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SST Registrants and their CSP’s (There’s a whole lot of talking going on..)

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Part 5 of “Streamlined Sales Tax: From Registration to Maintenance”

This is the fifth post in a multi-post series. In the first post (“Is Streamlined Sales Tax Right for Your Business” ) blogger Cory Barwick (of CCH) boils it down to three key factors which a company needs to review if they are considering Streamlined Sales Tax for their business. In the second post of the series (“Okay, SST is for me… Now what? The SST Registration Process”) we explored the ins and outs of the SST registration process itself and selecting your technology partner and we then looked at the service agreement between seller and technology partner (“Getting to Know Your New Technology Partner – Your Services Agreement”).   We are now taking a closer look at how SST will impact your day-to-day...

Whether or not you were a customer of your CSP prior to becoming an SST registrant, you may notice that you are talking with this partner more than ever about sales tax.  You may wonder why this is happening and if there is anything that you can do from a business perspective to cut down on the communication or, better yet, improve your process even more so that communication is almost never needed.

There are many ways that you can accomplish further automation of your process but as you do, you need to understand that communicating with your CSP is still a crucial task in that process.  Let’s look at some of the more common reasons that you would need to talk with you CSP and then we will briefly look at the ways that your business can get further involved in the SST process.

How am I supposed to interact with my CSP? Why is it different than before?

You may find that you are interacting with your CSP quite a bit more frequently than expected, even if you were a customer of that provider prior to becoming an SST registrant. There are many reasons for this but here are some of the more common issues that will arise that would require CSP interaction:

1) Your CSP is responsible for filing your sales and use tax on your behalf.

In the past, you may have only had to file and remit sales tax on a quarterly, semi-annual, annual or even an occasional basis. Per the contract that your CSP has with SST and the participating states to the agreement, they must file and remit tax for your company on a monthly basis. To that end, your CSP will request that you fund their company the appropriate amount of sales tax due on a monthly basis.

Another issue that arises- is that your CSP may receive notices related to your sales tax activity directly from the states - or alternately, you may receive notices that you need to forward to them. It is important to remember that you should allow your CSP to take action on notices that you receive from any SST state. Many times, the CSP is either aware of the issue and has already resolved it, or they are in a position to provide the necessary response. For whatever the reason, you should be contacting your CSP about any notice received from and SST state as your CSP has processes in place to handle those notices on your behalf.

2) Your customer's invoices have changed from month to month.

Since you are an SST registered company, you are relying on the data supplied by the state to your CSP to calculate the correct amount of tax that should apply to your company's invoices. Since you often do not receive notice of SST changes as they occur, you may find that you need to periodically ask your CSP about changes to your tax collection. A good tip to remember is that most of the changes to a CSP system will occur at the beginning of each calendar quarter. So if you notice a change to an invoice around that time - there's a good chance that's the issue.

It's that time! This concludes the "implementation" part of this series. In the next post we'll look at what you need to consider in order to ensure that you are properly maintaining an accurate SST configuration and process. We will then reserve the final post of the series to SST audits … (Yes audits ... You at least need to know about them!)

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