Understanding the State and Local Taxation Process

Hosts & Guests

Judy Vorndran, Lead Partner, SALT

Stacey Roberts, SALT Director

Tram Le, Senior Tax Manager, SALT

 Alexander Korzhen, Senior Tax Manager, SALT


Understanding State and Local Taxation Process 101

Tram Le [00:00:09] Welcome to SALTovation, this is a podcast series featuring the leading voices Insult, where we talk about the issues and strategies to help you make sense of state and local tax. Welcome to the SALTovation podcast. Our goal here is to share our knowledge, our stories, your resources, and help you make sense of SALT. Now, we're not talking about the salt that you put in food to make it taste better. We're actually talking about State and Local Tax. I'm Tram Le and I'm a member of the SALTovation team at TaxOps. I also teach state local tax to grad students at the University of Texas at Arlington. I am also a CPA and an attorney and found my way into salt about 10 years ago. In my last year of law school, I took a state and local tax class and just really liked it. It just totally made sense to me. Whereas my classmates who were either law school students or graduate tax students, they hated the class or they were just confused. So I just feel like salt has been a really good fit for me because as a CPA I really enjoy looking at the numbers and analyzing them. And then the lawyer side really likes to figure out the gray areas of salt prior to state and local tax. I worked in the government sector, I helped federal agencies improve their operations, I got to influence the administration of tax laws and policy. So I've got about 20 years of dealing with government at the federal, state and local level.

Judy Vorndran [00:01:38] Hi, my name is Judy Vorndran. I am the head of the state and local tax practice at Tax Arts. I've been practicing in this area for twenty five years. I am also a CPA and an attorney and like Treme, for whatever reason it is, my brain works really well around the complexities of the legal issues at state. Local tax requires to kind of vet as well as the practical application of state local tax where you actually have to put a number on a form. And I started my career in public accounting. The Big Eight, Big twelve, I don't know, twenty five years ago. It's hard to remember. I call it the Final Four now the largest firms in our world. And I kind of got into state law practice after I was outsourced to a company that was selling office supplies at the ready. And I got outsourced to do their sales tax compliance for a period of time. And the partner had said to me, well, it's really clerical. And of course, he didn't really know what I was doing. My manager didn't know what I was doing. And so I was sort of alone in this area and what was very clericals actually very stressful because I was remitting a million dollars of tax a month to California alone and filing sixty seven sales tax returns. And on the heels of that, I just prepared all our state and local tax income tax compliance returns. And then I was working on their sales tax compliance. And I just didn't realize just how complicated and how much money was being remitted to all these various governments. And I was doing these returns on coupons, coupon books. Right. I mean, all manual assimilating data from various companies they had purchased and then creating a return. And then I was best friends with AP so I could get a check at the ready. I would run to the post office and have those of those date stamped so its returns could be timely filed. So we've come a long way in the twenty five years I've been practicing from the manual compliance process to the automated process that we see online, but even that, there's been a lot of transition. So it's just been a really fascinating area to practice in and I've really enjoyed it and that's why I've continued to do it all these years.

Alex Korzhen [00:03:46] Hey everyone, I'm Alex Korzhen. I've been working in state and local tax for approximately 15 years. I got I'm also an attorney. I got recruited directly into the state local tax practice for one of the big four firms right out of law school. And then I was in Big Four and also at some regional firms throughout my career. And like Treneman, Judy said, is this is really an interesting puzzle. And state and local tax lends itself pretty well, I think, to a statutory interpretation and kind of navigating that gray area that exists when laws are not written specifically to to business and are not keeping track with with business. So it's it's been an interesting fifteen years. And hopefully I can share a nugget of truth, you guys.

Stacey Roberts[00:04:32] And I'm Stacey Roberts. I'm the last of the SALTovation members with you today at least. And I have twenty four years of experience in state and local tax. I started my career in what was Big Five at the time in Chicago, and like many other Sult professionals, I started in federal tax compliance. So on the income tax side, and then got my first taste of state local tax basically by doing an. Preparing and reviewing state income tax returns, and like the rest of us that are part of this group, I found the salt side way more interesting. Like I said, puzzles. And those of us that are in this profession, I think we enjoy puzzles. And as time has gone on, I cut my teeth at other firms and public accounting. So as a big four as big five when I started and went to Big Four, and then I actually also went in-house for a few years for a fortune. Five hundred companies that gave me a completely different perspective and then boomeranged back into public accounting because I felt that client service was more suited for my personality and have been doing. I was in a regional firm for six years and then now here with the rest of the SALTovation team. And I think as you probably are hearing from all of us, we definitely have a passion for this work. And we've all in some ways worked together and for our lives and shared the same vision. So hopefully we will be able to provide some insights to you as our podcasts go on.

Tram Le [00:06:14] All right. Thanks, Stacey. So now that you've all got to know us a little bit, we're going to jump into our topic today. We're going to cover some real life questions that we've received from businesses and tax professionals who attend our webinars, who log into our website and send us questions about salt. So the first one here is a question that we get from businesses all the time. What do we need to do to comply with salt? Why does this matter and why should we care?

Judy Vorndran [00:06:44] And I think I'll take that one. So it's just so interesting because as I was mentioning, I've been doing this a long time. And it was sort of a as all of us have stated, it was sort of a we don't want to do this. A lot of people don't really like this area of tax because of the complexity, because you're 50 United States, we have over ten thousand local jurisdictions. So tax layers upon layers upon tax. And you can't always get a nice answer. And if you're a CPA, you want a debit and credit. And I think when you're a lawyer, you kind of learn to think into complexity, to evolve and be creative. But the truth is, every business needs to understand their state and local tax footprint, whether you're in Texas or Colorado or California or New York, there are a litany of taxes that apply to your business. So those could be an income based tax. Those could be a state and local sales tax. There was could be a property tax, a payroll tax there, a layer upon layers of taxes across our nation that apply to each and every business that that is taking place in America, whether it be a flow through entity, whether it be a C corporation, whether it be an individual with a subchapter C, sort of I have my own little side business. I might have some state local tax issues that I need to address. So even the smallest of businesses to the largest have state local tax issues. And unfortunately or fortunately, I suppose for us, those laws have evolved over time. So if we think about a sales tax that came out in nineteen twenty two in West Virginia, all states, they started the first state local sales tax and from there, Tennessee, Mississippi and then so on and so on and so on. And now today we have forty five United States out of the 50 plus D.C. making it forty six. By the way, D.C. is not a state which is much to their chagrin, but they have a state and local sales tax and they also have income based taxes. So a lot of that has evolved over the history of loss, the industries and those places, how they need to provide for roads and school districts and fire departments and police force and so forth is all typically paid for by state agencies. So they need to raise the revenues that the federal government are not giving them, the deficits from their citizenry. And whether that be a citizen actually living and working in a state or coming into a state and doing this is there and making money off those citizens. And so that's why state local tax is so important from the very smallest business in America to the very largest and quite honestly, even for international businesses selling to the US market. I mean, there are three hundred and thirty million Americans and we like to buy stuff. We're a very consumer driven society and we buy lots of cool things. And that could be coming to your front doorstep now that we're in covid times, the biggest highlight of my day is getting an Amazon package that could be as simple as a mall. But that's an excitement for me that the doorbell ringing and something is happening because I'm not leaving my house much.

Tram Le [00:09:39] And so, Judy, in terms of the importance. Right, I think another aspect of that is the potential consequences of not understanding these complex laws across the US, right?

Judy Vorndran [00:09:49] That's correct. And so we're spending all that time at the big four where I was dealing with the largest companies of our nation, multinational companies with significant liabilities across the nation. Right. And they put processes around trying to comply. They bought up at. There were billion dollar companies, one hundred million lots and lots of money coming into those business, and then you go to the small business, so say you're a million dollar business, but everything you sell is taxable for a sales tax purpose. If you need to tax those goods and you don't tax them properly, one million dollars times an average state local sales tax rate of eight percent is eighty thousand dollars of tax. You didn't collect across whatever those sales were. So if you had a duty to do that and you are found to be liable for that, that's on you as a vendor. So you might very well have to eat the tax you can collect from your end users. And if you think about Amazon to changing the character of our market in America, we went from a society based on bricks, meaning store brick and mortar stores. You walked in to Sears, which was honestly the first Amazon, if you think about their Sears and Roebuck catalog. I loved going through that when I was a little kid and playing all the black and white toys that I wanted on Christmas that I never got. But we'll digress, not digress there. But regardless, that was a very large sales tax collector. You went in the store, you ordered your goods. Maybe it was delivered to the store. You would have picked it up. You paid the sales tax at the store. Well, now we're getting things dropped off at our front door. And Amazon changed the character of United States business, and they did not collect sales tax until just recently on business to consumer sales. So you and I were supposed to self report that tax bill. That's ridiculous. We don't do that. We don't have the mechanism to do that and therefore we are not doing it. So. Sixty seven trillion dollars of consumer taxes, we're not getting remitted across the nation to the various governments. And that's why we saw the Wayfair law get enacted and in South Dakota and then supported by our Supreme Court. So the consequence is very large for noncompliance. If you're a vendor or a company doing business in a multitude of states and managing your liability. And I learn from going from the big four to a regional firm where we have forty six fifty six thousand clients operating maybe in a smaller footprint. I will get a notice from one state and the partner would say, well, why do you have this notice? What do we do about it? And I would say the bigger question is what are we doing and why are we getting notice from the state that we're not even located in what we're selling to that state and we might have a duty to comply. And then the bigger question is, what are we doing to get a market outside our outside our state of domicile? So it really adds up to substantial liability. And so we always look at the money owed versus the costs to comply and those typically end up being worth it. It's worth it to spend the money to comply because the liability is so large on the business if they are not in compliance.

Alex Korzhen [00:12:42] That's an excellent point, Judy, because the the tax the incidence of the tax generally falls to the end user. But the business is the one that's getting audited and can get stuck with the the liability at the end of the day. So. The business is paying out of pocket money that is technically owed by the consumer, so that's that's, I think, a key element of why this is critical.

Judy Vorndran [00:13:06] Right. And, you know, it's funny. I think a lot of people now we know Amazon's collected tax, but we over the years saw significant assistance from governments across our nation to the tune of millions and hundreds of millions of dollars of assessments were imposed against Amazon. And I would be very certain if I looked at their financial statements that they paid some tax they didn't need to pay because it wasn't their tax, but because they were considered a vendor in Texas and they had a warehouse there. Therefore, they should have collected taxes on those business to consumer sales and they pay Texas to get right with the state and get registered. We've done many things over the years whereby our vendor, i.e. our clients have had to absorb the task of tax of their customers as a cost of doing business in order to properly register across the nation. And frankly, I'm not a big fan of that. Right. So why why should you pay your customers duty? Because you also have that corresponding duty.

Tram Le [00:13:59] OK, so that is a nice segue to our next question that we get from tax providers, the people the businesses come to for advice. The question is, how do I get people to stop expecting me to know about taxes, especially state taxes, just because I'm a CPA? I told my employer multiple times over that I'm not a tax expert yet, as we get these Nexxus questionnaires daily, they all come to me, so.

Judy Vorndran [00:14:28] This is a question that comes up even for somebody like me or us on this podcast, because we are also CPAs and tram, you and I actually we're just on a call with a client that had this issue come up with a with their current provider where they thought that the current provider understood their business, was an expert in all areas, and yet they still had some outstanding issues in some states that their current provider just did not know the rules. And and so that's very common. And and honestly, even myself as a CPA, I have friends, right. That are not in the CPA. They don't understand everything about CPA. They just know that I am one and they'll come to me and they'll ask me questions about what do I do with this federal form for my individual income tax return? And I'll say, well, you're asking the wrong person because I can I could get my own federal return done, but I am. That's not my expertize. And so I think there is this misnomer among the business community, even within organizations, that CPAs are experts in everything. And it's not true. And state local tax in particular is very specialized. And it's just one discipline that CPA can go into, as you've heard from all of our intros, where all we come from all different backgrounds and we were all attracted to salt for various different reasons. But we're here and we love it and it's our passion and we continue to do it. But that doesn't mean that a CPA who is in-house or working in the accounting group or a CPA that's doing 10 forty's, that they would be expected to know everything about state and local tax. And that also goes back to what Judy was just talking about with Amazon is I think that there's some misnomers out there, even in the community that OK, well, as a CPA, I should know that Amazon is in or be expecting that Amazon is collecting tax and all of these jurisdictions, and that's not necessarily true. So even within our own community, there's some confusion and that's where we can absolutely come in and help. And from Nexxus questionnaire perspective, those are just so that everybody knows. Those are really fishing expeditions from a state right there. If you've ever seen one, there are a few pages long typically, and they're there. They ask a lot of questions that are very open ended. And really those questions are open ended in order to trap a taxpayer that just doesn't know any better or any different. And so really what we like to do and where we can add a lot of value is to help a taxpayer fill those out, because maybe if you read a question in the next questionnaire, it may seem very obvious what that question is asking. And on the surface, you may think, oh, well, I should answer that question in the affirmative based upon my facts. But what we like to do and what's really important to do is to peel away that layer of the onion of the facts, to say, OK, what are you really doing in this state? Because Nexxus is not necessarily black or white. And so that's where we can provide a lot of value. And that's where having that expertize, even as we are all surveys, comes in really handy and where we can add a lot of value to our clients. And it's funny you say that, Stacey, because I remember so in doing this, as long as we have right to one, aren't you almost twenty five years. Me twenty five years. I mean, we have seen a fair amount of things in our nation. And I remember when the streamlined sales tax came around and they were trying to create common definitions and trying to create some parity among the states, which of course I thought, oh goodness, I got into this career. Now that's going away. Well, here we are, 20 something years later to exist. But it certainly hasn't taken away my job because only twenty four states are part of that. And then through the course of our lives, various things have happened nationally and internationally to our world. We've had 9/11. We had the economic crisis in twenty seven. And at that time, as when we saw a plethora of multistate nexxus questionnaires being put out by various governmental entities because they went out and said, let's hire nonresident auditors because we know they make the state money. So let's go out and find nonresident taxpayers that are located out of state to bring money into the state by sending these Nexxus questionnaires. And I suspect we're going to see a lot of that post covid, because right now everybody's holding tight or in a very scary time for all of us. But the governments are hemorrhaging money every day. I get a notice that some government is furloughing employees or they're short staffed or they're predicting exponential revenue shortfalls because commerce is not happening in America. We can only sustain that so long before the enforcement begins. So I suspect a year from now we're going to see significant enforcement in the state and local area. Maybe the next question here as we start getting geared up again in mass across the nation and certainly. We were seeing that the way their notifications were being sent by various state going after various companies across our nation and governments have a lot of data. First of all, they can see you on their websites. You can see that you sound bigger than you are. They see you might be doing business in their states. They come after you that way, and then they get all kinds of other information. And then that is what prompts the next question there. Right? Well, and I think to read I think the taxpayers, they get these Nexxus questionnaires and they think that they're just sunk. Right. That they what they throw their hands up in the air and they think, oh, based upon the questions, then I definitely have a in the state and what do I need to do now? And having the nexus that might be true. It may not be true. Right. Because, I mean, I think, again, you have to really dig into the facts and understand what the taxpayers are doing. A lot of what the states are looking at in these Nexxus questionnaires is how are the taxpayers trying to maintain a market or deriving income from a jurisdiction? And your facts, my taxpayers, that might be such that they're not maybe they're not directing themselves towards that market. And maybe on the face it looks like they are. But when you really unravel the facts, they really are not.

Tram Le [00:20:43] And I think that's really hard for a CPA who doesn't specialize in tax and state local tax to understand that. Right. I think that's the conversation, Stacey, you and I had with our client this morning. There are just doesn't they don't understand the importance of, you know, the facts as it applies to the laws of other states that they're not in.

Judy Vorndran [00:21:04] And they're used to thinking federally, it's all on one. It's one forum. It's all federally reported. No big deal. But how you slice and dice that information across the United States really matters. And that's actually, quite honestly, where we make we make or save our clients millions of dollars. I mean, in my doing this over the years and getting people to understand the value of our group, I show them the money. We save them. I mean, we are always money in their pocket, but nobody could hire us full time. That's not enough for us to do. But everybody needs us some of the time. And we can really provide a lot of value add by really thinking holistically about the company and their footprint and how best to approach their compliance duties.

Tram Le [00:21:45] So we're going to move on to our next question. I think that was a super interesting conversation we had about tax providers, but this next one is from a traveling sales person. The question posed was I travel to various states to train adults for a few days or to help solve a problem. If we distribute a good in that state and the retailer pays the sales tax, does that create an excess?

Alex Korzhen [00:22:09] That's a really interesting question. Actually ties in pretty nicely, too, to the previous conversation as well, because it comes back to Nexus. Unfortunately, a company employees and independent representatives traveling to the states generally do trigger Nexus because of their physical presence. Now, Nexus is as as we've alluded to already, an incredibly complicated and heavily case driven threshold that ends up in a simple yes or no answer. There's no a little bit of nexus. You just have Nexus or don't have Nexus. But it is it is the threshold question that we ask when we're trying to determine whether a company has a tax collection duty or not in a given taxing jurisdiction. And it's you know, it's also important to to consider that that nexus can be different for different tax types. So it's it's important to consider Nexus not in a vacuum, but holistically across different tax types to understand the the full footprint and duty

Judy Vorndran [00:23:12] for the company. I was just going to say, a lot of people think, oh, it's a ten ninety nine sales person. It's not my employee. And as we all know, that doesn't matter. It could be a remote employee. It could be a real employee, it could be an agent, and that could be a nexus activity, whether you're a true employee of yours or just a commission agent. And so I think a lot of people ask that question in lieu of traveling salespeople, whether they're their own employees or not. So I think that's an important distinction. We we find that a lot of people don't understand when it comes to Nexus.

Alex Korzhen [00:23:42] Exactly right. And we have a couple of cases, namely Tyler Pipe and Crypto, that that discuss this this very topic. And and again, tying it back to the previous discussion. I think certain practitioners who are just not in the space may not be aware of these of these decisions. They do matter as they can change the outcome and the analysis. So coincidentally, this reminds me of a story that I had, the experience I had at a pre covid networking event. I met a gentleman there who was talking about his upcoming retirement. His plans were to purchase an RV and travel the country with his wife. It was it was interesting. He was he was telling us that he was one of the company's top salesmen. In the end, the company was. Sorry to see him go, so they thought that perhaps there was some sort of arrangement that could be made, the company offered to buy the RV for the salesperson and to cover certain travel expenses, gas or maintenance for the vehicle, for example, on the condition that as they were traveling around the country, they would pop in and visit with some of their current and prospective customers from time to time. So as we were talking a bit further, I got a little concerned from from a tax perspective. And then I mentioned to this gentleman, I gave my card and I mentioned to him that perhaps somebody from the company and I should just have a quick chat as to the repercussions of this offer. And unfortunately, I never heard back from them. But I am concerned and worried that I may have ruined this person's retirement plans, because what the outcome of this of this arrangement might be was it might have created a nexus for this company all over the country if they didn't already have Nexxus in the States. So anyway, I feel a little bad about it, but but hopefully I did help the company out.

Judy Vorndran [00:25:38] Right? If you don't get educated, like you said, I mean, people have this perception, like, I'm going to make a market, I'm going to sell whatever the heck I want, which, of course, everybody wants to do. Why would you turn away a sale? But they don't realize the ramifications of sending an invoice without a tax on it from a sales tax perspective or possibly an income tax being created by virtue of that sale. Those are things that people don't realize when they're trying to be all things to all people and get the deal done. And hopefully our sales people can be our first line of defense. Quite honestly, the more educated they are and the more business owners are educated, the better tax answer they can get in terms of their compliance costs and their management of those expectations.

Tram Le [00:26:17] Speaking of business owners. Right, they ask us questions, too, because the last question we have here comes from a business owner and the question is, is square a marketplace?

Judy Vorndran [00:26:27] OK, this is this is a fascinating area of the law now. So I was mentioning earlier that Wayfair came into place in July, on June twenty first twenty eighteen. And when that when that Supreme Court case said, one of my clients emailed me and said, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, because all of a sudden Wayfair makes state and local tax. It's all over the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, you name it every day for about a year or Itzstein. Something was coming out about Wayfair. And that has to do with this economic presence. One hundred thousand two hundred things. Transactions are sold to a jurisdiction and therefore you have a duty to collect sales tax. Well, after that, on the heels of that, we saw all these marketplace laws hit. And I thought to myself, why are we seeing these laws around marketplaces when we got this way, fair law? Well, that has to do with the fact that Amazon, in addition to selling goods on its own behalf, items, inventories and sales to you and me. It also lists other people's items and they ship them to you directly. They never go through Amazon warehouse and that we call fulfillment by Amazon. And that is a market place, meaning we list your goods, some consumers shop for them and they click on it and buy it well. So that's why we saw the marketplace laws hitting the books and I don't know, for thirty four states out of the forty six that have sales taxes, that have a marketplace law, maybe a little higher, but I see that continuing. And that is because Wayfair didn't catch every transaction that happens in commerce. And if you think about square, Square is merely a credit card processing company and it is taking the money or allowing you as a business to take the money. And so whether or not it is a marketplace depends on the contract. You have a square. So marketplace laws are what we call narrow or broad. And a narrow law means you have to do one, two, three, four or five things and you are considered a marketplace. A broad law is more about concepts. What are you doing to consummate the sale? What are you doing to make the sale happen in the marketplace? Who's engaging with you? And so it's a really more comprehensive thing. So Square, in my mind, is no different than the ability to take a visa, a debit, whatever. That would not be as a payment facilitator. You wouldn't say be a marketplace, but it would depend really on what contract you have with Square in order to process the transactions and how that money gets run through the credit card system. Basically, so is Square the one saying here's the amount do here you go on invoice in the end user. And as a byproduct, should we be telling Square's interface? Please add this tax as because I'm the vendor. So it's really a facts and circumstances set of answers about how you contract with agencies that are credit card price. I would say a lot of instances it wouldn't necessarily be a marketplace per say, however, you might need it to collect your tax because you're using it to enforce your customers. So if we think about Airbnb as a contrast to that, they made a decision to go ahead and collect all the lodging tax on behalf of you and I who are renting out our random rooms and our homes, because you and I do not really want to get registered as a hotel or motel at the state local level because there are significant lodging taxes in our nation. Go and stay at a hotel and you will see how much you get charged in taxes. It's inordinately high. And so Airbnb came in and said, I will be a marketplace by choice because I am running the credit card to process the payment for that lodging. I'm giving you all that money, but I will remit the taxes on your lodging as a home owner. So it's a very interesting set of laws that really is still evolving and quite honestly is untested by the courts. So I have no true idea what's going to happen across our nation in terms of enforcement and who is being made to get registered to collect and remit tax. But I would tell you, be aware, be mindful, pay attention, because it really could be a trap as to how you interface with different payment processors to collect the money for the sale and how you get paid. And that could have very much affect the duty to be registered as a sales tax vendor.

Tram Le [00:30:59] So I think the policy right behind these marketplace facilitator laws really rely on the fact that the state rationale behind that is, you know, who's who's getting the information, who's in the right place to to charge the tax and collect and remit. And I think the laws assume. Right, the people who are getting the payment, collecting the payment are maybe the best people to do that. But the complicated part of these marketplaces, that they all operate differently. So just because you're the one processing the payment doesn't necessarily mean that you have all the information needed to collect and remit.

Judy Vorndran [00:31:37] That's correct, because they may not even know like what's being sold and what's the tax consequence. We talk about goods being taxable in every single state in America. What we call tangible personal property is taxable everywhere. But it is it's the services associated with the product that is not taxable everywhere. And if Square is supposed to collect the tax, what is it collecting the tax on? And if you're selling a thing, that's a heck of a lot easier than selling a service like software or shipping and handling, which has a lot of sales tax consequences that bifurcate by state. It's not clear when you sell a good whether the shipping and handling associated with you've got warranties, you have returns, you have discounts, you have allowances. All of those create a layer of complexity around the taxation of a thing versus the service associated with that thing. So sales tax has a lot of nuances in terms of what is taxable, where and why. So it's very important to understand that you're exactly right. Square may not very well know that even if it is deemed to be a marketplace, how would it know what to tax where it may not have those tax decisions across America? And and honestly, I remember years ago Amazon saying that they would be happy to collect tax on on behalf of fulfillment by Amazon, meaning they fulfill your sale, they take the goods, but you're considered the vendor, the e commerce person that uses Amazon's marketplace. They'll collect the tax for you, but they're going to charge you for it. So it was a moneymaker for them, honestly, was to be that conduit as a sales tax collector and RAIM. So there's a lot of complexities around that I think a lot of taxpayers do not understand. And it really becomes a trap for the unwary to unravel all that. You want to make it simple, but it just isn't always simple in order to manage your tax consequence in terms of how you do business. All right. Well, my name's Judy Vorndran, and I'm just going to close by saying thanks for taking the time to spend with us. We have been doing this for a long time and we seem to get a lot of the same questions. And so the interest in putting this podcast out there was because we really believe in what we do and we want to inform the public as best as possible so that people can have the best strategic state and local tax answers possible from a holistic perspective. And so that's why we're taking information from you and try to give that back to you with our area of expertize as a team, you'll get to meet more of our teammates on our next podcast. And we're also going to be special guest. Her name is Diane and she runs a Sales and Use Tax Institute. She has been training people in this area. She was actually kind of revolutionary. I joke like she was the Uber, a sales tax training because she's been doing it for over twenty five years. And I think people said to her way back when there wasn't a need for it. Well, she's laughing now because she's still doing it. In fact, this week she's doing it remotely via some meetings and all that. So she's going to get on with us on our next podcast and talk about her experience in the industry. And how she's grown and evolved to find how to serve you and explain how to use how to manage taxes across the nation. So I hope you'll be with us in our next podcast when we have Diane Yetter joining us. Thanks so much.

Questions asked and answered in this Episode:

  • What do we need to do to comply with SALT? Why does this matter, and why should we care?
  • What are the potential consequences of not understanding complex state and local laws across the U.S.?
  • I’ve told my employer multiple times over that I’m not a tax expert, but as we get these nexus questionnaires daily, they all come to me. How do I get people to stop expecting me to know about state taxes, just because I’m a CPA?
  • I travel to various states to train adults for a few days or to help solve a problem. Does distributing goods in a state during this period while the retailer pays the sales tax, create nexus?
  • Is Square a marketplace?

What You Will Discover:

  • [0:20] Tram Le is a member of SALTovation and has over 10 years of working in the state and local tax.  She shares her journey in the tax sector, and why she enjoys working at SALT. 
  • [1:40] Judy Vorndran is the head of the state and local tax practice and has been practicing for 25 years. She shares her journey in the tax sector, and the transition she has seen in her 25 years of practice.
  • [3:45] Alexander Korzhen has worked in the state and local tax for 15 years. He admits he’s had an interesting 15 years in the tax sector and is looking forward to the future.
  • [4:32] Stacey Roberts is a member of the SALTovation team and has 24 years of experience in the state and local tax. She shares her journey from the federal tax compliant to SALT which she found way more interesting.
  • [6:44] Judy explains why you need to understand the layers of the state and local taxes blueprint whether as a small or large business. Why it is critical to comply with tax.
  • [14:26] Stacy addresses the assumption that all CPAs know about local and state tax. Look where you can add value to your client as a CPA.
  • [17:48] The effects of crises in the tax sector and how the state governments are going to enforce laws post COVID-19.
  • [22:09] How to understand Nexus when traveling for business from state to state.
  • [26:27] Judy elaborates whether Square is a marketplace, how to handle sales tax, and the laws that handle these marketplaces.


  • “SALT is navigating the gray area that exists when laws are not written specifically to business and are not keeping track with business.” -Alexander Korzhen
  • “There are layers upon layers of taxes across our nation that apply to each and every business.” -Judy Vorndran
  • “You might very well have to eat the tax you didn’t collect from your end-users.” -Judy Vorndran
  • “A nexus questionnaire is really a fishing expedition from a state.” -Stacey Roberts

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