In a time when every business is trying to make ends meet, the selling of tax forms is something they can count on to keep the money coming in. But, as is the case with most markets, difficulties can arise.
Just last year, it was announced that effective January 2016 the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Employer Shared Responsibility Rule, under IRS Code Sections 6055 and 6056, would require employers to file annual information returns with the IRS and deliver employee statements with health plan coverage information. Pundits believed the change would result in the filing of approximately 300 million new tax forms. The good news? An emerging sales opportunity for distributors. The not so good news? Extremely complex reporting requirements.
ComplyRight Distribution Services, a provider of government-compliant products and services based in Oxnard, Calif., knew it had to think fast. The company communicated with the IRS and other experts in the field in order to stay at the forefront of all updates. The end result of these conversations was a new set of ACA-related products.
Here, Rick Roddis, president of ComplyRight Distribution Services, discusses the specifics behind this successful promotion.
Describe a promotion of yours that you consider one of your best.
Rick Roddis (RR): In 2015, the IRS introduced a new set of tax forms related to the ACA. Businesses needed to issue a series of forms to their employees and also submit forms to the IRS. ComplyRight Distribution Services identified this as a great selling opportunity for the whole dealer community. Our whole team kicked into action: operations, marketing, product development and sales. First, we went to work with the IRS to participate in forms design. Once approved, we developed a whole new set of ACA-related products, including the forms, envelopes, software and even a cloud-based website for ACA filing. We then rolled it out to the dealer community using tools, such as press releases, training webinars, catalogs and in-person sales training and demonstrations. Many of our dealers grabbed hold of this opportunity, and we sold millions of forms, envelopes and software products. The dealers enjoyed a nice boost to their existing tax forms business. Many businesses were scrambling for solutions and our resellers had multiple answers—not only for their regular customers, but many gained new customers as well. And with an IRS-extended filing deadline, our dealers also extended their selling season.
What influenced the decision to offer ACA forms, envelopes, software and a new cloud solution?
RR: ... Our research showed that half of business[es] in the country were not being served, and there was a significant need to support them during year one of the ACA filing requirement.
How was this a profitable promotion for your company? For your distributor clients?
RR: We opened a whole new market for [ourselves] and our distributor clients. Our distributor clients enjoyed strong margins on these products; some had a 30 percent rise in their sales, and will get the benefit of product [reorders] year in and year out.
Did you encounter any challenges with this particular promotion? If so, how did you overcome them?
RR: Yes, there were challenges. The ACA was a completely new form, and the IRS produced conflicting messages throughout the year about the format of the form. We monitored these changes and communicated the correct information to our distributor clients. We utilized numerous contact strategies to keep our clients up-to-date: training webinars, on-demand training tools and email updates.
Do you have any advice for distributors interested in selling to the tax form market?
RR: The tax form market is an ever-changing market and can be complicated. You need a partner that keeps you up-to-date with all of the IRS regulations and changes. ComplyRight Distribution Services is here to partner with you to capture profitable sales in this dynamic market.
Is there anything you would like to add?
RR: We are seeing a major shift in the tax form marketplace. Businesses are moving online to complete their tax forms, which is jeopardizing our distributors’ current tax form and envelope business. ComplyRight Distribution Services is the only tax supplier offering a full range of tax form solutions to help the distributor capture sales in this changing market. Over the coming months, you will see our new offering called ComplyRight Tax Solutions, because it’s not just about forms anymore. It’s about new ways to file and deliver. This is a whole suite of products and services that our distributor clients can take advantage of to capture new sales.