February 12, 2021

6 Tips For a Seamless SuiteTax (With Localization) Implementation

By Matthew Madison

SuiteTax is NetSuite’s new tax APIs currently being rolled out to eventually replace the Legacy Tax functionality. SuiteTax allows for increased localization to address unique, tax intensive nations such as Brazil, India, and China. It also allows multiple tax engines to be used for different Nexuses (including third-party solutions). It also provides for various tax registrations for subsidiary and entity records. Since it is still new, SuiteTax has several obstacles to navigate to implement it properly. This blog post aims to identify some of these obstacles and propose solutions.

Today we’ll cover 6 tips for a seamless SuiteTax implementation

  1. Qualifying Questionnaire
  2. Implementation Guides
  3. Bundle Installation
  4. Setup
  5. Support
  6. Tax Knowledge

Qualifying Questionnaire

SuiteTax is a hidden, non-reversible feature. Because of this, before a NetSuite customer can have SuiteTax provisioned to their account, they must complete and submit a questionnaire. This questionnaire is meant to ensure the proper use of SuiteTax. Some of the common questions include general account information, what countries the customer needs SuiteTax for, third party solutions (Avalara, Vertex, etc.) to be used alongside SuiteTax, features, and bundles used that are incompatible with SuiteTax, etc.

A support case must be submitted with the questionnaire attached. It must be done separately for provisioning to both the sandbox (existing customers with transaction data are highly recommended to install to sandbox first) and production accounts.

It takes NetSuite some time (possibly up to a week or more) to process these questionnaires. Keep this in mind and make sure the support case and questionnaire are submitted as early as possible to prevent implementation delays!

Implementation Guides

There are several useful implementation guides for SuiteTax, but they aren’t always easy to locate. The “NetSuite SuiteTax Setup Guide” is now available from the Help Center under the “User Guides” section and is very helpful for general SuiteTax setup. Also, some localization guides (e.g., “India Specific Features Guide” and “Brazil Specific Features Guide”) will have sections addressing specific tax setup issues. These guides are also in the User Guides section of the Help Center. It is essential to follow them as closely as possible. Often we’ll see clients miss areas of the entity record setup such as GST, Default Tax Registration, and Rule setup. These are important areas because they enable automation to occur within NetSuite SuiteTax that saves your team time. If the entity setup is completed incorrectly, your team will quickly become frustrated and ultimately need to start from scratch, scrubbing incorrect information and updating accurate information.

If you are struggling with your implementation, we recommend looking into the guide “SuiteTax topics Help Center” that addresses issues and includes all help center topics. While it’s not yet readily available in the User Guides section, you can get your hands on it by reaching out directly to NetSuite via email at training@netsuite.com. Additionally, if you’re a NetSuite partner, they offer some helpful excel checklists for new accounts and migrating accounts that help plan your implementation. We highly recommend using these, so be sure to ask the NetSuite team for the “Configurations Checklist Guide” as well.

Bundle Installation

For each implementation of SuiteTax (including localization), NetSuite will have a recommended bundle installation order. If they don’t provide this info, be sure to verify this with them before installing bundles, as incorrect bundle installation could cause you headaches down the road. It’s important to understand that the bundle ID numbers sometimes change, so you will want to ensure installing the latest ones. While there isn’t a set cadence in which these numbers change, be sure to contact NetSuite Help if you see a bundle ID number that doesn’t match what’s available in a guide.

If you’re unsure of the correct setup, we’ve provided an example of the proper installation order for SuiteTax with India Localization:

Priority 1. SuiteTax Engine                                      Bundle ID 237702

Priority 2. SuiteTax Data Records                           Bundle ID 239499

Priority 3. India Localization SuiteTax Engine         Bundle ID 253246

Priority 4. SuiteTax Reports                                    Bundle ID 237699

Priority 5. India Localization SuiteTax Reports       Bundle ID 255126

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Setup

While installing and implementing SuiteTax is an undertaking in itself, there is still more work to be done. After you’ve completed the initial phases, you’ll often find that your entity records (Customers, Vendors, etc.) must be cleaned or scrubbed for SuiteTax to work correctly. In past projects with the India Localization, we’ve seen clients with many customers and vendors store information in custom fields. While this initiative comes from the right mindset, information such as Goods and Services Tax (GST) ID numbers, Permanent Account Numbers (PAN), and other information can be quite complex in customizations. The custom SuiteTax fields are automatically created by the bundle. The cumbersome part is making sure they are populated with the tax info instead of custom fields the client may have created to store the info before going with SuiteTax. Values will need to be copied over to the SuiteTax fields for proper tax calculation. Ensure you have standardized fields and use defaults when appropriate to limit any future frustrations or errors.

Support

Support for SuiteTax is still in its infancy stage. As it’s a relatively new product, the support team behind it, while in place, is learning the product. While they will have more information on issues, we recommend working as a team with the NetSuite team and be proactive when submitting cases to ensure you’re able to remedy your problems efficiently. If the primary support plan doesn’t work for you, NetSuite does offer a premium support plan. Cases under this package may be quickly escalated to the experts who are responsible for developing the product.

Like any new product, there is an endless list of enhancement requests, and for SuiteTax, there is no exception. One enhancement we’d like to highlight is #579958, which is all the rounding preferences in SuiteTax to be available in accounts that have the India Localization installed. As you find areas you’d like to see improvements, be sure to submit to support with your account information and detailed comments. The more customers who submit requests, the more likely NetSuite will address these issues!

Tax Knowledge

Taxes come with enough complications in your own state as is, let alone when you’re attempting to implementing NetSuite SuiteTax in a foreign country. As you prepare to install SuiteTax, it’s crucial to brush up on the local tax laws, regardless of where you’re implementing them. By understanding the tax laws, you can define what you truly need the product to accomplish. This is even more important when client staff are new to the localization. Each location has different concepts, such as Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) in India, which requires specific application and reporting. We recommend educating yourself and your team about these concepts by researching the appropriate tax agency websites to understand the tax laws at play.

Conclusion

There are multiple benefits to SuiteTax when it’s implemented correctly. While the above six tips should undoubtedly have you on your way, contact us if you have questions or visit our NetSuite Consulting practice page to learn more about our expertise. Bridgepoint Consulting, an Addison Group company, is a leading management consulting firm that helps companies throughout their business lifecycle. We offer a broad range of finance, technology, and risk/compliance services to support clients from the startup phase all the way to IPO readiness and beyond. Since 1999, we’ve been helping executives and management teams reduce their business and operational risks, bridge resource gaps, and improve overall performance. Whether an organization needs interim expertise to improve infrastructure and processes, or strategic management of a major transition or transaction, our team of qualified professionals can help.

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About Matthew Madison

Matthew is a NetSuite implementation consultant currently based in Denver, CO. He has over 20 years of experience in accounting with 3 years-experience in NetSuite both as an end user and a consultant. He has a BS in Business Administration, an MS in Accounting and an MBA in Finance. He’s also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and has several NetSuite certifications.

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