The terms ‘‘simplicity’’ and ‘‘uniformity’’ are not usually discussed in the same breath as state and local tax. With all the taxing jurisdictions in the United States, there is little uniformity and nothing seems simple.

The lack of uniformity creates complexity resulting in burdens and opportunities for taxpayers and states. But do state governments really care about uniformity? States generally conform to other states when it is not economically detrimental. Further, states use the lack of uniformity as a marketing tool or incentive for businesses to locate to their state. They actively market and solicit businesses by touting their economic climate, workforce, infrastructure, and low taxes (plus credits and incentives). Despite states joining organizations such as the Multistate Tax Commission and the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, uniformity appears to remain out of reach. Therefore, is uniformity a realistic goal? Should it be a goal at all?

To read more, check out my article in Tax Analysts State Tax Notes on September 23, 2013. (the link to the article is in my LinkedIn profile)

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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:

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

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