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 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 Craig Becker will present during COST’s 2021 Sales and Transaction Tax Webinar on February 25. Craig is partnering with Harley Duncan (KPMG), Jordan Goodman (HMB) and Mark Yopp (Baker & McKenzie) to present on the topic, “Wrangling in Local Transaction Taxes.”
Pillsbury SALT partners Breann Robowski and Marc Simonetti will present during The National Multistate Tax Symposium. The theme for the 2021 symposium is “Leading Through Uncertainty – Navigating Multistate Tax With Confidence,” which will focus on exploring significant issues facing today’s multistate tax practitioners.
Co-authored by Malcolm A. Brudigam
In Alaska, a state and local sales tax class action survived a motion to dismiss and motion to strike class allegations after a federal judge determined the plaintiff’s alleged claims were plausible. In Van v. LLR, INC., d/b/a LuLaRoe et al., the plaintiff—an Alaska resident and customer of the defendant retailer—alleged she was improperly charged sales tax on clothing purchased from the out-of-state retailer’s “remote consultants” and shipped to her residence in Anchorage, Alaska. With no state sales tax in Alaska and few local sales taxes, the plaintiff claimed defendant retailer unlawfully collected sales tax on transactions shipped to Alaska for over a year.
A New York trial court held that charges for storage services rendered in New Jersey were not subject to New York sales tax despite the fact that the property was originally picked up in New York. Vital Records, Inc. v. New York State Dep’t of Taxation & Finance, No. 900088-19 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Albany Cty. Aug. 19, 2020). The case was not heard by the New York State Division of Tax Appeals, which is the typical venue for state tax disputes. Instead, the vendor brought an action against the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (“Department”) and its executive deputy commissioner in a New York Supreme Court (trial court) seeking declaratory, injunctive, and other relief.
The District of Columbia Council finalized the 2021 fiscal year budget yesterday, which removed the recently enacted digital advertising tax. The Council’s July 28 vote formalized the elimination of a proposed 3% sales tax on gross receipts from traditional and digital advertising services and from the sale of personal information (e.g., IP addresses, , names, phone numbers, biometric data etc.). The proposal defined “digital advertising services” as “advertising services related to advertisements displayed on a digital interface, including advertisements in the form of banner advertising, search engine advertising, interstitial advertising, or other comparable advertising.” “Digital interface” was defined as “any combination of hardware and software that an individual may use to access internet-based platforms such as websites, parts of websites, or applications.”
The Tennessee Court of Appeals held that a single member limited liability company (SMLLC) that is disregarded for federal income tax purposes is regarded for Tennessee excise tax purposes unless its single member is classified as a corporation for federal income tax purposes. The court also held that proceeds from the settlement of a legal malpractice claim constitute “business earnings” subject to excise tax where the proceeds represent lost business revenue. EmeraChem Power, LLC v. Gerregano, No. E2019-00292-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. June 1, 2020). Continue Reading ›
On March 17, 2020, the Missouri Supreme Court held that the use tax definition of “sale” cannot be applied to sales tax cases, turning more than two decades of precedent on its head. In DI Supply I, LLC v. Director of Revenue, DI Supply sold hotel room furnishings to its parent, Drury Hotels Company (DHC), which operates hotels. The issue before the court was whether DI Supply’s sales to DHC were nontaxable sales for resale. DI Supply argued the sales were for resale because DHC transferred the right to use the hotel room furnishings to its guests and included the cost of such items in the nightly room rate. Continue Reading ›