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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.

LEVERAGE SALT, LLC (LS) is a state tax research and controversy firm. LS serves as a controversy consultant to companies directly, and as a subcontractor to accounting and law firms. LS assist companies through all levels of a state tax controversy that may be caused from notices, audits, appeals, refund claims, amended returns, etc. 

In 2017, the firm has embarked on building a State Tax Controversy Innovation Center. The goal of the Center is to serve and promote state tax controversy professionals across the country by building a mastermind network, knowledge sharing publication, CPE, and various tools.

Specifically, LEVERAGE SALT analyzes and provides answers and strategies around:

  • current hot state tax topics
  • current litigation around the United States
  • state tax rulings
  • state administrative guidance
  • proposed legislation
  • state tax practice and procedure laws
  • voluntary disclosure programs
  • private letter ruling request procedures
  • audits and appeals

LEVERAGE SALT provides:

  • technical memos
  • audit and appeals protests
  • litigation support | subcontractor to law firms
  • private letter ruling requests
  • alerts, articles, whitepapers and blog posts
  • 50 (or less) state research on specific issues
  • sales tax taxability matrices
  • help-desk (unlimited questions)
  • ghost-writing of thought leadership / marketing for accounting and law firms
  • comments on proposed legislation
  • policy statements and studies
  • training materials
  • checklists, manuals, guides
  • publisher libraries, portfolios
  • custom curating of daily state tax developments related to a specific industry, state, tax type and issue (provide updates from multiple sources including accounting firms, law firms and state websites)
  • traveling ‘think-tank’ road shows (integration / interaction / collaboration)

All of the above services are provided on a fixed-fee or subscription basis.

All services are provided for any state and the following tax types: income tax, franchise tax, sales and use tax, and gross receipts taxes.


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 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 currently 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 (1998 to current):

  1. Separate / Combined / Consolidated filing methods
  2. Pre or Post Combination 
  3. Apportionment methods and formula
  4. Federal income tax deduction 
  5. State income tax deduction / addback
  6. Bonus depreciation adjustments
  7. Estimated payment safe-harbors
  8. Tax rates
  9. Minimum taxes
  10. Net Operating Loss tracking and utilization
  11. Foreign Source Dividends
  12. Royalties
  13. Industry apportionment formulas (manufacturing, retail, financial organizations, insurance, transportation, oil/gas, telecommunications, etc.
  14. Mixed-industry combined reporting
  15. Franchise Tax
  16. IRC Sec. 382 Limitations on NOLs

Sample Listing of Issues Covered: