When State Auditors Head out of State

Auditors are on the move. While most businesses expect (i.e., dread) to be audited by their home department of revenue, it often comes as a surprise to learn that state tax authorities routinely send auditors to, or hire auditors from, other states to capture unreported sales and use tax revenue. Some states go so far as to have remote offices.

For example, the Texas Comptroller has audit offices in Los Angeles, New York City, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. California has field audit offices in Chicago, New York, and Houston. There are Missouri Department of Revenue offices near Chicago, Dallas, and New York, while the Florida Department of Revenue has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Pittsburg. The Utah State Tax Commission doesn’t specify where all it has sales and use tax auditors but notes that they “spend a majority of their time at taxpayers’ offices looking at detailed sales and purchase transactions” and “travel to locations all over the United States to perform their work.”

Field auditors employed by the Washington State Department of Revenue may audit businesses in multiple states. The Department divides the country into several sections: an Out-of-State North District (Eastern Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin), an Out-of-State South District, and so on. Field audit offices develop and implement audit programs to optimize accurate tax reporting and payment by businesses located throughout the target area.

What do auditors in other states do?

Auditors frequently examine sales by companies that are headquartered in other states but have nexus (a connection strong enough to trigger a tax collection obligation) in the auditor’s home state. Yet a company doesn’t have to be registered with a state to be targeted by that state’s audit division. While many audits are selected by a random sampling of registered businesses, auditors knock on the doors of unregistered businesses whenever evidence suggests that they may owe the state tax revenue. This is true both in-state and out.

Many states have increased audits since the Great Recession, hiring new auditors as needed. New Mexico’s Audit and Compliance Division has added approximately 62 FTE employees since economy plummeted. And in 2015, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue announced that it needed 102 additional auditors and 11 additional agents to help uncover what was estimated to be approximately $80 million in unpaid tax revenue. Many of the new hires are focusing on businesses based in other states.

audit

States work together

In addition to sending auditors to other states, state tax administrators frequently work together. Regional information-sharing agreements between states, such as the following, can greatly help facilitate audits:

  • NESTOA, North Eastern States Tax Officials Association (Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont)
  • SEATA, Southeastern Association of Tax Administrators (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia)
  • MSATA, Midwestern States Association of Tax Administrators (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin)
  • WSATA, Western States Association of Tax Administrators (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming)

There are other sorts of information-sharing agreements as well. New Mexico shares information with — and receives information from — three tribal governments. And the Multistate Tax Commission Joint Audit Program for member states “provides obvious economies of scale to the states” and “relieves the taxpayer of the burden on multiple ongoing audits.”

Oklahoma to base auditors in other states

Oklahoma doesn’t currently base auditors in other states. Like Utah, it sends auditors to various out-of-state locations as needed, and between 2014 and 2017, it conducted more than 460 audits of remotely based businesses. But a recently enacted law will soon enable the Tax Commission to develop a stronger presence out of state.

HB 1427 authorizes the Oklahoma Tax Commission to create and maintain an Out-of-State Tax Collections Enforcement Division. It enables the Commission to “employ full-time, unclassified, out-of-state tax auditors or full-time-equivalent contracted auditors” to enhance the following:

  • “Sales and use tax collections related to sales or transactions involving residents of Oklahoma and out-of-state vendors with a nexus to the State of Oklahoma”
  • “Collections of any other unpaid taxes owed the State of Oklahoma by out-of-state individuals, firms, and corporations”

The Tax Commission may audit any individual or business it believes may owe tax revenue to Oklahoma. The law takes effect November 1, 2017.

How would your business fare during an audit?

Get your free copy of the Sales and Use Tax Audits Uncovered report to learn more about audit triggers, how to avoid them, and how to protect your business against unnecessary tax compliance risk.


Permission to reprint or repost given by Avalara. Content previously published at www.avalara.com/blog.

New Video Release: CRM (Dynamics 365 for Sales) Integration with Dynamics 365 for Financials (3 min)

One of the great things about Dynamics 365 is the native integration between different business functions. This short video is for current and prospective Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials customers looking for integration with a CRM application, in this case, Dynamics 365 for Sales.

In the past, financial applications that the accounting team used have been separate from the sales applications that the marketing and sales team used. This was important because these two divisions needed different information and needed easy access to only that information. However, maintaining, cross-referencing and updating two separate applications is incredibly difficult. What happens if a customer’s address changed? The accounting team may have taken note of the new address, but marketing and sales are using the old address. Someone forgot to update the address change in the sales application. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to repeat the same task in two applications?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials is directly integrated with Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM). This means that if a customer’s address changes, you only need to make the change in one application and it is automatically reflected in the other. What a time saver! Now, the whole company is on the same solution – giving everyone the most up-to-date information possible. There are many more features of Dynamics 365 for Financials integration with Dynamics 365 for Sales!

Watch as a Dynamics 365 expert demonstrates the capabilities of CRM (Dynamics 365 for Sales) integration with Dynamics 365 for Financials!


Watch what is possible on Dynamics 365 for Financials!

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New Video Release: Top 5 Features of the PSA Module – Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation

This short video is for current and prospective Microsoft Dynamics 365 customers interested in the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation (PSA).

Dynamics 365 for Project Services Automation is a SaaS solution that enables project-based businesses to run more productively, profitably and with higher client satisfaction. It integrates directly with the Microsoft Cloud and other Dynamics 365 applications to help your technology solution set expand as your business expands. Some of the capabilities of Dynamics 365 for PSA include opportunity management, project planning, resource management, team collaboration, time and expenses, customer billing, analytics and integration.

Watch as a Dynamics 365 expert guides you through the Top 5 Features of Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation!


Watch what is possible on Dynamics 365 for Financials!

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What I Learned From the Microsoft Business Forward

A few weeks ago on May 3rd, Microsoft had a large, customer-facing event/presentation to discuss digital transformation, the future of Dynamics 365 and the evolution of business data. They called it the Microsoft Business Forward. Many Microsoft executives spoke, beginning with Satya Nadella (Microsoft’s CEO) who addressed a short keynote to the live audience.

After taking some time to digest the presentation, I thought it would be beneficial to give you my thoughts about what was discussed.

What I learned:

1. Digital Transformation is here to stay – or adapt.

Satya Nadella opened the Microsoft Business Forward by addressing one main point of emphasis – digital transformation. This buzz word has made waves in the technology community over the past year including heavy usage by Microsoft.

So, what is digital transformation? Essentially, it is the process of taking your company where it stands now and adapting/transforming the way it does business by integrating the latest technology to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Nadella stressed the importance of digital transformation for all companies – large or small. He gave several examples of how companies have used Microsoft technologies to solve big issues that the company was facing. Nadella left the audience with a simple explanation that many large problems or high-level projects start off with a simple solution – such as analyzing data in Microsoft Azure. When insights or solutions are found in that data, the company now has a need to execute on that insight or plan. That’s where digital transformation and specifically Microsoft Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft Cloud solutions come into play.

Bottom line, digital transformation isn’t just a buzz word or a catchy term – it’s here to stay. Today’s market demands innovation; people want their products and services delivered and consumed the way they are used to – digitally.

2. LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps you win.

One of the more exciting conversations during the Microsoft Business Forward was about the power of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Doug Camplejohn, Head of Products – Sales Solutions at LinkedIn, was called on stage to help explain the capabilities of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. He gave the audience the three main features, or value points, of LinkedIn Sales Navigator:

  1. Targeting – It helps you target types companies, and people, that your firm has a history of winning business from.
  2. Understanding Change – LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps sales reps understand changes with industries, companies, and talent faster. This allows sales reps to adjust their strategy to match new contacts and new points of emphasis.
  3. Engagement – Sales reps can engage prospects in new and different ways which allow them to vary their approach and strategy.

Additionally, some details were offered up about the success had when leveraging LinkedIn Sales Navigator. After performing an A/B Test wand ROI study with Qualtrics, Camplejohn explained that in deals that were closed and won, the sales rep was connected with 3x more people from the prospective company than when deals were lost. Furthermore, sales reps using LinkedIn Sales Navigator closed 20% more business and the deals they closed were 50% larger than those who were not using LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

3. Dynamics 365 for Sales will be a sales rep’s best friend.

Eric Boocock took the stage to present Dynamics 365 for Sales and give the audience a demo of both the desktop and mobile version of the software. He described that one of the best features of Dynamics 365 for Sales is its ability to leverage the data provided in LinkedIn.

You can watch more of this portion of the presentation below to get a look at the interface and operability of Dynamics 365 for Sales.

My takeaway? The interoperability of Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn will continue to be invaluable to sales reps. The ability to create quotes and proposals on-the-go with your phone or tablet is something that can completely change the game for many sales organizations. All in all, the integration of LinkedIn to Dynamics 365 for Sales is a major advantage over Salesforce and Oracle.

What did you learn?

These are just a few of the points that stuck out at me during the Microsoft Business Forward. What were your thoughts? Did you see something that peaked your interest? If so, comment below with your thoughts.

Growth Activities That Can Be Life (And Tax) Changing

Growth isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, companies expend a great deal of energy and resources deciding which pursuits will move the needle the furthest toward achieving specific goals, and where to prioritize their time and investment.

Oftentimes sales and use tax gets left out of this equation, especially when it doesn’t appear to directly correlate to the task at hand. Certain growth activities, like adding new locations, products, or sales channels, instinctively signal a need to alter sales and use tax compliance practices. With others like financing rounds, acquisitions, or technology platform changes, tax implications aren’t as obvious and therefore are more likely to be overlooked. Yet these are often the situations where compliance strategies can have the greatest and most lasting impact.

growth tax

Below is a brief glimpse of how sales and use tax compliance can come into play for 3 business growth activities that can be life (and tax) changing: financing events, M&A, and technology platform integration projects.  Here’s what you should be aware of when going through these processes.

Financing events

For any financing event, public or private, investors look closely not only at how you plan to grow the business, but also how you are managing it now. Poor sales tax management practices or unfavorable audit outcomes can impact valuation, jeopardize funding, or even nullify deals. High visibility events like funding rounds and IPOs can also bring your business to the attention of state auditors looking to draw in more tax dollars.

Mergers and acquisitions

The meshing together of people, assets, systems, and processes is no simple feat. So, it’s not surprising that business integration issues following M&A transactions are one of the biggest things keeping company execs up at night.  Between due diligence, integration, accounting/financial reporting, and post-acquisition compliance, who has time for the minutia of sales tax? It can be easy to overlook tax obligations or liabilities, which can raise red flags with investors early in the process, or with auditors later.

Technology platform changes, consolidations or upgrades

During change events, it’s good practice to evaluate your financial systems and fill any gaps with new solutions or functionality that can advance your growth objectives. For example, tax automation software that unites critical transaction data from disparate systems and processes can alleviate compliance issues during post-merger integrations, reducing audit risk and avoiding delays in closing the books.

Download the complete whitepaper for further insights from leading industry leaders.


Permission to reprint or repost given by Avalara. Content previously published at www.avalara.com/blog.

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