Business IssueThe company, a multi-billion-dollar retailer of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing was seeking a new outsourcing partner for sales and use tax and business licensing compliance. Sales and use tax and business licensing compliance is a key function and significant risk of the company’s tax department. The company’s objective was to ensure timely and accurate reporting for the company’s sales and use tax and business licensing compliance requirements.
The company was not satisfied with the level of service from the prior service provider. Based on referrals from national retailers that Jefferson Wells provides compliance services, Jefferson Wells was chosen by the company to be their sales and use tax and business licensing compliance outsourcing partner.
The Client was concerned with the transition of the compliance function from the prior provider to Jefferson Wells by the anticipated go-live date. Since the Client collects and remits a significant amount of sales and use tax in just about every taxing jurisdiction in the US, compliance is critical to the company’s operations and a risk to its financial statements. To that end, Jefferson Wells demonstrated its expertise with transition and compliance issues facing the Client.
For the sales and use tax and business licensing compliance function to operate efficiently and effectively, it is imperative that information is exchanged timely and accurately. The procedures established by Jefferson Wells in conjunction with the Client ensures that the objectives are met.
In 2018, Client engaged Jefferson Wells for outsourced sales and use tax and business licensing compliance services. To address the Client’s transition concerns, Jefferson Wells and Client developed a detailed work plan to identify tasks, milestones, resources, timing and deliverables. Jefferson Wells also demonstrated the technology used to provide the compliance services and developed management reports to the Client’s requirements.
Our process and attention to detail provided the Client a comfort level that the transition would be smooth and the go-live date attainable.
The transition was efficient and effective and Jefferson Wells was prepared to begin preparing and filing sales and use tax returns and business license renewals by the go-live date.
During the transition Jefferson Wells found several discrepancies and brought to the Client’s attention. The discrepancies included returns not filed, general ledger account balances and credits not properly identified or timely taken. For example, $200K of credits were identified for Puerto Rico due to unreconciled prepayments and failure to properly claim import credits. The Client was unaware of the credits and Jefferson Wells assisted Client properly claim the credits and establish procedures for claiming credits on an on-going basis.
Business Licensing compliance was complicated by the former service provider not willing to forward renewal applications addressed to the provider’s mailing address. This impacted business licensing in over 1,000 jurisdictions. Jefferson Wells took an aggressive approach reaching out to states and local jurisdictions to change the mailing address.
As the engagement continues, the Jefferson Wells compliance team has created efficiencies for the client and therefore reduced the number of hours spent by both Jefferson Wells and the Client. In addition, Jefferson Wells provides technical assistance to the Client with addressing Wayfair implications, product taxability, filing positions and registration issues.