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State and Local Tax Due Diligence: Don't Restructure Without It!

Dec 19th 2011
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Is your company considering restructuring its business?  Perhaps creating new legal entities or re-aligning its lines of business into different entities?  Changing the ownership structure of the legal entities within the commonly controlled affiliated group?  Or maybe it is considering acquiring or merging with a new business (unrelated third-party)?

Regardless of your company's situation, in each of the above mentioned scenarios, your company must perform its due diligence prior to completing any transaction or restructuring.  That due diligence should take into consideration the impact the restructuring or transaction will have on the business operations, legal obligations, insurance, finance, and tax, etc. 

In regards to the tax implications, there can be significant tax ramifications on the transaction or restructuring itself.  In addition to the federal tax impact, the state and local tax impact can be material and varied.  Some of the potential state and local taxes to take into consideration are:  income tax, gross receipts taxes, franchise taxes, sales and use taxes, property taxes and transfer taxes.

Usually the biggest concern in regards to the transaction from a state and local tax perspective are: 

  1. Is there any sales tax on the sale or transfer of assets or change in ownership? 
  2. Is there any transfer tax on the transfer of assets or change in ownership?

The answers to these questions depends on the state or states involved.

In addition to the above, the impact that the restructuring will have on the business' state tax nexus (taxable presence) position across the country should be reviewed and considered before making any changes.

So What?

If your company is currently considering any restructuring or acquisition, don't forget about performing state and local tax due diligence.  If the transaction ends up costing the company a significant amount of state tax dollars now or in the future, you may be asked if these issues were considered or reviewed prior to completing the transaction.


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