The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently held that software vendors have a statutory right to apportion tax on the sale of prewritten computer software purchased for use in multiple states and that they may do so through the Commonwealth’s general tax abatement process. The court’s decision in Oracle USA, Inc. v. Commissioner of Revenue, 487 Mass. 518 (2021) confirms that the ability to apportion tax on software is not contingent on strict compliance with the administrative procedures set forth in the Massachusetts Commissioner of Revenue’s apportionment regulation. The tax abatement process is an acceptable mechanism for taxpayers to seek tax apportionment with respect to software purchased for use in multiple jurisdictions. Continue Reading ›
On May 25, the U.S. Solicitor General filed its highly anticipated brief in New Hampshire v. Massachusetts and recommended that the Court decline jurisdiction over the case. Although the ultimate decision is yet to be issued, the U.S. Supreme Court generally follows the Solicitor General’s recommendations after, as here, the Court requests the U.S. government’s input.
On February 15, 2021, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a decision in Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. v. Director, Department of Finance of Baltimore City, Case No. 24-C-18-001778 (Md. 2021), upholding the constitutionality of a local ordinance that imposes an annual excise tax on businesses selling advertising space on off-site billboards. The tax in question applies only to businesses that own or control off-site billboards in the City of Baltimore i.e., billboards that are not located on the premises where the goods or services being advertised are offered for sale. Continue Reading ›
On February 12, 2021, Maryland legislators voted to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) veto of H.B. 732, making Maryland the first state in the nation to impose a digital advertising tax. While Maryland’s enactment of the bill is a first, other states have impending digital advertising tax bills, such as New York, Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska, Washington, Montana and Massachusetts. Maryland’s digital advertising tax, which becomes effective March 14, 2021 (30 days after the Governor’s veto), has been preemptively challenged in U.S. District Court. Continue Reading ›
Pillsbury SALT partner Annie Huang will present during COST’s 51st Annual Meeting on October 22. Partnering with Robert Johnson (Crowe), Eran Liron (PwC) and Ruben Sislyan (Greenberg Traurig), Annie will present “Market Sourcing through Alternative Apportionment or Creative Characterizations of Activity,” moderated by Stephanie Do (COST). Few issues have created greater angst or spawned more litigation than state efforts to impose market sourcing of services on out-of-state taxpayers. As the service sector has grown, so has single-sales factor apportionment, which often makes market sourcing an all-or-nothing proposition to both states and taxpayers. Although many states have modified UDITPA to move from COP to market sourcing, many have not and are using tools such as Sec. 482, forced combination, and creative characterizations of benefits received. And states that changed are trying to stanch the revenue outflow from in-state service companies as well. This session will provide an overview and discussion of some of the more bizarre and inconsistent approaches taken by states on this issue.
COST’s 51st Annual Meeting offers sessions of interest to every state tax professional in industry, whether a COST member or otherwise, as well as in the consulting, accounting and legal profession. The program covers all types of state and local taxes that business taxpayers are confronted with today and provides updates on key SALT issues.
For more information and to register, please click here.
A very interesting and heartening decision was just handed down by the Michigan Court of Appeals in Vectren Infrastructure Services Corp. v. Department of Treasury in connection with a sale of an out-of-state business. Copy attached. In Vectren, the Court of Appeals held that the Department of Treasury’s (DOT) removal of the gain from the sale of the business from the denominator of the sales factor, while including the gain in the income base, violated the Due Process and Commerce Clauses. Notably, during the year in question, Michigan used a single sales factor apportionment formula. The decision underscores the potential unfair apportionment inherent in a single sales factor apportionment formula.
Nebraska’s tax department has issued guidance confirming its position that IRC 965 deemed repatriation income: 1) must be included in a taxpayer’s corporate income tax base (less the IRC 965(c) deduction); and 2) does not qualify for the state’s dividends received deduction. Nebraska Dep’t of Revenue, Gen. Info. Letter 24-19-1 (Sept. 13, 2019).
The New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT) issued a decision that addresses sourcing “services” vs. the catch-all “other business receipts” for years prior to New York Tax Reform (tax years beginning prior to 1/1/2015). The TAT found that the taxpayer, who provided electronic litigation support to its clients, was not providing a “service” to its clients. Instead, the TAT found the taxpayer’s receipts were properly classified by the Department of Taxation and Finance as “other business receipts.” However, the TAT found for the taxpayer in determining where other business receipts must be sourced. The TAT found that the receipts should be sourced to where they are earned (as provided in the Department’s regulations) and found that the receipts were earned where the taxpayer performed the work resulting in the income, which was at the taxpayer’s Colorado location and not at the electronic devices of the taxpayer’s customers. Matter of Catalyst Repository Systems, Inc., DTA No. 826545 (Tax App. Trib. July 24, 2019).