Stevens & Lee’s SALT team offers comprehensive tax planning capabilities. We provide turnkey corporate tax planning, from assessing current position to the development, analysis and implementation of business-aligned alternatives, including “next generation” substitutes for traditional SALT planning structures. Among the gross receipts taxes unique to our Mid-Atlantic base, where we have particular expertise, are the Pennsylvania local “business privilege or mercantile” taxes and the Delaware Gross Receipts Tax. We regularly draft or review Delaware tax opinions in conjunction with our Delaware corporate and trust practice.
For sales and use taxes, we assess and, where appropriate, effect reclassifications to assist clients in meeting exemption qualifications and executing structural changes to more fully utilize resale, manufacturing, charitable, transportation and other exemptions. We also provide training on major and common exemptions and tax issues for an organization’s key states to avoid future tax overpayment.
We review real estate assessments and represent clients in appeals and reduction negotiations at the administrative and court levels. We also assist clients in identifying and re-classifying exempt property (e.g. machinery and equipment, public utility exemptions and charitable use property), and in obtaining tax-free zone designations, negotiating and drafting payment-in-lieu of tax (PILOT) agreements and negotiating and helping implement tax abatements.
In addition to assessments, we help structure asset purchases and sales to minimize or avoid transfer taxes. This is particularly important in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York which applies the tax to certain transfers in the interests of entities which own real estate and where the combined state and local tax rate is up to 5% of the selling price.
We also review the valuation and classification of tangible personal property, taking particular note of “ghost assets,” economic or functional obsolescence and idle equipment and also represent clients in the appeal and negotiation process, if necessary.
For corporate reorganizations, we analyze the multi-state tax impact of proposed corporate merger, acquisition, disposition and reorganization transactions and identify and implement pre- and post-closing opportunities to avoid or minimize state and local taxes.
We review and, where appropriate, propose and implement solutions to reduce our clients’ state unemployment compensation tax rates and assist in planning for the impact of significant changes in employee size, whether due to reductions or expansions in workforce, relocations or entity mergers, acquisitions or dispositions.
We also assist clients in identifying exempt or misclassified fuels and exempt uses in defending against improper assessments or pursuing refunds.
In conjunction with our government affairs professionals, we assist in drafting, testifying and influencing the promulgation of Pennsylvania tax regulations and the enactment of Pennsylvania tax legislation.