In 2018, San Francisco voters approved, by simple majority vote, two new gross receipts taxes: the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax (SF-HT) and the Commercial Rents Tax (SF-CRT), with both taxes effective as of January 1, 2019. Because these taxes fund specific governmental services, they are designated as special taxes (specifically, the SF-HT funds homelessness services and the SF-CRT funds early childhood education). Since the California Constitution specifies that special taxes imposed by local government need two-thirds voter approval (i.e., a “supermajority”), taxpayer groups have filed lawsuits to invalidate these special taxes, as both were approved by only a majority vote (61% for the SF-HT and 51% for the SF-CRT). As discussed more fully below, the courts have ruled against these taxpayer groups and the California Supreme Court to date has refused review.
The pressing question is whether San Francisco taxpayers, who paid the SF-HT and/or the SF‑CRT for 2019 and 2020, should be filing claims to protect their rights to refunds in the unlikely (but not impossible) event that these taxes are ultimately rendered invalid.
Nuclear fuel storage facilities have been impacted by a change in New York law, which requires facilities located at permanently shut down nuclear power plants to be assessed as real property for ad valorem tax purposes, leading to potential larger, national impacts. SALT team members Zachary T. Atkins, Breann E. Robowski, Craig A. Becker, and Marc A. Simonetti team up with Pillsbury’s Energy attorneys to discuss.
Real Estate markets in major cities have taken a hit given the events of the past year. In the latest Swimming Lessons Series presentation, SALT partner Craig Becker and Real Estate partner Andrew Weiner explore the intersection of transfer tax and enforcement in New York and California. Continue Reading ›
A Delaware state court invalidated the Delaware Division of Revenue’s policy limiting net operating loss (NOL) deductions for members of federal consolidated groups, holding that the policy violated the Uniformity Clause of the state constitution. Verisign, Inc. v. Director of Revenue, No. N19C-08-093 JRJ (Del. Super. Ct. Dec. 17, 2020). The decision presents a potential refund opportunity for Delaware corporate taxpayers who were members of a federal consolidated group, and for Delaware corporate income tax purposes had their separate-company NOL deductions limited to the group’s consolidated NOL.
Pillsbury attorneys Marc Simonetti, Zack Atkins and Caroline Koo explain.
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Pillsbury SALT partners Craig Becker and Breann Robowski will present during Pillsbury’s 2021 California CLE Marathons. This event features a wide variety of live webinars on timely topics. Craig and Breann will present “California Property, Transfer and Local Tax Updates” on Monday, January 25. Continue Reading ›
A federal district court held that under comity principles, Indiana state court is a more appropriate venue for a putative class action brought by three Indiana municipalities seeking to impose franchise fees on a group of online video providers. Order, City of Fishers v. Netflix, Inc. No. 1:20-cv-02351-JMS-MPB (S.D. Ind. Nov. 18, 2020). The federal district court remanded the case to the Marion Superior Court, where it was originally filed.
On November 3, California and San Francisco voters were asked to decide several tax‑related referenda with major implications across all business industries. Although it is too early to state with certainty, voters appear to have rejected Proposition 15, a measure that would introduce a so-called “split roll” property tax system. On the same day, voters in San Francisco overwhelmingly approved a battery of tax-related measures: Proposition F, which overhauls San Francisco’s business taxes; Proposition I, which doubles the real estate transfer tax on transactions exceeding $10 million; Proposition L, which institutes an aggressive new “Overpaid Executive Gross Receipts Tax;” and Proposition J, which repeals and replaces an annual parcel tax.
Pillsbury attorneys Craig Becker, Breann Robowski, and William Bennett explain.
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The fate of Washington’s Business & Occupation (“B&O”) surtax on large financial institutions remains uncertain as the state’s highest court has not yet decided whether to grant direct review or transfer the state’s appeal to the Washington Court of Appeals. On July 13, 2020, the State of Washington filed a direct appeal in the Washington Supreme Court seeking to overturn a trial court decision that struck down the state’s recently enacted surtax on large out-of-state financial institutions. Wash. Bankers Ass’n v. State, No. 19-2-29262-8 SEA (Wash. Super. Ct. May 15, 2020), appeal docketed, No. 98760-2 (Wash. July 13, 2020). On July 27, 2020, the state filed its statement of grounds for direct review with the Washington Supreme Court and on August 24, 2020, the respondents, the Washington Bankers Association and American Bankers Association (collectively, the “Associations”) filed their answer. Continue Reading ›