Demystifying Sales and Use Tax

 In Articles

45051601_lDiving into the minutiae of Pennsylvania’s sales and use tax can be as difficult as learning Sanskrit. Rarely do these tax laws seem to make sense, and their complexity can be downright maddening.

But if you are a business owner or C-level executive, failing to address your sales and use tax obligations is simply out of the question. Not only could you be losing thousands of dollars in taxes you may not owe, you may also be on the hook for thousands and not even know it. In either case, trying to navigate the tricky waters of sales and use tax yourself is not wise. The average business owner or manager has neither the time nor the inclination to delve into the ever-changing guidelines and regulations related to sales and use tax law, let alone develop strategies to maximize savings.

Find Out What You Truly Owe in Sales and Use Tax

Before small businesses can start saving money on sales and use tax, they first have to determine what they truly owe. At Simon Lever, LLP, we ask these six important questions:

  1. Do you worry about receiving notification of a sales and use tax audit?
  2. As a contractor, are working on a tax-exempt project and paying sales and use tax on the materials you are using? Do you even know if you are (or if you need to)?
  3. Are you a specialty contractor bidding or working on a public works project?
  4. If you manufacture or process products, are you paying sales tax on your entire utility bill?
  5. Does your business distinguish between real property and tangible personal property for sales tax purposes? If so, are you saving money on the difference?
  6. Do you believe you are receiving the sales and use tax advice you need and deserve?

Speak with Professionals

If you’ve asked yourself these questions, or you are alarmed by them, it may be time to start a conversation with a sales and use tax professional. Trained technical advisors understand the intricacies of these laws and can help their clients retain every dollar they are owed. They do this by:

  • Providing qualified utility surveys for sales tax exemptions on power used in the manufacturing process
  • Determining what is real property and what is tangible personal property, and showing you how to take advantage of the difference
  • Getting refunds for sales tax paid on materials or services used for tax-exempt or public works projects
  • Including refund claims with sales tax assessments
  • Verifying exemptions and exemption certificates

Don’t be afraid of a paper tiger. Contact the sales and use tax professionals at Simon Lever LLP today, and let’s start a conversation.


By Darren Finn,

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