Business portal work under way


CARSON CITY -- Representatives of a computer technology company began work Thursday on a $4.5 million "business portal" that when fully operational will allow businesses to conduct virtually all state and local government business on a secretary of state website.

Capgemini officials hope to finish the initial phases of the portal by March. Funds come from a bill passed unanimously at the 2009 session of the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jim Gibbons.

A study showed Nevada state government could pick up $14 million in additional business licenses taxes with technology that determines when companies pay their $200-a-year business license fee if they have met a requirement to file their annual list of officers with the secretary of state. A fee also is required for filing this list.

Not all companies are required to file officer lists, but those that have incorporated in Nevada are.

"This will be great for business," Secretary of State Ross Miller said Thursday in a telephone interview after the new conference. "We will get a significant return on our investment and in the long term, it will show businesses that Nevada is a very efficient place to do business.

Miller missed the news conference to participate in a celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe, but made himself available to the media throughout the day. He is running for re-election against Republican Rob Lauer.

While the term "business portal" does not sound very exciting, Miller said what really is being offered is "one-stop shopping" for businesses.

Eventually the portal will allow them to pay business licenses and payroll taxes at the same time, register business vehicles online rather than going to the Department of Motor Vehicles, get their state and local business licenses and pay unemployment taxes, along with other features.

In a news conference, Department of Taxation and secretary of state officials said that between 68 percent and 92 percent of their transactions are online.

Some people might prefer to handle business matters in person, according to Miller, but their numbers are continually dropping.

"This will move us light years ahead of where we were," said Miller, noting other states offer business portals, but they just provide links to the offices where companies must transact business.

What the Capgemini system offers is a real single-stop mechanism for handling all business matters.

This includes "wizard" technology, he said. If a company does not complete all needed information, this technology will tell them of their error and force them to add what is needed. It also will assist them in determining what business transactions they want to perform.

Capgemini, for now, is developing the "backbone" of the system, according to Miller. From this backbone, the secretary of state's office will add other services, which Miller does not expect will be overly expensive. He expects, for example, to have Clark County offer its business license transactions on the portal.

Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, was the primary sponsor of the business portal bill.

"This bill was one of the positive highlights of the session for me because it allows the state to accomplish a lot of great things, despite our budget challenges," Oceguera said.

He expects the portal will permit the state to capture untold millions of dollars that would have previously gone uncollected.

The contract with Capgemini was approved Tuesday by the Board of Examiners, whose members include Miller, Gibbons and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

 

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