Bellatoris Consulting, LLC

A Trio of Treasures

In Just for Fun on July 29, 2013 at 1:48 PM

cash register

Cash is king when it comes to CFOs.  No matter your role, if you help your company with some simple sales tax planning opportunities, you’ll be a rock star to your CFO.

(Remember, rock stars cash big checks….and so should you!)

Your first question might be: “Derek, where do I begin if I want to be a rock star who cashes big checks?”

Great question!  How about your start with this resource:

Five Overlooked Sales Tax Opportunities

Once you’ve gotten those down, see if this story about Uncle Kenny gives you some more inspiration:

Sales Tax Lessons from a Punk Rocker

Finally, you’ll need to round out your plans to conquer the sales tax universe by checking out this piece on budgets:

The Five Dollar Footlong

That should be enough to help you crank your amplifiers up to 11.

Rock on my friend!

This Weekend’s Shoplifting Spree

In Audits, Just for Fun, Nexus, Tax Planning, Voluntary Disclosure Agreements on May 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM


Can you imagine how your mother would feel if she got this call:

“Hey Mom, Happy Mother’s Day!  By the way, I’m going to be a little late for dinner.  As soon as I post bail, I’ll be right over.”

Yep, there’s no better way to honor your mother on her special day!

I was at the grocery store yesterday trying to gather up some goodies so I could cook my wife a nice Mother’s Day dinner.  For some reason, I decided to pause and pay attention to my fellow shoppers for a second.

The first thing that caught my eye was an older gentlemen who was sampling grapes from the carefully-constructed pyramid in the produce department.  We eventually made eye contact and he gave me the, “What the hell are you looking at?” stink-eye.

Even though the guy was twice my age, I didn’t want to stick around in case he gets punchy when people like me stare at him too long.

As I moved toward the olive bar, I saw this disgusting example of a human being reach into the pile of marinated sun-dried tomatoes with her bare hands.  As she dangled them over her mouth, I thought this was the cue for me to leave and tell my wife that we would be enjoying Mother’s Day dinner at a restaurant this year.

While I was making my way back toward the entrance of the grocery store, I just happened to follow that same lady over to the trail mix bins.

You know what, I’m just going to let your imagination take care of figuring out what she did over there.  (You’re welcome.)

In the tax world, the value of the grapes, marinated sun-dried tomatoes, and sunflower seeds (even the ones that stuck to this woman’s hand as she repeatedly sampled from the container) would probably be deemed “de minimis.”

Could these people have gone to jail for shoplifting?


Could someone go to jail for failing to pay a de minimis amount of tax?


How so?

Well, you’ll have to wait to find out.  I’ll be posting a new episode of The Only Tax Podcast, where I’ll explain how you can avoid the criminal pitfalls from de minimis taxes.

Until then, consider only purchasing food that’s in a sealed container.

My Time in Prison

In Just for Fun on April 12, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Hands of the prisoner


It’s time to come clean…I’ve spent time in prison.

Thankfully, the “hard time” I’ve done hasn’t been from being on the wrong side of the law.  Nope, I’ve lived in the prison of “all or nothing.”

I’ve had countless things on my to-do list that lingered for way too many days before being removed.  For those tasks, I had a failure to launch because I didn’t feel as if I had the time, energy, or knowhow to get the job done.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that I had a squirrel living in the gutter outside of my bedroom window.  At night, he’d be wrestling around in there and making enough of a racket that kept me from sleeping.

You’d think I would’ve taken care of business and evicted the squirrel that next morning.  Nope!  I had no idea how I was going to crack open my gutter guards without breaking them, evict the squirrel, and then seal the gutter guards back up so he couldn’t return.

I was stuck in the prison of “all or nothing.”  Since I didn’t know how to handle the task, I did nothing.

After a week of sleepless nights, I finally reached a breaking point and made this task a priority.  I called an exterminator to evict the squirrel, then a gutter company to fix the damage he managed to do in a week’s time.

Now, I finally sleep like a baby again.

(By the way – if you have kids, I’m sure you realize how misleading that phrase is!)

When it comes to sales taxes, I often see people doing time in the prison of “all or nothing.”

Just like the situation I had with the squirrel, turning a blind eye to a sales tax situation isn’t a long-term solution.  Instead, break out of the prison of “all or nothing” and feel the freedom that comes from “moving in the direction of.”

Let’s say you’re in the “prison of all or nothing” because of a sales tax uncertainty.  Here are three simple steps that can help you “move in the direction of” greater certainty so you can clear more items off your to-do list:

1)    Assess the situation and establish a list of questions or uncertainties.

2)    Decide on the team members or advisors that should take ownership of the process.

3)    Come to grips with the fact that action costs less than inaction.

Now, let me throw it back to you.  In the comment section below, leave your tips for breaking out of the prison of “all or nothing” that help you “move in the direction of.”


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