Managing Sales Tax Data: Streamlining Internal Controls to Maximize Compliance Efficiency

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1 Presenting a live 110-minute teleconference with interactive Q&A Managing Sales Tax Data: Streamlining Internal Controls to Maximize Compliance Efficiency THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20, pm Eastern 12pm Central 11am Mountain 10am Pacific Today s faculty features: Mike Dillon, President, Dillon Tax Consulting, Annapolis, Md. Kenneth Stites, Principal, Stites Tax Consulting, Austin, Texas The audio portion of the conference may be accessed via the telephone or by using your computer's speakers. Please refer to the instructions ed to registrants for additional information. If you have any questions, please contact Customer Service at ext. 10.

2 Tips for Optimal Quality FOR LIVE EVENT ONLY Sound Quality If you are listening via your computer speakers, please note that the quality of your sound will vary depending on the speed and quality of your internet connection. If the sound quality is not satisfactory, you may listen via the phone: dial and enter your PIN when prompted. Otherwise, please send us a chat or immediately so we can address the problem. If you dialed in and have any difficulties during the call, press *0 for assistance. Viewing Quality To maximize your screen, press the F11 key on your keyboard. To exit full screen, press the F11 key again.

3 Continuing Education Credits FOR LIVE EVENT ONLY Attendees must listen throughout the program, including the Q & A session, in order to qualify for full continuing education credits. Strafford is required to monitor attendance. Record verification codes presented throughout the seminar. If you have not printed out the Official Record of Attendance, please print it now (see Handouts tab in Conference Materials box on left-hand side of your computer screen). To earn Continuing Education credits, you must write down the verification codes in the corresponding spaces found on the Official Record of Attendance form. Please refer to the instructions ed to the registrant for additional information. If you have any questions, please contact Customer Service at ext. 10.

4 Program Materials FOR LIVE EVENT ONLY If you have not printed the conference materials for this program, please complete the following steps: Click on the ^ symbol next to Conference Materials in the middle of the lefthand column on your screen. Click on the tab labeled Handouts that appears, and there you will see a PDF of the slides and the Official Record of Attendance for today's program. Double-click on the PDF and a separate page will open. Print the slides by clicking on the printer icon.

5 Managing Sales Tax Data: Streamlining Internal Controls to Maximize Compliance Efficiency Feb. 20, 2014 Ken Stites, Stites Tax Consulting Michael T. Dillon, Dillon Tax Consulting

6 Today s Program Sales Tax Data Requirements and Return Preparation [Kenneth Stites] Internal Controls and Audit Defense [Michael T. Dillon] Slide 8 Slide 19 Slide 20 Slide 37

7 Notice ANY TAX ADVICE IN THIS COMMUNICATION IS NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE SPEAKERS FIRMS TO BE USED, AND CANNOT BE USED, BY A CLIENT OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FOR THE PURPOSE OF (i) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED ON ANY TAXPAYER OR (ii) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY MATTERS ADDRESSED HEREIN. You (and your employees, representatives, or agents) may disclose to any and all persons, without limitation, the tax treatment or tax structure, or both, of any transaction described in the associated materials we provide to you, including, but not limited to, any tax opinions, memoranda, or other tax analyses contained in those materials. The information contained herein is of a general nature and based on authorities that are subject to change. Applicability of the information to specific situations should be determined through consultation with your tax adviser.

8 Sales Tax Data Requirements and Return Preparation Kenneth Stites Principal at STITES TAX CONSULTING (866) STITES TAX CONSULTING

9 Data Requirements for Sales and Use Tax Compliance Sales Transactions and Exemption Documentation Purchases of Fixed Assets Purchases of Expense Items STITES TAX CONSULTING 9

10 Sales Transactions Required Data and Available Data Summary data for sales with breakdowns by jurisdiction, taxable sales, exempt sales, tax invoiced Transactions with unique tax calculations Adjustments to sales amounts such as credit and debit memos Journal entry detail for JE s that affect recorded sales or recorded sales tax accrual STITES TAX CONSULTING 10

11 Sales Transactions Evaluating Systems that are in Place Determine the systems that are collecting sales data, whether it be a module in the accounting software package or a separate billing software package or some combination of systems Analyze system reports that are available and the potential for report customization Consider data exports to spreadsheets to manage data in an efficient manner Utilization of data stored by Sales Tax software package STITES TAX CONSULTING 11

12 Sales Transactions Access to and Maintenance of transaction detail Copies of invoices retrievable by invoice number, customer name and date Copies of credit memos that adjust sales amounts with reference to the original sales documents Copies of contracts that provide definition of products or services Journal entry back up for write offs that are processed Exemption certificates STITES TAX CONSULTING 12

13 Fixed Asset Purchases Analyze or establish process to accrue and remit taxes on assets when necessary Determine the dollar cutoffs with respect to items to be reviewed on an actual basis Establish the process to be implemented to review fixed asset transactions for proper tax calculation Develop a methodology to capture the tax due, accrue the tax on the books and report it on the sales and use tax return Establish procedures for retaining detail for audit support STITES TAX CONSULTING 13

14 Purchases of Expense Items Establish a methodology for the review and reporting of expense items Create and maintain a file of the invoices that are included in the use tax accrual Develop a spreadsheet to accumulate data for the use tax accrual that documents methodology and assigns appropriate tax rates Incorporate use tax calculation into compliance methodology STITES TAX CONSULTING 14

15 Tax Return Preparation Utilize summary data via system reports and prepared spreadsheets to prepare returns for filing. Back end sales tax software can be used to generate returns, possibly facilitating direct uploads to the tax authorities. Retain spreadsheets used to capture data from outside of the billing system, which is included on the tax returns. STITES TAX CONSULTING 15

16 Tax Return Preparation Create file for filed tax returns including copies of reports, spreadsheets, use tax back up, payment processing and mailing certification whether it is through the USPS or electronic. Reconcile sales tax accrual account or accounts to the returns filed, adjustments and amounts that need to remain in the accrual. STITES TAX CONSULTING 16

17 Data Validation Confirm that established methodologies, strategies and processes are being followed. Perform transaction tests to determine that tax is calculated correctly, exempt transactions are excluded from the tax calculations and that transactions are properly recorded; also confirm that exemption documentation is properly maintained. Test the integrity of reports and spreadsheets used to complete the sales and use tax returns, for completeness and accuracy. STITES TAX CONSULTING 17

18 Slide Intentionally Left Blank

19 Michael T. Dillon, Dillon Tax Consulting INTERNAL CONTROLS AND AUDIT DEFENSE

20 Managing Sales Tax Data: Internal Controls 20 Training Staff in Data Management Don t know what we don t know Most companies lack tax process Most companies lack sales tax training So many variables that can affect tax decision or indecision No internal review or placed in hands of non-tax personnel Vendor incentive and A/P incentive Potential for overpayments as well as exposure Decentralized or complex sales and purchasing = more risk

21 Managing Sales Tax Data: Internal Controls 21 TRAINING STAFF IN DATA MANAGEMENT Understand the data they manage Communicate well with IT and IT systems Know how to get the data Know how to safeguard and validate the data

22 Managing Sales Tax Data: Internal Controls 22 Training Staff in Data Management Understand the data they manage - Who, what, when, where, how - Electronic processes more detail is ideal - Coding sales and purchase transactions to correct jurisdiction, account, product and tax codes - Tax matrix - Rating

23 Managing Sales Tax Data: Internal Controls 23 Training Staff in Data Management Understand the data they manage - Ensuring transaction details match contract and invoice literals - Coding sales and use tax to proper accounts - Prepare back-up documents to support returns audit trails - Reconciling tax accounts to ensure what was collected and accrued was remitted

24 Managing Sales Tax Data: Internal Controls 24 TRAINING STAFF IN DATA MANAGEMENT Communicate well with IT and IT systems - IT and data are critical to tax success - What information exists, in what format - What information tax needs to prepare returns and maintain an audit trail - Establish points of command for communication between tax and IT - Future IT needs of tax

25 Slide Intentionally Left Blank

26 Managing Sales Tax Data: Internal Controls 26 TRAINING STAFF IN DATA MANAGEMENT Know how to get the data - Who, what, when, where, how fields - Which systems have tax calculation data - Which systems provide tax decision data - Send data to CRM, OE or invoicing - Query reports required to prepare returns - Query reports required for audits - Manual review of complex transactions

27 Managing Sales Tax Data: Internal Controls 27 TRAINING STAFF IN DATA MANAGEMENT Safeguarding and Validating the data - Correct CRM / OE set-up - Obtaining exemption and resale certificates - Maintain tax matrix and audit issue resolution - Detailed Reporting for audit purposes - Departmental accountability for audit liabilities - Manual review / intervention in processes

28 Managing Sales Tax Data: Internal Controls 28 SALES A N D USE TA X COMPLIANCE SOFTWA RE A utomated tax decision, rating a nd return preparation Keep a c c o unting personnel f o c used o n higherv a lue work Data a rchived f o r a udit purposes

29 Managing Sales Tax Data: Internal Controls 29 SALES A N D USE TA X COMPLIANCE SOFTWA RE: REQS Must consider a nd ensure s eamless i ntegration with a c c o unting/billing p latforms Even with automation, there i s human i nvolvement, which a lways leads to the potential f o r error. Minimize humans interaction but create reviews by tax for select accounts, problem vendors, big purchases over materiality threshhold

30 Managing Sales Tax Data: Internal Controls 30 SALES A N D USE TA X COMPLIANCE SOFTWA RE: REQS Systems must address who, what, when, where, hows - More detailed descriptions reduce audit exposure Statutory exemptions must be addressed Exemption Certificate Management platforms Some purchases are exempt based on interstate commerce, and consideration must be given to multiple jurisdictions and when title is transferred.

31 Managing Sales Tax Data: Internal Controls 31 SALES A N D USE TA X C O MPLIANCE SOFTWA RE: WHAT SYSTEMS A RE AVA ILABLE Avalara Vertex Taxware BillSoft EZTax TaxAutomation and leading integrators can assist

32 Managing Sales Tax Data: Internal Controls 32 Obtaining Buy-In from the C-level suite Audit results are key driver Compliance Process Review - Sales tax expert audits multistate nexus and compliance and provides a gap and exposure analysis - Report provides a road map for resolving historical exposure and enhancing prospective compliance processes Cost comparison - manual versus automated compliance Cost of integration

33 Slide Intentionally Left Blank

34 Managing Sales Tax Data: Audit Defense 34 Pre-audit process Audit Risk = risk of inaccurate records + risk of misapplication of the tax laws Review the audit information request to ensure: - who, what, when, where, how more detailed = better The information requested is relevant and available, and available in the format requested If not, be prepared to discuss with auditor before initial audit meeting and present alternatives

35 Managing Sales Tax Data: Audit Defense PRE-AUDIT PROCESS Review the audit information request to ensure: Data fields not requested that will assist the audit process (e.g., project codes; electronic delivery field) Audit Thyself - Review the items to be audited - System walk-through - Missing Certificates and Invoices - Do transaction detail, register and returns reconcile - Identify issues and prepare responses 35

36 Managing Sales Tax Data: Audit Defense 36 Audit process How are invoices and certs maintained electronic v. manual - Computer-assisted detail v. sampling success depends on quality of data and detailed descriptions Are there documents not requested that will assist the audit process - contracts and exhibits / addenda / SOWs - accounting behind bundled or mixed transactions Consider system walk-through with auditor

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