August 31, 2010 •
Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc.
You can directly submit questions for this feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here. Send your questions to: email@example.com.
Here is a question we have been asked many, many times by clients over the years.
Q. How do I most accurately calculate my pro-rata share of compensation when I am registered as a lobbyist in five different states? Do I take my gross annual salary and divide it by five?
A. If you take your gross annual salary and divide it by five, you will undoubtedly over-report your compensation. Although you can never go wrong over-reporting, you should also strive for accurate reporting, especially in this instance.
Think of your lobbying in terms of hours. Review your calendar a month, or even a week, at a time to determine the number of hours you lobbied in a particular state. Now, assign a dollar value to those hours, and the result is accurate reporting.
To do this, follow this formula:
1. Take your gross annual salary and divide it by 2,080 (52 weeks in a calendar year multiplied by 40 hours per week). This is your hourly rate.
2. Multiply the number of hours you lobbied by your hourly rate. This amount is the reportable pro-rata share of your compensation for lobbying in that state.
Here’s an example:
1. Gross annual salary is $120,000.
2. $120,000 divided by 2,080, is an hourly rate of $57.69.
3. Fifteen hours lobbied in a particular state during a reporting period, multiplied by the hourly rate of $57.69, is $865.35. In this example, this is your reportable pro-rata share of your compensation for lobbying.
Of course, you have work weeks that exceed 40 hours. And you also go on vacation. Using 2,080 as the number of work hours in a calendar year is a generally accepted accounting principle that will sustain scrutiny of even the most stringent of state auditors.
We are always available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need. Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.