SEATTLE, Dec. 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Tennessee recently reduced the rate of tax on food and food ingredients, Utah lawmakers periodically consider increasing it, and Kansas legislators often discuss exempting fresh foods altogether. Grocery taxability is a moving target, and sales tax compliance is too much for many grocers to swallow. The Missouri and Wisconsin Grocers Associations and the Texas Retailers Association have partnered with Avalara to make life simpler for its members struggling to make the right call on tax rates, rules, and exemptions. As Avalara partners, the associations will refer members to Avalara MatrixMaster, a sales tax calculation service that integrates with point-of-sale (POS) systems.
As states look to generate additional revenue through new sales tax regulations and enforcement tactics, the nation’s grocers are finding compliance a costly burden. Most grocers maintain tax rates manually, constantly tracking down government and manufacturer websites to research changing rules, rates, definitions, product ingredients, and more. But this process is complicated, time consuming, and error-prone.
“Wisconsin’s hodgepodge taxation of food makes it nearly impossible for retailers to determine taxability, and the resulting audits have been enough to shutter a business,” said Michelle Kussow, Executive Vice President, Wisconsin Grocers Association. “The WGA pushed our Department of Revenue to create a Sales Taxability Database for more than a decade to no avail. And then we came across Avalara and realized that the solution we were seeking was MatrixMaster. Through Avalara, we now are able to offer taxability information to our members.”
The Avalara MatrixMaster sales tax service tracks more than 15 million universal product codes (UPCs), as well as complex Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and sales tax holiday determinations. Grocers using the service automate the process of tracking and using accurate tax codes, and receive regular updates of changes, avoiding frustrated customers and state revenue departments. Avalara MatrixMaster offers an initial review of a retailer’s current tax mapping against its database to determine existing discrepancies or potential errors.
Today, more than 65 grocers and retailers already use MatrixMaster to achieve compliance while focusing on business growth, including Hy-Vee, The Fresh Market, Ahold Delhaize, Kum & Go, and Circle K.
“The huge amount of time and effort grocers now spend on sales tax compliance can be much better spent on exploring ways to improve how they serve their customers,” said Scott Peterson, Vice President of Government Relations at Avalara. “We welcome the opportunity to work with the Missouri and Wisconsin Grocers Associations and the Texas Retailers Association to provide their members with a very simple and straightforward way to ensure the accuracy of their sales tax reporting right at the point of sale.”
For more information about Avalara MatrixMaster or becoming an Avalara partner, visit the Avalara website.
About the Missouri Grocers Association
The Missouri Grocers Association is a nonprofit, state-wide organization representing over 1,300 members including the retailers, wholesalers, distributors, brokers, suppliers, vendors and manufacturers that constitute the grocery industry in the State of Missouri.
About the Texas Retailers Association
The Texas Retailers Association represents retailers across Texas, ranging from Texas-based companies of all sizes, to those with a significant presence in Texas, to independent shops and stores, to renowned household names. Collectively, TRA represents more than 320,000 retail establishments.
About the Wisconsin Grocers Association
The Wisconsin Grocers Association represents nearly 700 independent grocers, retail grocery chain stores, warehouses and distributors, convenience stores, food brokers, and suppliers. Wisconsin grocers employ over 93,000 people with $2.8 billion in payroll and generate more than $15 billion in economic activity statewide.
Avalara helps businesses of all sizes achieve compliance with transaction taxes, including sales and use, VAT, excise, communications, and other tax types. The company delivers comprehensive, automated, cloud-based solutions designed to be fast, accurate, and easy to use. The Avalara Compliance Cloud® platform helps customers manage complicated and burdensome tax compliance obligations imposed by state, local, and other taxing authorities throughout the world.
Avalara offers more than 600 pre-built connectors into leading accounting, ERP, ecommerce and other business applications, making the integration of tax and compliance solutions easy for customers. Each year, the company processes billions of indirect tax transactions for customers and users, files more than a million tax returns, and manages millions of tax exemption certificates and other compliance documents.
A privately held company, Avalara’s venture capital investors include Sageview Capital, Battery Ventures, Warburg Pincus, Technology Crossover Ventures, Arthur Ventures, and other institutional and individual investors. Headquartered in Seattle, Avalara has offices across the U.S. and overseas in the U.K., Belgium, Brazil, and India. More information at www.avalara.com.