Sales Tax Fundamentals
Get up to speed on the basics of sales tax
Founded in 2000, SCOTTeVEST was an early-adopter of eCommerce, selling their apparel with specialized compartments and pockets online. Their founder, Scott Jordan, launched their online store with the eCommerce platform Miva. With a unique product and an appearance on the hit show, Shark Tank, their brand took off — bringing “pockets without boundaries” to thousands of customers. SCOTTeVEST first implemented TaxJar in 2017 to help stay sales tax compliant. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on South Dakota v. Wayfair and significant growth in their business, they briefly switched to a competitor. However, it was TaxJar’s customer-centric approach that brought SCOTTeVEST back to TaxJar — saving them thousands in the process.
Growth plus nexus equals automation
When Scott launched the company, their first product was a stylish vest with more pockets to hold all the necessities, and then some. With the success of the eVest, Scott and his team continued to innovate. Next they took their “pocket science” and launched the brand name Technology-Enabled Clothing, with specialized pockets for electronics and patents for loops and conduits to manage headphone wires. Since then, SCOTTeVEST has expanded to launch a full catalog of clothing and accessories for both men and women.
SCOTTeVEST experienced significant periods of growth. The first followed their appearance on Shark Tank. Then they adopted Amazon as a sales channel and increased advertising. In fact, in the last couple of years, TV advertising has helped them double their business.
With this growth came more sales tax implications. When Wayfair v. South Dakota established economic nexus, SCOTTeVEST gave a couple employees the task of managing their sales tax obligations, including manually filing in two states.
As sales grew, so did the number of states in which they had to file; not to mention there was increased risk of incurring an audit. In 2017, Scott started looking for a better way to manage their sales tax efficiently and accurately.
A quick search surfaced the comprehensive content from the TaxJar blog, and they were sold. SCOTTeVEST became a TaxJar customer.
Evaluating business needs, and making the switch (back)
When SCOTTeVEST expanded to Amazon and started advertising on television, they evaluated their business investments to ensure that their software matched the increased requirements that came with more sales.
Miva was well-suited for their growing ecommerce needs, but they had some concerns about sales tax management for a larger business. As businesses move up-market, the risks also increase. The accuracy of sales tax calculations becomes critical, and large product catalogs require more granular tax codes. Multi-channel reporting, including marketplaces that may be impacted by states’ marketplace facilitator laws, becomes complicated. Reaching nexus in new states increases the burden of filing and, at the time, TaxJar couldn’t file in all of the states. And with the level of growth SCOTTeVEST was experiencing, they needed to automate more filings.
SCOTTeVEST briefly switched to a TaxJar competitor during this time.
“We switched because we assumed that more expensive meant better, but we quickly learned that this was not true. We also didn’t find them very customer-centric.”
SCOTTeVEST returned as a TaxJar customer in 2019, saving thousands from the competitive solution. With newfound confidence in TaxJar’s accuracy, they were also able to cut back on their CPA billing hours, saving even more. Getting up and running with Miva again was seamless. They also found TaxJar had evolved its technology significantly, allowing them to now file in every state. SCOTTeVEST uses AutoFile for 31 states, including Washington DC.
Beyond the technology – choosing trustworthy partners
As business grows and the complexities of your technology stack increase, the relationship with your solutions becomes a critical consideration. It’s nice to know that the people on the other side of the computer also care about the success of your business. In Scott’s, the founder of SCOTTeVEST, own words:
“Failure to do it right is very costly.”
Exceptional customer service is a value carried by both Miva and TaxJar. TaxJar’s support team was responsive and knowledgeable when questions did arise. For example, SCOTTeVEST recently enabled sales tax calculations for orders shipping to Australia from their Miva site. When first turning on this feature, it did not appear that tax was actually being calculated for these Australia orders. The Miva and TaxJar teams quickly came together, and discovered that all that was required was a simple update to the Miva module.
Working with technology partners that share a collaborative, customer-first approach, can save your team valuable hours of troubleshooting.
“The customer service was amazing.”
SCOTTeVEST is a clothing company that specializes in stylish garments with conduit systems and specialized pockets and compartments for holding mobile phones, tablet computers and other portable electronic devices, and for managing and controlling their wires. After the success of their vests, SCOTTeVEST uses their “Pocket Science” in a catalog of products including jackets, hoodies, and accessories.
About Miva, Inc
Since 1997, Miva has delivered expertly-designed eCommerce solutions to help high-growth businesses serve their customers in the most innovative, forward-thinking ways possible. Miva stores deliver superior online shopping experiences and support sophisticated back-end eCommerce workflows. Miva is the only cloud-based platform that provides a reliable and expandable enterprise eCommerce solution from a single source. Miva owns and maintains the Miva Merchant software and cloud-based hosting environment.