Streamlined Sales Tax Advisory Council

March 31, 2004, Meeting Minutes

Mike Ralston, co-chair, opened the meeting. Ann Stocker introduced Ron Lenders, who is an intern with Cargill.

Federal Legislation – There has been no additional action.

RFP Status – Don spoke to Scott Peterson, co-chair of National SSTP, at the Working Group meeting. No progress in writing the RFP. The co-chairs will be working on it. Timetable still has RFP out by June. Survey of states conducted revealed four states have what they consider certification experts and asked if any state would have trouble with the RFP process. There is still talk of states creating a consortium for purpose of developing uniform rates and boundary databases. The National SSTP would sanction this group.

The Department’s online registration is ready.

Next Working Group is May 24 & 25 in Tampa, Florida. Senator McKibben and Representative Sands may attend. Stacey Johnson, Kristi, Don and Rod will also attend.

There will be a meeting on sourcing for states only in Nashville in early May. Iowa will probably participate via teleconference.

Certification Process – Some states who have passed legislation met in New Orleans. Private sector representatives are reviewing certifications of compliance with the agreement. Susan Haffield is our primary contact, along with Kristi Magill and Jason Wilson from McGladrey, and Jeff Johnson from PriceWaterhouse. We have held two teleconferences to review and compare the certification. Susan reviewed definitions. We believe we will be found to be in compliance.

Ten states participated in the New Orleans meeting. Of the states not attending, the private sector was there representing those absence states. There was discussion on every state passing legislation.

Review of our certification noted the following items:

Tax rate bases need to be the same. Our current differences are: room rentals, sales by DOT and heavy equipment. These wouldn’t affect national retailers, so we don’t think these items will have an effect on certification.

Two other possible items raised as issues were medical definitions and sourcing of services.

Overall, the process went very well for Iowa with little clarification. Conformance is not in jeopardy.

Status of Other States – Most states in conformance will handle any necessary changes through Administrative Rules, Declaratory Ruling, something binding on Department, as opposed to legislation. Texas and Washington have major issues with sourcing. Ohio delayed sourcing implementation. Tennessee is pursuing technical legislative changes.

Definition status – The Department met with the food industry including Jerry Fleagle, Brian Johnson along with representatives from Hy-Vee, Fareway, and Dahls. Discussed definitions and identified the need for clarification. Jerry Fleagle stated the meeting was productive. They resolved the candy definition issue. Any product that has flour listed as an ingredient is not candy. We have a May 1 goal of resolving other issues.

Rules – Darwin Clupper is working on rules. The Web site is updated. He has one rule left to work on regarding leasing. Tax Research Library will include both sales tax law prior to July 1 and new law as based on SSTP.

The Council discussed transition and audit. The Department is saying now that we’ll be flexible. The Department needs to provide comfort and assurances of protection for taxpayers that it won’t change its story down the road. Agenda item for next meeting.

Training (Internal) – Trained Taxpayer Service Specialists in the field and office. Twenty people will be making presentations. Examination and audit staff training will occur closer to July.

Education Plan – Wayne Cooper handed out the statewide meeting scheduling for all counties.

April 6 – Press Conference in Des Moines with a press release to follow
April 6-9 – Mailing to sales and retailers use tax registration file
April 13 – May 27 Statewide County Meetings
Supplement with specific types of groups.

Steve Roberts suggested that the Ways and Means Committees, Iowa Bar, and Iowa CPA’s be informed.

If any Advisory Council member is interested in participating in presentations or be recognized, please e-mail the department. Wayne Cooper provided copies of the PowerPoint presentation, a copy of the script, meeting schedule and letter to be mailed with the meeting schedule. If anyone has feedback, please let us know by 4/7.

Taxability matrix will be general for definitions covered only by the Agreement.

The Council completed review of the Agreement.

The next Council meeting will be a teleconference on April 30 at 10:00 A.M. Diane will provided call in instructions.