Complimentary Attacks image

Complimentary Attacks

Sometimes people send me emails that seem a little like personal attacks, I have learned that those communications aren’t meant to be taken that way. If I read them from the viewpoint of the person who is genuinely trying to help me I realize they only want me to be the best.

I recently had a prospective client tell me in an email that I was too aggressive. He also left me a phone message that he was concerned that I was wasting my time because I followed up with him so often.

I responded to his email with a “thanks for the compliment.” It was not sarcasm. I really meant it. Whenever anyone tells me I follow up too much with phone calls and emails, I take it as an acknowledgement that our company is doing our job. Our dogged persistence is the reason we are so successful with the California Board of Equalization. WE NEVER STOP. WE PERSIST UNTIL OUR CLIENTS GET AN EXEMPTION GRANTED. We have successfully assisted our clients to support over 1300 California use tax exemptions.

To use a baseball analogy, our batting average is 1000. We would bat leadoff on any team with those kinds of statistics.

This is better than the high score on the public games in arcades where kids come back periodically to check and see if their numbers have been bested. Why? Because we have never failed to get an exemption for our clients. The only way you can fail using our system is to hire us and then refuse to follow our directions.

When I began the research to offer our service I reviewed fifteen years of Decision and Recommendations (The D&R is the Board of Equalization name for the write up of the taxpayer’s side and the Board’s side of any contested audit, along with the legal basis for the ultimate decision). I created a checklist of all the failure points and we quite simply apply them to every clients’ documents.

This may seem a little anal to many people but I’ve learned that when you are dealing with a tax agency that has the hutzpah to change its interpretations and enforcement policies at a whim, this is the only way to protect the client’s interest. We prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

Because I have been coaching high school baseball for the last four decades I will be using another baseball analogy. If you practice and prepare your offense to work when a Cy Young pitcher is on the mound you are over prepared for all the rest of the pitching staffs. We can’t predict what auditor will be handling our audits so we must assume that it is the most anal “income focused” person in the Tax Department.

Sometimes the additional documents that get requested are laughable to us because it indicates that the auditor is very new and doesn’t understand the job fully. Recently we had an auditor refuse to accept charity flights to be acceptable as business support. The Regulation says to qualify for the interstate commerce test the flights do not have to be “for profit”. This was straightened out by a savvy attorney in the Petitions department. But our clients don’t know that, so the stress is still present until they get their exemption letter.

Just like I do when I am managing a baseball team, I seldom get involved in the emotion of the game. At least not publically or in front of clients. I know that it is my job to be the calm in the storm during the game, I also know that I have to help calm down the client’s emotions because he is unaware that we are going to score in the bottom of the last inning and pull out a win. That confidence comes from winning so much.

Tom Alston Image

by Thomas A. Alston Mr. Alston is the Founder and CEO of Aero & Marine Tax Professionals. His company has prepared and filed hundreds of tax returns with a 100% success rate. Mr. Alston's management and tax experience are the foundation and guiding hand for all of Aero & Marine activities. His full-proof system to legally avoid paying sales tax on aircraft purchases has never failed. Aero & Marine Tax Professionals is the premier California sales and use tax consulting firm specializing in the area of Mobile Transportation Equipment (aircraft, vessels and vehicles).

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