Skip to main content — California Sales Tax offers a variety of online tax preparation options for individuals,
tax professionals and business filers. The vendor’s business offerings
include payroll and 1099 filings, as well as the California Sales Tax system
reviewed here. The web-based system provides after-the-fact electronic filing
of Form 401 and Schedules A and T with the California Board of Equalization
(BOE), as well as direct electronic remittance of funds through a link to the
BOE. The program is designed as a single business entity system, with pricing
at $9 per filing (the first three filings are free). also
offers 1040 preparation and a professional 1040 system for multiple clients.

Navigation & Data Entry – 4 Stars
The system opens within the user’s web browser and, after logging in,
provides the user with a very simple main screen that offers access to previously
entered forms, options for starting a new form, and basic utilities for setting
up the user account and entering basic business information. When starting a
new sales tax return, the program initially requires verification of the business
entity and preparer information, then verifies the user’s BOE account
number, after which the screen offers the ability to select filing period dates.
Since the program is integrated with the state BOE system, it automatically
pulls filing information and prompts the user to prepare a return for the current
period or for any missed reporting periods.

Entry of sales, deductions and other financial data takes place on a replica
of the state tax form, with instructions for each line providing definitions
of its use (such as for entering data on various types of sales, spending on
fixtures and equipment, or tax exempt transactions. One the user has completed
entering this data, the program’s next window provides allocation functions,
requiring the user to identify the locations of the taxable sales so that it
can apply the appropriate taxes for each city, county or other taxing entity.
Users can navigate forward and back between data-entry pages by using text-based
forward and back links. automatically performs calculations and transfers data as
necessary between schedules and the primary form and then provides the user
with a summary overview of taxation, with notation of prepayments, penalties,
interest and net taxes due. The system does not offer an import utility to acquire
financial data from accounting systems. Prior to actual submission of the form
and electronic remittance of funds, the system prompts the user several times
for verification, hopefully preventing the user from submitting incomplete returns.
Users can leave a return in progress and return to it later if necessary. The
program is pretty straightforward, providing simple data entry for sales tax
compliance within California.

Filing, Electronic Compliance & Payment – 4 Stars
As a fully online system that integrates with the BOE’s online filing
and payment center, the California Sales Tax system from automates
the process of electronic filing and remittance of sales taxes. After electronically
submitting a tax period return, users can print non-fileable versions of the
forms. Electronic payments can be scheduled to occur on a later date, up to
the deadline.

Rate Updates – 5 Stars
As with all online sales tax programs approved by the BOE, the rate tables in
California Sales Tax are automatically updated by the vendor,,
along with periodic system upgrades.

Help/Training – 2.5 Stars includes form instructions for each line of data entry and
is very intuitive in its use. The company’s support website provides a
few FAQs, but is very limited and focused on its 1040 self-preparation program.
Live, phone-based tech support is available on a per-incident basis.

Relative Value – 4 Stars
For California-based entities with generally non-complex sales tax reporting
requirements, the web-based California Sales Tax system provides a very easy-to-use
option in a pay-per-use format that doesn’t require software upgrades
or rate table maintenance. The program is designed primarily as a single-user,
single-business solution, with no support for multiple client businesses. With
its integration with the BOE, the program makes electronic filing and payment
easy, and ensures that filers are up-to-date on filing deadlines.

2008 Overall Rating: 4 Stars