October 10, 2006, 12:00 AM

Sales tax project launches with first transaction

An online and catalog retailer of home-renovation products has completed the first transaction under the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, using the web-based AvaTax tax management software system from Avalara.

An online and catalog retailer of home-renovation products has completed the first transaction under the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, using the web-based AvaTax tax management software system from Avalara, officials at the Streamlined Sales Tax Project and Avalara reported yesterday.

The initial transaction-which collected $5.38 in sales tax from multiple taxing jurisdictions in North Carolina on a sale valued at $76.85-was followed by transactions at 13 other direct sellers, including b2c and b2b companies, a spokeswoman for Avalara says. She declines to name the retailers, however, noting that many of the merchants participating in the SST have been granted amnesty for uncollected back sales tax and prefer to remain anonymous outside of the program.

Scott Peterson, executive director of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project’s Governing Board, says the initial transactions mark the beginning of the ability of participating states to recover billions of dollars in tax revenue that has gone uncollected because many direct online and catalog sellers have not had the means to collect sales tax from customers in cross-state transactions.

Avalara manages information from multiple sources on more than 8,000 taxing jurisdictions to maintain as part of its AvaTax system a centralized database of tax rates throughout the U.S. As tax rates change, the AvaTax system automatically updates them so that sellers can collect and remit the proper sales tax, Avalara says.

Avalara is one of three certified service providers approved by the Streamlined Sales Tax Project for offering sales tax management software. The others include Taxware and Exactor Inc. The software from each will be made available for free to participating sellers, with costs absorbed by the participating states.

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia are involved in the SST, which was formed to create a system of streamlined sales tax laws to make it easier for direct sellers to collect sales tax across multiple states. So far, 19 states have amended their tax laws to participate in the tax-collection program. The ultimate goal of the SST is to win support for a federal law to mandate cross-state collection of sales tax on all direct sales.

 

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