California Sales Tax Consultants, Inc. (CSTC) is a professional tax consulting firm whose tax experts have more than 50 years of combined sales and use tax experience before the Board of Equalization (Board). CSTC’s founder, Chairman, and CEO, heads a uniquely qualified staff of sales tax experts which have an exclusive and insider’s knowledge of the audit procedures, practices, and audit strategies employed by the Board’s auditors. Additionally, the firm’s audit team has a comprehensive understanding of the California sales and use tax law. With that knowledge, CSTC’s experts are prepared to provide innovative solutions which produce unparalleled results for its clients.
CSTC’s aggressive posture before the Board has proven to be very effective. For the past 30 years, CSTC’s sales tax experts have prevailed in securing tax adjustments in more than 95% of their cases. This has resulted in an average savings to their clients of over 80% of the tax liability originally proposed by the Board!
Along with their educational efforts, CSTC has moved towards reforming the Board from within the agency. Its Founder has consistently criticized the Board’s policy of "secret agency law" and successfully prevailed in several California Superior Court cases that now require the agency to produce its library of private letter rulings which were previously not disclosed to the public. As a result of diligent efforts, he won a judgment against the Board of Equalization as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Associated Sales Tax Consultants, Inc. (Associated Sales Tax Consultants, Inc. vs. California State Board of Equalization, 10 Cal App 4d 1177). The Superior Court judgement compelled the Board to provide copies of what the court called "secret documents" to anyone who properly requests these internal "secret" documents.
Although the Board appealed that decision, the Appellate Court was even stronger in its language admonishing the Board for its surreptitious policies. Based on that decree, the State Supreme Court denied the request to hear the Board’s final appeal. Even with this decision, the public’s position was still precarious until it could be codified into law. That happened in early 1998 and the Board can now be held accountable with the passage of SB 2174 (Rainey, 1998).
To that end, CSTC’s founder, Mr. Joseph Micallef, continues to work closely with legislators to draft, sponsor and enact legislation. Past mandates have opened additional hidden legal interpretations and policies that had previously only been available to Board personnel. Mr. Micallef will always be a leader in this area for taxpayers’ rights.
"A few years ago, I got a notice from the State Board of Equalization stating they were going to audit me. Having always been honest with my returns, I welcomed the auditor with cake and coffee. He stayed three days. At the end of the audit, they claimed I
owed more than $22,000 for sales tax not collected for interstate commerce. I hadn’t kept any Fed Ex receipts from my shipments. I got letters from my clients out of state verifying they have no in state offices, and had received the film out of the state of California. The Fed Ex man gave testimony. To no avail. The State Board would not accept any of this as evidence. They wanted "their money". At this point, I realized I was in deep trouble, and I was dealing with the "mafia"" of tax organizations. Along comes in a change in my sea, when I read about Joe Micallef in the L.A. Times. I contacted Joe in the off chance he might be able to help me. Here was my knight in shining armor! With an insider’s knowledge, and inexplicable magic, he was able to waive the complete penalty. His generosity, and kindness still echo in my tales of the wicked State Board, and it’s honest vanquisher, Joe Micallef. Thank you so much Joe for helping me face what for me was the "unconquerable foe!"
– Claudia Kunin
Claudia Kunin Photography
"I wanted to take a moment to thank you … for all of the guidance, education, and support that you have provided me over the past few months as we pursued our endeavors on this project … It has always been a pleasure to work with you and the rest of the members of your office on this project, and I wanted to ensure I communicated this to you. Best regards and I look forward to our next challenge together."