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In response to the Michigan Supreme Court's opinion in International Business Machines Corp. v. Department of Treasury, which held that IBM could use the three-factor formula provided in the Multistate Tax Compact (Compact) instead of the single sales factor formula required under the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) statutes, Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation repealing Michigan's adoption of the Compact retroactive to January 1, 2008 (see S.B. 156, Laws 2014).


In 1969, Michigan enacted the Compact, which contains an equally weighted three-factor apportionment formula. However, the Compact also gives taxpayers the option of apportioning income "in the manner provided by the laws of" Michigan. Effective January 1, 2008, Michigan enacted a separate law requiring use of a single sales factor apportionment formula for MBT purposes. In IBM, the court upheld the Compact provision permitting taxpayers to choose between the two apportionment formulas.


The new legislation takes away a taxpayer's ability to choose between the two formulas. So, only the single sales formula is available. Finally, the legislation also clarifies that the Compact's election provision is not available for purposes of the Michigan corporate income tax, which replaced the MBT effective January 1, 2012.



As David Caplan of CCH recently reported, the Washington Department of Revenue’s Appeals Division has ruled that visits to trade shows by employees of an out-of-state manufacturer and seller of custom sportswear were sufficient to establish nexus for purposes of Washington sales and use and business and occupation (B&O) taxes.



The taxpayer sold custom apparel for college, school, and club sport and spirit teams over the Internet, by telephone, and by catalog. The taxpayer’s sales were a mixture of retail and wholesale sales, and its orders were shipped from locations outside Washington to customers by common carrier.



The Appeals Division noted that the nexus standard under case law and Washington rule provisions is not whether the in-state activity directly solicits a sale but, rather, whether the activity is significantly associated with establishing or maintaining a market within the state. Further, there is no trade show exemption in any Washington statute or rule.



In this case, for a period of at least seven years, the taxpayer’s representatives made at least four visits per year to trade shows in Washington in which the company displayed its products, made contact with potential buyers, discussed its service model with potential buyers, and distributed its catalogs. The Appeals Division found that the direct presence of the taxpayer’s representatives at the Washington trade shows was significantly associated with establishing or maintaining a market for the sales of its products in Washington. The taxpayer engaged in those activities to increase familiarity with its brand and, in turn, promote the sales of its products. Accordingly, the Appeals Division ruled that the activities were sufficient to establish taxing nexus for Washington sales.



The text of the determination is attached.

As Lisa Blaeser of CCH recently reported, Illinois has enacted legislation
that creates a rebuttable presumption that retailers will
have nexus with Illinois if their in-state sales contacts provide potential customers
with a promotional code that allows the retailer to track the referred
customers’ purchases. 


P.L. 98-1089 (S.B. 352), Laws 2014, which is scheduled to take
effect on January 1, 2015, has amended the existing Illinois click-through
nexus law to provide that a retailer is presumed to be maintaining a place of
business in the state if the retailer has a contract with a person located in
Illinois under which the person, for a commission or other consideration that
is based on the sale of tangible personal property by the retailer, directly or
indirectly refers potential customers to the retailer by providing them with a promotional code
or other mechanism that allows the retailer to track purchases referred by such
persons. Under the law, examples of a mechanism that allows the tracking of
purchases include the use of a link on the person’s website, promotional codes distributed
through hand delivery or by mail, and promotional codes distributed through
radio or other broadcast media.


The presumption will apply only if the cumulative gross receipts from sales of
tangible personal property by the retailer to customers who are referred to the
retailer by all persons in Illinois under such contracts exceed $10,000 during the
preceding four quarterly periods ending on the last day of March, June,
September, and December. The presumption can be rebutted by submitting proof
that the in-state contacts’ referrals or other activities in Illinois did not meet
the nexus standards of the U.S. Constitution during the four quarterly periods.


The legislation purportedly fixes a defect Illinois’ click-through nexus law, which,
as Blaeser reported, was previously held void and unenforceable by the Illinois
Supreme Court in
Performance Marketing Association, Inc. v. Hamer. In that case, the court held that the
Illinois click-through nexus law was preempted by the Internet Tax Freedom Act
because it imposed discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce. The law was
found to be discriminatory because it imposed a use tax collection obligation
on out-of-state retailers who maintained links on websites, but it did not
impose such an obligation on similar types of advertising such as promotional codes made
available by out-of-state retailers in newspapers or other printed publications
or through over-the-air broadcasting. The court did not address the issue of
whether the click-through nexus law violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S.

As CCH’s Bob Wilson has reported, the Texas Comptroller has announced that it is implementing a franchise tax processing improvement effective for the 2014 extended due date in order to deal with combined reports with missing affiliates.


The Comptroller notes that sometimes a reporting entity for a combined group requests an extension of time to file and includes an entity on its affiliate extension list that, for various reasons, is not included when the report is ultimately filed. The Comptroller explains that when it evaluates the reported data and finds the two sets of affiliate data do not match, current processing rules create a delinquency for the reporting entity and for all members of the combined group until the discrepancy is resolved.


Beginning in mid-October 2014 the process will change. The Comptroller’s office will notify the reporting entity of the failure to report the affiliate. If the issue is not resolved, the Comptroller’s office will sever the affiliation between the entity that was not reported and the rest of the combined group. The severed entity must file a franchise tax report on its own, while the combined group members’ right to transact business will remain intact.

David Caplan of CCH notes that, according to unofficial results of the August 19 primary election in Alaska, a ballot measure to repeal the oil and gas production tax changes made by S.B. 21, Laws 2013, has failed by a narrow margin. The legislation, also known as the More Alaska Production Act, modified the rate structure and revamped credit provisions of the oil and gas production tax. Gov. Sean Parnell signed S.B. 21 into law on May 21, 2013, and key provisions took effect on January 1, 2014. If approved, Ballot Measure No. 1 would have reinstated the previous tax structure, known as Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES), passed during the administration of Gov. Sarah Palin.


S.B. 21 increased the base tax rate from 25% to 35% while eliminating the progressivity component of the tax, which applied in months when a producer’s average monthly production tax value exceeded $30. The legislation also provided that qualified oil and gas produced from leases or properties on the North Slope would be eligible for a 20% reduction, called a gross revenue exclusion, in the gross value at the point of production. The gross revenue exclusion is applicable only to certain “new” production. The law provided for an additional 10% gross revenue exclusion for oil and gas produced from certain North Slope units.


Tax credit modifications included the addition of two new per-barrel credits for North Slope producers and elimination of the tax credit for qualified capital expenditures on the North Slope after January 1, 2014. S.B. 21 also provided a corporate income tax credit for qualified oil and gas service-industry expenditures and established an Oil and Gas Competitiveness Review Board in the Department of Revenue. Other provisions of the law lowered the interest rate that applies to overdue taxes from 5% above the applicable federal rate, or 11%, whichever is greater, to 3% above the applicable federal rate.



Ballot Measure No. 1 (Referendum 13SB21), Alaska primary election on August 19, 2014