State and Local Tax (SALT)
Complying with a multitude of state and local tax laws is difficult, and frequent legislative and administrative changes can add to the challenge. Even with the best of efforts, mistakes can be made—under and overpayments can occur or too little or too much can be collected and remitted—and the errors can add up over time. The result is an inefficient tax operation that diverts resources.
Whalen’s Tax Specialty Services can help. We have in-depth knowledge of state and local tax laws and keep close track of legislative and administrative changes. We can help ensure that you’re not overpaying tax and that underpayment risks are adequately managed.
The following describes what we can do for you and why it’s valuable.
SALES & USE TAX
Vendor Invoice Reviews
Many businesses go extended periods paying their invoices without reconsidering whether tax should or shouldn’t be charged. If errors exist, they can add up over time.
Whalen can help ensure you’re not overpaying sales tax or failing to report use tax. We can review what you’re buying, consider how those products and services are being used, and determine whether an exemption applies. If you’ve missed an exemption, we can help you file for a refund. If use tax is an issue, we can help get you registered and set up reporting procedures so you’re in full compliance and less likely to be selected for audit.
Client Invoice Reviews
For service providers, what’s taxable isn’t always clear. What appears to be exempt consulting services could actually be taxable employment or data processing services.
Whalen can review your services and evaluate risks that your services are taxable.
With the rise of internet sales and the relative demise of retail stores, states have become more aggressive in pursuing out-of-state sellers to collect the state’s sales tax. Some states have filed lawsuits with the ultimate goal of persuading the U.S. Supreme Court to abandon the current physical presence standard in favor of one that would enable states to require a seller without physical presence to collect the state’s sales tax if the seller has a certain volume of sales in the state. Other states have enacted notice and reporting requirements for out-of-state sellers not collecting the states sales tax.
Whalen can help you examine your activities in states where you’re not registered to assess whether you need to register or whether you have any new notice or reporting requirements.
Sales and use tax audits can be disruptive and time consuming, particularly if a business hasn’t kept its records in a manner conducive to one.
Whalen can help you through the audit process so it disrupts as little as possible.
Sometimes, whether a particular transaction is taxable or exempt just isn’t clear and a business would like assistance in requesting the Tax Department’s opinion rather than running the risk of over or under collecting. Or, a business may be confronted with a new and unique circumstance where taxability or sourcing isn’t clear and would just like someone to reach out to.
Whalen can assist you with a ruling request to get you the clarification you need.
CREDITS & INCENTIVES
Nearly every state provides economic assistance and incentives to new and growing businesses to encourage investment and job creation. These benefits come in many forms – low interest loans, grants, tax credits, withholding retention, property tax abatements, infrastructure improvements, sales tax rebates and exemptions, etc. Businesses contemplating new or expanded operations, an investment in a new or existing business, or even just the purchase of new equipment should consider whether tax credits or economic incentives might apply to their project.
Whalen can help you identify available credits and incentives, secure them, and prepare any post-award compliance reports.
Tax Burden Analysis
When new or expanded operations are contemplated, a tax burden analysis can help you understand the impact your project will have on your income, sales, property, and other tax liabilities. With a tax burden analysis, you can compare the relative tax burden of multiple jurisdictions and layer in credit and incentive packages to judge their relative utility.
Statutory Tax Credits
After every compliance season, do you find yourself saying “Next year, we’re going to look for tax credits.” Many states offer statutory tax credits for engaging in routine business activities. Each year, businesses should check to see if any apply to them.
Whalen can review your returns to determine whether tax credits have been missed and identify what you might be able to claim in the future.
GROSS RECEIPTS / INCOME / FRANCHISE TAX
Whether a business is taxable in a state depends on what it’s doing there, and even small changes in activities can have important tax implications. For example, in some states an increase in sales revenue can result in a filing obligation.
Whalen can help businesses selling into multiple states review their activities in each state to make sure nexus thresholds haven’t been reached and provide assistance if they have.
Proper tax compliance across multiple states and local jurisdictions can be challenging, and even the most diligent compliance process can produce errors. Undetected errors can add up over time resulting in material overpayment of tax or risk of penalties.
Whalen can take a fresh look at your tax returns for refund opportunities to catch exposures or ensure that all is well.
Due to the significant variation among states in filing options, tax bases, apportionment, tax rates and other components of income tax determination, failure to plan can significantly increase state tax burdens.
Whalen can help you review your operations and structure to determine whether opportunities to reduce state income taxes exist.