THE 'GAME' IS ALWAYS CHANGING
Imagine playing a game against an opponent who also makes all of the rules. An opponent that constantly changes the rules as the game is in-progress. Now imagine there are 50+ opponents. That is the multistate tax profession. That is what multistate businesses deal with every day.
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, and coerced to pay computer generated notices simply because the cost of fighting outweighs the benefit. Companies are 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 without actually 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.
This complexity means that companies are constantly dealing with multistate tax questions related to compliance, planning, provision and controversy. My mission is to provide you with answers to state tax questions, reduce risk, provide clarity, and help your business or client move forward.
YOUR STATE TAX NATIONAL TAX OFFICE
LEVERAGE SALT, LLC is a state tax research firm founded by me, Brian Strahle.
Through 20+ years of state tax consulting experience, writing 60+ articles, 900+ blog posts, and delivering over 50+ presentations, I have developed a process for conducting research and providing guidance to help companies achieve their business objectives in a state tax-efficient manner.
I specialize in complex state tax research and writing projects involving multiple states and unique fact patterns. The research may be related to developing support for return filing positions, defending positions under audit, identifying refund opportunities or mitigating risk through planning. The result of my research is customized to the client situation and may be a written memo, audit protest, taxability matrix, refund request, private letter ruling, etc.
My experience encompasses a wide variety of state tax issues (i.e., income tax, sales and use tax, gross receipts tax, franchise tax, etc.) for Fortune 500 and middle-market companies, public corporations and closely-held businesses (S corporations, multi-tiered partnerships, LLCs, etc.) in almost every state.
All services are provided for any state and the following tax types: income tax, franchise tax, gross receipts tax, sales and use tax.
Specific Services May Include:
- Help-Desk / calls / e-mails, confirmation of research, common questions
- Audit and Appeals defense (research, development and preparation of protest)
- Return filing position or taxability/deductibility memos
- Planning memos related to changes in business, structure, activity, etc.
- Documentation of state tax impact on business due to mergers and acquisitions
- Research and support to file refund claims
- Research and support to obtain Voluntary Disclosure Agreement
- Sales and Use Tax Decision Matrix Development and Maintenance
- ASC 740 / ASC 450 (uncertain state tax positions analysis documentation)
- Private letter rulings
- Written comments on proposed legislation
- Customized legislation, court case, issue monitoring / interpretation / application
- Writing or reviewing state tax technical material for tax publishers to expand or build out their libraries, develop new products, etc.
- In-depth research and writing projects for state tax industry and professional organizations
- Ghost Writing - drafting and editing SALT Alerts designed for a firm's 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.
SAMPLE CLIENT RESULTS
- 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
SAMPLE RESEARCH PROJECTS
- 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.
SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT
I currently serve 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 (1998 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
- IRC Sec. 382 Limitations on NOLs
For more information, check-out my other pages.