The Multistate Tax Foundation (MTF) recently issued its 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index report, a benchmarking report that enables state governments and others to compare their tax systems with other states. Ideally, those states that rank highly will offer to help those at the bottom of the list, and states receiving low rankings will take note and make some changes.
It might not seem fair that some of the highest ranked states don’t have major taxes to deal with, and a more interesting comparison might be made between states with similar tax systems. All of the states have property taxes and unemployment insurance taxes, but from there, the waters get muddied as some states are missing the big taxes – sales tax and income tax. In any case, here is the list of the best 10 states for business tax climate according to MTF:
2. South Dakota
7. New Hampshire
According to MTF, the lowest ranked states suffer from complicated, non-neutral taxes and high rates. Here are the states at the bottom of the list:
45. Rhode Island
49. New York
50. New Jersey
The MTF reports one significant success story with North Carolina, a state that was ranked 44th a year ago and is now in 16th place. In the past year, North Carolina restructured its individual income tax from a multi-bracket system to a single-bracket system and lowered its corporate income tax rate. The state also simplified sales tax by taking away the ability of localities to set their own tax bases.
There are other success stories and also some states that got worse instead of better. Maine, for example, raised sales taxes and dropped in the rankings. Some states maintained status quo with their tax systems, but dropped in the rankings due to others states improving and climbing in the rankings.
The full detailed report including summaries of what is happening in the various states can be seen at www.taxfoundation.org/article/2015-state-business-tax-climate-index.
November SALT Checklist
- Open Items – Work with clients to resolve any deficiencies and penalties for past due state and local taxes
- Payments – Help clients set up budgeting plans for monthly and quarterly SALT payments
- Online Businesses – Discuss online selling activities with clients and make sure they are aware of sales tax responsibilities (see related article)
- Planning – Start talking with your clients about 2015 SALT requirements now and determine if they need software support to stay current with their obligations in various states
- Legislation – Recent legislation has affected taxes in Alabama and Oregon. Make sure you stay current on SALT-related legislation in states where your clients are doing business
- Ballot Box – Tax issues were on the November election ballots in California, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, and more. Make sure you check the election results in states where your clients are doing business
- Amnesty – 2014 tax amnesty programs are winding down – if you have clients doing business in Louisiana and New Jersey, these programs are set to expire in November
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Not that long ago, a new technology dramatically changed the way accounting firms and businesses of all types communicated with their clients and internally. I’m not even sure how to account for the amazing amount of time saved and the resulting increased