TEI Region VIII Annual Conference - Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
State Tax Controversy Updates TEI Region VIII Annual Conference June 9, 2017 Jeff Friedman Partner Eric Tresh Partner 2017 Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP All Rights Reserved. This communication is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice or a recommended course of action in any given situation. This communication is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon by the recipient in making decisions of a legal nature with respect to the issues discussed herein. The recipient is encouraged to consult independent counsel before making any decisions or taking any action concerning the matters in this communication. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship between Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP and the recipient. Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP is part of a global legal practice, operating through various separate and distinct legal entities, under Eversheds Sutherland. For a full description of the structure and a list of offices, please visit www.eversheds-sutherland.com.
Agenda U.S. Supreme Court Docket Physical Presence Under Fire Other Nexus Controversies Alternative Apportionment Apportionment Transfer Pricing Other Controversy Updates Eversheds Sutherland U.S. Supreme Court Eversheds Sutherland U.S. Supreme Court Docket
Retroactivity Tax Laws up for Potential Review Dot Foods Inc. v. Wash. Dep't of Revenue, 185 Wash.2d 239 (Wash. 2016) Gillette Comm. Ops. N. Am. v. Mich. Dept of Revenue, 312 Mich.App. 394 (Mich. Ct. App. 2015), denying appeal, 499 Mich. 960 (Mich. 2016) Recent Denied Petitions First Marblehead Corp. v. Commr of Revenue, 475 Mass. 159 (Mass. 2016) Fl. Dept of Revenue v. American Business USA Corp., 191 So.3d 906 (Fl. 2016) Direct Marketing Ass'n v. Brohl, 814 F.3d 1129 (10th Cir. 2016)
Eversheds Sutherland 4 CSX Aftermath Disparity Permissible in Alabama & Tennessee In March 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a tax disparity is permissible under the 4-R Act if the competitors are subject to another roughly comparable tax from which the rail carrier is exempt or if the state offers another sufficient justification. Alabama: On remand, the district court found that Alabama did not force rail carriers to use dyed diesel and sales tax and fuelexcise tax paid by motor carriers were roughly equivalent to tax paid by rail carriers, and thus Alabama's tax scheme did not violate 4R Act. On April 14, 2017, taxpayer appealed. CSX Transp., Inc. v. Ala. Dept of Revenue, No. 2:08-cv-00655AKK, 2017 WL 1164766 (N.D. Ala. 2017), appeal filed, No. 1711705 (11th Cir. Apr. 14, 2017). Tennessee: States imposition of a 7% sales tax on railroad fuel
purchases, while motor carriers pay an 18.4% excise tax, is found not discriminatory. Ill. Cent. R.R. Co. v. Tenn. Dep't of Revenue; No. 3:10-cv-00197, 2017 WL 1347269 (M.D. Tenn 2017) Eversheds Sutherland 5 Taxpayers 1st Amendment Right to Pass Through Fees Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, 137 S.Ct. 1144 (Mar. 29, 2017) On March 29, 2017, in a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a New York statute, which prohibits identifying a surcharge to customers for credit card payments, regulates speech and is therefore subject
to heightened scrutiny. Case remanded to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to determine whether New Yorks statute violates the First Amendment. Decision likely implicates state and local tax laws that either prohibit, or require, taxpayers to identify taxes and fees in customer invoices. Eversheds Sutherland 6 Physical Presence Under Fire Eversheds Sutherland
Physical Presence Under Fire Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, 135 S. Ct. 1124 (2015) Direct Marketing Association (DMA) asked for an injunction to prevent enforcement of Colorados notice and reporting obligations for out-of-state retailers. In 2012, the federal district court in Colorado declared the law unconstitutional and issued a permanent injunction. In 2013, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the injunction and held that the Tax Injunction Act (TIA) bars federal jurisdiction. In 2015, the US Supreme Court held that the notice and reporting requirements do not violate TIA. In 2016, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the notice and reporting requirements did not violate the Commerce Clause. On December 12, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review. On February 22, 2017, the parties settled the matter, allowing the state to enforce the reporting requirements beginning July 1, 2017.
Eversheds Sutherland 8 Physical Presence Under Fire Justice Kennedys Concurrence In DMA, Justice Anthony Kennedy went out of his way to invite reconsideration of Quill. Given these changes in technology and consumer sophistication, it is unwise to delay any longer a reconsideration of the Courts holding in Quill. A case questionable even when decided, Quill now harms States to a degree far greater than could have been anticipated earlier.It should be left in place only if a powerful showing can be made that its rationale is still correct.
In response, states have taken legislative efforts to force remote vendors to collect sales tax. Eversheds Sutherland 9 Physical Presence Under Fire Statutory and Regulatory Challenges South Dakotas Statutory Challenge S.B. 106 asserts nexus against remote sellers with $100,000 gross revenue from annual sales in the state or 200 separate transactions involving delivery into the state. Positioned for an expedited appeals process.
South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., et al., No. 32CIV16-00092 (6th Judicial Cir., S.D. 2017) State trial court found the remote sales tax law to be unconstitutional under Quill. Am. Catalog Mailers Assn v. Gerlach, No. 32CIV16-___ (6th Judicial Cir., S.D.) Alabamas Regulatory Challenge Rule 810-6-2-.90.03 asserts nexus against remote sellers with at least $250,000 in annual sales in the state. Newegg Inc. v. Ala. Dept of Revenue, No. S 16-613 (Ala. Tax Tribunal) Eversheds Sutherland 10
Physical Presence Under Fire Statutory and Regulatory Challenges Tennessees Regulatory Challenge Tenn. Comp. Regs. 1320-05-010.129 requires out-of-state sellers without a physical presence to collect and remit sales tax if they have over $500,000 of sales into TN. The Department offered a prospective amnesty period for registration to collect tax. Am. Catalog Mailers Assn v. Gerlach, No. 7-0307-IV (Tenn. Ch. Ct) Tennessee Department of Revenue not pursuing taxpayers while law is being challenged. Eversheds Sutherland
11 Other Nexus Controversies Eversheds Sutherland Washington No Transactional Nexus Needed Avnet, Inc. v. Wash. Dept of Revenue, 187 Wash.2d 44 (Wash. 2016) The Washington Supreme Court held that drop shipments and sales from out-of-state are subject to the Washington business and occupation (B&O) tax even when an in-state office was not involved in placing or completing the sales. The taxpayer sold products through its Arizona headquarters
and its regional sales offices, including one in Washington, but excluded its national and drop-shipped sales from its B&O tax liabilities. The dormant Commerce Clause was satisfied because the Washington employees activities (i.e., providing Washington market intelligence, meeting with sales teams and suppliers, and working with customers for product improvement) were associated with establishing and maintaining a Washington market for the sale of its products. Eversheds Sutherland 13 Iowa Nexus Creating Activities Myria Holdings Inc. v. Iowa Dept of Revenue, No. 15-0296, 2017 WL 1103175 (Iowa 2017)
On March 24, 2017, the Iowa Supreme Court found that a group's parent company could not be joined in the filing of a consolidated Iowa income tax return because it lacked nexus with Iowa. In addressing the creation of nexus, the court determined that: The parent companys management and administration activities performed on behalf of the subsidiaries doing business in Iowa do not create nexus; and Ownership of subsidiary stock and money from reimbursements fell within the ownership and control safe harbor. Eversheds Sutherland 14
Oregon No Physical Presence Needed Capital One Auto Fin. Inc. v. Or. Dept. of Revenue, No. TC 5197, 2016 WL 7429522 (Or. Tax Ct. 2016) The Oregon Tax Court held that physical presence in Oregon is not required to be subject to the state's corporate income tax or corporate excise tax. The court found that two banking subsidiaries have substantial nexus in the state based on their extensive economic activities - lending money to and charging fees from Oregon customers through the banking subsidiaries credit cards, consumer loans, and deposit products. Eversheds Sutherland
15 California Passive Interest Doing Business Swart Enters., Inc. v. Franchise Tax Bd., 7 Cal.App.5th 497 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) On January 12, 2017, the California Court of Appeal held that a taxpayer passively holding a 0.2% interest in a California-based limited liability company (CA LLC) was not doing business in the state for purposes of being subject to Californias franchise tax. Contrasting the statutory term actively with the opposite terms passively and inactively, the court found that the taxpayer did not actively engage in any transaction because it had held its investment in the CA LLC for several years prior to the tax year in issue and
had no role in its operations. Eversheds Sutherland 16 Alternative Apportionment Eversheds Sutherland Colorado Improper Use of Alternative Apportionment Target Brands, Inc. v. Dept of Revenue, No. 2015CV33831 (Colo. 2nd Dist. Ct. 2017) On Jan. 20, 2017, a Colorado district court found that despite lacking any physical presence in state, subsidiary
that managed companys brands had substantial nexus in Colorado because its IP licenses were used there. However, Department of Revenues use of its alternative apportionment authority to exclude subsidiarys substantial out-of-state property and payroll from apportionment factors was unreasonable. Eversheds Sutherland 18 Minnesota Alternative Apportionment Struck Down Associated Bank, N.A. v. Commr Revenue, No. 8851-R , 2017 WL 1430657 (Minn. Tax Reg. Div. 2017) The Minnesota Tax Court found that the Commissioner
could not invoke alternative apportionment to include interest income and intangible property in the apportionment factor of LLCs subject to the general apportionment formula, which excludes these items from the factors. The taxpayers lawful business structure could not be disregarded. Eversheds Sutherland 19 Apportionment Eversheds Sutherland
Texas - Payment Risk & Fraud Prevention Solutions Apportioned Based on the Customers Location Private Letter Ruling 201703005L, Tex. Comptroller of Public Accounts (Mar. 31, 2017) Texas company earns revenue from contracts with customers for payment risk and fraud prevention services delivered and accessible via the company's website, which resides on the company's servers. However, customers pay to receive payment risk and fraud prevention information at their own locations, on their own computers, by opening the company's website. The Comptroller found that for purposes of the Texas franchise tax, gross receipts from sales of payment risk and fraud prevention solutions are receipts from the sale of services and are apportioned based upon the location
of the customers. Eversheds Sutherland 21 New York Online Service Sourcing In the Matter of the Petitions of Checkfree Services Corp., Nos. 825971 & 825972, 2017 WL 163932 (N.Y. Div. Tax. App. 2017) On January 5, 2017, the New York Division of Tax Appeals determined that a taxpayers electronic bill payment and presentation (EBPP) receipts constitute service receipts and not other business receipts, and are properly sourced where the service is performed. The ALJs analysis largely mirrors the analysis in In the
Matter of the Petition of Expedia, Inc., Nos. 825025 & 825026 (N.Y. Div. Tax. App. Feb. 5, 2015): A service does not require human involvement; The taxpayers did have some human involvement even though the service had an automated component; and Service receipts are properly sourced where performed, which is the taxpayers location, not the customers location. Eversheds Sutherland 22 California Unitary Relationship & Business Income ComCon Prod. Serv. I Inc. v. Cal. Franchise Tax Bd., No. B259619, 2016 WL 7229830 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) The California Court of Appeals affirmed that Comcast did
not establish a unitary relationship with its 57% owned subsidiary, QVC, because Mobil Oils three hallmarks of a unitary relationship centralized management, functional integration, and economies of scale were not present. On the second issue, the court held that Comcasts receipt of a $1.5 billion termination fee from its failed mergers with MediaOne Group, Inc. constituted apportionable business income. Eversheds Sutherland 23 New Jersey Gain From 338(h)(10) Is Nonbusiness Xylem Dewatering Solutions, Inc. v. Dir., Division of Taxation, No. 011704
2015, 0000562016, 0000572016, 2017 WL 1326505 (N.J. Tax Ct. 2017) Gain from a deemed asset sale under I.R.C. 338(h)(10) recognized by a New Jersey-based S corporation was nonoperational (nonbusiness) income. Treated as nonbusiness income, the receipts are 100% allocable to New Jersey, rather than subject to apportionment. Eversheds Sutherland 24 New Jersey Throwout Rule Clarification Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Dir., Div. of Taxation, No. 0105892010, 2017 WL 510542 (N.J. Tax Ct. 2017)
The taxpayer included sales of tangible personal property shipped from locations outside New Jersey to states in which the taxpayer was immune from tax under P.L. 86-272 in its sales factor denominator. On February 6, 2017, the New Jersey Tax Court rejected the Division of Taxations attempt to apply the throwout rule to these receipts. The court found it irrelevant whether the receipts were actually included in the numerator of a sales factor of another state. Eversheds Sutherland 25
Massachusetts Expanding the Definition of Manufacturing Genentech, Inc. v. Commr of Revenue, 476 Mass. 258 (Mass. 2017) Affirmed an Appellate Tax Board decision that a drug producer was a qualified manufacturer and was required to use the states single sales factor apportionment formula. In determining that the drug producers manufacturing receipts were substantial, as is required to determine a manufacturer, the court declined to include receipts from the redemption of short-term investments by the companys treasury department. Application of the single-factor formula did not create an unconstitutional discrimination against interstate
commerce. Eversheds Sutherland 26 Transfer Pricing Eversheds Sutherland Courts Reigning in Use of State Transfer Pricing Adjustments Rent-A-Center East, Inc. v. Indiana Dept of Revenue, No. 49T10-0612-TA-00106 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2015) Sees Candies, Inc. v. Auditing Div. of the Utah State Tax Commn, No. 140401556 (Utah Dist. Ct. 2016)
States are using transfer pricing authority to scrutinize intercompany management fee arrangements. In Rent-A-Center East, the Indiana Tax Court rejected forced combination and partially relied on the taxpayers transfer pricing study. In Sees Candy, the Utah District Court found that the Utah State Tax Commission abused its discretion by denying the taxpayers entire intercompany royalty expenses when the transfer was supported by a transfer pricing study. Eversheds Sutherland 28 Other Controversy Updates
Eversheds Sutherland Michigan - Meaning of Indirect Ownership LaBelle Management, Inc. v. Dept of Treasury, 888 N.W.2d 260 (Mich. Ct. App. 2016), leave to appeal denied, 889 N.W.2d 250 (Mich. 2017) The Michigan Court of Appeals held that three companies did not constitute a statutorily defined unitary business group for Michigan Business Tax (MBT) purposes because there was insufficient direct and indirect ownership. Under the MBT, a unitary group is defined, in part, as a group of US persons one of which owns or controls directly or indirectly more than 50% of the ownership interest of the other members. Department of Treasury adopted a constructive ownership requirement using IRC 318 attribution rules to determine indirect ownership.
Court determined that the Departments adoption of a constructive ownership test in determining unitary group control was improper. On February 28, 2017, the Department of Treasury issued a notice addressing the impact of LaBelle and announced its retroactive application. Eversheds Sutherland 30 Texas Narrowing the Cost of Goods Sold Deduction American Multi-Cinema Inc. v. Hegar, No. 03-14-00397-CV, 2017 WL 74416 (Tex. App. 2017) In April 2015, the Texas Court of Appeals held that film
exhibition costs are includable in the cost of goods sold (COGS) deduction because the films met the definition of tangible personal property in that they were perceptible to the senses. In June 2015, the Comptroller filed a motion for rehearing and published an article concluding that the expanded COGS deduction had a fiscal impact of $1.5 billion each year. In January 2017, the Texas Court of Appeals released a substituted opinion resulting in the same outcome, but a different reasoning. The court held that the film exhibition costs are includable because films and other media products that are mass-distributed meet the definition of tangible personal property. Eversheds Sutherland 31
West Virginia Credit for Taxes Paid to Municipalities Matkovich v. CSX Transportation, Inc., 238 W.Va. 238 (W.V. 2016) The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held that a use tax credit must be granted to an interstate company for sales taxes paid to the municipalities of other states on purchases of motor fuel. The court ruled that the Tax Commissioners interpretation that the credit was only available if the sales taxes were paid to other states, but not states subdivisions (e.g., cities, counties, etc.), violates the dormant Commerce Clause because it fails the fair apportionment and discrimination prongs of the Complete Auto test.
Eversheds Sutherland 32 Questions? Eversheds Sutherland 33 Connect with us! Download the Eversheds Sutherland SALT Shaker app today Be sure to also submit your pet through our app to be featured as
Pet of the Month! Apple App Store Google Play Amazon Appstore @ESsaltlaw Eversheds Sutherland 34 Contact us Jeff Friedman Partner Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
202.383.0718 [email protected] Eric Tresh Partner Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP 404.853.8579 [email protected] stateandlocaltax.com eversheds-sutherland.com 2017 Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP All rights reserved. This communication cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding any penalties that may be imposed under federal, state or local tax law.
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