is great. We are very pleased with our decision to go with InSource.”

2005 Overall Rating – 5 Stars