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67: All About State and Local Taxes, from Working from Home to Upcoming Audits
Episode 6719th October 2021 • Taxgirl Podcast • Kelly Phillips Erb
00:00:00 00:36:53

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From work from home, to deductions, to Wayfair, it’s clear that state and local taxes (SALT) have become critical in the tax world. While the larger focus used to sit squarely on federal taxes, the industry lens seems to be shifting toward SALT more and more.

State and local taxes can seem complicated, especially in a nearly post-pandemic economy where so many taxpayers are still working remotely. How does the federal tax realm compare to SALT?

On today’s episode of the Taxgirl podcast, Kelly is joined by Jamie Szal to chat about why this shift is happening and why SALT is so crucial to today’s tax landscape. Jamie is a tax attorney at Brann and Isaacson, where she focuses on assisting businesses with state and local tax controversy matters from audits and administrative proceedings through civil litigation. She is a graduate of Trinity College, and earned her JD from Northeastern University School of Law.   

Listen to Kelly and Jamie talk about the impact of state and local taxes:

  • Beginning with a BA in International Studies, Jamie chats about her diverse background and what led her to specializing in state and local taxes. On the brink of a new job with a US intelligence agency, Jamie realized she was more interested in the context and legal specifics of the ordeal and decided to pursue law school instead. 
  • Jamie says, “The last three years since [the Wayfair verdict] has been like the wild west.” It opened the doors for states to go after businesses that didn’t have a physical footprint. 
  • The complexity and nuance to state and local tax can be extremely overwhelming, even to professionals. Jamie shares how she’s learned to stay focused and on top of her practice over the years. 
  • What does Jamie think could happen down the line as a continued result of the Wayfair case? How might the federal code and statutes interact with these new ideals?
  • In this modern age, to what degree are company websites considered when evaluating commerce and taxes across state lines? 
  • Is there an anticipated aggressive audit cycle to come as we emerge from the pandemic? 
  • How are states making proactive movements to gain information for any audits? What are the underlying causes that could be motivating these initiatives? 
  • As someone who specializes in SALT, what does Jamie spend most of her time working on? She says she spends a fair bit of time in the litigation world, as well as a lot of time deep in strategic planning conversations. 
  • Jamie also says the procedural side of SALT is just as varied as the code itself. Everything depends on the fine print of the local laws and jurisdictions. How does she go about nailing down those specifics and finding seasoned experts in certain regions of interest? 
  • The value of LinkedIn can’t be understated. From searching for clients to expanding a vast network, Jamie sings the praises of LinkedIn, especially when it comes to finding niche experts in her field. 
  • Kelly and Jamie chat briefly about their experiences as women in the tax world, and how the demographic may be shifting in the future, even as soon as post-pandemic. Jamie says she’s noticed a significant difference between women in the public tax sector versus the private sector, maybe because of hours or flexible scheduling. 
  • How can women in tax “balance” their careers, lives, and families without feeling like they’re sacrificing time in any area?
  • What are Jamie’s dream career goals? She says she would love to work on another supreme court case.

More about Kelly:

Kelly is the creator and host of the Taxgirl podcast series. Kelly is a practicing tax attorney with considerable experience and knowledge. She works with taxpayers like you every day. One of the things that she does is help folks out of tax jams, and hopefully, keep others from getting into them.

You can find out more about Kelly here and you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.

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Kelly’s Website – Taxgirl

Jamie’s LinkedIn -- Jamie Szal