(Note this originally appeared in March 26, 2018, edition of State Tax Notes)
Nearly every state that imposes a corporate income tax includes a sales factor in its apportionment formula. Generally, the sales factor in computed by comparing a taxpayer’s “in-state” sales to its total sales. Determining in-state sales of tangible personal property is a straightforward concept—good shipped to a customer’s location are included as in-state sales only in the state of the customer’s location. It is more complicated to determine an in-state sale regarding the provision of multistate services or licenses of intangibles. Historically, states looked to a taxpayer’s costs of performing the service of licensing the intangible. Some states have become critical of this cost-of-performance method and replaced it with a market-based method of computing in-state sales.