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The SALT Minds Blog

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As CCH writers recently reported, voters in 15 states had their say on a variety of tax proposals that appeared on the November 4 ballot. Measures to legalize and tax nonmedical marijuana were approved in Alaska and Oregon. In Georgia, voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment to limit income taxes, and in Tennessee voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit taxation upon payroll or earned personal income. An initiative to impose a margin tax on businesses was rejected by Nevada voters. Property tax exemption proposals related to veterans and their spouses gained approval in several states.

 

Unofficial results of the ballot measures follow.

 

 

Income Tax Proposals

 

 

Georgia: Voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit raising the rate of state income taxes above the rate that is in effect on January 1, 2015 (6%). S.R. 415

 

 

Illinois: An advisory question submitted to voters asking whether the state constitution should be amended to require that each school district receive additional revenue from an additional 3% tax on income greater than $1 million passed. Advisory Question (H.B. 3816, Laws 2014)

 

 

Nevada: Voters rejected an initiative to impose a 2% margin tax, effective January 1, 2015, on businesses having annual revenue of more than $1 million. Question 3

 

 

Tennessee: Voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit taxation upon payroll or earned personal income. S.J.R. 1

 

 

Property Tax Exemption Proposals

 

 

Georgia: Voters approved a ballot measure that allows property owned by the University System of Georgia and operated by providers of student housing and other facilities to remain exempt from property taxation. The exemption is effective January 1, 2015, and applies to all tax years beginning on or after that date. Referendum 1

 

 

Louisiana: Voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment excluding owners who are permanently totally disabled from the requirement that they annually certify to the assessor the amount of their adjusted gross income in order to receive the Special Assessment Level on their residences for property tax purposes. Amendment 9

 

 

Oklahoma: Voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow a qualified, 100% disabled U.S. military veteran, or his or her surviving spouse, who acquires a new homestead property to obtain a specified ad valorem property tax exemption for that new property for the same year during which an exemption was claimed for a previously held homestead property. State Question 770

 

 

Oklahoma: Voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would provide an ad valorem property tax exemption for the full fair cash value of a homestead belonging to an un-remarried surviving spouse of a member of the U.S. armed forces who was federally determined to have died while in the line of duty and would also allow that surviving spouse to acquire a new homestead property with a specified exemption for the same year during which an exemption was claimed for a previously held homestead property. State Question 771

 

 

Virginia: Voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that allows the state to exempt from taxation the real property of the surviving spouse of any member of the armed forces of the United States who was killed in action, where the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his or her principal place of residence and has not remarried. Legislatively-referred Constitutional Amendment

 

 

West Virginia: Voters approved a proposed amendment to the Constitution of West Virginia that would exempt from property tax certain properties owned by nonprofit youth organizations and that are built at a cost of at least $100 million, whether or not the property is used for the nonprofit youth organization’s charitable or nonprofit purpose to help raise funds for the benefit of the organization. Amendment 1

 

 

Property Tax Increase Proposals

 

 

Louisiana: Voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing the governing authority of Orleans Parish to increase the annual millage rate levied for fire and police protection, to require that the revenue from the fire and police millages be used for fire and police protection service enhancements, and to require that any increase be approved by the
voters of Orleans Parish. Amendment 6

 

 

Miscellaneous Property Tax Proposals

 

 

Louisiana: Voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment providing for an 18-month redemption period in any parish other than Orleans for vacant property sold at tax sale that is blighted or abandoned. Amendment 10

 

 

Louisiana: Voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment allowing an authorized agent of a tax collector to assist in the tax sale process, including the sale of property for delinquent taxes and that the fee charged by the authorized agent be included within the costs that the collector can recover in the tax sale. Amendment 3

 

 

Marijuana Legalization Proposals

 

 

Alaska: Alaska voters approved an initiative to tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana. In addition to legalizing the use of marijuana for persons over the age of 21, the measure imposes a $50-per-ounce (or proportionate) excise tax on the sale or transfer of marijuana from a cultivation facility to a retail store or marijuana product manufacturing facility. The measure requires the marijuana cultivation facility to pay the tax and send monthly statements to the Department of Revenue. The department is authorized to exempt or establish a lower tax rate for certain parts of the marijuana plant. Ballot Measure 2

 

 

Oregon: Voters approved a measure to license, regulate, and tax marijuana. The measure grants regulatory authority to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and provides that marijuana flowers, leaves, and immature plants should be taxed at different rates with "homegrown marijuana" excluded from regulation and tax. Measure 91

 

 

Motor Fuel Tax Proposals

 

 

Massachusetts: Voters approved a measure repealing a 2013 gas tax indexing law that linked gas tax increases to inflation. Question 1

 

 

Sales Tax Proposals

 

 

North Dakota: Voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that prohibits mortgage and sales taxes from being imposed on the mortgage or transfer of real property. Measure 2

 

 

Severance Tax Proposals

 

 

Nevada: Voters in Nevada rejected a measure to remove the cap on the taxation of minerals and other requirements and restrictions relating to the taxation of mines, mining claims, and minerals and the distribution of money collected from the tax. Question No. 2

 

 

Other Proposals

 

 

California: A ballot measure that would increase the amount of potential savings in the state rainy day fund from 5% to 10% of the general fund passed. Proposition 2 (Ch. 1 (ACA 1b), Laws 2014

 

 

Louisiana: Voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment providing that legislation relative to tax rebates, tax incentives, and tax abatements may not be introduced or considered by the Legislature in a regular session held in an even-numbered year. Amendment 14

 

 

Utah: A ballot measure that would eliminate a provision limiting membership on the State Tax Commission to no more than two members of the same political party did not pass. Amendment A (S.J.R., Laws 2013)

 

 

Washington: In a nonbinding advisory vote, voters advised retention of legislation (S.B. 6505) that eliminated agricultural excise tax preferences for various aspects of the marijuana industry. Advisory Vote No. 8

 

 

Washington: In a nonbinding advisory vote, voters advised retention of legislation (H.B. 1287) imposing leasehold excise tax on certain leasehold interests in tribal property. Advisory Vote No. 9

Apportionment Issues Answered! One of the most complex issues in administering state corporate income taxes is how to distribute the income of multistate corporations among the states in which they operate. The new CCH Apportionment Suite offers compliance-focused resources to help professionals conquer this problem area. Learn more and download your complimentary resources – a white paper on "State Apportionment of Business Income" plus our State Tax Review – at http://www.cchgroup.com/apportionment.

According to Columbus Business First, the Ohio Department of Medicaid is reviewing the application of state sales and use taxes to premiums received by Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) in light of a federal regulatory memo calling the practice into question. The state uses the tax revenue to obtain additional federal Medicaid matching funds, and increases the per-member monthly (capitation) payments to the plans in order to hold the MCOs harmless.

 

The July 25, 2014 memo from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services states that amendments made in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) terminated states’ ability to tax only Medicaid MCOs. The memo explains that "taxing a subset of health care services or providers at the same rate as a statewide sales tax, for example, does not result in equal treatment if the tax is applied specifically to a subset of health care services or providers (such as Medicaid MCOs), since the providers or users of those health care services are being treated differently than others who are not within the specified universe."

 

It remains unclear how other states imposing similar health care-related taxes on Medicaid MCOs will respond. In May, 2014, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services concluded that Pennsylvania’s gross receipts tax on Medicaid MCOs was impermissible for purposes of Medicaid funding. However, Michigan reinstated its use tax on Medicaid MCOs effective retroactive to April 1, 2014.

On its blog, Airbnb announced that it will begin collecting occupancy taxes on behalf of its San Francisco hosts on October 1, 2014. For reservations booked on or after October 1, Airbnb receipts will show a new line item for the 14% city-imposed transient occupancy tax. The tax applies to rentals of less than 30 days.

 

According to Airbnb, the collection of taxes was instigated by the local community. "Our community members in San Francisco have told us they want to pay their fair share and the overwhelming majority have asked us to help. In the past, it's been difficult for individual hosts to pay taxes that were designed for traditional hotels that operate year around."

 

On July 1, 2014, Airbnb started collecting hotel taxes totaling 11.5% on short-term Portland rentals. It remains uncertain, however, if Airbnb will reach similar agreements with other cities. In New York, concerned with tax evasion and the operation of illegal hotels, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office issued a subpoena against Airbnb, seeking information and records on Airbnb hosts.

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.
Constitution.

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

Several marijuana activists and business owners have filed a lawsuit (No Over Taxation v. Hickenlooper) in the Denver District Court, seeking a permanent injunction against the collection of Colorado’s marijuana taxes and a refund of those taxes. In addition to the 2.9% state sales tax, Colorado imposes a 10% sales tax on marijuana retail transactions and a 15% excise tax on the wholesale sale of marijuana from a cultivation facility to a retail store or infused manufacturer. As the manufacture and distribution of marijuana remains in violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, the complaint claims that the marijuana taxes require persons subject to those taxes to incriminate themselves as “committing multiple violations of federal law, including but not limited to, participating in, aiding and abetting in, or conspiring to commit a ‘continuing criminal enterprise’ and ‘money laundering.’” As such, the plaintiffs assert that the marijuana taxes violate the Self-Incrimination and Double Jeopardy protections contained in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article II §18 of the Colorado Constitution, respectively.


The complaint further contends that the state’s marijuana regulatory scheme violates federal law and is therefore preempted under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. Defendants Governor Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Hancock are themselves alleged to be “federal criminal actors” who have laundered illegal drug proceeds and conspired with J.P. Morgan Chase Bank in depositing such funds and violating federal law. The lawsuit also asserts that the marijuana taxes are excessive, as Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution forbid any regulation that would make the operation of a marijuana enterprise “unreasonably impracticable.”


Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, legalizing recreational marijuana, in November 2012, and legal sales began January 1, 2014.

The first half of 2014 brought with it numerous developments on the sales and use tax front. A CCH Tax Tips video discusses some notable sales and use tax developments occurring in the first half of 2014, such as emerging trends in the sales tax treatment of virtual currency and legalized marijuana.


CLICK HERE to view the video.

At its 47th Annual Conference and Committee Meetings (July 28-31, 2014), the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) moved forward on several important proposed amendments to the Multistate Tax Compact’s Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act (UDITPA) provisions. For example, on July 30, the full MTC voted to approve the following Compact amendments:

 

  • Art. IV.1(a), Definition of Business Income. The definition of "business income" is replaced with a more expansive definition of "apportionable income" (includes “all income that is apportionable under the Constitution of the United States and is not allocated under the laws of” the enacting state). Conversely, the definition of "nonbusiness income" is replaced with a definition of "nonapportionable income."

 

  • Art. IV.9, Factor Weighting. The Compact’s current equally-weighted three-factor apportionment formula is replaced with the adopting state’s apportionment formula (although the MTC recommends using a double-weighted sales factor formula).

 

  • Art. IV.1(g), Definition of "Sales." The definition of “sales” is replaced by the definition of “receipts,” which is limited to receipts from transactions and activity in the regular course of the taxpayer’s trade or business. Receipts from hedging transactions and from the disposition of cash or securities (i.e., treasury functions) are specifically excluded from the definition.

 

  • Art. IV.17, Sales Factor Sourcing for Services and Intangibles. The current cost-of-performance sourcing rule for receipts from sales of intangible property and services is replaced with market-based sourcing rules. The “reasonable approximation” of an assignment is permitted if the market state cannot be determined using the provided guidelines. In addition, a “throwout rule” applies if the taxpayer is not taxable in the state to which a sale is assigned or if the market state cannot be reasonably approximated.

 

  • Art. IV.18(b), Distortion Relief. A state’s tax administrator may establish rules or regulations for determining alternative allocation and apportionment if the standard allocation and apportionment provisions do not fairly represent the extent of business activity in the state of taxpayers engaged in a particular industry or in a particular transaction or activity. Any regulation adopted must be applied uniformly (subject to adjustment for affected taxpayers).


Corresponding changes to the MTC’s model allocation and apportionment regulations are expected to follow.

 

In addition, on July 31, the MTC Executive Committee approved a separate set of amendments to the Compact’s UDITPA provisions that would establish the burden of proof where an alternative method of apportionment is proposed (Art. IV.18(c)). Under the proposed amendments, the taxpayer petitioning for, or the tax administrator requiring, the use of an alternative method must prove (1) that the standard allocation and apportionment provisions do not fairly represent the extent of the taxpayer’s activity in the state; and (2) that the alternative method is reasonable. The standard of proof is left to the state to decide. Other, non-substantive changes to the alternative apportionment provisions regarding penalties and agreements with the state were also approved. These proposed changes now move forward to the MTC’s state survey process where they are circulated to the MTC members to determine if the affected members will consider adoption of the recommendations within their respective jurisdictions.

 

Other corporate income tax-related developments during the MTC meetings included:

 

  • Hearing officer’s report on proposed amendments to financial institution allocation and apportionment provisions was approved and moved to the member survey stage (July 31, Executive Committee);
  • Proposed project on the use of trusts for state tax avoidance was allowed to proceed (July 28, Uniformity Subcommittee on Income and Franchise Tax);
  • Proposed projects on sourcing of cloud computing services and sourcing of electricity were tabled for now to save resources for revisions to the MTC’s model allocation and apportionment regulations expected following adoption of the UDITPA changes described above (July 28, Uniformity Subcommittee on Income and Franchise Tax); and
  • MTC Policy Statement 2009-01, which urges Native American tribes and states to resolve tribal-state tax issues through negotiated agreements rather than through the courts, was renewed (July 30, full MTC).

Several states are holding back-to-school sales tax holidays in August this year. Items that will be exempt from sales tax during the holidays vary from clothing, footwear, and school supplies to computers and related equipment. Many states exclude clothing and footwear accessories, as well as athletic and protective clothing and footwear, from their tax holidays.

 

Here are the details for the states that are holding a back-to-school sales tax holiday in August 2014. 

 

Alabama, August 1-3: The tax holiday applies to clothing, but not accessories or protective or recreational equipment, with a sales price of $100 or less per item; single purchases with a sales price of $750 or less of computers, computer software, school computer equipment; noncommercial purchases of school supplies, school art supplies, and school instructional materials with a sales price of $50 or less per item; and noncommercial book purchases with a sales price of $30 of less per book.

.

Arkansas, August 2-3: The tax holiday applies to clothing items under $100, clothing accessories or equipment under $50, school art supplies, school instructional materials, and school supplies. The tax holiday does not apply to protective equipment or sports or recreational equipment.

 

Connecticut, August 17-23: The tax holiday applies to clothing and footwear that costs less than $300 per item, but does not apply to athletic or protective clothing or footwear, jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches, and similar items.

 

Florida, August 1-3: The tax holiday applies to clothing, wallets, bags, handbags, backpacks, fanny packs, and diaper bags (excluding briefcases, suitcases, and other garment bags) with a sales price of $100 or less per item; school supplies with a sales price of $15 or less per item; and the first $750 of the sales price of personal computers or personal computer-related accessories purchased for noncommercial home or personal use. The tax holiday does not apply to sales made within a theme park or entertainment complex, a public lodging establishment, or an airport.

 

Georgia, August 1-2: The tax holiday applies to computers, computer components, and prewritten computer software purchased for noncommercial home or personal use having a sales price of $1,000 or less per item; clothing having a sales price of $100 or less per item; and school supplies, school art supplies, school computer supplies, and school instructional materials purchased for noncommercial use having a sales price of $20 or less per item.

Iowa, August 1-2: The tax holiday applies to clothing and footwear with a sales price of less than $100 per item, but does not apply to accessories, rentals, or athletic or protective items.

 

Louisiana, August 1-2: The tax holiday applies to the first $2,500 of the sales price of noncommercial purchases, but not leases, of items of tangible personal property, excluding vehicles and meals. The tax holiday does not apply to local taxes, but St. Charles Parish will waive its local sales tax during the same weekend as the state's tax holiday.

 

Maryland, August 10-16: The tax holiday applies to items of clothing (excluding accessories) and footwear with a taxable price of $100 or less.

 

Missouri, August 1-3: The tax holiday applies to noncommercial purchases of clothing, but not accessories, with a taxable value of $100 or less per item; school supplies up to $50 per purchase; computer software with a taxable value of $350 or less; and personal computers and computer peripherals up to $3,500. Localities may opt out of the tax holiday. Also, if less than 2% of retailer's merchandise qualifies, the retailer must offer a tax refund in lieu of a tax holiday.

 

New Mexico, August 1-3: The tax holiday applies to footwear and clothing, but not accessories or athletic or protective clothing, with a sales price of less than $100 per item; school supplies with a sales price of less than $30 per item; computers with a sales price of $1,000 or less per item; computer peripherals with a sales price of $500 or less per item; book bags, backpacks, maps, and globes with a sales price less than $100 per item; and handheld calculators with a sales price of less than $200 per item. Retailers are not required to participate in the tax holiday.

 

Oklahoma, August 1-3: The tax holiday applies to items of clothing and footwear with a sales price of less than $100, but does not apply to accessories, rentals, or special clothing or footwear primarily designed for athletic or protective use.

 

South Carolina, August 1-3: The tax holiday applies to clothing (excluding  rentals), clothing accessories, footwear, school supplies, computers, printers, printer supplies, computer software, bath wash clothes, bed linens, pillows, bath towels, shower curtains, and bath rugs.

 

Tennessee, August 1-3: The tax holiday applies to clothing (excluding  accessories), school supplies, and school art supplies with a sales price of $100 or less per item; and computers with a sales price of $1,500 or less per item.

 

Texas, August 8-10: The tax holiday applies to clothing and footwear (excluding accessories, athletic  protective items, and rentals), school supplies, and school backpacks with a sales price of less than $100 per item.

 

Virginia, August 1-3: The tax holiday applies to clothing and footwear with a selling price of $100 or less per item, and school supplies with a selling price of $20 or less per item.

 

In addition, Mississippi held a tax holiday July 25-26. This tax holiday applied to clothing and footwear with a sales price under $100 per item, but did not apply to accessories, rentals, skis, swim fins, or skates.

 

Happy shopping!

 

As CCH’s Jennifer Troyer has reported, the Michigan Supreme Court has held that (1) a taxpayer was allowed to elect to use the three-factor apportionment formula under the Multistate Tax Compact (MTC) for the 2008 Michigan business tax (MBT) year, and (2) the MTC’s apportionment formula could be used to apportion the MBT base subject to the modified gross receipts tax because the modified gross receipts tax qualified as an "income tax" for purposes of the MTC. (International Business Machines Corp. v. Department of Treasury, Michigan Supreme Court, No. 146440, July 14, 2014)

 

Implied Repeal of MTC in Michigan
First, the court considered whether the Legislature repealed the MTC’s election provision by implication when the MBT was enacted. The court concluded that the MTC’s election provision was not repealed by implication. Repeals by implication are disfavored. If the Legislature had intended to repeal the law, it could have been explicit. The court noted that statutes claimed to be in conflict should be construed harmoniously to find any other reasonable construction other than a repeal by implication. Thus, the MTC’s three-factor apportionment formula election and the MBT’s single-sales factor apportionment formula laws were in pari materia and had to be construed together.

 

The court reasoned that the MTC’s election provision ("may elect") contemplated a divergence between the party state’s mandated apportionment formula and the MTC’s own formula, either at the time of the MTC’s adoption by the party state or at some point in the future. Accordingly, the taxpayer could choose (1) the MTC and use the three-factor apportionment formula or (2) Michigan tax law and use the single-sales factor apportionment formula. By subsequently repealing the MTC’s election provision starting January 1, 2011, the Legislature created a window in which it did not expressly preclude the use of the MTC’s election provision.

 

Modified Gross Receipts Tax Portion of MBT
Second, the court considered, for purposes of the MTC, whether the modified gross receipts tax portion of the MBT was an "income tax." The court concluded that the modified gross receipts tax portion of the MBT was an income tax. The MTC election is available to any taxpayer subject to an income tax. Under the MTC’s broad definition of "income tax," a tax is an income tax if the tax measures net income by subtracting expenses from gross income, with at least one of the expense deductions not being specifically and directly related to a particular transaction. After examining how the modified gross receipts tax portion of the MBT was calculated, the court determined that the term "gross receipts" in Michigan was similar to "gross income" under the federal income tax law. There was at least one expense deduction allowed under the MBT that was not specifically and directly related to a particular transaction. As such, the modified gross receipts tax portion of the MBT qualified as an income tax for the MTC. This allowed the three-factor apportionment formula election to be applied to this portion of the MBT as well as the income tax portion of the MBT.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed legislation (Act 822 (H.B. 663), Laws 2014) that makes several changes to the Tax Delinquency Amnesty Act of 2013, which requires the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) to develop and implement a tax amnesty program applicable to all taxes administered by the LDR, except for motor fuel taxes and penalties for failure to submit information reports that are not based on an underpayment of tax. First, the legislation expands the scope of the amnesty program to include:

 

  • taxes for taxable periods that began before 2014 (previously, before 2013);
  • taxes for which the LDR and the taxpayer have entered into an agreement to toll the statute of limitations until the end of 2014 (previously, until the end of 2013);
  • for the 2014 amnesty program, taxes due prior to 2014 for which the LDR has issued a proposed assessment, notice of assessment, bill, notice, or demand for payment not later than May 31, 2014; and
  • for the 2015 amnesty program, taxes due prior to 2015 for which the LDR has issued a proposed assessment, notice of assessment, bill, notice, or demand for payment not later than May 31, 2015.

 

In addition, the legislation permits 100% of penalties and 50% of interest to be waived during the 2014 amnesty period (previously, 15% of penalties and no interest), making those parameters identical to the completed 2013 amnesty period. For the 2015 amnesty period, 33% of penalties and 17% of interest may be waived (previously, 10% of penalties and no interest). However, a taxpayer will be subject to double penalties if there is a final judgment rendered against the taxpayer by a court or if the taxpayer has exhausted all rights to protest taxes owed to the state 90 days prior to either the 2014 or the 2015 amnesty period, and the taxpayer then fails to submit an amnesty application before the end of the applicable amnesty period 90 days prior to which the final judgment was rendered or 90 days prior to which the taxpayer’s rights to protest taxes have been exhausted.

 

A taxpayer who disputes a portion of the amount of a delinquent tax assessed by the LDR may now be eligible to apply for amnesty if the taxpayer remits a complete one-time payment of that portion of the tax that is not in dispute, plus applicable interest and penalties, to the LDR prior to the end of the amnesty period for which the taxpayer applies. This payment is referred to as a "compromise amount." The LDR will then have 30 days to determine if the taxpayer should be granted amnesty based on the compromise amount paid. If the LDR approves the compromise amount paid by the taxpayer, the taxpayer will be granted amnesty. If the LDR rejects the compromise amount, amnesty will not be granted and the taxpayer will be responsible for the full amount of the delinquent tax, penalties, interest, and fees prior to his application for amnesty.

 

The legislation also authorizes the use of six-month installment payment agreements. However, taxpayers who apply for amnesty by opting to pay the tax and any applicable fees, costs, and interest in installments remain eligible to participate in the amnesty program only by making complete and timely payment of the entire amount due under the taxpayer's installment agreement. Taxpayers involved in field audits or litigation are not eligible for installment agreements under the amnesty program. All installment agreements must require the taxpayer to provide a down payment of no less than 20% of the total amount of delinquent tax, penalty, interest, and fees owed. In addition, taxpayers who cannot enter into an agreement to make payment by way of automated electronic transactions are not eligible for an installment agreement.

 

Under the new legislation, the LDR is prohibited from accepting tax credits as payment of any tax, interest, penalty, or fee paid as a result of participation in the amnesty program.

 

Finally, the legislation states that, after 2015, no new LDR amnesty programs are allowed before January 1, 2025.

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