Imagine when you were in grammar school and what it would have been like if you were taught that 8 plus 7 equals 15. Then, you found out that when you got to High school the answer was 25. Finally, when you attended college the answer was 137. How confusing would that be? No, this article is not about Common Core Math.
This analogy is merely intended to point out that relying on the procedure that you used three years ago to support a claim for an exemption from California Use Tax as if it is cast in stone is equally unreliable. I have a client that had successfully gone through our exemption process several times in the past. With his latest purchase, he used the same type of business support documentation and was denied the exemption.
The law or regulation had not been changed, only the tax auditor had changed. She had a different method of proofing the business support documents. Let’s say this were you, even though you had been through the process multiple time previously, and you tried to go through the audit on your own, you stand a great chance of not knowing what to do when it appears the rules have changed.
Think about Colin Kaepernick’s history in the NFL. For the first year his style was “All world” as he confused the best defenses in the NFL. He amassed football records for quarterback play, yet today he can’t get out of his own way. What happened? Two things. The defensive side of the 49ers deteriorated rapidly in 2015 and 2016. Most importantly, the opposing defensive coordinators adjusted to his style of play. His weaknesses were exposed in the Super Bowl with Baltimore, and the other defensive coordinators watched that game and followed suit. Colin’s advantage was gone, he is no longer employed as of this writing and is still hoping someone gives him another chance.
If this were you that would mean that because you tried to save money and “do-it-yourself” you had to pay the tax.
Fortunately, for our client who remained loyal to our firm and who respected our firm’s ability to make offensive adjustments on the fly, we were still able to support the claim for an exemption from California Use Tax.