Skip to main content

Thomson Tax & Accounting — InSource Sales & Use Tax

the August 2007 Review of Sales & Use Tax Systems

Thomson Tax & Accounting offers several sales and use tax options through
its InSource brand. This includes the Sales & Use Tax Rate Subscription,
which provides monthly updated tax tables for all jurisdictions in the United
States and Canada. The vendor’s return preparation systems are InSource
Sales & Use Tax (ISU) and the web-based InSource Express RS Sales &
Use Tax (Express), which offers transaction tax return preparation for all states
and localities using ZIP code or other geographic code to identify special taxing
districts, along with rate lookup capabilities. The full version of the program
(ISU) is geared toward large enterprises with broad compliance needs, while
Express caters to small to medium-sized companies with more limited compliance
needs. Housed on the business’ own servers, ISU ties into the ERP or accounting
system to automatically route data to returns. It can support any number of
companies, divisions and subsidiaries and includes all jurisdictions in the
United States and Canada. Thomson notes that pricing starts around $10,000 depending
on your company’s tax profile. Please contact your local sales rep or
customer service manager for a full quote.

Navigation & Data Entry — 4.5 Stars
As previously noted, the InSource Sales & Use Tax system can integrate into
a tax department’s monthly compliance process for automated return preparation.
InSource can integrate with most enterprise-level accounting systems. As part
of an integrated system, a tax manager or other user’s primary interaction
with the system would be reviewing and making necessary adjustments prior to
submitting the forms and funds. InSource provides access to the searchable and
filterable Binders list, which serves as an entity selection list. These entities
can be based on separate businesses or on divisions and subsidiaries.

Manual data entry is aided by easily accessible forms for the jurisdictions
needed, with data entered on tax return and schedule replicas that automatically
perform calculations and allow overrides and adjustments as well as the ability
to attach review notes to specific lines. Data can also be imported from spreadsheet
applications and in ASCII format. All returns within InSource, whether manually
input or automatically generated, are filed by reporting period and jurisdiction
within an entity’s Binders (essentially directories and subdirectories).

ISU has the ability to record repetitive activities into “Macros”
that can be used to further automate the compliance process. Users can import
data and print returns all with the single click of a button. Whether used as
an integrated or stand-alone system, InSource Sales & Use Tax offers electronic
filing and electronic remittance of collected taxes to all jurisdictions that
currently require it plus a few additional jurisdictions that allow it. The
program offers analysis functions such as exception and credit reports, period-to-period
comparisons and jurisdictional analyses. Additionally, the system provides a
full-time audit trail and managerial reporting options aiding in compliance
oversight. InSource also offers industry-specific return preparation functions
for food and beverage transactions. The system also maintains rate histories
for taxing jurisdictions, enabling the correct posting of transactions to prior
periods when necessary.

Filing, Electronic Compliance & Payment — 5 Stars
Both versions of the InSource Sales & Use Tax system offer EDI and web-based
return capabilities, as well as electronic banking functions for e-filing to
all states and jurisdictions that require it plus a few additional jurisdictions
that allow the option. Users also have the option of printing and filing paper-based
returns, which can be printed on regular paper stock.

Rate Updates — 4.5 Stars
The InSource Express RS version is web-based and hosted on Thomson’s servers,
so all updates are automatically maintained without need for action on the part
of the user. Tax tables in the full version of the system, however, must be
updated either from the monthly update CD or downloaded from the support website.
Updates are included in the pricing, but the system does not offer a method
to automatically check for and download the updates.

Help/Training — 5 Stars
Both versions of InSource offer excellent assistive features, including a traditional
Help utility and user’s manual, access to line-specific instructions and
guidance for returns and schedules, and tutorials. The online support center
offers program and rate updates, FAQs and other tools. Thomson provides live
and web-based seminars and workshops, and provides additional training options
(many CPE eligible) at the company’s annual user conference.

Relative Value — 4 Stars
The InSource Sales & Use Tax system is a heavy-duty workhorse ideally suited
to entities with exceptionally demanding transaction tax compliance issues involving
scores of jurisdictions. As an automated system, it dramatically reduces the
work of the compliance staff as well as reducing the risk of missed deadlines
and other compliance issues. And as a manual stand-alone system, it offers excellent
review processes and managerial supervision. The web-based version of the system
is much more amenable to the more limited needs and pocketbooks of smaller enterprises
while still providing the exceptional overall functionality.

2007 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars