State and Local Taxation
Tax is an unavoidable hurdle for businesses. Your business may encounter new tax issues when it obtains an interest in real property. It will have to consider tax compliance when it changes the goods and services that it provides or when it expands its operations onto the Internet. Furthermore, it must keep an ear out for tax law developments that affect its tax liability.
We handle significant state and local tax matters for Georgia and multi-state businesses and government entities and have served as state and local tax counsel for several national businesses.
Sales and use tax compliance
Understanding what products are subject to sales or use tax, when the tax liability arises, what is included in the tax base, and what tax rate applies is the foundation of a business's compliance with Georgia sales and use tax laws. We work with clients to help them understand these concepts as they pertain to the client's business, either when the client is starting the business or when it comes to light that the client needs to correct their current sales and use tax payment computations. We assist clients with compliance with reporting requirements, especially in the area of sales and use tax audits. The sooner that we become involved in the audit process, the more we are able to assist the client in achieving the best possible result. If a client is delinquent in remitting sales and use tax to the Department of Revenue, we act as their liaison with the Department through the voluntary reporting or audit process, working to negotiate payment plans or penalty abatements.
Internet sales. A hot topic in sales and use tax of late has been the question of taxability of Internet sales. As consumers continue shifting their purchases from brick-and-mortar stores to online retailers, states grapple with the proper sales tax treatment of those online sales. We advise clients who are making sales online whether they should be collecting and remitting sales tax from customers in Georgia or another particular state.
Treatment of multistate pass-through entities
Pass-through business entities (for example, S corporations, partnerships, and LLCs) with a presence in multiple states must consider the question of which states will require the entity’s members or shareholders to file a state income tax return. We look at the particular facts of a client’s business operations and ownership structure to help it determine its owners’ state income tax responsibilities.
State corporate income tax compliance
A company that is only doing business in Georgia owes income tax on basically 100 percent of its taxable income. A company that is doing business in multiple states, however, may owe state income tax on less than 100 percent of its federal taxable income for any given tax year because of the state’s apportionment formula for calculating the fraction of the business’s income to be taxed in that state. We assist clients that transact business in multiple states with navigating these issues of allocation and apportionment to help them properly minimize their state tax liability.
We also assist businesses undergoing state corporate income tax audits.
Commercial property tax
Businesses sometimes have reason to contest their annual real and personal property tax assessments, either for the assessed value or for the basis of taxability in the first place. We represent businesses facing these issues with the county Tax Assessors’ office. If we are not satisfied with those results, we also represent the client before the county Board of Equalization and, when necessary, take their appeals to the Superior Court and beyond.
Non-profit property tax exemptions
Real property owned by certain non-profit organizations is frequently eligible for a property tax exemption. Our work with non-profit clients includes communicating with the client’s county Tax Assessors’ office to make sure that the exemption is properly put in place and representing the client in appeals of annual property tax assessments for taxable property.
“Nexus” is, essentially, how much contact your business has with an individual state. It becomes a question for businesses with respect to calculating their sales and use tax liability, determining corporate income tax filing requirements, and qualifying with the Secretary of State to transact business. We consult with clients to wrestle with these questions and determine where and for what purposes they are considered to have nexus.
Worked with many clients in addressing issues that arise during Department of Revenue sales and use tax and income tax audits
Assist clients in state income tax and sales tax planning and business structure to legally minimize their tax liability
Assist clients in due diligence to determine if target acquisitions have any tax exposure based upon their method of transacting business
Assist clients in commercial property tax appeals in real and business personal property