START WITH WHY
State taxes are not a one-time event. Compliance, planning and controversy are ongoing, recurring events. As your business grows and changes, new issues need to be addressed. Even if your business doesn’t change, states are continually changing the rules either through legislation, court cases and rulings. The impact of state taxation on businesses is truly deceptively simple and endlessly complicated. That is why I provide subscription-based state tax services.
You continually need state tax services. You need access to a partner-level state tax professional before a problem arises. You need predictability in costs. You need state tax services that are incentivized to be efficient, not to put more hours into a project to simply charge you more.
Services are provided in any type of fee arrangement that you prefer: flat-fee or hourly. However, I prefer to provide services on a subscription basis (a monthly fixed-fee).
Start-Ups | Small Businesses | Middle-Market Companies
Start-ups, small businesses and even mid-sized businesses have vital state tax issues and concerns that need addressed before a business is hit with an unexpected tax liability along with interest and penalties. The dollar amounts may not be as big as a Fortune 500 company, but the impact may be more severe. Consequently, providing non-Fortune 500 companies with state tax expertise at an affordable price is vital. Subscription-based state tax services provides your company with services it needs at a fee that is practical and predictable.
Fortune 500 Companies
Fortune 500 company tax departments generally use large accounting and law firms on big projects or consultations. I provide Fortune 500 company tax departments a real alternative. An alternative not only in theory, but in practice.
I provide services on a flat-fee or subscription basis, not hourly. Your project will not get passed onto a junior associate or staff. Your matter will be handled by a partner-level resource without partner-level fees. You will get the project done without fee surprises at the end. No ego. No salesmanship. It is about helping your tax department be the hero. It’s not about me.
Accounting and Law Firms
In addition to providing subscription services to businesses, I provide subscription state tax services to accounting and law firms as a subcontractor. This allows accounting and law firms to provide state tax services or supplement their firm’s state tax team with additional resources without having to hire a permanent employee.
Benefits of Subscription Services
- Certainty of costs for an entire year
- No increase in costs if volume of work increases
- Unlimited access to experienced state tax professional
- Single point of contact regardless of geographic location
- Monthly fixed fees allow you to have a state tax partner on-call before problems arise and continual support when they do
- Cost-effective services as your business grows
- I maintain a personal network of experienced state tax professionals across the U.S. and will reach out to them for additional expertise if necessary, and as you agree
How does it work?
- I get to know your business upfront – your workload, your challenges, your objectives
- Next, I will provide you with a proposal of what’s in scope, along with a fixed price for the year based on the work we will undertake
- This fee will be payable monthly for the following 12 months.
- During this time the price will never change.
If you don’t want to sign-up for a 12-month agreement, you can choose a 3-month agreement to begin. A 12-month agreement would provide cost savings, but I understand if you want to take it for a spin first.
How much is the monthly fee?
The fee will depend on the type of work, the volume of work, and the size of the company.
For example, if you simply want me to be available to answer questions similar to an on-demand help-desk, that would be the lowest fee. The next fee range would include document review work such as reviewing returns, audit assessments, notices, workpapers, or similar. The third fee range would include document prep work such as the preparation of technical memos, sales tax matrices, notice responses, audit protests, voluntary disclosure agreements, private letter ruling requests.
If your needs do not fit into any of the above categories, simply contact me to discuss.
In-person consultations and associated travel costs would be in addition to the monthly subscription fee.
Services are provided for any state related to sales and use tax, income tax, franchise tax and gross receipts tax.
Services include anything you need related to compliance, planning, risk management and controversy. For example, common issues involve nexus; sales taxability of items purchased, sold and other transactions; sourcing of income; apportionment formulas; income tax filing methodologies (i.e., separate, combined, consolidated); related-party transactions; business vs. nonbusiness income; unitary group analysis; due diligence related to mergers and acquisitions; pass-through entity taxation (including non-resident withholding and composite return filing options); multi-tiered entities; voluntary disclosure agreements; net operating loss management and utilization; individual residency documentation and analysis; sales tax exemptions, etc.
Common services include:
- Help-Desk / calls / e-mails, confirmation of research, common questions
- Nexus reviews and support for Voluntary Disclosure Agreement negotiation
- Sales and Use Tax Decision Matrix Development and Maintenance
- Pre- and Post-Return filing reviews (income tax, franchise tax, gross receipts tax)
- Audit defense (full audit representation or advisory role or facilitator to identify local contact)
- Appeals representation (research, development and preparation of protest)
- 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
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.
I work with corporate tax departments, accounting firms, and law firms either on a project basis, as a subcontractor, or co-sourcing arrangement. I also work with middle market companies and smaller firms that do not have in-house state tax expertise.
I also provide accounting and law firms with national tax office services and/or ghost-writing of thought leadership. Meaning, I provide technical analysis of changing state tax laws, draft and edit alerts designed for external distribution, provide in-depth analysis of key issues, support for internal and external training programs, and conduct research and drafts memorandums for clients.
Additionally, I work with tax research publishers to write or review technical material to expand or build out their libraries, collaborate with tax policy organizations on policy statements, studies, articles, reports, comments and testimony, and partner with tax software companies to enhance or build new software tools for state tax compliance or planning.
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