Maryland Sales Tax Audit Defense

With Maryland tax audits increasing, you should ensure your company is prepared. An ongoing, organized approach to preserving necessary documents will streamline a sales tax audit and may even lead to tax refunds. First, beware, a state auditor visiting your office for a sales tax audit isn’t required to keep the focus solely upon sales taxes. A typical audit may cover other area such as your payroll taxes, and information obtained through the audit can lead to income tax adjustments as well. So, while a sales tax deficiency may only cause a minor sales tax adjustment, the revenue and expense information obtained can lead to sizable state income tax adjustments. Further, since states share their income tax adjustments with the IRS, you may trigger a federal income tax audit and adjustment as well. Continue reading “Maryland Sales Tax Audit Defense”

Sales Tax Matrices and Taxability Guides

Your company may need a sales tax matrix or taxability guide to ensure employees know how to fullfill their sales and use tax duties.  Sales and use taxes are inherently complex, in part, because each state’s rules vary.  This leaves many tax departments ill-equipped to adequately maintain every tax and accounting responsibility.  Sales and use tax requirements do not only concern tax departments as accurate reporting can require the efforts of any employee with the ability to pay a bill or issue an invoice. Continue reading “Sales Tax Matrices and Taxability Guides”

Voluntary Disclosure Agreements

Many companies discover they did not file required state tax returns, but they do not know how to address the issue.  States understand that taxpayers often do not uncover income tax or sales tax filing obligations until a potentially large tax bill makes coming forward difficult, if not impossible.  Most states provide voluntary disclosure programs to bring these reluctant, but otherwise law-abiding, taxpayers back into the flock.  The voluntary disclosure programs forgive all but the most recent tax years and reduce or eliminate penalties and interest. Continue reading “Voluntary Disclosure Agreements”

State Tax Nexus Reviews & Studies

Introduction

All states are becoming more aggressive in locating non-filing businesses, particularly those operating largely outside their state. Unfortunately, many businesses first realize their filing obligation to another state when visited by the state’s auditor. An analysis of your company’s connections, or “nexus”, to the states it touches, directly and indirectly, will be beneficial regardless of whether your business is a start-up or established, expanding or contracting.

Each state’s laws for determining whether your company has a filing obligation vary, but all states are limited by the “minimum contacts” standards established under the U.S. Constitution. Adding to many companies’ confusion, there are separate standards applied for sales and use tax nexus and income tax nexus. For instance, a company with a representative in a state may not have an income tax filing obligation but may have a sales tax obligation. Continue reading “State Tax Nexus Reviews & Studies”

Managed Compliance & Effective Tax Rate Agreements

Companies can manage risks, lower use taxes, and reduce tax administrative burdens by using managed compliance and effective tax rate agreements. In an effort to streamline the tax compliance process, most states now allow companies to automate their sales and use tax compliance through tax agreements. These agreements operate on a prospective basis whereby “effective rates” can be assigned to the company’s expense accounts.

The states use numerous names for such agreements, including: managed compliance agreements, formulary sales and use tax agreements, single use tax compliance agreement, negotiated rate agreements, alternative use tax payment methods, simplified procedure agreements, or, as known here in Maryland, effective rate agreements. Regardless of the chosen name, the states use similar processes to form the agreements and the companies often realize fantastic results. Continue reading “Managed Compliance & Effective Tax Rate Agreements”

Find Cash by Recovering Tax Overpayments

In today’s competitive business climate, businesses paying more taxes than necessary do so at their own peril.  But when extra cash is needed, the company can hire tax professionals to recover those overpayments through refunds.

By conducting reverse audits on behalf of companies, I have rarely found a company whose tax department didn’t have some oversights, particularly regarding indirect taxes.  Likely targets for recoverable overpayments include the company’s indirect taxes, such as: sales & use taxes, value-added taxes, and excise taxes.  Certain state-specific taxes are also likely cash sources, such as the Maryland admissions and amusement tax which is levied upon the business not the customer. Continue reading “Find Cash by Recovering Tax Overpayments”

Buying or Selling a Maryland Business – Financing The Purchase

The seventh article in a series on the purchase and sale of a Maryland business. In this article I address obtaining the necessary financing to fund a business purchase.

Many business buyers’ greatest challenge is obtaining financing.  While a business purchase requires substantial funding, the buyer’s financing options are numerous.  Factors determining the best financing choice include: the seller’s needs, the buyer’s ability to pay, the company’s cash flow and assets, and the general economic climate. Continue reading “Buying or Selling a Maryland Business – Financing The Purchase”

Buying or Selling a Maryland Business – Transferring Assets

The fifth article in a series on the purchase and sale of a Maryland business. In this article I address issues relating to transferring assets during a business sale.

When purchasing a Maryland business, the buyer must ensure all desired assets are properly transferred regardless of the chosen sale method. As discussed in earlier articles, attorneys will consider many issues when deciding to structure a sale as either an asset sale or a stock sale, including tax and liability issues.  When utilizing an asset sale, the transferring documents must reference and account for all assets purchased. Even if the attorney structures the transaction as a stock sale, the buyer should confirm the purchased company actually owns the desired assets.

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Buying or Selling a Maryland Business – Commercial Leases

The fourth article in a series on the purchase and sale of a Maryland business. In this article I address the importance of ensuring necessary commercial leases are preserved following a business sale.

For many businesses, the business location is its most valuable asset.  This remains true even if the company only leases the location.  Therefore, maintaining the right to use the property following the transfer is of utmost importance.  If the lease is valuable to the buyer, it should not be assumed the seller has the right to sublease or assign the lease to the buyer.

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Buying or Selling a Maryland Business – Taxes

The third article in a series on the purchase and sale of a Maryland business. In this article I address basic tax concepts and issues relating to a business sale.

A major consideration when purchasing an existing Maryland business should be minimizing the tax burden.  Certain transactions provide tax benefits to either the purchaser or the seller while providing a tax burden to the other.  Therefore, tax consequences should be considered when determining the appropriate purchase price.  The general rule is that the sale of a business is a taxable event; however, the parties may be able to structure the transaction using a tax-free reorganization.  The IRS provides several forms of tax-free reorganizations, but to qualify the parties must meet numerous requirements.  Since the IRS only allows tax-free reorganizations under limited circumstances, I will first discuss taxable transactions.

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