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CCH, a Wolters Kluwer Business – ZIPSales Returns

the August 2006 Review of Sales & Use Tax Systems

CCH offers a broad selection of sales and use tax applications, from its web-based, to the CertiTax suite that integrates with a business’ accounting
system and provides shipping address verification, and a half dozen industry-specific
sales tax programs. The company also offers rate lookup through its ZIPSales
Database. CCH’s ZIPSales Returns, reviewed here, is a comprehensive combination
of automated sales tax administration and compliance, synching a business’
financial sales application with the hosted tax rate system, enabling real-time
calculation and automatic population of all jurisdictional forms. The system
is kept updated by CCH, freeing the business from maintaining current tax tables.
Pricing for ZIPSales Returns, which is geared toward small to midsize firms
with multi-jurisdictional remittances, starts at about $2,900 annually depending
upon transaction volume.

Navigation & Data Entry — 5 Stars
CCH provides direct support during the setup of ZIPSales Returns, helping ensure
accurate mapping of GL accounts with the secure CCH system. After setup, the
system is generally hands-off, automatically working with the financial applications
in use by the company to assess and collect sales taxes and manage those collections
within assigned accounts. The system assesses taxes on each qualified sales
order or receipt, with the ability to override tax amounts by authorized users.
Although the system automatically computes taxes and completes returns, users
also have access to various tasks, including reporting, administrative functions,
banking data and company information. Users with appropriate security rights,
which are set up in the administrative section, access these functions through
their web browser. The web interface offers text links to key areas, with descriptions
of each function.

The system may be automated, but it offers excellent managerial capabilities,
with an audit trail and reporting functions that enable senior staff to monitor
the review process and keep track of all transactions and edits, view archived
returns, or examine historical data. It also allows users to review, edit and
print returns from virtually any location since the system is web based.

“The CCH system substantially reduces the amount of time spent on calculating
tax liability every month, including tasks such as filling out returns and filing,”
said John Kraft, CIO of Wisconsin-based Wild Impact Marketing. “We adopted
a methodology that essentially uses the CertiTax service to self-audit the transactions
as captured by our ERP system every month. We compare the transactions as created
in the ERP system with what CCH/CertiTax calculated for the same transactions,
and focus on reconciling the differences instead of scrutinizing each transaction
from ERM as was done in the past.”

Filing, Electronic Compliance & Payment — 5 Stars
ZIPSales Returns automatically fills out compliance forms using data from the
business’ financial systems, resulting in signature-ready forms that can
be easily printed or reviewed and can be output to *.PDF format. Form calculations
can be overridden by users with appropriate access rights, with all changes
tracked by the system’s audit trail. Electronic filing and EFT remittance
options are also available through the system, with confirmation receipts verifying
submission of forms and tax remittances.

Rate Updates — 5 Stars
Since the web-based system is actually housed on CCH’s secure servers,
all tax rates are maintained and updated by the vendor’s staff, requiring
no maintenance by the company using the system.

Help/Training — 4.5 Stars
The ZIPSales Returns interface includes links to a Help utility, form filing
instructions and the online CCH support center. The vendor offers web-based
and live training options, as well as tutorials and demo versions of its programs.
Phone, online and e-mail-based support options are included in program pricing.

Relative Value — 4.5 Stars
Through integration with a company’s accounting system, the online ZIPSales
Returns system provides excellent automated compliance for sales tax filings
and remittances. The system offers streamlined review processes and strong functionality
that can support virtually any size entity, but it is a better fit for small
to midsize firms with significant sales tax compliance needs. These companies
can realize a dramatic savings of time and effort through implementation of
the system, with the added benefit of not having to update rate tables.

2006 Overall Rating: 5 Stars