Survey: Four out of five companies report increased sales tax audits

The tax & accounting business of Thomson Reuters has announced the findings from a survey during a Q3 2010 Thomson Reuters Web seminar. Attended by over 200 Global 2000 indirect tax leaders, the survey found that:

  • 87% have experienced an increased number of audits due to state and local revenue shortfalls.
  • 69% have made sales and use tax, and VAT a more strategic focus of their company due to the economy.
  • 64% have implemented new programs and processes to remain compliant.

The findings support recent moves by state and local government to leverage sales and use tax to shore up budget deficits.  For example, in October 2010, the California Board of Equalization began hiring 98 new staff members to address the growth in the number of sales tax audit leads and to enhance tax collection efforts.  The state expects the effort to bring in an additional $13.6 million to the State General Fund.  A statement released by the California Board of Equalization indicates that accelerated and new General Fund revenues are expected to be $62.2 million in 2011-12 and $81.2 million in 2012-2013 .

"Increased audits, stricter enforcement and new taxes all together are the current trend for state and local government," said Carla Yrjanson, vice president of tax research and content at Thomson Reuters.  "With 87 percent of companies surveyed undergoing or have recently experienced an audit, companies looking to comply with the fluid and dynamic indirect tax market need to make sure that they are filing properly and on time or risk a costly audit."

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