Although all students in the U.S. with qualified educational expenses receive an annual 1098-T, the tax form doesn’t arrive in their mailboxes by magic. Processing 1098-Ts is a perennial burden on institutions—one that stretches resources and frays nerves.
To cope with the hassle of preparing the forms, many universities will rely on third-party contractors to process and mail their 1098-Ts each year. But that comes at a cost, often to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. Nor is relying on contractors a simple “set it and forget it” kind of deal. Before the contractor can begin their work, staff in the finance office must spend weeks (sometimes months) preparing the relevant data to be handed off. It is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that is prone to error. Overall, handling 1098-Ts often incurs enormous costs in terms of both money and time.
Document management systems, like FormFusion from Evisions, can ease these burdens though. Schools can save time and money—as well as make tax season a lot more tolerable—with the proper system in place.
Cut Out the Middleman
To start, FormFusion makes it easy to bring 1098-T processing in-house, instead of having to contract it out. FormFusion simplifies and automates so much of the 1098-T process, that your staff will be able to handle it themselves much more quickly and efficiently than any third-party would. Imagine what your finance office could accomplish with the thousands of dollars they’re saving by not hiring outside help every tax season.
Eliminate the Prep Work
Not only does switching to FormFusion save you money, but it also saves huge amounts of time, that would normally be spent extracting and preparing the data for the third party. That process is time-consuming and laborious, involving assembling, testing, exporting, and finally tidying up all the data in a format the contractor can work with. With electronic document management, that entire step is eliminated. FormFusion pulls and formats the data for you, and you’re ready to send out 1098-Ts in no time.
On a related note, eliminating the extract step also cuts down on the risk of errors significantly. When you’re pulling data out of your database manually to hand it off to someone else, there are many opportunities for error. Some are simple human errors that can happen while manually processing the data. But there’s also the simple fact that by uncoupling data from your ERP, you’re running the risk that your forms might use out-of-date information.
FormFusion can save you from all that. The software interacts directly with your ERP, pulling the most complete, current student information and using that to populate the 1098-Ts. Plus, FormFusion lets you use pre-built templates for 1098-Ts that can be downloaded from the Evisions CO-OP. Not only can that help you get up and running with the solution quickly, but you can rest easy knowing that Evisions updates its tax templates whenever there is a change.
Free Up Your Staff
Now, you might be concerned that, by bringing the 1098-T process in-house, you might be piling extra work on your already stretched-thin staff. But that’s not the case! Given the lack of prep work and the seamless integration with your ERP, what before might have taken multiple staff members months to complete can now be managed with FormFusion by one person, in just a few weeks. The designated staff member in charge of processing 1098-Ts will find that with FormFusion, the overall task is much simpler. The data is populated automatically and the forms can be created quite quickly, so all he or she has to worry about is stuffing envelopes (or uploading PDFs to a portal) and sending them out. Reduce stress levels across your department by freeing up valuable staff time.
Just because 1098-Ts have always been a thorn in your side, doesn’t mean they will be forever. Switching to FormFusion can deliver such a profound transformation, that you’ll soon start looking around for other processes that would stand to benefit from a document management solution.
What other benefits have you found in managing your 1098-Ts with FormFusion? Share them with your peers, in the comments section below!