Archive for the ‘Georgia’ category

Weekly Blog Update for Week of 4/20: Alabama Rules in Favor of Online Travel Companies; Georgia Enacts “Amazon” Legislation; STEB Announces Revised Ratio for Philadelphia County; New Mexico Finds Barnes & Noble Trademarks Establish Nexus…and more.

April 23, 2012

 by Jennifer Weidler

ALABAMA

Alabama House Approves Legislation to Update Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights

The Alabama House approved a substitute version of a Bill, HB 105, which would update the Alabama Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights with regard to the protocols for handling taxpayer appeals.

Alabama Supreme Court Finds for Online Travel Companies in Tax Suit

The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment decision, which held that online travel companies are not engaged in the business of renting rooms or lodgings or furnished accommodations for the purposes of imposing the municipal lodgings tax upon them. For more detailed coverage of this case, click here. We previously discussed a similar holding in the case of Expedia in Philadelphia.

 

ARIZONA

Arizona House Votes to Delete Use Tax Declaration from Income Tax Forms

The Arizona House has voted to delete the use tax declaration line from its state income tax forms.SeeSB 1214.  Pursuant to SB 1214, the use line would be deleted for tax year 2012 forward.  While the specific use tax declaration line would be deleted from the income tax forms, Arizona residents would still owe use tax on their purchases of goods from out-of-state.

 

GEORGIA

Georgia Governor Signs “Amazon” Legislation

The Georgia Governor signed “Amazon” legislation, HB 386, which establishes click-through nexus in the state.

 

MICHIGAN

Michigan Tax Tribunal Finds Corporate Officer Personally Liable for Tax Deficiency of Company

The Michigan Tax Tribunal held that an individual corporate officer was liable for a company’s sales tax deficiency because the individual was a corporate officer during the relevant time period and failed to prove that he resigned, relinquished or otherwise absolved himself of responsibility for filing and paying the taxes.  As such, the court held that there was subject to corporate officer liability for the taxes at issue.

 

NEW MEXICO

New Mexico Court Holds Barnes & Noble Trademarks Sufficient to Establish Nexus

A New Mexico appellate court has held that a taxpayer who was an online bookseller had substantial nexus through the in-state use of Barnes & Noble trademarks.  Barnes & Noble did not own or lease property in the state, nor did it have any temporary or permanent employees therein. Although the taxpayer was a separate limited liability company, the court found that the in-state activities that were performed under Barnes & Noble trademarks were sufficient to establish nexus since Barnes & Noble’s in-state retail stores created goodwill behind the trademarks where the trademarks were used on and in its in-state stores.  Moreover, the online retailer created goodwill by further advertising for Barnes & Noble and selling gift cards which could be used at the online store or at the physical Barnes & Noble locations.

 

PENNSYLVANIA

Commonwealth Court Holds Company Eligible to Compute Franchise Tax Using Holding Company Apportionment Method

The Commonwealth Court held that a company whose activities consisted of providing corporate oversight to twenty-two (22) wholly owned subsidiaries fell within the definition of a “holding company” where the goodwill that it recorded on the corporation’s balance sheets as an asset was included in its subsidiaries’ actual stock value.  As such, the court held that the company was eligible to compute the franchise tax utilizing the 10% holding company apportionment method.

STEB Announces Revised Common Level Ratio for Philadelphia County for 2010

The State Tax Equalization Board (“STEB”) issued an announcement revising its certified Common Level Ratio (“CLR”) for tax year 2010 in relation to Philadelphia County.  STEB revised the CLR to 25.2% from 18.1%.  In order to arrive at the revised figure, STEB used revised data that was submitted by Philadelphia County.

Weekly Blog Update for Week of 3/23: Connecticut Supreme Court Reverses Scholastic Decision; Georgia and Marlyand Lawmakers Address Amazon Bills; Kansas Legislature Approves Single-Sales-Factor Apportionment Bill…and More

March 26, 2012

 by Jennifer Weidler

 

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut Finds Scholastic Used Teachers to Sell Books Creating Nexus to Subject it to Sales Tax

The Connecticut Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s decision and held that Scholastic Book Clubs, Inc. was subject to state sales tax because in-state school teachers acted as its representatives, thereby creating the requisite nexus to justify imposing the tax.  For prior coverage of this issue, click here.

 

GEORGIA

Georgia Lawmakers Approve “Amazon” Bill

The Georgia Senate approved legislation, HB 386, which would create click-through nexus and establish a phase-out of the sales tax on energy used in manufacturing.

 

INDIANA

Indiana Supreme Court Holds Out-of-State Service Provider’s Promotional Materials Subject to Tax

The Indiana Supreme Court held that an out-of-state online service provider, AOL, Inc., was subject to Indiana use tax on promotional materials that it distributed to in-state individuals.  The court found that the transactions through which AOL obtained the promotional materials it sent to in-state residents from its assembly houses and letter shops constituted retail transactions and were therefore subject to state tax once AOL used the property in-state.

 

KANSAS

Kansas Senate Approves Single-Sales-Factor Legislation

The Kansas Senate approved legislation, HB 2157, which would enact a single-sales-factor apportionment method for certain corporations relocating to the state.  The apportionment method would be available beginning in tax year 2013 for those businesses with no employees in the state and with no real or tangible personal property in the state prior to January 1, 2013.

 

MARYLAND

Maryland Legislature Strips Bill of “Amazon” Language

The Maryland House amended legislation, SB 523, by pulling language pertaining to an “Amazon” law.  The amendment deleted language that would have required remote sellers to collect sales taxes on purchases by in-state buyers.  The House also revised the proposed individual income tax increase.

 

MINNESOTA

Minnesota Legislature Passes Bill to Phase-Out State’s Business Property Tax

The Minnesota House of Representatives passed legislation, HF 2337, which would phase-out the state’s business property tax.  The legislation would gradually reduce the tax, until an ultimate elimination of the tax during tax year 2025.  The legislation would also offer a tax credit in lieu of the current foreign operating corporation deduction.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina Publishes Revenue Ruling on Software

The South Carolina Department of Revenue issued a Revenue Ruling dealing with sellers who sell and deliver software via a laptop to the buyer’s location.  Where the seller downloads the software via the internet or other wireless connection and then terminates the connection, taking the laptop when the download is complete and leaving no tangible software behind, the transaction is not subject to South Carolina sales tax.

 

South Carolina Supreme Court Rules for Taxpayer in Bi-furcated Apportionment Case; Places Burden on DOR

In a victory for the taxpayer, the South Carolina Supreme Court held that where the South Carolina Department of Revenue (“DOR”) attempts to deviate from the standard method of apportionment, the DOR must bear the burden of proving both that the standard method should not be used and that the alternative method is reasonable and more appropriate than any of the opposing methods.

 

TENNESSEE

Tennessee Legislature Considers Phase-Out of Stat’s Inheritance Tax

The Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation, SB 3762/HB 3760, which would phase-out the state’s inheritance tax.  Pursuant to the legislation, the tax would be repealed by 2016.

Weekly Update for 3/9: Arizona Rejects Amazon Legislation, While New Jersey Considers Implementing Amazon Law; Missouri Considers Amnesty Legislation; Pennsylvania Considers Closing the “Delaware Loophole”…and more.

March 12, 2012

 by Jennifer Weidler

ARIZONA

Arizona Senate Rejects Proposed Amazon Legislation

The Arizona Senate rejected proposed Amazon legislation, SB 1338, which would have broadened Arizona’s definition of retailer to include any company with a warehouse in the state.

CALIFORNIA

California Revises Publication on Internet Sales, Incorporating eBooks and Apps

The California State Board of Equalization revised Publication 109 regarding Internet Sales, in order to provide guidance on the tax treatment of eBooks and apps.  According to the Publication, the transfer of a downloadable file such as an eBook or app is not a taxable transaction, without purchasing any physical storage medium.

GEORGIA

Georgia House Approves Legislation to Establish Tax Tribunal

The Georgia House of Representatives approved legislation, HB 100, which would establish a state Tax Tribunal in the state’s judicial branch.

ILLINOIS

Illinois Releases Information Letter of “Deal-of-the-Day” Transactions

The Illinois Department of Revenue issued an Information Letter providing guidance on the treatment of “Deal-of-the-Day” transactions.  For more detailed information, see the Information Letter.

IOWA

Iowa Court Grants Refund Relief for Illegal Taxation

The Iowa District Court ordered a refund of franchise fees that were collected in excess of the amount determined to be allowable for which the City of Des Moines could impose.  The court found that the refund was a constitutional remedy for the illegal taxation of the city’s residents.  The fact that the funds gathered from the illegal taxation were used wisely, legally and with the best intentions was not a defense.

MISSOURI

Missouri House Approves Amnesty Legislation

The Missouri House has approved legislation, HB 1030, which would offer a tax amnesty period, slated to run from August 1 to October 31, 2012.  The amnesty program would cover all taxes administered by the Department of Revenue and would waive penalties.  The amnesty program is projected to raise $75 million for the state.

NEW JERSEY

New Jersey Finds Nexus Based on Telecommuting Employee

The New Jersey Superior Court upheld a Tax Court ruling, which found that a foreign corporation was subject to the New Jersey Corporate Income Tax because it regularly and consistently permitted one of its employees to telecommute from her New Jersey residence.  Her full-time telecommuting was viewed as doing business in the state, thereby requiring the payment of the tax as well as the filing of corporate income tax returns in New Jersey.

New Jersey Introduces Amazon Legislation

Legislation, S 1762, has been introduced in New Jersey that would grant Amazon.com a temporary state sales tax collection exemption if it builds warehouses within the state.   Pursuant to the bill, distribution facilities built in the state after January 1, 2012 would not create nexus with the state until July 1, 2013, provided that Amazon.com creates at least 1,500 full-time jobs in the state and makes a capital investment exceeding $130 million.

New Jersey Court Affirms Value of Residential Property Where Owner’s Evidence was Insufficient

The New Jersey Tax Court affirmed the value of a residential property established by the assessment after finding that the owner’s evidence regarding comparable sales was insufficient to establish the true market value of the property.  Although the owner overcame the presumption of validity attached to the assessment of his property, he was unable meet his burden of proof with regard to establishing the true market value of the property.

NEW MEXICO

New Mexico Governor Vetoes Combined Reporting Legislation

New Mexico’s Governor vetoed legislation, SB 9, which would have established combined reporting in the state.  The bill would have required combined reporting for multistate retailers with a 30,000 square feet or large facility in New Mexico.  Additionally, it would have lowered the top corporate income tax rate from 7.6 percent to 7.5 percent.

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania Considers Legislation to Allow Counties to Institute Local Taxes to Reduce or Eliminate Property Tax

The Pennsylvania legislature is considering legislation, HB 2230, which would allow counties in the state to institute a local sales or income tax in order to reduce or eliminate the property tax.  Pursuant to the bill, county governments could ask voters to approve a sales or income tax, which would ultimately provide property tax relief.

Pennsylvania Considers Competing Legislation to Close “Delaware Loophole”

During January, legislation, HB 2150, was introduced that suggested a close to the “Delaware loophole.” For previous coverage of that bill, please click here.  Competing legislation is currently being drafted that will seek to create a broader add-back provision than that contained in HB 2150.

VIRGINIA

Virginia Governor Approves Legislation Phasing in Single-Sales-Factor

Virginia’s Governor has approved legislation, HB 154, which creates a phase-in of single-sales-factor apportionment for retailers.  The bill requires retailers to begin utilizing a triple-weighted sales factor beginning July 1, 2012 and a quadruple-weighted sales factor beginning July 1, 2012.  Finally, a single-sales-factor would be implemented beginning July 1, 2015.

WISCONSIN

Wisconsin Rules that Individual is Responsible for Portion of Company’s Tax Liabilities

The Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission held that an individual was responsible for a portion of a company’s sales tax and withholding tax liabilities.  The Commission reasoned that the evidence established that the individual maintained the title of president of the company, retained check-writing authority and participated on the board of directors.  As such the Commission found the individual to be a “responsible” person.

Weekly Update for 3/2: Georgia Considers “Amazon” Law; Verizon Challenges Statute of Limitations in Florida Assessment; Maryland Rules on Statute of Limitations for Refund…and more.

March 5, 2012

 by Jennifer Weidler

COLORADO

Colorado DOR Issues Letter Ruling Discussing Tax Exempt Status of Photovoltaic Energy Systems

The Colorado Department of Revenue issued a letter ruling explaining the sales exempt status of photovoltaic energy systems.  The letter ruling clarified that a company or customer who purchases photovoltaic energy systems is exempt from sales tax because all sales and uses of qualifying renewable energy components are entitled to the renewable component exemption.

FLORIDA

Verizon Business Purchasing, LLC Challenges Florida Sales and Use Tax Assessment

Verizon Business Purchasing, LLC has filed a complaint challenging a $3 million Florida sales and use tax assessment, claiming that the statute of limitations expired prior to the proposed assessment becoming final.  The complaint alleges that the final assessment was invalid because although the parties agreed to extend that statute of limitations until March 31, 2011, the notice of proposed assessment was issued with less than sixty days left in the statute of limitations period. Therefore, the complaint contends, it did not become a final assessment until the expiration of the sixty days, on April 11, 2011, which was after the statute of limitations had lapsed.

GEORGIA

Georgia House Considers “Amazon” Law

The Georgia House of Representatives is considering legislation, HB 993, which would implement click-through nexus and similar provisions, aimed at requiring out-of-state online retailers to collect state sales tax.  The legislation contains a threshold that must be met: an out-of-state online retailer must have at least $10,000 in annual sales through in-state affiliates receiving a commission in order to be subject to collecting the tax.


HAWAII

Hawaii Senate Committee Passes Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Legislation

The Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee passed legislation, SB 2226, which would bring the state into conformity with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.

INDIANA

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Armour v. Indianapolis

The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Armour v. Indianapolis, which tackles an equal protection challenge.  During 2001, Indianapolis gave taxpayers the option of paying upfront or in monthly installments for special assessments related to the connection of their properties to city sewers.  The case challenges the city’s decision not to provide refunds to taxpayers who paid a sewer special assessment in lump sum, while forgiving outstanding balances for those taxpayers who entered into installment plans.  The Indiana Supreme Court held that the Board had a rational basis for its decision to deny refunds while eliminating outstanding balances.

Indiana House Approves Legislation to Phase-Out Inheritance Tax

The Indiana House approved legislation, SB 293, which would phase-out Indiana’s inheritance tax by increasing the exemption for children and grandchildren from $100,000 to $250,000.  The increase would apply to decedents dying after July 1, 2012.


MARYLAND

Maryland Rules on Statute of Limitations for Refund

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that the one-year statute of limitations for the filing of a limited partner’s state income tax refund claim pursuant to a federal adjustment of the partnership return began to run on the date that the Internal Revenue Service issued its final adjustment report to the limited partner.  Since the taxpayer filed its claim for refund more than one year after the date that the Internal Revenue Service issued its final adjustment report, the taxpayer’s refund was denied.

MINNESOTA

Minnesota Considers Legislation to Classify Jurisdictions as Tax Havens

Two separate bills, HF 2480 and SF 2029, currently under consideration by the Minnesota legislature would classify 34 foreign jurisdictions as tax havens, thereby terminating the ability of corporations to shelter their earnings in those areas. The legislation would also repeal the state’s foreign royalty exclusion, eliminate the state’s preferences for foreign-source income, and eliminate the state’s transition to single-sales-factor, instead re-implementing the three-factor formula.

NEVADA

Nevada Supreme Court Reverses Dismissal of Property Tax Petition for Board’s Failure to Conduct Public Hearings

The Nevada Supreme Court reversed the dismissal of property taxpayers’ petition for writ of mandamus directing the State Board of Equalization to equalize property valuations throughout the state, because the Board failed to conduct public hearings thereby denying the taxpayers an adequate remedy at law.

NEW YORK

New York Issues Guidance on Application of Sales Tax to Gratuities and Service Charges

The New York Department of Taxation and Finance issued guidance explaining how sales tax applies to gratuities and service charges.  The guidance clarifies that mandatory gratuities and service charges are exempt if: (1) the charges are shown separately on a bill; (2) identified as gratuities; and (3) the entire gratuity amount is given to the employees.

OKLAHOMA

Federal Court Rules Against Oklahoma Indian Tribe’s Tobacco Tax Claims

A Federal Court held that an Indian tribe located in Oklahoma had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted in its complaint.  The complaint alleged that Oklahoma’s tobacco tax laws violated various constitutional rights and federal laws.  However, the court found that the claims were not valid either on grounds of preemption or on infringement of the tribe’s right to self-government.

WASHINGTON

Washington Legislation Would Abolish Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Some Out-of-State Shoppers

Legislation, HB 2791, currently under review by Washington’s House would abolish the sales and use tax exemption for certain out-of-state shoppers.  The exemption would no longer be available for residents of the U.S. and Canada whose province or state assesses consumption taxes of less than three percent.