Monday, March 23, 2009

Don't sign that return!

I'm on a mission. The problem is that most companies don't take sales and use tax seriously. As mentioned elsewhere, your executives don't know what they don't know. Since the big dogs don't take the tax seriously, if they give it any thought at all, the odds of them signing the SUT return are pretty low. Which only reinforces the "not taking it seriously" part.

So, here's an idea. Make the big dogs in your organization sign the return. If they start signing it, maybe they'll ask questions. Maybe they'll start taking the tax seriously. Maybe they'll read this blog. Maybe, just maybe, they'll go to a seminar or take in a webinar! (OK, there's a self-serving aspect to this editorial too)

And if they wonder why they need to sign this silly sales tax return, offer the observation that they probably sign the company's 1120 Federal Income Tax return? Frankly, if you get audited, the bigger assessment, and certainly the bigger surprise, will probably come from the sales tax audit. So they should be scared of sales and use tax. And therefore, take it seriously. So encourage your execs to take the responsibility they already have and sign the return.

Wait a minute! Did he say "they already have?"

Yeah, I did. Even if a lowly staff accountant signs the return, the real responsibility will come to rest on the officers of the company anyway. Just another example of what they didn't know.

By the way, I know that some of you don't have this opportunity. You're working at a branch location of a larger company that files consolidated income tax returns out of your home office. But that's usually not an option for sales tax. So you're off the hook. But for the rest of you, I'm wagging my finger at you.

Sales Tax Guy
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