Staples Sees Online Filing as Sticky Business

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Expanding its service offerings to induce repeat visits, office supplies retailer Staples.com wants small businesses to file taxes through its site.


The Framingham, MA, retailer has partnered with Nationtax Online, a Web-based business tax filing network, targeting businesses that want to upgrade from paper and software tax forms.


Unlike personal income taxes for individuals, business taxes are a predictable routine, said Rhonda Jung, spokeswoman for Nationtax, Birmingham, AL. State sales taxes have to be filed each month, and withholding taxes to states and the Internal Revenue Service every month or quarter.


"What that means is that if a business is using Staples.com to order office supplies, they can also go to the Staples.com Web site and file their taxes," Jung said. "What it does for sites like Staples.com is that it keeps visitors or members coming back on a predictable basis and offers them a service that is paper- and software-free."


For Staples.com, the foray into online tax filing is part of a plan to become an online business-to-business hub for office needs.


"Staples.com is focused on bringing small businesses everything they need on a single destination," said Debby Hohler, spokeswoman for Staples.com. "Taxes are an essential but time-consuming part of running a business. We partnered with Nationtax to simplify that process."


Visitors log on to the site at www.staples.com/solutionscenter and file sales and use tax, income tax withholding, and other state and local business taxes in 15 states. Nationwide, businesses can file the IRS federal withholding tax form 941 and the employer's quarterly federal tax return.


Founded in 1980, the privately held Nationtax charges $3.95 per online filing transaction.


More than 42 business tax forms have been put online and are available for filing across the Nationtax network, which, besides Staples.com, also includes americanexpress.com and PeachTree software.


"Right now, our service is available for state sales tax processing in 15 states," Jung said, "but Staples.com customers in all 50 states can file their federal 941 withholding taxes."
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