Tuesday, September 15, 2009

If you insist on contacting the state...

...do it by email. As mentioned previously, don't call. But you can at least get a slightly more reliable response from them if you ask them via email. Then the response will be an email. Which means you at least have something to show the auditor that corroborates your position.

There are a couple of issues.

1. It still may be the wrong answer. And to cover themselves, it's a good bet that there will be a disclaimer at the bottom of the email saying, essentially, "We might be wrong. Don't take our word for it."

To deal with that, when you ask your question, ask for a link to where you can read more about it. Don't take the answer you are given without some support.

2. If you email them a question, they now know who you are. I mean, you gave them your email, didn't you? Set up a Yahoo or Google mail account, or use your personal email account. Use some email address that won't enable the state to track you back to your company.

"Ha," you're saying, "the state would never do that." Yes they would. I've had several people over the years who got audited suspiciously soon after they had asked a question. And the audit centered on the exact area the question was about. And I had one auditor in the class (I hate it when they show up, but they always provide interesting information) who did, in fact, cop to the fact that they audited people based on questions they asked.

3. You may be dealing with a state who has not, as of yet, heard of email. You'll be forced to use the phone. Or find some better way of getting your answers.

Sales Tax Guy

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