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Sampling Strategies in Sales Tax Audits: Selecting an Appropriate Methodology and Negotiating With Auditors

Note: CLE credit is not offered on this program

Recording of a 110-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Thursday, July 23, 2020

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This course will prepare state tax professionals to establish audit samples for a state sales or use tax audit by reviewing proven sampling strategies used by corporate tax departments in audits across diverse industries.


The sampling of data, including invoices, purchase orders, and other data, is the primary factor determining whether a state sales or use tax audit turns out favorably for your company. It is also an increasingly high priority for corporate taxpayers as more states mandate sampling and submission of electronic data.

The size and makeup of the sample come down to hard-nosed negotiations between your tax staff and the revenue department. To make your best case, you must thoroughly understand the state's guidelines to detect vulnerabilities in the state's sampling methodology or block.

Listen as our panel prepares you to seize the initiative on establishing audit samples.



  1. Planning and negotiating a sample
    1. Population selection
    2. Choosing the proper sample frame
    3. Stratum and overall sample sizes
  2. Sampling fundamentals
    1. Block vs. statistical sampling
    2. Stratified random sampling
  3. Legal issues and background
  4. Do's and don'ts of sampling: avoiding the wheels-off sample audit
    1. Examples of sample audits that went badly
  5. Trends with sampling in big states, including computer-assisted audit process


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Making smart decisions about sample size: Will a small sample work and reduce staff time chasing invoices or will a large sample boost your case?
  • Fighting back if the revenue department either tries to keep out data that could land your company a credit or insists on an overly large sample
  • Reacting when the auditor clearly doesn't understand your company's compliance system or overlooks accounts that favor your position
  • Crafting a proposal to sample data for a refund claim
  • Limitations on the state's power to sample and what you do when asked to agree to sampling


McGlamery, Jason
Jason McGlamery

Director – Audit Sampling

Mr. McGlamery is responsible for the design and evaluation of audit sampling methodologies in statistical and...  |  Read More

Szal, Jamie
Jamie E. T. Szal

Brann & Isaacson

Ms. Szal focuses her practice on assisting businesses in all aspects of state and local tax controversy, from...  |  Read More

Tomlinson, Brad
Brad W. Tomlinson

Senior Manager (non-attorney professional)
Zaino Hall & Farrin

Mr. Tomlinson has more than 29 years of experience in state and local taxation, specializing in statistical sampling...  |  Read More

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