Optimizing tax: Allocating between manufacturing and non-manufacturing with a tax engine

Published on
Feb 6, 2024
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Indirect transaction taxes play a crucial role in shaping business decisions and financial strategies. For companies engaged in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing activities, optimizing tax allocation can significantly impact their bottom line. This blog delves into the importance of efficiently allocating between manufacturing and non-manufacturing costs using a tax engine and how it can lead to substantial tax savings and enhance overall profitability.


Understanding the Distinction between Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing Activities

Before we dive into tax optimization, it is essential to understand the fundamental difference between manufacturing and non-manufacturing activities. Manufacturing involves the production of tangible goods, often involving raw materials and the transformation of these materials into finished products, or the assembly of component parts into a finished product. Non-manufacturing activities, on the other hand, encompass a wide range of services, retail, distribution, and other non-production related operations.


The Significance of Tax Allocation

It is important to distinguish between those activities that are “directly involved”, or “necessary and essential” to the manufacturing process and those activities that are “ancillary”, or “one-step removed”, or are considered “intra-plant transportation” (moving materials from one process to another during manufacturing). Certain equipment may be involved in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing activities. Thus, the cost of this equipment must be allocated to take advantage of any manufacturing-related exemptions.


Introducing the Tax Engine

A tax engine is a powerful tool that uses advanced algorithms to automate and optimize the allocation process. It considers various factors, such as applicable state tax laws, regulations, and business-specific data, to compute the most tax-efficient allocation between manufacturing and non-manufacturing activities. Below we will go over steps to efficiently allocate between manufacturing and non-manufacturing along with the benefits of doing this allocation via tax engine.


Steps to Efficiently Allocate Between Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing

  1. Accurate Segmentation of Activities: The first step is to accurately categorize costs as either manufacturing or non-manufacturing. Some costs, such as equipment used directly in manufacturing, are straight forward, while others, like material handling equipment, may require more careful analysis.
  2. Understanding Tax Regulations: Tax laws and regulations vary from region to region, and they often provide different tax treatments for manufacturing and non-manufacturing activities. The tax engine leverages this knowledge to ensure compliance and maximize tax savings.
  3. Data Integration: Integrating financial and operational data into the tax engine is crucial. The more comprehensive and accurate the data, the more precise the tax allocation will be. Automated data retrieval and processing reduces the risk of human errors and saves valuable time.
  4. Optimization Algorithms: The heart of the tax engine lies in its sophisticated optimization algorithms. These algorithms take into account various tax scenarios and constraints to determine the most advantageous allocation strategy.
  5. Scenario Analysis: A robust tax engine allows for scenario analysis, enabling businesses to assess the tax implications of different allocation strategies. Decision-makers can then choose the approach that best aligns with the company's overall financial objectives.


Benefits of Using a Tax Engine for Allocation

  1. Tax Savings: By optimizing the allocation of operational manufacturing costs, businesses can significantly reduce their overall tax burden. This extra cash can be reinvested in the company's growth or used to enhance shareholder value.
  2. Compliance and Risk Mitigation: Tax regulations are complex and constantly evolving. A tax engine ensures that all allocations are in full compliance with the latest laws, reducing the risk of audit deficiencies and overpayments.
  3. Resource Efficiency: The automation provided by a tax engine streamlines the allocation process, saving time and effort for tax professionals, and allowing them to focus on more strategic tasks.
  4. Decision Making: With clear visibility into the tax implications of different scenarios, businesses can make informed decisions about their operations, investments, and expansions.


The need to efficiently manage data and resources when it comes to allocation makes a tax engine vital for managing such a complex and nuanced process for manufacturers and non-manufacturers alike. If you can set up an efficient tax management system that takes into account the regulation, segmentation, data integrations, and analysis, your business will be better prepared for audits, revenue generation, and overall financial performance. If you have any questions on how your manufacturing business is managing allocation, please feel free to reach out to our team of tax experts here.