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New Information and Tools for SALT Accountants

There is never a dull moment in the area of state and local taxes. If you're a SALT accountant, you know what I'm talking about. Laws are constantly changing at the state and local level, Congress spends a lot of time talking about the Marketplace ...

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There is never a dull moment in the area of state and local taxes.

If you’re a SALT accountant, you know what I’m talking about. Laws are constantly changing at the state and local level, Congress spends a lot of time talking about the Marketplace Fairness Act and trying to figure out how to get that implemented, and software providers are constantly bringing out new tools to make the lives of SALT accountants easier. Here’s the latest update on what’s happening in the SALT arena.

Nevada has enacted a new Commerce Tax. Kelly Bullis, CPA and watchdog at reports that the Commerce Tax increases annual business license and filing fees, ups the modified business tax rates while allowing a deduction for 50% of the commerce tax, and requires every business to file a commerce tax return, even where there is little or no gross income.

Texas has passed legislation to reduce its business franchise tax in an effort to entice new business to the state. Bloomberg BNA’s SALT Tax Blog reports that this is a significant step toward repealing the franchise tax altogether.

California is taking SALT tax to a new level, having started down the path of regulating revenue derived from sending people and things in and out of space. KPMG’s Tax Watch reports that conversations have included defining space transportation activities, at what point a space vehicle is considered to be traveling into space, and what factors and weight should apply to revenue derived from space transportation activities. Discussion is also underway to address taxation of revenue from aborted space missions.

Indiana and Missouri have announce new amnesty programs. Indiana’s program doesn’t go into effect until the last eight weeks of 2016, so people lurking under the radar will have to hold on for another year and a half before they can come clean without interest and penalty. Missouri’s amnesty program will run from September 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015, and will provide penalty/interest relief for payments associated with all taxes administered by the Department of Revenue and due on or before December 31, 2014.

A new program called SALT-in-a-Box (SIB) has been released by cloud-based software provider Avalara. SIB is a comprehensive, no-cost system that enables accountants and bookkeepers to help their clients proactively identify and address state and local tax compliance issues. Specifically, SIB provides accounting professionals with a single user-friendly place to access industry-leading tools, information, and services enabling them to:

  • Know with certainty if their clients are at risk for sales tax non-compliance
  • Be armed with clear, detailed knowledge to effectively address risk when issues arise
  • Proactively serve as a trusted advisor on SALT-related compliance issues

Avalara has also released a new program, Returns Excise Pro, designed to help small and mid-sized fuel distributors, suppliers, and terminal operators improve the accuracy, speed, and ease of filing bulk fuel tax returns.


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