State Tax Notices: A Game??? | AccountingWEB

State Tax Notices: A Game???

State tax notices, got to love them.

I don't know about you, but I am seeing a lot more state tax notices being received by companies. Not only are they first time notices, but they are repeat notices, month after month. This is even after the taxpayer/company has responded to the first notice.

It often feels like the state taxing authority never looked at the response sent by the company. Actually, I recently called a state taxing authority because a company received a repeat notice, and the state said they were probably six months behind on processing incoming responses/mail, etc. Therefore, the company would continue to receive a repeat notice every month until the company's initial response was processed.

Disregarding repeat notices for the moment, even the first notice a company receives gives the perception that the state taxing authority did not even look at the documents that were attached to the originally filed return. The attachments often explain or provide the information that the notice is now requesting. This causes companies and taxpayers to devote additional time and resources to explain something again and again.

Can't taxing authorities get better? Is it just a computer system gone awry? Lack of resources?

What can taxpayers do to eliminate notices and repeat notices?

I understand it isn't always the taxing authority's fault, some taxpayers don't provide adequate information. But for those that do, the notices keep coming.

Sometimes it just feels like a game. A game in which the taxing authorities just want a company or taxpayer to give up and pay the additional tax, interest and/or penalties being imposed.

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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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