My railroad consulting services consist of tax planning, tax preparation and tax litigation support. Railroads can take advantage of the 4R Act protections. Thus transportation companies can contest assessments (income and non-income) and go directly to the Federal courts without exhausting appeals at the state level. Traditionally, states have over-assessed transportation property and appeals have been very slow.
Under the 4R Act, there are limits to state taxation and taxpayers can more easily access the Federal courts, which can result in a lower assessment in less time. While in the airline industry, I took part in joint appeals where airlines and railroads worked very well together to reduce the more egregious over-assessments.
The other part of tax planning is to review “open years” to see if the original returns did not take advantage of the 4R Act and some favorable tax provisions. I also set up procedures including tax calendars to improve tax compliance and get the lowest tax bill. My extensive tax litigation experience can be put to work defending against state and local auditors overzealous application of tax statutes.
I help clients justify their positions before audit, so that their original filings are much better able to withstand state tax challenges.
The railroad consulting services I provide include tax studies to ensure that tax compliance is complete and up to date. As part of this type of study, I prepare and/or update the tax calendar and look for unused tax benefits. I also review operations, including performing a financial ratio analysis, and look at changes in revenues and costs.
In addition, I talk with owners and managers about their concerns. We discuss challenges such as poor track and bridge condition, slow orders, etc. and their cause. I also work with the railroad and local agencies.