Your Secret Gift

Exactor Sales Tax Service

Case Study – Startup Business

Your Secret Gift LLC (“YSG”) is an Internet-based retailer. The company was founded in 2007 to give customers the ability to send items and messages anonymously without revealing the sender’s identity to the recipient. Through its website,, Your Secret Gift offers unusual gift ideas for friends, family, bad bosses, co-workers, pet owners, neighbors, and sports fans. Each item is specially selected with a specific audience, use, situation or benefit in mind.

At the time YSG first started looking at sales tax solutions it was a small Internet startup. Similar to other startups, with operations in one location and fulfillment in another, the company realized that it might have limited sales tax exposure. However, even with limited exposure, compliance would still be complex, and without an adequate solution – too expensive for a small startup company to afford. Critical factors that faced the company were the identification of a scalable solution that would allow an evaluation of each transaction in real time, be able to determine where the appropriate nexus occurred and then calculate sales tax and include the taxes accurately and without slowing down the need for speed necessary in Internet sales. Topping this list of requirements was the need for a price point that would be affordable for a new startup company, with a yet unknown revenue stream.

Carol Borthwick, founder and CEO of the company, says that she interviewed several companies before deciding to go with Exactor. She says that they also considered performing the sales tax compliance efforts on their own. However, with a state like Colorado, with over 60 home rule local filings, and no reliable address table available, she found these efforts to be too complicated, time consuming and expensive. “It would have been impractical to develop our own solution.”

Ms. Borthwick says two of the vendors she interviewed were simply not geared to work with small companies. While each claimed to cater to the small business market, the complexity of their operations and their pricing structures clearly indicated that they could not provide YSG with the solution the company needed at the desired price point. Ms. Borthwick says that she was impressed by the sense of professionalism and competence that she felt from Exactor’s low pressure sales approach. When dealing with a provider of a critical financial service such as sales tax compliance, she preferred a solid, informational sales proposal over that of an aggressive high-pressured one, where the sales person may be promising more than what could be delivered.

Indeed, Ms. Borthwick states that Exactor’s “system works the way it is supposed to” and that the company “delivers what they promise.” Per Ms. Borthwick, Exactor’s representatives listen well, and “understand the issues we face, they are knowledgeable, which I find to be unusual” which means that we “don’t have to wait for answers. All this is very reassuring.”

Ms. Borthwick concludes that “many vendors talk about being your partner, but do not deliver. With Exactor it is different, they really view the relationship as a partnership. From start to finish, Exactor delivers what they promise as to how they do business and work with us as a client. With them it is not just talk, there is great follow-through.”
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