Through its Sales Tax Solutions line, CCH offers several sales and use tax
programs, including the CertiTax suite, a high-end, web-based system that integrates
with a business’ financial and sales applications to provide instant address
validation and tax calculations based on a database that includes all taxing
jurisdictions throughout the United States, including those with special tax
rules for specific products and service types. CCH also offers various industry-specific
sales and use tax systems, along with products designed for businesses with
less robust needs. The ZIPSales Returns system reviewed here is a single-business
product that integrates with the CertiTax web-based sales tax platform and/or
a businesses accounting system to automatically retrieve sales data from the
business and applies the appropriate sales tax rates and rules to then automatically
populate signature-ready returns for all jurisdictions when their filing period
requires. Since the sales tax tables are web-based, all updates are maintained
by CCH. Pricing for the ZIPSales Returns system is based upon transaction volume
but starts around $2,900 annually.
Navigation & Data Entry — 5 Stars
CCH ZIPSales Returns integrates with a business’ sales system, automatically
identifying sales tax jurisdictions as sales orders or estimates are processed
and applying the applicable tax rates when the transactions are posted. The
initial setup of the system can be somewhat complex, depending upon the accounting
systems in use by the business, but CCH provides assistance with mapping of
GL accounts and the ZIPSales system. The program offers integration with Microsoft
Dynamics AX, GP and SL. This is not an after-the-fact system and therefore is
not intended for manual data entry. However, data can be manually changed or
edited by authorized management users.
After the initial setup, the system is nearly hands-off, working in conjunction
with the business’ sales and accounting system to automatically apply
and post sales tax collections to appropriate accounts, generating period-end
reports, prompting the administrator for batch or individual approval of forms
and remittances, and generating signature-ready forms that can be printed or
submitted to taxing authorities electronically. Additional functions are available
for authorized users, including overrides of calculations, administrative reporting,
banking functions and other utilities. The system maintains an audit trail that
tracks transactions and edits and keeps archived returns, allowing management
to view historical tax data. Since the tax component of the system is web-based,
management can also access various reports and data from any location through
a secure online connection.
Filing, Electronic Compliance & Payment — 5 Stars
ZIPSales Returns pulls the appropriate sales data from the business’ financial
system and automatically populates all components of forms for any state, municipal
or other entity for which sales taxes have been collected and need to be remitted.
The forms are ready for review at this point and are signature-ready fileable
replicas. The system also keeps track of all filing instructions and deadlines,
automatically preparing the returns and notifying the administrator when periods
close so as to help avoid penalties. ZIPSales Returns offers e-filing to those
jurisdictions that support it, as well as EFT options for remitting collections.
Forms and reports can also be output to PDF format.
Rate Updates — 5 Stars
As previously noted, the tax tables in ZIPSales Returns are web-based, with
updates for all U.S. jurisdictions managed by CCH staff. Likewise, program up-dates
are automatically implemented.
Help/Training — 5 Stars
After initial setup, the program is about as hands-off as anything can be, automating
all of the processes and providing review-ready forms and reports. The program’s
interface provides access to managerial reporting functions, as well as a Help
feature, form filing instructions and CCH’s online support center. Support
is included in the pricing, and a variety of training options and tutorials
are available. A trial version of the system is available at www.eSalesTax.com.
Relative Value — 4.5 Stars
ZIPSales Returns is a high-end system that will provide immense value to businesses
with broad sales activity across many taxing jurisdictions. By integrating with
the business’ sales and accounting systems, the program tells those systems
what the appropriate rates are for use in sales orders (as well as address verification
capabilities), automatically posts the tax
transactions to appropriate accounts, and then pulls the information it needs
and populates forms whenever tax reports and remittances are due for every jurisdiction
to which reports needs to be made. This can save these companies significant
time and help reduce errors and late fees.
2007 Overall Rating: 5 Stars