Audit Services

Alternative Compliance Procedures

Do you know how much your company spends on the sales & use tax compliance process? Most companies have not captured internal compliance costs. It is important to understand the fully loaded costs to maintain your compliance process. This cost is your baseline when evaluating alternative sales & use tax solutions.

Michael James assists with the evaluation, development, negotiation, and implementation of alternative compliance procedures, such as managed audits, managed compliance agreements, and alternative reporting procedures. Our experienced professionals evaluate alternative compliance procedures to determine which, if any, will benefit your company.

Michael James’s service to support Alternative Compliance Procedures evaluates options, develops strategic techniques to apply new processes, negotiate agreements, and implements wing-to-wing procedures.

Assessment Review

You received an audit assessment that does not reflect what you anticipate paying. The audit is not over; there are a number of options available to reduce an assessment that overstates your liability.

Michael James will review audit assessments and advise you of changes or recommendations which result in an assessment reduction. This is accomplished by reviewing the auditor’s schedules to identify items that should be excluded audit sample or population due to exemptions or discrepancies. The audit can also be reduced by identifying overpayment credit used to offset liabilities. Michael James will provide the necessary documentation to the auditor in support of proposed assessment reductions.

Michael James’s contingency fee based audit service agreements provides you with the option of having us review the preliminary audit schedules prior to your review or after you have reviewed them. Separate distinct contingency fees are established for each situation. You determine the fees that best suit your company and situation.

Audit Controversy

As state and local governments grapple with significant budget deficits, states are increasingly auditing businesses for additional revenue. Auditors are reluctant to remove items not subject to assessment leading to more audit assessments being appealed.

Michael James represents businesses of all sizes in disputes with state and local taxing authorities during administrative tax controversy process. Our tax controversy professionals have extensive experience representing businesses in industries such as manufacturing, leasing, retail, wholesale, transportation, health care, media and entertainment and technology.

To manage the increased scrutiny from state and local governments, businesses can rely upon Michael James’s state and local tax professionals to devise audit and protest strategies while managing each phase of the tax controversy by:

• Meeting with auditors, dispute resolution officers, administrative hearings attorneys, or other agents as necessary
• Participating in informal conferences or other administrative appeals
• Assisting taxpayers in administrative hearings
• Filing administrative claims

Audit Metrics

State and local auditors are under significant pressure by their respective jurisdictions to close revenue gaps and meet assessment quotas. In addition, many of them tend to possess only rudimentary knowledge of your company’s business systems, process, and procedures. This can result in substantial amount of company resources being devoted towards facilitating the audit process and accruing for potential audit liabilities. Developing and utilizing Audit Metrics to quantifiably measure the performance of your audit process and results will identify opportunities to improve results and communicate the audit team’s impact to your business. A well-planned, efficient, and effective audit process leads to decreased cycle time, reduced audit liabilities, and even potential refund opportunities.

Measuring Performance

Measuring performance ensures high quality standards for audit strategy, execution and reporting. Integration of the audit strategy with the overall business objective ensures that all stakeholders in the company are satisfied.

Audit Metrics

The first step towards assessing your audit process is to identify and develop results-driven and quantifiable metrics that calculate internal and external measurements. Internal measurements are metrics that are measurable, consistent, and reportable information directly related to the impact of audit results on the business’ bottom line. External measurements are metrics that measure tax savings related to the avoidance of actions that impact internal measurements.

Michael James uses a variety of audit metrics to generate quantifiable metrics to assist your organization in identifying, quantifying, and communicating to management your audit team’s performance. If you would like to evaluate your existing metrics or need to identify new metrics, please contact Michael James to discuss how we can assist your organization.

Audit Process Evaluation and Improvement

Audit Process Evaluation and Improvement is a method that reviews and measures the current audit process and procedures in an effort to identify opportunities to implement changes modifying your audit process or procedures to increase the efficiently or effectiveness of your audit process. These actions focus on eliminating rework, reducing cycle time and operational and systems costs.

Do you have documented standard audit processes and procedures?

Are your data requisition, management, process flow and analysis streamlined?

Do you utilize stand forms, templates and files across all users and audits?

Michael James has extensive experience analyzing and improving existing audit processes and procedures to meet management goals and objectives. These actions often follow a specific methodology or strategy to create successful results.

Audit Representation

Sales, use and excise tax audits can be fraught with risk. Ever-changing and complex rules and regulations, application and data integrity issues, and a push by state authorities to aggressively meet revenue goals can mean significant liabilities for an organization lacking a strong audit defense team. The unique nature of these tax audits often times is beyond the scope of a traditional accounting or internal audit department.

Michael James understands the audit needs of a business will depend on circumstances unique to that organization. We are prepared to adapt and tailor our services to fit the specific needs of our clients. You can rely on our 45 years of experience utilizing strategic audit techniques to aggressively deliver the lowest liability or generate the maximum refund possible.

From notification letter through the appeals process (if necessary), Michael James can assist you in minimizing sales and use tax assessments.

Audit Sampling Analysis and Evaluation

Does your audit staff have experience to generate and evaluate stratified random samples? Are you at the mercy of the states technology personal to accept their sampling plan without verification? Would you like to take control of this process and make recommendations to this plan to reduce audit risk?

Michael James’s Sampling Analysis and Evaluation professionals work directly with you on audit sampling issues specifically focusing on risk mitigation and cycle time improvements through the development of audit sampling plans, evaluations of samples, and with preparing and analyzing population data files in preparation of sampling for auditing.

Michael James provides solutions to assist with the following:

• Design audit sampling plans when the audit population consists of a large number of transactions.
• Where state procedures do not exist, inadequate or insufficient for audit sampling Michael James can develop and implement alternative sampling and statistical methodologies.
• Evaluate audit sampling plans and methodologies proposed by state auditors to ensure your interests are protected and sampling risk is mitigated during tax audits.
• Provide a comprehensive report that documents the development your sampling plan. The documentation process includes archiving files and databases, and the ability to replicate random samples requested.

Exemption Certificates

Tax professionals and state audit officials both identified the inability to produce valid exemption certificates as a major contributor to companies’ audit assessments. When assessed for missing or invalid exemption or resale certificates, the inability to produce the certificates accounted for almost half of the total assessment.

In the past, revenue auditors were more lenient in accepting certificates which did not comply with the letter of the law. Today, with many state and local jurisdictions facing budget shortfalls,, auditors are less likely to show any leniency on such issues.

Michael James has extensive experience in this area and can assist your company in securing missing certificates.. By utilizing client-provided customer information, our professionals will be able to reduce your audit liability and ensure your exempt activities are properly documented and up-to-date.

Litigation Support Services

As state and local governments grapple with significant budget deficits, states are increasingly auditing businesses for additional revenue. Auditors are reluctant to remove items not subject to assessment leading to more audit assessments being appealed.

Michael James represents businesses of all sizes in disputes with state and local taxing authorities during administrative tax controversy process. Our tax controversy professionals have extensive experience representing businesses in industries such as manufacturing, leasing, retail, wholesale, transportation, health care, media and entertainment and technology.

To manage the increased scrutiny from state and local governments, businesses can rely upon Michael James’s state and local tax professionals to devise audit and protest strategies while managing each phase of the tax controversy by:

• Meeting with auditors, dispute resolution officers, administrative hearings attorneys, or other agents as necessary
• Participating in informal conferences or other administrative appeals
• Assisting taxpayers in administrative hearings
• Filing administrative claims

Utility Studies

Michael James’ personnel are knowledgeable and experienced in conducting and identifying utility consumption data which can assist your organization with utility refund applications and claims for exemption. Our tax professionals will review your compliance procedures as they relate to your utilities and ensure all claims for exemptions to vendors are valid and up-to-date.