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Confessions of Former Auditors: Insider Tips to Survive a Sales Tax Audit


Cost Free
CPE Credits 1.0 hour
Subject Area 1.0 - Taxes (Sales Tax)
CE Credits 0.0 hours
Course Level Basic
Instructional Method Group Internet Based
Prerequisites None
Advanced Preparation None
Course Description

As the tax adage goes, “it’s not if you’ll get audited, but when.” But many companies put off preparing for an audit until the day the Department of Revenue comes knocking, making it a painful process. 

Surviving an audit is all about taking preemptive steps. To help you along that path, we’ve gathered a panel of former state tax auditors to reveal their insider tips and tricks to help businesses like yours not only develop an audit-ready strategy but be successful when the auditor arrives.  

Learning Objectives: 

  • Identify how audits have changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Determine the best ways to prepare for an audit, even before you’ve been selected

  • Determine how to be successful when the auditor arrives

  • List actions to avoid that can trigger an audit


Silvia Aguirre

VP Certificate Management
(855) 259-3274


Silvia Aguirre is the Vice President of Certificate Management at Avalara. She is the co-founder of Avalara CertCapture. Silvia was previously co-founder and Principal of Tax Technology Services, LLC, where she had overall responsibility for the organization’s operational efficiency and the tax knowledge base. Previously, Silvia served as an Auditor for Texas in their San Antonio and New York offices. After her audit career, Silvia served as a tax manager for national companies in the manufacturing, retail, and technology industries.


Robert Banagay

VP & Partner


Robert is a VP and partner with TTR Consulting, which provides various tax consulting services for TTR customers. Robert leads the firm’s audit defense efforts and leads a team of professionals that specialize in all aspects of state tax compliance, including nexus reviews, voluntary disclosure agreements, managed audits, and direct pay permits. Robert spends much of his time assisting the tax leadership of various Fortune 500 companies in managing their state tax portfolios.

With almost 25 years of experience, Robert brings a wealth of knowledge to his clients. He began his state and local tax career as an auditor with the New Mexico Department of Revenue, specializing in income and gross receipts tax audits of fortune 500 companies and small businesses. After leaving the Department, he joined Sun Healthcare Group, a multi-billion-dollar healthcare company operating in 48 states.  

As a tax director, Robert led the tax compliance and tax planning activities of the company. Robert’s responsibilities included managing the company’s audits, planning, and compliance for sales and use, property, and business license taxes. Robert was a vital member of the company’s integration team and assisted with multiple acquisitions and divestitures. 


Steven Cabrera

Director of Tax Advisory Services


Steven Cabrera is a CPA and former California State Tax Auditor and has over 20 years of sales and use tax experience both in state government and “Big 4” and national public accounting sectors. His expertise is in Voluntary Disclosures, Tax Recovery, Registration, Audit Representation, Taxability Research, Refund Reviews, Due Diligence, and more.


Clifford Turner

Vice President of Sales and Use Tax Enablement

(855) 259-3274


Clifford is a former California State Tax Auditor and an industry veteran with 25 years of sales and use tax experience. He has built and managed sales and use tax compliance operations for two of the “Big 4” accounting firms.

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About Our Presenter

Avalara helps businesses of all sizes achieve compliance with transactional taxes, including sales and use, VAT, excise, communications, and other tax types. The company delivers comprehensive, automated, cloud-based solutions that are designed to be fast, accurate, and easy to use. We automate and simplify governmental compliance processes, including tax determination, exemption certificate management, and tax return preparation, filing, and remittance. Avalara’s Compliance Cloud™ platform helps customers manage complicated and burdensome tax compliance obligations imposed by state, local, and other taxing authorities throughout the world. Avalara offers more than 500 hundred pre-built connectors into leading accounting, ERP, ecommerce and other business applications making the integration of tax and compliance solutions easy for customers. Each year, the company processes billions of indirect tax transactions for customers and users, files more than a million tax returns and other compliance documents.