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Electronic Sales & Use Tax, Inc. –

From the August 2009 Review of Sales
& Use Tax Programs

businesses doing business in California, Florida and Illinois,
offers a bilingual after-the-fact, web-based solution that can be used to file
sales and use tax returns for each of these states and all of their taxing counties,
municipalities and taxing districts. For California filers, forms include 401-EZ,
401-A, 401-ASR (formerly Sch. T) and sales tax pre-payments. Florida returns
include the DR-15 and DR-15SW (solid waste and surcharge). Illinois forms include
ST-1, ST-1-X, ST-2 and ST-2-X. Pricing for the CA and FL versions of
is based on a per-use basis for $6.95 for a single return. Discounts are available
for businesses pre-paying for return filing, with 12 returns costing $72.95.

CA and FL unlimited return filing for 12 months costs $199, which could be
useful to entrepreneurs or professionals filing returns for multiple entities
in these states. The Florida version costs $29 per year for single companies,
$99 per year for consolidated filers and $99 per year for multi-company use.
These fees allow electronic filing and remittance of liabilities or print-based
filing of returns.

Users log into the secure eFileSalesTax system using their web browser, which
brings up a main page for the state they have selected. A business/client list
allows users to easily start new returns or look up historical returns, and
any number of businesses can be managed through the program. Returns are archived
essentially forever, with no cost to look up and print prior returns. Charges
are only assessed when completing a new filing.

The system is extremely easy to use, with only a few steps involved. After
selecting the business entity for which to file and then the appropriate form,
the user then selects any additional schedules, enters the filing date and business
information, and follows on-screen forms for entry of financial data, county/district
sales and other miscellaneous information. Data-entry features are generally
user friendly, providing drop-down selection lists and calendars, with calculations
automatically performed by the program. Most standard business filer information
is transferred automatically to forms to speed entry. eFileSalesTax’s
entry fields also provide links from each line to the official form directions.
All three state versions of the system are available in English and Spanish.
As an alternative to manual data entry, users can import sales data from QuickBooks.

The system includes a Reminders feature that can be set up to send an email
or cell phone text message reminding users of specific filing dates or other
actions for specific businesses. The reminders can be set to occur monthly,
quarterly or yearly, and on specific days. eFileSalesTax also offers a few other
tools, including a cover letter manager that allows users to create custom templates
that can be attached to returns, and returns are automatically stored in PDF
format, allowing them to be easily printed or e-mailed.


Users have the choice of e-filing and electronically paying their tax liabilities
or to print returns, and the system provides ample warning before any submissions
are made and processed electronically. It also offers a “test” option
for the user to verify they are using correct banking information. Users can
also print out a summary accountant review copy of the sales tax data prior
to completing a return. E-filing and payment processing is included in the per-use

Because the program is web-based, all rate tables are updated and maintained
on the backend by The system also provides guidance on some
tax issues, including recently changed rates and taxability.

The system is just so easy to use that most users, even most
novice small business owners who hate technology, should be able to use it with
little or no guidance or Help. For those needing some guidance, however, the
program offers links to instructions for each line of each return and worksheet,
and also has links to the company’s support website, which has demo tutorials,
FAQs and other self-help resources. Technical support is included in pricing.

For entities doing business in only California, Florida or Illinois,
provides a simple solution that can be used on an as-needed basis with no major
technology investment. As an after-the-fact system, it provides the basics of
what these businesses need, plus a few nice features such as the email and text
reminders. It can also be useful to accounting services providers with clients
needing assistance with sales tax compliance.