Sales & Use Tax Compliance: Is Outsourcing the Solution?

Managing sales and use tax compliance has become increasingly complex as businesses expand and the global marketplace becomes exponentially digitized. This critical business function involves adhering to varied tax regulations across multiple jurisdictions—a daunting task for any company, especially those with limited internal resources.

This article explores the intricacies of sales and use tax compliance, the tangible benefits of outsourcing this function, and key considerations for building a business case for outsourcing.

The Growing Complexity of Sales & Use Tax Compliance

Many jurisdictions impose sales and use taxes, and the rules governing them can vary significantly from one location to another. For businesses operating in multiple states or countries, this means managing numerous tax rates, rules, and filing requirements. The rise of e-commerce has further complicated this landscape, as digital transactions frequently cross state and national boundaries, subjecting businesses to additional tax obligations.

Understanding these complexities is crucial for maintaining tax accuracy. Each jurisdiction sets its own rates and defines taxable items and services differently. Furthermore, the rapid pace at which tax laws can change requires continuous vigilance and adaptation. Failure to comply can lead to severe penalties, including fines and legal fees, which can be detrimental to businesses both financially and reputationally.

BENEFITS OF OUTSOURCING SALES & USE TAX COMPLIANCE

Given the daunting challenges of managing sales and use tax compliance internally, outsourcing emerges as a strategic alternative with several compelling advantages:

Cost Efficiency

Outsourcing can be more cost-effective than maintaining an in-house team, especially considering the overhead costs associated with training and the technological investment needed to keep up with regulatory changes.

Enhanced Accuracy

Specialized tax compliance firms have the expertise and resources to ensure accuracy in tax calculations and filing, reducing the risk of penalties associated with non-compliance.

Regulatory Compliance

Outsourcing partners are adept at staying current with regulatory changes and can adjust strategies quickly and efficiently, a crucial advantage in a rapidly evolving tax landscape.

Resource Allocation

By delegating tax compliance to external experts, a business can reallocate internal resources toward core activities that drive revenue and growth, such as product development, customer service, and market expansion.

Jeff Hearon, Managing Director of Transaction Tax at DMA, explains:
“Outsourcing sales and use tax compliance is not just about offloading a task; it’s a strategic move that can transform a company’s operational efficiency. When businesses choose to outsource, they gain access to specialized expertise that ensures accuracy and adherence to ever-evolving tax regulations, all while significantly reducing internal workload and associated costs. This allows companies to redirect their focus towards growth and innovation—areas that directly contribute to the bottom line.”

CONSTRUCTING A BUSINESS CASE FOR OUTSOURCING

Making a compelling business case for outsourcing sales and use tax compliance involves more than highlighting potential cost savings. It requires a strategic presentation of how outsourcing can lead to broader operational efficiencies and contribute to long-term business objectives. Key points to include in a business case include:

  • ROI Analysis: Demonstrate potential savings from reduced labor costs and technological expenditures against the outsourcing fee
  • Risk Mitigation: Emphasize the reduction in compliance risk and the potential avoidance of costly penalties
  • Operational Impact: Outline how freeing up internal resources can accelerate other business initiatives

Uriah Ellis, DMA’s Managing Director of Transaction Tax Compliance, notes:
“When presenting a business case for outsourcing compliance, it’s critical to align your arguments with the strategic objectives of your organization. Focus on articulating how outsourcing will drive cost efficiencies and strategic value. Quantify potential savings and risk mitigation in clear financial terms and underscore the agility it brings in adapting to regulatory changes. Our clients always emphasize how reallocating their internal resources to core business functions generates additional revenue and improves customer satisfaction. That really paints a holistic picture of the long-term benefits.”

CHOOSING THE RIGHT OUTSOURCING PARTNER

The effectiveness of outsourcing depends significantly on choosing the right partner—a firm that not only offers expertise in tax compliance but also aligns with the company’s values and operational practices. Criteria for selecting a partner should include:

  • Industry Experience: Knowledge of specific industry challenges and standards
  • Technological Capability: Leveraging advanced software and technology solutions for fulfilling compliance functions
  • Reputation and Reliability: Having successful client outcomes, results, and positive testimonials

Partner with DMA as Your Outsourced Sales & Use Tax Compliance Solution

As the regulatory and business environments continue to grow in complexity, outsourcing sales and use tax compliance offers a viable solution that can lead to significant benefits, including:

  • Cost savings
  • Compliance assurance
  • Strategic resource allocation

Understanding the advantages of outsourcing sales and use tax compliance efforts, and the critical factors involved in selecting an outsourcing partner, will be key to making an informed decision. Join our upcoming webinar to explore these topics in greater depth and to hear from experts and peers who have already found success in this journey.

Sales & Use Tax Experts

Contact us to connect with sales & use tax compliance experts to learn how outsourcing your sales and use tax compliance to DMA can free up internal resources and maximize efficiency.