When multistate companies realize they have historical state tax liabilities there are generally two options available to resolve these issues:
- Wait for the states to audit your business and assess back taxes, interest and penalties, or
- Be proactive and negotiate a settlement with the state to limit the taxes due and reduce the interest and penalties paid through the voluntary disclosure agreement (VDA) process.
Interstate Tax Strategies Voluntary Disclosure Agreement Services:
Interstate Tax Strategies has a proven model for working with the states to facilitate VDA settlement agreements. We work with your business to learn the best way to approach the states and how to minimize the tax liability owed. Our techniques and insights into multistate sales tax have saved clients significant amounts of tax dollars through the VDA process. Contact us for a no cost and confidential discussion of your company’s tax situation VDA@salestaxstrategies.com.
Common VDA Questions
What is a VDA Settlement?
A Voluntary Disclosure Agreement is a formal contractual agreement between the state and the taxpayer where the state agrees to limit the look back period for the taxes owed and waive penalties (and sometimes interest) on the taxes that are paid.
In return, the taxpayer agrees to pay the tax and interest due for the look back period, register for the remittance of sales and use tax on future sale, and begin the process of collecting and remitting sales or use tax on taxable transactions.
VDA settlement agreements are normally conducted on an anonymous basis through a third-party- such as Interstate Tax Strategies. This ensures that the identity of the taxpayer is not revealed to the state until the agreement has been formalized and all parties are in agreement with the settlement. VDA settlements must be conducted prior to the state contacting your company so it is critical that you begin assessing your company’s potential liability as soon as possible.
Do All States Have Voluntary Disclosure Agreement programs?
Each state has some type of VDA program. Many cities that administer their own sales tax also offer these VDA programs. Cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Denver each offer VDA programs for self-administered taxes.
What taxes are eligible for VDA?
Over the past 26 years, I have negotiated VDA settlements for sales, use, telecommunications excise tax, corporate income tax, franchise tax, and communications utility taxes. In most cases, any tax that is imposed and administered by a state or local jurisdiction is eligible for a VDA settlement.
How many years of tax are covered under a VDA?
The “look back” period for VDAs varies by state. Most states have a 36 month “look back” period from the date they are approached. Some states have a 48 month “look back” period and others have a 3 calendar year look back. In an audit situation, the states normally audit unregistered companies for the previous six to eight years. They will also impose charge interest and impose penalties for late tax payments which can be as high as 25% of the taxes due.
What if we have collected the tax already?
Many of the Voluntary Disclosure Agreements we negotiate involve tax that has been collected from customers but not remitted. Even under these situations, most states are willing to enter into VDA settlements. Some states will impose a 10% penalty under the VDA for tax that has been collected but not remitted. There is generally no limited look back period for tax that has been collected.
Let Us Help You
Our mission is to help your business understand and navigate the increasingly complicated interstate sales tax landscape. Regardless of your industry, if you operate in more than one state, you are an interstate business and you must evaluate the sales tax rules in each state where you conduct business. Even if you are only in one state, don’t assume your sales tax processes and procedures are correct. Each year, states collect millions of dollars in taxes, interest, and penalties on audit from businesses who thought they were handling their sales tax properly.