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BNA Software — Sales & Use Tax Rates & Forms


the August 2007 Review of Sales & Use Tax Systems

The BNA Sales & Use Tax Rates and Forms program by BNA Software provides
a comprehensive SUT system that covers more than 58,000 taxing jurisdictions
in the United States and offers integration with external programs. The program
offers basic rates and forms reference, compliance functions, and a rate file
generator. BNA Sales & Use Tax Rates and Forms is offered in two formats:
as a CD-based system with monthly disc updates and as a web-based program with
automated updates. The system is available in various modules, with single-user
pricing for a rates-only or forms-only version costing $895; the rates and forms
version costing $1,595; and the full package including the rates file generator
costing $1,895. Network licenses are also available.

Navigation & Data Entry — 4.5 Stars
The full BNA Sales & Use Tax Rates and Forms program actually operates as
two separate programs, one providing forms and the other offering a rate lookup
utility. The Forms system, which is the primary application for use in compliance
processes, opens to a primary screen that provides an icon bar for accessing
core features, including accessing blank forms, creating company profiles and
accessing form instructions. Once a business’ profile has been created,
all demographic company data is automatically transferred to forms being created
for the business entity.

To begin the process of preparing a sales tax report, the user simply selects
the state or subsidiary jurisdiction from a list that includes current forms.
The system then provides a searchable/filterable list of all forms available
for that jurisdiction. Selection of a form brings up a full-window view of a
replica of the form, with data entry taking place directly on the form and calculations
automatically applied (but overrideable if desired). To automatically populate
the general (non-sales) business data onto the form, simply click the Apply
Profile icon, which provides a list of companies. The forms include links to
official instructions and filing information. Forms are then saved into a company-specific
folder that shows form name and the date it was last modified. It would be helpful
if BNA would add the reporting period date to either the title of saved forms
or in a separate data column. The forms compliance system is intended as an
after-the-fact preparation program and does not integrate with accounting programs.
However, the optional Rates File Generator add-on can create an ASCII text document
of sales and use tax rates for any jurisdiction. This document can then be imported
by most accounting applications.

The Rates lookup system opens into a small window that allows the user to
search sales and use tax rates for all U.S. jurisdictions by ZIP Code, city,
county or state. The system then displays the Detailed Rate Information window,
which shows all current sales and use tax rates for a location, including effective
date and previous rate information. For locations with transit, school, or utility
taxes or other special tax issues, these rates are also presented in the rate
data table. A calculator is accessible from this screen, allowing the user to
simply enter a sales price and be provided with an itemized list of the various
tax amounts per taxing authority. Tax rate searches can be saved into the program’s
Favorites file.

Filing, Electronic Compliance & Payment — 3 Stars
BNA Sales & Use Tax Rates and Forms is designed for preparing, printing
and filing signature-ready, paper-based sales and use tax reports, and does
not offer any e-filing or electronic remittance options. Forms are approved
by all jurisdictions and can be printed on regular blank paper.

Rate Updates — 5 Stars
For the CD-based version of the system, tax rate updates are included with the
product and are available via two methods: monthly CD updates and weekly updates
downloadable from the BNA Software website. The web-based system is continually
updated by BNA Software.

Help/Training — 4 Stars
The rate lookup utility is so easy that Help really shouldn’t be necessary,
although a four-page electronic version of the user manual is one click away.
Since the forms system involves compliance issues, it is a little more detailed
and includes a user manual, a collection of tutorials that show how to perform
various tasks, and a Word document that highlights what’s new in the latest
release of the program. The system does not include a traditional Help utility
with searchable or indexed reference functions. The company’s online support
center provides rate updates and FAQs. Support is included at no additional
cost either by phone or e-mail.

Relative Value — 4.5 Stars
With support for all jurisdictions in the United States, the BNA Sales &
Use Tax Rates and Forms system is clearly designed for businesses with the need
for multiple state compliance or, perhaps even more so, for professionals providing
compliance services to multiple businesses. The program’s simple rate
lookup functionality is appreciated, and its comprehensive collection of state
and municipal forms is impressive for a moderately priced system.

2007 Overall Rating: 4 Stars