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Let’s Chart a Course

09.23.19 | SALT Chat

As a kid, I always loved to look at maps and still do. GPS devices of all kinds have eliminated the need to consult with the paper monsters thereby eliminating the required graduate degree in Origami[1] to return the map to its original neatly folded state.  The need to consult a map to get from here to anywhere is gone.

Map lovers do not fret. The paper might be gone from the equation, but the internet provides us with the ability to look at anywhere in the world at any time.

What does any of this have to do with state and local tax, other than this author indulging his sense of humor? Well, in charting a course to a state and local tax planning strategy, some see it as nothing more than a chart. As all practitioners know, we are often asked to boil down complex issues to chart form. With the ability to generate a so-called custom chart from one of the various research services, the temptation and the pressure to chart your course becomes overwhelming at times.

Charts have their place. How to handle every day transactions that are part of the daily business routine can often be navigated with one. So-called best or standard practices that allow one to run their business on a daily basis are often conducive to referencing a chart.

While the day-to-day activity of any business is obviously of paramount importance, our value as advisors to clients stems from our ability to help navigate rough waters, recognize and discuss unique opportunities and help plan complex transactions. None of which can be chartered on a chart.

If I have raised a question, contact me at WBerkowitz@BerdonLLP.com or your Berdon advisor.

Wayne Berkowitz, a tax partner and head of the State and Local Tax Group at Berdon LLP, advises on the unique requirements of governments and municipalities across the nation.

[1] Apparently, difficulty with map folding was such a common problem that a running gag was made of it on the 1960’s television show F Troop. The ever-clumsy Captain Parmenter (played by Ken Berry) was shown struggling on numerous occasions with maps, ultimately rolling them up into a ball and stuffing them in his desk drawer. Another interesting fact I learned while “researching” this weeks blog; Lowell George of Little Feat fame, appeared in an F Troop episode as a leader of the Bedbugs, an 1860’s rock band, which belted out a hard rock version of “Camptown Races.” I always thought Rock and Roll was started by Fats Domino in the 1950’s, not Stephen Foster in the 1850’s.