So what do companies need to keep in mind? When you’ve got a
leader of a business that’s saying ‘I’m going to be making these investments,’ they don’t have the option of saying ‘Sorry, we need to wait
for tax reform.’ Then they’re thinking: ‘As we make critical investments, how do we make them most intelligently?’ A great example is
in companies taking a look at the different types of opportunities that
federal and state governments offer around credits and incentives. As
companies are looking for ways to maintain and grow their businesses,
they have to make sure they’re continuing to look at many of the incentives that are being offered by multiple jurisdictions around investment in fixed assets, or creating jobs, or grants, or investments in new
technology. I think that’s an important aspect to keep in mind as they
look at the growth and evaluate how they best make those decisions in
a tax efficient manner.
ID: Can you shed any light on anything that might be changing in
regards to the tax implications for online retailers like AmazonSupply?
MB: I think there is a lot of pressure on the members of Congress,
primarily from bricks and mortar businesses, to help level that playing
field. I think there is a fair amount of fear that there will be additional
opportunities for states to potentially assess sales and use tax on a lot
of those ecommerce transactions. There’s a fear that that’s going to
occur, and I don’t think I can dampen that fear. This voracious need for
revenue means there is substantial pressure on Congress to try to help
out those traditional companies that maintain businesses around the
country and have retail locations. Accordingly, I think we’re going to
see that pressure build. That plays into the whole controversy — you’ve
got jurisdictions that need more revenue, they’re seeing the economy
continues to change, and there is more commerce that goes through
the internet and through other avenues. It also means states are going
to be continually aggressive in the way they pursue tax revenues —
whether it relates to income taxes, franchise taxes, or sales and use.
Many people are anxious because they think this might be the year
where some of those bills actually move forward.
ID: I’m interested in knowing if you hear a lot of specific questions/
areas of interest from the industrial perspective?
MB: There’s a big question in the corporate community around extenders — extension of the R&D credit, the look through rules; a whole
host of areas that are very important to corporate tax. I think a lot of
people are wondering when that will occur. We’re in 2014 and, again,
that R&D credit has lapsed. And so, there are companies that are wondering — will Congress do something in the short term, or will we have
to wait until the end of the year again for an extenders bill? There is a
lot of attention around that aspect. Although there is continued interest in tax reform, I think most people see that tax reform is likely not
moving forward from what we can see in the short term. After seeing
how the year closed, I think people are thinking tax reform is something we’re going to have to deal with for the next couple years.