US: Cloud-based tax compliance solution provider Avalara has launched Avalara for Hospitality, a solution for short-term rental operators, hotel chains, resorts, OTAs and property management groups that automates the most time-consuming aspects of tax compliance, including calculation and filing of sales and lodging tax returns.
Sanjay Parthasarathy, chief product officer at Avalara, said: “Today’s announcement coincides with businesses in this sector emerging from shutdowns and curtailed operations, and developing a path forward to growth and profitability. Many hospitality businesses have used the enforced downtime to implement new technologies that modernise operations, streamline processes via automation, gain efficiencies, and reduce the risk of audits and fines for noncompliance of tax and other obligations.
“Avalara for Hospitality helps these businesses manage the full breadth of their tax compliance commitments, and deal with the many changes in rates, rules, and new tax types added by jurisdictions,” he added.
Avalara for Hospitality is designed to provide the following benefits to businesses:
Improve compliance. Maintaining accurate tax rates and rules is a labour-intensive process, whether a business is managing a single property or a chain of hotels. Getting rates wrong or not understanding total obligations can result in overpaying or underpaying taxes. Tax experts at Avalara track lodging and related tax rates at the city, county, and state level, and Avalara for Hospitality automates these tax calculations. Avalara also helps to determine which taxes are owed and remits funds to the jurisdiction on a regular basis, facilitating compliance.
Streamline reporting. Manually consolidating data to determine tax obligations for online travel agencies, property management groups and hotel chains via their back-end systems is a time-consuming process, prone to human error. Avalara for Hospitality can integrate with existing hospitality marketplaces, ERP, PMS, point-of-sale, or accounting platforms, to deliver consistent rates and reporting across sales channels and internal systems.
Improve process efficiency. Preparing, filing and remitting reports for city, county, and state jurisdictions requires significant manual effort, with even greater complexity if a business is operating properties in multiple jurisdictions or renting through multiple channels. Customers can offload returns preparation, filing, and remitting to Avalara. Avalara for Hospitality also allows businesses to write a single remittance check, and the company distributes the funds based on what is owed to each jurisdiction, helping to reduce costs, and increase efficiency and compliance.
Reduce audit risk, improve customer experience. Streamline processes to create a simple, reliable booking experience that includes tax rates to show exact charges up front. In addition, improve pricing transparency while mitigating audit risk. Avalara integrates with booking platforms in order to provide a consistent rate.
Oliver Hoare, general manager for lodging at Avalara, said: “Avalara for Hospitality provides businesses with a technology solution to solve for an ongoing, complex, time-consuming compliance burden that diverts resources away from business-building activities. As hotels and resorts begin a return to full capacity, streamlining a host of back-office operations including the calculation, filing, and remittance of lodging, sales, and other taxes is essential to remaining competitive, mitigating current and future risk, and maintaining a laser focus on growth.”
Avalara says it will continue to add new capabilities and functionality, including additional hospitality tax types, to upcoming releases of the Avalara for Hospitality solution.