STRUGGLING TO COMPLY WITH MULTISTATE TAX RULES, OBTAIN CLARITY, REDUCE EXPOSURE, OR RESOLVE CONTROVERSY?
THE 'GAME' KEEPS CHANGING
Multistate tax laws are so complicated that businesses are set up to fail, to be exposed to audit assessments, to miss out on refunds due to expired statute-of-limitations, pushed to appeal assessments because of unreasonable positions by department audit divisions, coerced to pay computer generated notices simply because the cost of fighting outweighs the benefit. Forced to obtain elaborate accounting software, put procedures in place to comply, and hire experts to plan to minimize tax and mitigate the risk of exposure. The compliance burden for multistate businesses is overwhelming.
State statutes and regulations, court cases, rulings, internal audit division policies, etc. change daily. The constant change and lack of uniformity among the states produces unintended consequences. Even years later, after statutes or regulations have been in place and businesses have complied, states may choose to change the rules again (or sometimes they change their interpretation of the same rules with out changing the rules). To complicate matters even worse, these changes may be imposed prospectively or retroactively; whichever has the least impact on the state's revenue. Consequently, taxpayers who have relied on the state's interpretation or challenged the state's interpretation, may owe additional tax or be unable to obtain refunds they deserve.
WHAT I DO
I make 'the game' easier. I daily research complex, non-uniform multi-jurisdictional tax law and developments that impact every business' ability to function and operate. I help companies operating in multiple states, comply, mitigate risk, and defend positions under audit.
I specialize in analyzing, interpreting and applying court cases, rulings, proposed and current legislation to multifaceted fact patterns in a variety of industries across all states. The research may be related to developing support for return filing positions, defending positions under audit, identifying refund opportunities or mitigating risk. The result of the research is customized to the client situation and may be a written memo, audit protest, taxability matrix, refund request, private letter ruling, etc.
All services are provided for any state and the following tax types: income tax, franchise tax, gross receipts tax, sales and use tax.
I also provide accounting and law firms with thought leadership services in the form of technical analysis of changing state tax laws, drafting and editing alerts designed for external distribution, providing in-depth analysis of key issues, providing support for internal and external training programs, and conducting research and drafting memorandums for clients. I also help firms build visibility and credibility for their state tax consulting practices through ‘ghost writing’ of alerts and articles.
Additionally, I collaborate with tax policy organizations on policy statements, studies, articles, reports, comments and testimony, and write or review state tax technical material to expand or build out tax research (publisher) libraries.
I currently serve as the subject matter expert for Bloomberg BNA's State Tax Analyzer product, and have served as an author/reviewer for Bloomberg's BNA Tax and Accounting Center State Tax Navigators.
CONSULTING SERVICES MAY INCLUDE:
- Audit defense (full audit representation or advisory role or facilitator to identify local contact)
- Appeals representation (research, development and preparation of protest)
Risk Management and Mitigation
- Nexus reviews and support for Voluntary Disclosure Agreement negotiation
- FIN 48 / Uncertain Tax Position consultation and review
- Help-Desk / calls / e-mails, confirmation of research, common questions
- Customized issue monitoring / interpretation / application
- Pre- and Post-Return filing reviews (income tax, franchise tax, gross receipts tax)
- Sales and Use Tax Decision Matrix Development and Maintenance
- Return filing position or taxability/deductibility memos
- Reverse Audits and support to file refund claims
- Planning memos related to changes in business, structure, activity, etc.
- Documentation of impact on business due to mergers and acquisitions
WRITING SERVICES MAY INCLUDE:
- Providing technical analysis of changing state tax laws which leads to the reporting of SALT developments to your firm, clients and the general public.
- Regularly monitor SALT news and developments, and assist in determining which news should be reported.
- Regularly drafting and editing SALT Alerts designed for external distribution that discuss and analyze tax developments, such as recent legislation, regulations and rulings, as well as SALT Alerts identifying refund and service opportunities for internal distribution.
- Maintaining and developing a variety of SALT tools for your firm that cover such topics as apportionment, filing methods, FIN 48 developments and nexus.
- Provide support for internal and external training programs, including webcasts, as well as special projects.
- Assist local office practitioners in conducting research and drafting memorandums or audit protests for clients.
- Daily Tweets
- Daily blog posts
- Weekly Alerts to clients
- Monthly Articles or whitepapers
- Creating E-books / guides
- Collaborating with practice / office leaders to discuss client issues / insights / perspectives
- External speaking engagements
- Written comments on proposed legislation
- Customized legislation, court case, issue monitoring / interpretation / application for specific clients
- Customized technical Alerts for specific clients
- Help-Desk / calls / e-mails, confirmation of research, common questions
- Traveling ‘think-tank’ road shows (integration / interaction / collaboration)
CLIENT RESULTS INCLUDE:
- Obtained $550,000 sales tax refund related to client's intercompany management fee involving several different types of services in Pennsylvania
- Provided practical insight to client as to what positions they should take regarding the sales taxation of cloud computing by conducting 40-state research project and preparing custom matrix
- Technical support for client's creation/implementation of a custom sales ‘tax and fee’ engine (40 states)
- Multi-year review and analysis of client's sales tax exemption review process (20 states) to determine best practices and provide recommendations whether the client should continue, change or eliminate the current process
- Identified over $1,000,000 in state income tax refund opportunities and $300,000 in prospective annual state income tax savings while conducting a state income tax FIN 48 reserve analysis for a large middle-market company. These refund opportunities were identified in conjunction with the opportunity to utilize Voluntary Disclosure Agreements (VDAs) in multiple states to not only minimize the company's state income tax liability, but also reduce or eliminate the state income tax FIN 48 reserve.
- Identified $350,000 in refund opportunities and $100,000 in prospective annual state income tax savings while performing a state income tax nexus look-back review for a middle-market company.
- Eliminated $1,200,000 sales tax audit assessment by preparing and filing a written protest with the Minnesota appeals office regarding a "mixed-transaction" or "bundled transaction.”
- Obtained $500,000 reduction in sales tax audit assessment after client received a jeopardy assessment from Washington D.C.
- Reduced $1 million individual income tax assessment to $20,000 for an individual taxpayer in a Minnesota income tax residency audit
- Reduced client's income tax liability by 60% by petitioning and obtaining apportionment relief with Minnesota appeals after audit assessment
- Mitigated risk and improved compliance for medical device manufacturer operating in 11 states by researching and providing guidance regarding the sales and use tax taxability of the company’s device
- Provided peace of mind to company regarding the sales tax consequences of its Internet/client portal, (“cloud computing”) etc. used to facilitate the delivery of their service
- Eliminated $1,300,000 in Washington B&O tax and $1,000,000 in sales tax on 9 real estate projects
- Obtained $3,000,000 in Florida Enterprise Zone sales tax refunds on 4 real estate projects
- Obtained $1,000,000 in Arizona Transaction Privilege Tax refunds after performing reverse audits on Arizona real estate sales
- Obtained $300,000 in California LLC Fee refunds
- Reduced annual state income taxes by $500,000 for a $200 million Illinois manufacturer by developing restructuring plan for S corporations and pass-through entities
- Identified and obtained a $700,000 refund and annual state tax savings of $150,000 for a $150 million Illinois manufacturer by applying P.L. 86-272
- Reduced sales tax audit assessment by $75,000 related to ‘canned vs. custom software’ in Minnesota
RESEARCH PROJECTS INCLUDE:
- Developing and writing new California income tax and sales tax library (includes all sections, issues, topics)
- 50-state research project to update sections on "Consent to Be Taxed" related to composite returns and withholding for non-resident owners of partnerships
- 50-state research project to update sections on Net Operating Losses
- 50-state research project to provide additional clarification and analysis regarding the sourcing of services and intangible property; specifically, the application of market-based sourcing, and utilization of market sourcing methodology within costs-of-performance statutes and regulations
- 23-state research project to add additional insights and commentary on related party expense add-back provisions
- 50-state research project to analyze and document each state's treatment of Interest Charge Domestic International Sales Corporations (IC-DISCs)
- 50-state research project to identify and explain each state's throwback and throwout rules
- 50-state research project to clarify whether each state follows Joyce or Finnigan rule
- 50-state research project to provide technical instruction on each state's law regarding the taxpayer's ability to request, and the state's ability to impose, alternative apportionment
- 32-state research project to provide the technical details of each state's franchise tax regime
- 49-state plus NYC research project regarding each state's conformity with the Internal Revenue Code as it relates to mergers and acquisitions, changes in ownership, etc.
LEVERAGE SALT serves as a subject matter expert for Bloomberg BNA Software's new state income tax modeling tool (BNA State Tax Analyzer) by performing research, providing state-by-state tax rules and technical review, comments, and suggestions for improvements. The project involves 50-state research to provide tax law support and guidance regarding the following for multiple tax years (1990 to current):
- Separate / Combined / Consolidated filing methods
- Pre or Post Combination
- Apportionment methods and formula
- Federal income tax deduction
- State income tax deduction / addback
- Bonus depreciation adjustments
- Estimated payment safe-harbors
- Tax rates
- Minimum taxes
- Net Operating Loss tracking and utilization
- Foreign Source Dividends
- Industry apportionment formulas (manufacturing, retail, financial organizations, insurance, transportation, oil/gas, telecommunications, etc.
- Mixed-industry combined reporting
- Franchise Tax
EXPERIENCE WITH THE FOLLOWING (INCLUDES LINKS TO POSTS):
- Sourcing of Services
- Establishing the right to apportion
- Inclusion of gross proceeds v. net gain in sales factor
- Joyce v. Finnigan
- Throwback / Throwout rules
- Alternative apportionment (relief)
- Composition of Unitary business group
- Tax Base
- Tax Attributes
- Pass-Through Entities
- Entity v. Aggregate theory
- Unitary (tax base / factor flow-up) v. nonunitary (allocation)
- Sale of partnership interest
- Non-resident withholding compliance
- Composite return filing options
- Sourcing of guaranteed payments
- Single-Member LLC obligations and liability
- Multi-tiered entities (compliance and controversy)
- Sales and Use Tax
- Amazon / affiliate nexus
- Reporting requirements
- Situs of services
- Transactions with governmental entities
- Resale exemptions
- Bundled transactions (mixed-transactions)
- Cloud computing (SaaS)
- Software (custom v.canned)
- Construction contractors (prime contractor, subcontractor, real estate owner)
- Sale / leaseback transactions