Good afternoon, everyone. This is Jack thrush. I'm the accounts director here at Navigator. Thanks for joining us navigator customer webinar. Today's webinar will be focused on sales tax compliance. We pulled in our partners at Avalara which they are experts in that area. A bit of housekeeping first to eliminate any background noises and echoes we have placed everyone on mute and if you have any questions throughout, the presentation, please utilize the questions area on your gotowebinar. It should be on your upper right-hand screen, the little pop-out window. There's one that says questions and just you know, expand it. And then you can type in any questions at the end of the session. We'll answer as many of those questions as we can following up on ones that we don't get to. Now I'm gonna turn it over to Maria Trigali, who will give you an introduction to the solution. Thanks so much for joining.
Wonderful. Thanks Jack. Delighted to be here. I love working with Navigator and SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign customers. So let's dive right into sales tax compliance. I know it's not everybody's favorite subject, but it's actually mine. So just a little bit about myself. I'm actually a solutions consultant here at Avalara. And what that means is I work with our customers and our salespeople and our partners like Navigator to put together a solution for compliance from end to end. And I specialize in the businesses that don't charge a whole lot of actual retail tax. Although I know a lot about that as well, but there's a lot of compliance outside of that. And we're gonna be talking about that today. So delighted to be here, our agenda for our next 20 minutes or so is to go through some of the things that have happened during the COVID 19 period and the effect that it's had on manufacturers and distributors and B2B and B2C sales.
Some of the things that we're seeing also, we have just been presenting our 2021 end-of-year updates. We have some great webinars out there. If you look at our website on sort of what we've seen in 2021 and what you can expect for 2022. So I've got a little sort of snippet of that for you today. And then I, of course wanna dive into my favorite subject, which are all these laws that now affect us that didn't years ago, the Wayfair laws, economic nexus, and marketplace laws. And then of course, we're gonna talk at the end, how you can streamline all of your tax compliance through automation. So with that, let's kind of dive in and before, I just kind of dive into the COVID 19, as you think about compliance, one thing I want you to think about today is tax compliance in your business touches a lot of people.
So you've got somebody keeping some tax rates in your ERP. You've got somebody collecting those exemption certificates and looking at them and storing them somewhere. You've got the website, people that are keeping up products and services and the shopping cart on website. You've got someone filing a return, your sales tax returns, hopefully, whether it's you or a partner you've got your salespeople out there in the field trying to figure out who's exempt. You've got purchases that might be exempt. So there's a lot of people across an organization. So keep that in your mind. As we talk about this today, sales tax compliance not belong to one person at a company. It belongs to a group of people. It touches a lot of departments and a lot of systems. So if you keep that in mind today, as we talk about what we're seeing and how your company needs to get compliant and kind of get up to today's standards and requirements and frankly laws it's not just one person.
You cannot hire a person to fix this. It is across your organization. So over the last couple of years with COVID 19, obviously we didn't, we before we had this pandemic and we were all at home, we were able to do a lot more in person sales. And we did generally a little bit less B2C sales. Some people we're already very strong in B2C, but as a rule, most manufacturers distributors in business like yours. Weren't doing a whole lot of B2C. So we've changed. We've really changed. And we're now forced to improve our B2C presence and improve our online B2B presence. We're accelerating. Both of those. We might be going direct to consumer was something we didn't before we have fewer resources in our organization. We have fewer salespeople out in the field. So we've got to change the way we're doing business.
I'm on calls every week. I'm probably on at least two a day. So probably 10 plus calls a week with businesses. And everybody is doing something with their, with a web presence. It's whether it's growing B2C, growing B2B, adding a B2B place location where the B2B customers can go and order more stuff online instead of always calling them all sorts of things. So everybody's got this type of activity going on. So we're seeing that more and more sales are going digital. We're seeing that also our research shows that our B2B buyer, our customer wants to buy more online. They wanna reduce having to pick up the phone and call you or fax you or fill out a form or call their salesperson. They want to be able to click, to buy. They're buying the same things over and over and over. They do not wanna have to call their sales rep.
They want to use you as a vendor and they want that to be easy. They wanna, and we wanna skip the middleman. They wanna go direct to you. They don't wanna be paying up charges and they want increased e-commerce. So we're seeing both B2C and B2B. They wanna be able to buy online seamlessly and make that easy. And the sellers who make that easy for the buyers are the ones who are gonna be ahead of the game. And all of these things that we're talking about, they trigger tax obligations. We have to figure out how we're going to handle our tax obligations in a, all these different channels of sales. And we can't expect our sales, our, excuse me, our staff, to understand this. And this is where of course automation and good partnership comes in. So looking at 2021, you probably already know this because we hear this in the, in the news every day, but a wholesale distribution.
Competition increased greatly. There are new disruptors. There's global dynamics. There's a global supply chain. Now we have to think about there's our social changes and employees wanted to work from home, travel less, not go out, not go on site, or maybe not even available. And then of course there's lots of regulatory requirements. So what does an online seller have to think of about the first thing you need to think about? Or a actually just a seller, not necessarily an online seller, but just a seller. We have to think about all these new nexus laws. So if you're not familiar, the economic nexus laws and marketplace laws were passed almost four years ago now, or three past three and a half years ago that these laws were passed in states. So we have understand how those new laws have affected our business.
If there's another thing you remember for me today, if you have not done a nexus study or a sales tax risk assessment of your business, to understand where your business might be hitting. Some of these thresholds in these states promise me, you'll, you'll do that with with Avalaraor with a CPA partner that has a state and local tax practice and stand where your business has an obligation to get registered because they were laws that were passed. The next thing you have to worry about, if you sell to a lot of businesses who wanna be exempt is those darned exemption certificates. It used to be relatively easy to collect them from the customers in your home state. You knew what they looked like. You knew your customer, you put 'em in a file. Boom, we're done, right. That's not the way it works anymore.
You can't be in the paper world anymore, right? We're in a remote society. We cannot be collecting paper. We have to know what we're looking at. If we have nexus in 17 states, 25 states, we have to know what forms we're looking atand make sure that those are current and accurate. And we have to keep this up to date. We also have to worry about taxability product taxability from state to state. So we have to know how our products and services are taxed in our home state. And in other states, especially if you sell something like services, anything that's intangible varies greatly in taxability to tangible products, pieces, parts. Those are pretty much the, regular tax rate. Although the tax rates vary from state to state, but taxability for a lot of things, installation, warranties that can vary from state to state.
And we have to not forget. This is I'm passionate about is the customer experience. As I mentioned already, we need to make sure that we do not forget about the customer experience. If you get an invoice, right, That is a good customer experience. If you do not get that invoice, right, If your taxability isn't right, if you charge 'em tax and they shouldn't be charged tax, if you have to do credits and rebills, that is a poor customer experience that translates as you can't even bill me properly. I go use your competition, or it's really frustrating to work with you. And tax compliance is a big part of that customer experience because it's part of invoicing properly. So don't forget, and we wanna make it easier for our customers to buy from us, not harder. So those laws that I mentioned earlier that were passed a couple of years ago, let's talk a little bit about laws.
And if you, you might be slightly familiar with these, you might be very familiar if already, if you've already registered your business in new states, but what happened was in June of 2018, the Supreme court decided that states could now actually require businesses to remit tax to them for goods being shipped into their state, regardless of whether or not you had a physical presence there, it used to be just basically physical presence of some sort. And then the Supreme court said no, with our new internet world, it is okay for a state to require an out-of-state business to collect and remit sales tax to them in because the goods are being shared into their states, into their constituents and used in that state. So they wanna cut of that business regardless of whether you have a presence. So some of you may have looked into this for your business.
Some may not. This was touted by the press originally as a e-commerce laws. And so many businesses think that it only applied to businesses that were e-commerce sellers, B2C e-commerce sellers. That is not true at all. These laws apply to anything being sent into any other state. If you have large equipment or small items, it is based on how you're going to market in that state and how much revenue you are sending into that state. It has nothing to do with being an online seller. You're shipping it into that state. It counts. So again, if you have not looked into this for your business, it, it behooves you to be a good steward of your business and understand how these laws have affected you. And unfortunately, for us, the laws are different on at every state. There's also marketplace sellers. Marketplaces are huge.
You probably all are selling something on eBay or on Amazon. And those laws have affected us as well. The states know that these marketplaces are huge and that they're just selling and selling and selling into their state. So they want that marketplace to send them the tax as quickly as possible because the seller looks like it's Amazon, even though it's you, it looks like it's Amazon and they want Amazon to send them their taxes ASAP. As soon as that is sold, if you're using something like fulfillment by Amazon, you still own those products until they get sold. That means you have a presence in that state and you have to pay those taxes and that tax liability doesn't belong to Amazon, but liability belongs to you. It's you ultimately selling that product just because they're remitting it for you. It's still your tax liability. And that has to be reported to the government when you file your returns, this stuff is getting harder and harder as you can see.
So just a quick glance, these economic nexus laws vary by state, as I mentioned. So this little map that showed you the difference in the states, I don't know how a business, a medium, small, and medium sized business without a tax department is ever supposed to be able to keep up with these things. Of course, the states don't really care. If a business, how hard it is for a business to remit it, they just want their money. So it's a very complex territory that we're navigating here. So the amount of dollars for the threshold, as well as what they count, whether it's exempt sales or not exempt sales retail sales, tax holidays, whatever, every state has created their own individual laws. And there are 46 taxing jurisdictions in the us five states that do not have a sales tax. Those are the gray ones, the great out ones there.
So it's a lot for any business to keep up of, keep up on. And that's where automation and good partnership can really come in. And then this question I had get almost every day, but most of my sales are exempt. So do I really have to register back to my pre previous slide? Every state has different laws. Some states count the exempt sales towards officials. Some states don't some count resale, but not manufacturing. Everyone is different. So if you meet the requirements in that state, even if everything is exempt and your set sales tax return ends up being $0, yes, you still have to register and yes, you still have to report in and file just like we do on our personal tax or our personal income tax. Even if I don't owe them anything, I still have to file at the end of the year.
So yes, you still have to register. Do you still have to remit $0 returns? Yes, absolutely. You need to report all of your earnings and you need to report that we don't owe you tax because all of these things were exempt. And when you get audited, you need to be able to prove that you had those certificates on file. And that's the reason why you didn't charge tax on those orders. Just a quick reminder, these are laws. I know I've said that already, but they are laws that more businesses need to apply to. They're not guidelines or not suggestions. These are laws that the states have passed and we as businesses need to adhere to them. So now we've got probably a few extra states that we have to register in it that we haven't registered in before now, our business just got really complicated sales tax wise.
So now I've got this frontline employee that's trying to collect exemption certificates from customer. Who've been buying from me tax exempt, cause I didn't have a nexus there tax exempt for years. And now I'm interrupting that sales process and I'm asking them for documentation in order that I don't charge them tax. That's an interruption in business. And then your employees don't know what they're looking at. They don't know what the resale certificate looks like in Wisconsin or wherever. They don't know what they're collecting. So we've gotta give our employees a break and help them know what they should collect and when they should collect it and whether or not it's it has an expiration date to it. And whether it needs to be renewed, a single missing certificate in an audit is worth a lot of money. If you sold $50,000 to a customer and you can't prove that you had that documentation on file and the data that sale you out of your pocket owe that tax to the government, regardless of whether you've collected it.
These are extremely valuable documents to your business, getting a tax rate wrong by a half a percent that's pennies, missing certificates, thousands and thousands of dollars plus fines and penalties as well. So kind of in general, being a good steward of managing your sales tax and clients, there's sort of five steps to it. You need to know where you need to collect and remit. That's what we've been talking about. Then we need to get registered. If we owe them back taxes, we need to come clean before we can register with them. Then moving forward, we've gotta be able to calculate the right amount of tax or, and or track and manage those exempt sales, collect those certificates and know where I should be charging tax to who and where I'm not charging tax to. And then of course add states is going to increase that responsibility of filing those returns.
You may have been filing just in two states, just talking to a business this morning, they're in Illinois and Wisconsin. They're like, that's fine. We know how to do that. We've got those two returns down, but they likely have exposure at at least a dozen or more states. They have less familiarity with those forms, the timing, the requirements for those states. It's gonna magnify the responsibility of the staff to do those filiings. Even if they're only once a year, even if it's minimal owed and they give you an annual filing, you still have to report in and it's still hard. Then of course, if you are charging tax, you have to worry about all those gosh darn taxing jurisdictions, which is we all know is not equal to zip codes. Zip code were invented for the us mail government. This is an example on my screen.
The government does not care what the zip code boundaries are when it comes to taxing. So the taxing jurisdictions are all different rates all over the place, across zip codes, across states, counties, jurisdictions. It's crazy. And then as I mentioned earlier, as you're adding to adding new states, you have to understand how your products and services might be taxed in those states. Installation with a warranty may be taxed differently in one state than it is in another. Use tax rates could be different. Everything just varies. As I said, anything, intangible like services like training, you charge for those. Those can be taxed differently from state to state, from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. So you have to understand your product taxability for those customers that are taxable, especially in addition to just knowing what the tax rates are. And then there's crazy things like tax holidays and things like that that you also wanna take into consideration.
There are a lot of rules, there's over 1800 different rules across the United States. And so I don't know how any small business is really gonna be able to keep up with this without automation. And then there's everyone's favorite or at least favorite consumer use tax. So if you have a consumer use tax in your business or use tax in your business, if you have to, if you buy things, tax exempt and remit, when you install something or if you you build that cabinet, but then when you install it, it becomes real property that we have to remit use tax on that whatever your particular scenario is, if you have to remit use tax. Now we perhaps have more states where we have to understand the use tax laws and they are not easy. You think sales tax laws are hard when I learn more about use tax, I just, I just almost blow my eyes every time.
It's a very, very difficult to manage and automation can be super helpful. It's really, really easy to make mistakes in use tax. A lot of businesses just kind of flat estimated because it's really hard to do. You can have and it's, it's a low hanging fruit for auditors because they know it's very hard. You have to determine how that product was used. The reason why it's hard is because it's based on how the product was used after the purchase. So we have to track the purchase. How is it purchased? What tax, if any, was charged then, and then how did we use that item and where do we use that item and how do we apply tax? When we actually went to use it, it is a post purchase process and it's a subjective where charging retail sales tax is kind of a repetitive of reactive activity, use tax as a subjective sort of activity after the purchase.
So it gets really complicated and automation can, can automation and actually research tools can help you understand this. In most cases, when businesses improve their their use tax efforts, they end up saving money. Most people are overpay, cuz it's just hard. You'll save. Cause I've had some companies save millions of dollars by focusing on doing a better job of use tax. So automation real quick, let's run through that and then see if we have any questions. So let's talk about what automation can look like for your business. Again, I work in the business of people who don't charge a lot of retail sales tax. I've been here almost eight years and this is what we've kind of developed as our most effective resources and assistance that your business can do to improve tax and clients and take that guesswork off your staff.
The first thing is move to intelligent exemptions, certificate management, we, can no longer be in the paper and PDF business. We have to make sure we are collecting the right document for the right reason. It is valid. We're tracking it. We're renewing it. We have to get out of the paper business. I don't know why we're still in the paper business for exemption certificates. We've gotta get that automated. So invest in intelligent compliance management. And this is not, I'm not sure I have a slide today, but I wanna call out. This is not document management. This is not document management. Document management is putting an image of a document in a system and maybe attaching one data point to it. Not document management that is outdated. You need intelligent compliance management is the, does a customer know what to fill out? Are they giving me the right thing?
Does it have the right data on it? What is the reason,Why? Is it the right form? What is the expiration? What does that state accept? Does this state accept this other state's exemption certificate? You've got to have more intelligence in this exemption certificate management process. As I talked about these things are extremely valuable. And then in our tax compliance suite. So the way this works is, let me pull up another screen. So it starts with your customers. So the first thing you need to do to get compliant is tell the system, this list of customers that you have and who wants to be exempt. We get that list of customers into the software, into our, what we call a cert capture software. We get the list of that customers into the system, and then we upload all of those documents. Or we just go out on electronically, collect new certificates.
Again, we wanna move out of the paper business. So cert capture has a capability of send web a little portal where your customers, maybe some of you have seen this. If you purchased something you might have gone add, gotten a request from a business that uses cert capture and you've been able to complete these forms online. So we have to get somehow either copies of what you have already or new information into this system. That's job. Number one, once we've done that, then we can look at tax determination. So cert capture and AvaTax or your exemption certificate platform and your tax calculation engine need to be connected so that when your ERP your system here, your SAP Business One or SAP Business ByDesign, when it makes that tax determination call. So what we do is we replace the field for tax with the word Avatax, and that's an API call.
So every time you create a quote or an invoice, your system is going to automatically make a tax call out to me, a tax determination call. And the first thing it's gonna do is say, where's this going? What's the address? And we validate the address and we return a valid address back to you. The second thing that says is, do you have nexus here? Yep. We've told the system, we have nexus in that state. Third thing it does is, is that customer exempt or not? Yep. They're exempt. So I'm just gonna return a $0 back. If I find a certificate, if they're not exempt, I'm gonna calculate the right amount of tax for every line item on that order for that specific location and return the total tax amount back to you. So you never have to think about any of those things. And then because all of your data are, are flowing through to Avalara
We take all of that sales data and the software, not humans. The software fills out the forms for you. You tell us what states you're registered in and what returns need to be filed. The software fills out those forms. Then you go and review the forms and then we'll remit them on your behalf. So that's what end to end compliance looks like for our common SAP customer. You're going to take into account use tax, as we've talked about, you're gonna import that in the process. And so that we can also reflect that on the returns. And then I talked about tax research. This is my last thing. And then we'll go to questions. So we talked, talked about tax research. Why is tax research important? So what we've talked about so far is the, what is the tax calculation that has to be done at the time of invoice, but tax research is the understanding how your products and services are tax and where they need to be taxed.
If you're doing big bids, if you're in the crane business, you're doing big RFPs. How do you know how the products and services you're provided are taxed at this particular location where you're gonna do that job? When you have to submit a bid is really important, especially as you expand into new states. So you understand the taxability, the why behind the, what you sell, what is the taxability? How do I tax this? Where is a tax? How does each state treat the treatment of this thing? So investing in a powerful research tool that has answers at your fingertips is incredibly valuable. If you're in that, if you're not just selling widgets or pipes or parts, invest in a powerful research tool that has answers lots of answers. When you have those questions, it's a Google and Wikipedia about how and where things are taxed, what exemption certificate applies to, what state, how do I handle drop shipping on this order? So you've got this tool at your fingertips to answer all of these tax compliance questions. So with that, Jack, I'm gonna kinda see if we have any questions. I can't see the screen. So I'm gonna see if we have any questions coming in.
It's Sean, I'll jump in here for Jack. Oh, Hey Sean. He's still on the line. Again, we have a couple of questions. If anyone else has a question, please just pop it in the, question box on, on the controller for the webinar and we'll get to it. Just real quick, a couple of 'em that have already popped up. Someone asking they have hundreds of exempt certificates, some are in PDF, some are on paper. How are those all put into the system?
Good question. We have a fantastic team. I didn't really talk about this. So I'm glad that you brought it up. So we have a fantastic team here. We call 'em Cert capture managed services. So what we do is whatever you need us to do. So we will, with a team of people, you can send us a box of those, if you want, or you can send us PDFs. But remember when you uploaded that list of customers that I talked about, so we'll go and look at the documents that you have, if you want us to and see if they're current and valid. And if they are, we're gonna go key that data, into the system, remember, we wanna get you outta the paperwork. We're gonna key the data into the system, and we're gonna attach it to that customer. If you don't have what you need or what you have is expired, or you wanna save all that paper and just have us go collect new for everybody, you wanna save that for audit backup.
We can do that too. And so then we'll go and collect anything that's needed or all of it electronically. And that will be in the system. We look at them, we make sure they're current and valid. And my favorite part, we answer all their questions. When we run a campaign on your behalf, we answer any questions that they have. We get those set up in the system for you, so that, that tax determination properly. So we will definitely support you. I don't expect you to have to pour through all the pieces of paper that you have and know whether that's the right form for the right reason in that state, whether it's still valid. I don't know how you could know that we have a team of people that will get you from current state to future state.
Cool. Excellent. and then let's see, another one being, is there a separate connector for a shopping cart or is it all done through the SAP Business One or SAP Business ByDesign
Interface? Great question. I didn't cover that one either. So in my, this is a good question in my little slide that showed your systems in the middle it said AvaTax and the systems. So yes, so you will connect everywhere where you create invoices, you'll connect with AvaTax. So we are the sort of core for your tax compliance and whatever platforms you use. You connect those in. So if I'm my shopping cart, if I'm using Magento or whatever, then you connect Magento to AvaTax. If I'm creating invoices in SAP, then I connect SAP. If I'm creating something else, some other quoting system. Yes, I connect all of those in it does all the tax calculation and then all the sales data of course is here. So we can file those returns. So, yep. Everywhere. And if you change, if you upgrade or change, let's say you move from SAP Business One to SAP Business ByDesign, you just swap over because all your tax and clients it's here in the cloud. So it's really easy to plug in and unplug your different invoicing systems.
Great question. A little bit more specific question. Does Avalara process tonnage tax returns
Tonnage. So that's a special, yeah, that's a special tax we may or may not. I'd actually have to get back to you on that. So good question. Okay.
So we'll, we'll mark that as a follow up. Yes, please. Jack, I'll mark that as a follow up for you as well. We don't collect sales. We don't collect sales tax, but we have to collect tonnage tax from our customers that are not exempt tonnage tax varies by state and sometimes count, so yeah, it looks like we're gonna
Have to do some research on it. Look into that for you. Yep. We'll ask the returns team for you. Yep.
Doesavalara cover compliance for membership organizations that have e-learning courses and on demand? Absolutely.
Anything sell pretty much anything you sell. Absolutely. We do. You bet. So that's a service, that's an intangible, so, right. That's what we talked about that can be taxed differently in different states because no one agrees on those intangibles. So yes, absolutely. We can do that.
Let's see, are Avalara integrations to
SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign certified by SAP. Right. They wanna make sure it all works. Absolutely. Yes.
How long does a typical Avalara implementation take?
Ooh, that's a great, these are fun question. So it depends on you. So I would say just off the top of my head on average, maybe 60 to 90 days depends on, you know, whether we can get the clean list of data into Cert capture. We can start a, a campaign out to those folks about 30 days after you, you know, after you sign on with us and get your customers in and get the software set up. So while we're going out and collecting those certificates on your behalf, we're validating the ones that you have. You're gonna be over here working with your partner, like navigator to plug in that integration that we're talking about, get your settings, right. And then hopefully in a about 90 days, we meet together, right? We've got our certificates in the system. We've got AvaTax plugged into your SAP system. We've got a return set up and a way we go. So 60 to 90 days is a good timeframe.
Got it. Plan on. We've all been through an E R P implementation. So we know there's a range, right?
There's a range, you know, really depends on what else you're doing. If you're also upgrading at the same time or changing systems, of course it might take longer cause there's more decisions to make. So that's why I said it depends on you, the customer kind of what your timing and resources are, but we can get started right away. So
Happy to do so. Let's see. I've got one, if there are no other questions of course another big one that follows up on implementation time. What is the pricing model for Avalara?
Oh, okay. Good question. So pricing, everything with Avalara is essentially based on usage and volume. So remember my little, little slide with the three pillars. So each time you make a tax determination call out to me and I do something with it. I check the address, check to see if you have nexus, right? I do all those things. That's what we call it. Get tax or tax determination call. So we charge by final invoice. So we're gonna do the, you know, get tax, do the tax determination along the way as you do update quotes, and then we're gonna charge you at that final invoice. So the number of invoices that you process, the number of exemption, certificates that you have on file with us and the number of sales tax returns that we file on your behalf. So it's all volume based, so different for every customer.
Excellent. And that, those are the ones I had that were active. Are there any other questions out there while we have Maria on video? We can certainly follow up with any question. I know Jack and Kevin will be reaching out to everyone to make sure they got the information they needed. If there are additional information requests and needs, we will certainly coordinate the right meetings with Avalara and the Navigator account manager. So,
Absolutely we're happy to, to get on a call and talk through your individual scenario and think about, you know, what pieces and parts of what we've talked about today might be appropriate. If you're a hundred percent exempt, perhaps you don't need the SAP integration. Maybe you just wanna do a really good job of managing those exemption certificates. That's fine. Right? And you want us to follow your returns so you don't have to do everything. There's lots of options. Or maybe you just need that tax research tool. Maybe you do project billing and you just need to really understand the taxability and how to bill your customers. So you don't have to do everything. So let one of our professionals meet with you, talk through your particular scenario and put together a customer resolution for you.
That's excellent. Well with that Maria, I wanna say thank you very much from Navigator and for our clients. I really appreciate you taking the time today to walk us through it. My pleasure have a fabulous afternoon.
Thanks Sean, Jack. Bye everyone.