The City of Oak Creek, Wisconsin

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The Problem

Entities of all kinds are struggling with ACA reporting, including municipalities. Take for instance, The City of Oak Creek in Wisconsin. Marie Lenda is the Benefits Coordinator who has been the primary contact for handling the HR/benefits for the city’s employees and retirees for almost all of her 20 year career. She admitted that at first she had no idea of the complexity and magnitude that was going to be involved with this new tax obligation.

Marie also quickly realized that she didn’t have the resources in place or enough people to handle all the requirements that come with ACA reporting. Marie often meets with other municipalities so they can share ideas and challenges they are collectively facing. She found other cities were telling their HR departments ACA is now part of their job and to handle it with no additional hires.

However, Marie was able to explain the enormity of ACA obligations to her council and that it was unknown how much time would be needed to compile all the requisite information on her own. She also knew what was at stake between penalties, upsetting city workers who rely on her and potential damage to the Oak Creek’s reputation if ACA Reporting was not handled correctly.

Oak Creek’s council and management understood that government reporting is not a simple task and agreed that seeking a third party who was experienced with this kind of reporting was the best choice as long as the right vendor was chosen.

It was her broker at Gallagher, who she trusts and relies upon, who recommended Sovos Compliance and the Sovos ACA solution.

Because of the long lasting relationship with her Gallagher broker, Marie and Oak Creek went with Sovos because they knew Sovos has been handling tax information reporting for over 30 years and were reliable.

The Sovos ACA Solution

Marie was quick to point out that she does not know what she ‘would have done without Sovos.’ She realized she would have spent countless hours and ‘it would have taken so much longer and been so much harder if she had not used Sovos.’ There were many things Marie appreciated about working with Sovos.

The instructions that Sovos provided about loading the data and filling in statements was very helpful. When she needed assistance putting the right codes in the appropriate areas of the forms, ‘I was so thankful that I could call and there was always a Sovos person on the other line who could look at the data and help you make sure the right information was in the right fields and the clarification was super helpful.’

Marie was quick to point out that the customer service at Sovos was always ‘very pleasant, very quick to respond and very helpful.’ She liked that even though this was an important and critical undertaking, ‘there was always a friendly, professional person on the other end from Sovos to help her work through any issue or question from fixing a mistake she had made to getting the right information she needed to move forward, no matter what time of day.’

Additionally, Marie really appreciated the weekly emails about updates and timelines from Sovos, which helped her stay on track ensuring she would meet deadlines. She saved all those emails and would refer to them when needed. She also felt Sovos’ webinars and screenshots made implementation easy and the Sovos ACA software was very user friendly.

Lastly, Marie appreciated that the software flagged errors and easily identified what might need attention. This helped her rectify those issues quickly, saving time.

Deadlines

Marie was happy to report that she made the mailing deadline and got all 1095 forms out to employees on time. She stated the print and mail services were convenient, easy and simple. With the push of a button, it sent her forms to print, with confirmation emails sent stating that the job would be printed, going out the next day and employees would receive their forms.

Marie is always concerned about liability and the reputation of Oak Creek so she wanted the reporting done correctly, on time and wanted to avoid any chance that it would look like the city was ignoring the laws. She was relieved that none of the employees she is responsible for have had any trouble with their 1095 forms and she has been able to easily help her employees with any issue thanks to the education and help provided by Sovos.

The Benefits

  • Cost: Marie stated that Sovos is ‘absolutely worth it for the price. The peace of mind is priceless.’
  • Service: The customer service was ‘wonderful, friendly and helpful.’ Marie knows her stress level was greatly reduced because Sovos was backing her up. She would call and someone would help her resolve any problem, explaining it simply and professionally. ‘You provided excellent customer service every time.’
  • Delivery: There was no doubt about if the forms were printed, mailed. Confirmation arrived and employees were happy so she was happy.

Oak Creek’s Results

Marie believes they are now ready for next year and feels confident because Sovos ACA was user friendly. She will be prepared to handle every aspect of this tax reporting obligation moving forward even as changes occur, because Sovos updates the solution. She feels she can respond to employees when they have questions because Sovos has properly educated her.

She definitely recommends Sovos as a vendor for ACA reporting and will absolutely continue using Sovos. In fact, she has recommended Sovos to other municipalities who struggled this year trying to handle all of the reporting themselves. She hopes that other councils and cities will see the benefit in using Sovos, because she believes they are a ‘trusted vendor’ who can help assure compliance.

Oak Creek