Power, Health and State Taxes: Don't Take Them For Granted

Electricity and health:  two things we take for granted.

Our country over the past few weeks has encountered some challenging weather.  The fires in Colorado, the flooding in Florida, and devastating storms from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic.

Living in Virginia, we encountered some heavy storms Friday night and Saturday night.  Living in the middle of trees (and I mean, a lot of trees), practially any time it storms with strong winds, the power goes out.  Well, on Friday night our power went out at 11 pm.  This caused us to not sleep very well, knowing that we had two refrigerators fully stocked and that the temperature has been over 100 degrees.  Hence, we were worried about all of the food (and money) we would lose and how hot the house would get.  All night long, all of my dreams were about the power coming back on.  It felt like I would sleep for about an hour and then wake up hoping the power was on.  It never came on.  I was on pins and needles.  It was like I couldn't breathe, no oxygen.

Needless to say, we woke up Saturday morning and went out for breakfast.  We also ran to the hardware store to (you guessed it), buy a generator.  However, the first store was out.  The person working there said they just sold 20 in the last 10 minutes.  I'm thinking, you didn't have to tell me that.  Well, we quickly drove to the next closest hardware store and we were in luck.  They had generators.  We bought one, along with the gas tanks, cords, oil, etc.  (that was an expensive morning). 

Driving home from the hardware store, I received a call from the power company asking us to let them know if our power had not been restored, because they had completed work in our area.  I just laughed.  We will probably get home and the power will be on (simply because we just went out and bought a generator).  Sure enough, we got home and the power was on.  We were very relieved and grateful. 

Last year we moved from the midwest to Virginia.  The second month we lived here, we were greeted with a hurricane and earthquake.  As a result of the hurricane, our power was out for 4 days.  It was the first time I had experienced going that long without power. 

What's the point of my story?

Well, the experience made me think of how much we take electricity and power for granted.  We need it desparately to function and operate.  When we have it, we hardly think about it.  When we don't have it, that's all we think about.  We want it to come back on so badly, yet we have no control over when it does.  We can hardly function.  The same can be said for our health.  When we have it, we hardly think about it.  When we don't have it, nothing else matters. 

In the tax world, we (companies, businesses, tax professionals, etc.) can take state and local taxes for granted.  A great number of companies don't want to deal with state taxes.  Several companies like to play the "wait and see game" in regards to complying with state tax laws.  Meaning, they want to do as little as possible now, and just wait until the state catches them.  This is all well and good as long as the state never catches them.  However, if the state does catch them, large liabilities including tax, interest and penalties can accumulate over the years causing companies to feel as though the power just went out, or they just got diagnosed with some disease. 

Don't lose power.  Reduce your risk of getting sick.  Be proactive instead of reactive in your life, and how you deal with state and local taxes.

This blog

Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States.  He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State Tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect."  For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com

You can reach Brian at strahle@leveragesalt.com.

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn. Follow Brian on Twitter. Join the Leverage | SALT LinkedIn Group, connect and contribute with your colleagues!  

Because state and local taxes are deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.


Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.


Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.


Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".


William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.


Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.


Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.


Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.


The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.


FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.


Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.


Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.


AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.