Direct Commerce Systems

RE: Order Management, eCommerce and Fulfillment Solutions for Direct Merchants

If you collect sales taxes in more than one or two states for your direct commerce sales (because you have a physical "nexus" in those states), you probably use (or need) a system to apply the correct rate to each sale (managing not only the rate but exemptions, thresholds, "tax holidays," etc.). There used to be only one or two third-party options for handling this (along with creation of the state tax filings on the right forms), but there are now quite a few. Which ones do you have experience with? Which are the most cost-effective? Anything else to report?

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We've been working with Avalara which seems to be relatively cost effective and better aimed at the middle market than Vertex. A little weak outside of the us, and there's still a fair bit of work to do with proper planning for merchandise categorization, but it seems like a good choice for us. I just hope this sales tax nightmare ends sometime soon. For the reasons that Ernie cites, it's become impractical for most software vendor and merchants to manage this process anymore.

what else is out there?
Thanks for that, Jeff. Avalara is, indeed, the "talk of the town" at the moment. As for "what else is out there," you have:
Kampdata
RIA Insource
Sabrix
ADP Taxware (which I have heard can be difficult to deal with, now that ADP bought them)
Speedtax

Jeff White said:
We've been working with Avalara which seems to be relatively cost effective and better aimed at the middle market than Vertex. A little weak outside of the us, and there's still a fair bit of work to do with proper planning for merchandise categorization, but it seems like a good choice for us. I just hope this sales tax nightmare ends sometime soon. For the reasons that Ernie cites, it's become impractical for most software vendor and merchants to manage this process anymore.

what else is out there?
Found out this week that Avalara also does Address Hygiene on all tax transactions at no extra cost. With their already low-cost service, you're getting a second service at better-than-free! (Of course, this only applies to addresses in states where you have nexus.)

Jeff White said:
We've been working with Avalara which seems to be relatively cost effective and better aimed at the middle market than Vertex. A little weak outside of the us, and there's still a fair bit of work to do with proper planning for merchandise categorization, but it seems like a good choice for us. I just hope this sales tax nightmare ends sometime soon. For the reasons that Ernie cites, it's become impractical for most software vendor and merchants to manage this process anymore.

what else is out there?
We currently use Vertex with Ecometry, but as we move to Dynamics AX, we'll be moving to CCH Sales Tax Office. It is neither new, nor cheap, though you get a lot more for the $ than Vertex. It will handle our Nexus' in the US and Canada, prepare our filings for us, and does address hygiene, though only for US addresses as it uses the USPS database..

We did look at Avalara, and it's an up-and-comer for sure.
We recently added support for AvaTax to the Stone Edge Order Manager. Avalara has been very aggressive (in a good way) and supportive of our efforts, including sponsoring our last User Conference. So far we have found them to be very good people to work with.
We've also conclude that Avalara has a very strong solution for sales tax requirements. We were very impressed with their pricing when multi-channels are invloved with mutliple vendors.

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