Could an Amnesty Program erase your tax burden?
There is a new scheduled amnesty program that may help businesses correct overlooked tax obligations if they have been selling products and services in other states. Many companies engage in multi-state sales through an intermediary, like Amazon, eBay and similar organizations called “fulfillment services.” The fulfillment centers place a seller’s inventory in warehouses in multiple states to expedite shipping, but in the process, create nexus for the seller in those states. As such, the sellers have an obligation to collect sales tax and pay income tax. Unfortunately, unpaid taxes may incur penalties and interest. Now there may be a short time window to correct these errors and avoid interest and penalties.
On Monday, July 31, the nexus committee of the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) approved the MTC to participate in a multistate sales tax amnesty program for third-party sellers whose only nexus with a state is the use of fulfillment services offered by third-party marketplaces. The MTC is an intergovernmental state tax agency working on behalf of states and taxpayers to facilitate the equitable and efficient administration of state tax laws that apply to multistate and multinational enterprises.
Mt. Rushmore in beautiful South Dakota
This month takes us to the Mount Rushmore state of South Dakota. South Dakota is the 5th least populous state in the U.S., with a population of 865,454 people in 2016. It is also the 5th least densely populated state in the country. South Dakota is in the north-central United States, and is considered part of the Midwest by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is also part of the Great Plains region, which covers most of the western two-thirds of the state. West of the Missouri River the landscape becomes more and more rugged, consisting of rolling hills, plains, ravines, and steep flat-topped hills called buttes. In the south part of the state, east of the Black Hills, lies the Badlands of South Dakota. Erosion from the Black Hills, marine skeletons that fell to the bottom of a large shallow sea that once covered the area, and volcanic material, all contribute to the geology of this area.
I just returned from an amazing vacation – a cruise of the Mediterranean. We started in Athens, Greece; spent just a couple days there enjoying the history, and then boarded our ship. The cruise took us to the Greek isles of Santorini and Crete, and then we sailed to Italy, the beautiful St. Tropez, France, and finally Barcelona, Spain. We finished our vacation by sampling many, many tapas and wines in Barcelona. About midway through our vacation, I found myself wondering – how could I do US multistate tax consulting somewhere in Europe? I’m still working on that angle, and will certainly keep you posted.
But meanwhile, on the flip side of that equation, we’ve been engaging with several foreign companies who have US operations and find our state tax laws to be, well, challenging! As I tell all my foreign clients – trust me, they are challenging for US companies too! Here are some of the main things for foreign companies to think about as they begin doing business in the US.
A Mississippi Riverboat sailing down the Mississippi River.
This month we travel to the land of Dixie, the southern state of Mississippi. The state is heavily forested with over half of the state’s area covered by wild trees including mostly pine, as well as cottonwood, elm, hickory, oak, pecan, sweetgum and tupelo.
The Mississippi River delta region is considered home of the blues music, where this type of music is honored at the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale. This region is also one of the top casino destinations between Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Many well-known and diverse singers came out of Mississippi including Elvis Presley, alternative rock band 3-Doors Down, Jimmy Buffet and Opera Singer Leontyne Price.
The St. Louis, Missouri Gateway Arch and skyline
This month we travel to the “Show Me” state of Missouri. The people of Missouri have earned their motto as the “Show Me” state for their very practical skepticism of the fads that sweep other parts of the country. This attitude manifests itself in the state government’s approach to business encouragement and regulation. So, let’s look at the state and see how their approach could help your business.
The state is the 21st most extensive by area and is geographically diverse. North of the Missouri River, the state is primarily composed of rolling hills of the Great Plains and south of the Missouri River, the state is dominated by forests. The Mississippi River forms the Eastern Border of the State, eventually flowing into the swampy Missouri Bootheel.
A colonial house set amongst vibrant trees.
This month we travel across the country to Virginia. One of the original 13 colonies, Virginia possesses a lot of living history with the Jamestown Settlement and Colonial Williamsburg being notable historic landmarks.
The Shenandoah National Park lies in the eastern part of the state deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mostly forested, the park features wetlands, waterfalls and rocky peaks, like Hawksbill, and Old Rag mountains. It is also home to many bird species, deer, squirrels and the elusive black bear.
Diamond Head and Waikiki on Oahu, Hawaii
Aloha! This month we travel across the ocean to the island paradise of Hawaii. In the state, you can attend a luau to experience true Hawaiian culture, relax on the beach or hike in one of the many tropical forests or mountains.
Hawaii is unique because it the only state made up of part of the volcanic Hawaiian archipelago, which consists of hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles. At the southeastern end of the archipelago are eight islands known as the state of Hawaii. They are: Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui and Hawaii.
Due to its central location in the Pacific Ocean and its 19th-century labor migration, Hawaii’s culture is strongly influenced by North American and Asian cultures, in addition to its indigenous Hawaiian culture. This is exhibited by the many customs and food cuisines that Hawaii has to offer. For example, it is customary to bring a small gift for one’s host (i.e., a dessert). Many Hawaiian plates have been influenced by Polynesian, Asian and American foods as well.
If you’re a start-up company with annual gross receipts of less than $5 million, you can now apply up to $250,000 of your R&D credit against your payroll tax liability.
Featured Guest Blogger- Carolyn Driscoll
The federal R&D tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of federal income tax liability for qualified expenditures incident to the development or improvement of a product, process, software, formula or invention. It was recently made permanent by The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (“PATH” Act).
Previously, a company had to actually generate a profit and taxable income to utilize the R&D tax credit. Now the PATH Act allows start-up companies to utilize the credit against their payroll taxes, if the companies perform “qualified research”.
Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta
The last of the original thirteen colonies is Georgia, the Peach State. Georgia is also known as the Empire State of the South. The state has varied terrain with mountains and natural rock in the northwest, urban areas, forest in the southern part and farmland.
There are also many points of interest that attract visitors to Georgia. In Atlanta, there are the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. Stone Mountain, just north of Atlanta, is Georgia’s most popular attraction, receiving over 4 million visitors per year. Callaway Gardens, in western Georgia, is a family resort. The area is also popular with golfers.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Known for its mountainous landscape and rolling hills, this month we travel east to West Virginia. The state has a rich history and is embedded in the Appalachian Mountains.
West Virginia is known for a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, such as skiing, whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and hunting. For something on the calmer side, the state offers many golf courses.
It is also one of the most densely Karstic areas in the world, making it a choice area for recreational caving and scientific research. Karstic topography is a landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. It is characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves. These underground hydrology systems contribute to much of the state’s cool trout waters.