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State and Local Tax Consulting Tips

Updated: May 30, 2023



State and local tax professionals are responsible for ensuring that their clients comply with all state and local tax laws and regulations. This can be complex and time-consuming work, but there are several ways that professionals can be more efficient during the workday. Here are just a few:


Stay Organized

Keep all of your client’s information and documents in a clear and organized manner. Have all your work and files in a place you (and your client) can easily access them and label them according to project, state, and date. If you have a new version of a document, move the previous version into another folder labeled “past deliverables” and include a date on the deliverable. This will make finding the right document easier.


Use Technology

There are a variety of software programs and tools available that can help state and local tax professionals streamline their work. For example, tax research databases can provide access to the most up-to-date tax laws and regulations, while electronic filing systems can save time and reduce errors. Don’t be afraid to try out new technology and see how your clients like it. Ask a few trusted clients to be testers of the software and implement it firm wide if it’s a positive experience. You aren’t just using technology for efficiencies, but also to help you client be compliant as well.


Stay Current

Keep up to date with changes in state and local tax laws and regulations by regularly reading industry publications, attending continuing education courses, and participating in professional organizations. This can be time consuming, but If you dedicate just 30 minutes a day, it adds up. Don’t think you can spare 30 minutes? Try using it as a relaxation technique. Grab a cup of coffee or tea when you need a minute to destress and read (or watch) some tax news!


Specialize

Consider focusing on a specific area of state and local tax such as sales and use tax, property tax, or income tax. This will allow you to become an expert in that area, which will make you more efficient and valuable to your clients. If you are a solo practitioner, try creating a network of other SALT professionals you trust that you can refer specialized work to as well as they refer to you. Building relationships with clients are important but building a network of peers who you can share knowledge to help your clients and identify all of their issues is just as important!


Prioritize

Be mindful of the deadlines and have a plan to prioritize your work. Make sure you understand the urgency of the task and allocate time and resources accordingly. Try using your calendar app as a deadline calendar. Simply add an all-day calendar event to your calendar with the deadline. Keep the event as available, so you don’t accidentally block off your calendar as busy. Add a title with your client’s name and project, and add attendees to the event who are either on your team helping you complete it, your managers, or even your client, so they know when the project is anticipated to be completed.


Communicate

Maintain regular communication with your clients to ensure that you have all the information and documentation that you need to complete their tax returns. This will save time and reduce the risk of errors. Don’t forget to ask them yearly if there are any new developments, such as an office move, new employees, or any other information that they may forget to tell you but would be relevant for your work.


By following these tips, we hope that you, as a SALT professional, will increase your efficiency and provide better service to your clients. State and local tax is a difficult area to be in. Not only are there multiple tax types a professional must deal with, there are more than 50 jurisdiction, when you include US territories and state localities, to remember. By keeping organized, using available resources, and keeping current, SALT professionals will be ahead of the curve when completing their work for their clients.


Need help gathering all the information you need for a registration or need an automated system to conduct a sales tax nexus study? Check us out at www.pepersoftware.com for our project management software that helps SALT professionals with their client projects, saving them time and resources while generating new business.


 

About the author Kristina Cassone-Rhodes has worked in state and local taxes for more than 5 years. She currently owns her own consulting firm, Cassone Consulting LLC, and is a co-founder of Peper (Formally known as TaxStream LLC). She has a J.D. from the University of Montana and an LL.M in Taxation from Boston University.




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