If death and taxes are inevitable, then death and sales and use taxes are even more so.

With a slumping economy and governmental bodies on the prowl for revenue, the need to accurately track who owes what to whom has never been greater. Fortunately, the ability to make those determinations has been getting easier with the Internet playing a major role in that improvement.

Previously, the ability to use technology to solve these problems were reserved for companies that could afford high-priced applications on equally high-priced hardware.There are companies such as Sabrix and ADP TaxWare that are spanning difference levels of the market, offering service for both enterprises and small and mid-market business.

But this is a field where Internet-based systems seem to be a natural, especially via the use of Web Services, the group of protocols that let different systems exchange files.

One of the first out into the field was Avalara, which has integrated its AvaTax system with most mid-market financial applications—including Epicor Enterprise, Dynamics GP and NAV and Sage’s MAS and Accpac lines—and with QuickBooks.

Newer to the field is SpeedTax, also available only on the Web, which is trying to emulate the success Avalara has in establishing alliances with the financial software vendors. Its first announced relationships have been with parties who are writing integration to Accpac and to Sage MAS 90/200 for its SpeedTax Manager.

The importance of all this is that there are more choices for the small and midsize businesses at a time when governmental agencies are eying their operations with greater diligence.

And this is an application that was made for the Internet—lots of data that changes with great rapidity. In fact, in a few years, we will probably look back and wonder why any one ever did it another way.

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