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Tax Expert Spotlight Interview – Brian Weaver

At TaxConnections, we are building a panel of experts that will answer your tax questions when you need. TaxConnections tax and financial experts are available to help you! In order to find the right expert to answer your inquiry, we need to shine the spotlight on our experts. We interviewed Brian Weaver out of Des Plaines, Illinois.

Brian has over twenty-five years of diversified experience in a number of industries including consulting in Big 5 firms, manufacturing, telecommunications, utility, and information technology to help you identify your pain points and put together an action plan to address them.

Can you tell us about your area of tax specialization and why you are so passionate about it?

I really enjoy the Indirect Tax/Tax Technology space as it combines the world of tax which is challenging and always changing with the technology space which is rapidly changing as well into one very unique workspace. Even if I have done a similar project ten times, there will be something different and a potential show-stopper that requires working with a team to solve the issue and keep the project moving forward to successful completion. It requires me to wear multiple hats; tax, tax software, accounting system, business process, and project manager that always keeps me thinking and learning.

What do you love teaching your clients about taxes?

I really enjoy seeing the actual results and the benefits realized from the work and suggestions that I have made such as reducing liability and improving processes so that they can perform better in a more efficient process and sleep better at night knowing that their tax matters are in order. I always say that you cannot claim to really know an area until you can transfer that knowledge to someone else and they understand it.

What is the best advice you would give to a client today?

Know where you are doing business, what you are doing, and how you are doing that business. Operating in jurisdictions where you are not registered is a potential landmine that can really hurt an organization. Tax and Operations/Sales often do not communicate, so tax learns of a situation after the damage has already been done. For example, a company was registered in fourteen states, but when a report of visits by sales and repair personnel was viewed, they definitely had nexus in all states as well as a number of local jurisdictions.

Can you tell us a story about an audit that was most memorable to you?

Recently I performed a refund review of a manufacturer in Illinois. Within ten minutes I knew that there were potential refunds just by sampling a few payable files. During the review, I identified sales tax overpayments on such items as packaging and repair parts used in the manufacturing process. In addition, they were accruing use tax on items from Illinois vendors for uniform rentals that are not taxable in Illinois. The total refund ended up being over $30,000 which was huge for a smaller manufacturer. We also put new procedure in place to prevent these overpayments from happening again in the future.

What is the number one problem faced by small business owners and/or taxpayers today?

Lack of tax expertise and time to devote to tax matters. Small businesses may have one person who is an Accounting/Tax jack-of-all trades. They cannot possibly keep up on all of the tax changes that occur, these days it seems on a weekly basis. Therefore, they really need to bring in experts in specific areas as needed to address these gaps and prevent larger more costly problems from occurring.

What recommendation for a Tax Proposal would you give to Members of Congress today?

Simplify! The US tax system is way-to complex and convoluted in many areas. The exceptions, exemptions, and carve-outs have exploded to the point where the tax code is unworkable. For example, the original instructions for the 1040 were one page. Now there are over 10,000 pages! Going to a flat income tax for both individuals and businesses along with a national Sales/VAT type of system would greatly simplify matters.

What are taxpayers being audited on most these days in your area of expertise?

Untaxed items, both sales and purchases continue to be the primary areas that tax authorities target as stand out as low-hanging fruit. The tax authorities are also greatly expanding what they consider nexus to be and are aggressively pursuing new avenues to compel companies to register and collect their sales taxes so you really need to make sure where you are doing business and have nexus. Do you know every warehouse where Amazon may have some of your inventory?


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Kat Jennings, CEO