Posted tagged ‘LLC’

Weekly SALT News Update

October 11, 2011

State DOR Letters and Administrative Rulings

The Tennessee Department of Revenue rules that software configuration services are not subject to sales tax. The industrial equipment exemption does not apply as to sales tax in connection with the sale of compressed air with compressors on site. The assembly of leased equipment is subject to sales tax as services necessary to complete a sale.

In a shift, the Indiana Department of Revenue issues a statement that it will no longer impose sales tax on digital goods unless specific circumstances exist, citing the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.

The Louisiana Department of Revenue issues guidance on the new exemption from sales tax for breastfeeding equipment.

The Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission upholds a retaliatory insurance tax against a Kansas insurance company.
The Montana Revenue Tax Appeal Board rules on property tax assessments based on comparables, and lays out how not to fight a property tax dispute.

New Jersey issues guidance on the sales tax treatment of manufacturer and seller coupons. It states that the coupons should be treated “like cash” since the seller gets the coupon value from the manufacturer. Thus sales tax is charged on the face value of the coupon. However, coupons issued by sellers are treated as discounts, and not as cash. Sales tax is imposed on the discounted value of the sale. Note that the sales tax treatment for coupons varies from state to state. For example, the Texas Comptroller seems to treat Groupon discounts as cash , while other coupons are reductions in price for sales tax. See also New York’s policy here.

The Kansas Department of Revenue clarifies that layaway charges are not subject to sales tax.

 

State Regulations and Public Notices

Arkansas and Kentucky revise their taxability matrix for the streamlined sales and use tax agreement.

The California Franchise Tax Board lays out the state franchise tax treatment of series LLCs. While California law does not provide for series limited liability companies, it does accommodate them for tax purposes.

The Mississippi Attorney General opines that property manufactured in Mississippi does not qualify for the free port warehouse exemption as it goes beyond the purpose of the exemption and does not comply with a strict reading of the statute.

 

State Legislative Affairs

None noted.


Judicial and Administrative Decisions

New York Tax Appeals Tribunal rules that a taxpayer must consolidate its returns. Presumption for consolidation when wholly owned and combined group engages in unitary business. Ernst & Young LLP was engaged to provide multistate tax planning ideas and strategies. No business purpose as transactions entered into had no potential for profit and unnecessary for credit and collection functions. E&Y report showing met Section 482 principles irrelevant as no proof that transaction “merits tax respect.”

The 9th Circuit rules in Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation that a state requirement imposed by Washington for tribal members to collect sales tax does not violate the U.S. treaty with the tribe. The requirement imparts a minimal interference into the business of the tribe, and is constitutional.

The United States Supreme Court denied petition to both the KFC and the Lamtec cases. The two cases used an expansive interpretation of nexus to that has been hotly contested. The Court, without comment, declined the opportunity to clarify Quill.

The Maryland Court of Appeals in Timothy A. Frey, et al v. Comptroller holds that the nonresident tax on in-state income is constitutional. It is a compensatory tax, and should be upheld pursuant to Oregon Waste Systems, Inc. v. Department of Environmental Quality,511 U.S. 93 (1994).

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in Kurbatov v. Department of Labor elevated its decision to a published ruling, laying out the line on whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor.

 

Other Documents

Rutgers issues a study showing New Jersey lost up to $171 million in sales and use tax as a result of uncaptured Internet sales.

The Texas Taxpayers and Research Association sides with the Texas Comptroller and the Attorney General in the Allcat case, opining that the Texas franchise tax cannot be viewed as a net income tax, but is a tax on an entity not the natural partner. TTARA also pointed to the U.S. Bureau of the Census as declaring the Texas franchise tax to be a fee for doing business, and not a net income tax. The Texas Attorney General filed its brief on the merits. A detailed analysis is here.

Weekly SALT News Update

September 28, 2011

State DOR Letters and Administrative Rulings

The Wisconsin Appeals Commission ruled services are not presumed to be subject to sales tax. In looking to whether barge fleeting services are “taxable services,” the plain language of the statutes does not impose the sales tax and thus the state cannot interpret into the taxation of services those services that are not clearly included. Same rule follows inTexas.

Illinoispublished a ruling on the applicability of the manufacturing exemption in connection with a meat processing facility, and what parts of the plant equipment would qualify for the sales tax exemption.

The Missouri State Tax Commission set aside an assessor’s appraisal for property tax in favor of the income approach used by taxpayer as the taxpayer’s report was substantial and persuasive, recognizing actual economic conditions affecting the subject property.

The Missouri Department of Revenue ruled on the application of sales tax for cabinet manufacturing, finding that the transactions by a cabinet manufacturer would be exempt where title to the cabinets transferred to the customers passed after installation. It also ruled that devices used merely to improve appearance, but not required for medical purposes, is not exempt from sales tax as a medical device. Also, an online ticket broker with no nexus to Missouri is not required to collect sales tax Missouri for tickets sold to Missouri customers or for events in Missouri. It ruled on the concept of integrated manufacturing, and looked to prior decisions that greatly expanded the term such as the “manufacture” of telephone calls. Finally, information services are not subject to sales tax.

New Yorkoffered guidance in dealing with sales tax on transactions in which a person purchases a coupon for a reduced price for goods or services via the Internet. Think Groupon. It also offered guidance for sales tax liability of members of limited liability companies and partners of limited liability partnerships.

 

State Regulations and Public Notices

Rhode Islandhas published the final version of its regulations on the sales taxation of computer programs  There are no significant changes to the final version from that originally proposed.

The North Carolina Department of Revenue advised on “major” sales tax changes by the state legislature for both persons who are registered before the department and other taxpayers.

 

State Legislative Affairs

Michigan State Representatives Kowall and Ananich introduced HB 5004 that would introduce a New York-style Amazon law to require Internet retailers to collect use tax inMichigan.

There is a rumor circulating in the Beltway that the Main Street Fairness Act may be combined with other legislation in an effort to secure GOP support. The Main Street Fairness Act would use federal legislation to allow states to require persons selling taxable items but who are currently beyond the reach of the states to actually collect relevant state use taxes. Currently the bill lacks significant support (including any GOP legislators).

California law, in connection with its unclaimed property statutes, has extended “no apparent commercial value” property to be held for seven years, which is an increase from the prior rule that a holder must retain such property for 18 months.


Judicial and Administrative Decisions

In a case of first impression, the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that electricity is tangible personal property, and thus machinery used in the generation of electricity qualifies for the manufacturing exemption from sales and use tax. Other states have also treated electricity as tangible personal property, including Texas (Tex. Tax Code § 151.317) and Indiana.

The New Jersey Superior Court ruled against a taxpayer on an appeal of a property tax dispute. In the instant case, the taxpayer, who was without legal counsel, ignored previous court rulings requesting filings and appropriate responses. The court recognized the taxpayer’s apparent indifference to court orders and ruled against the taxpayer on the second run through the appellate court system, having already given the taxpayer a chance once before to amend his responses.

In the PRA Government Services case, in which anAlabamacourt is asked to rule on the legality of a class action against contingent fee  auditors for a state agency, the taxpayers have amended the complaint to add hundreds of local jurisdictions as defendants. This could be a key case dealing with class actions and the proper use of contingent fee auditors by state agencies.

The Alaska Superior Court ruled that the property tax exemption granted to married couples is discriminatory as applied to same-sex couples.

 

Other Documents

The handout used at the last Houston Bar Association tax luncheon is provided, which outlines the latestTexas legislative updates to the Tax Code, and recent judicial updates involving theTexas franchise tax, including the current constitutional challenge to the revisedTexas franchise tax at the Texas Supreme Court.

Weekly SALT News Update

September 21, 2011

State DOR Letters and Rulings

Florida ruled that when a cleaning service provider uses cleaning supplies to perform the cleaning services, sales and use tax is due on those supplies. However, to the extent those supplies are not used, but sold to a customer for their use, the transaction is exempt as a sale for resale.

The Texas Comptroller ruled that a series LLC would be treated as a single entity for Texas franchise tax purposes. The entity cannot be broken up into separate parts, but must file as one.

Alabama ruled that winter park provided amusement services subject to sales tax. The amusement services included hay rides, Christmas plays, and Christmas displays.

The Illinois Department of Revenue published a letter on the sales tax treatment of software maintenance agreements. It is a fairly aggressive position, with any transfer of “patch” code constituting a taxable transfer.

 

State Regulations and Public Notices

Both Georgia and West Virginia filed updated Section 328 taxability matrices for their respective states. Under the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA), each state must maintain a taxability matrix that defines the manner in which that state treats all defined items. It must make them available to the public.

New Jersey released guidance on sales tax imposed for investigation and security services that are sourced to that state. It opined that the taxable base is quite expansive, and should include the actual costs to perform the service, any materials or labor used, including interest, taxes paid, and any other expense. Reimbursable expenses such as meals and mileage must also be included.

Rhode Island issued a public notice of the revised regulation for the taxation of software, whether in electronic form or on physical media. A source at the Division of Taxation has advised that the proposed regulation has received little comment, and is not expected to change. The effective date for the taxation of prewritten software delivered electronically by download or other electronic means is effective October 1, 2011. The regulation also addresses the taxation of maintenance for prewritten software.

Indiana issued guidance on the taxation of drop shipments. It opined that generally the drop shipment, if properly followed, would not be subject to sales tax based on the sale for resale exemption. The purchaser requesting the drop shipment must present the prescribed Form ST-105.

 

State Legislative Affairs

Maryland’s legislative services staff presented the argument that a gross receipts tax would benefit the state and increase tax revenues. It used a Power Point presentation to make the sale.

At the federal level in an issue directly impacting the several states, unions are applying political pressure for legislators to vote “no” on HR 1439. HR 1439, known as the “Business Activity Tax Simplification Act,” would regulate the state taxation of interstate commerce and deal with the nexus issues being raised at the state level, employing the Joyce approach as opposed to the Finnigan approach. As an aside, Texas uses the Joyce approach for its franchise tax. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the act would “cost” the states $2 billion. The Multistate Tax Commission echos the concern of the cost to the states, and passage seems highly unlikely.


Judicial and Administrative Decisions

The Louisiana Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has ruled in favor of the taxpayers, Utelcom Inc. and UCOM, Inc., and reversed the trial court’s decision. The taxpayers owned limited partnership interests in three Delaware limited partnerships that were Sprint affiliates. They had not commercial domicile in Louisiana, and but for these limited partnership interests they had no connection with Louisiana. The taxpayers argued that Louisiana’s assessment of franchise tax against them violated the privileges, immunities, and protections afforded them by the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution and the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States and Louisiana Constitutions. Louisiana argued that “unity of purpose” caused the actions of related Sprint entities to create nexus with taxpayers. The Court found that there was no statutory basis for this proposed incident of taxation, that the entities were all separate juridical entities, and there was no “Louisiana codal, statutory, or jurisprudential authority” to attribute the actions of one Sprint entity against the other.

Louisiana also argued that the actions of the general partner of US Telecom acting as the general partner for Sprint Communications LP should be attributed to the taxpayers as some form of agent for the taxpayers. The Court found that the general partner has the authority to bind Sprint Communications LP, but it lacks the authority to act as the agent for the taxpayers.

Louisiana pointed to a regulation that allows taxation where a person conducts business in Louisiana through a partnership, joint venture, or otherwise. However, the Court pointed to the fact that the statute limits this to corporations, and that the Department of Revenues attempt to expand the taxing statute beyond the scope set by the legislature must fail. Though determining that the franchise tax would not extend to the taxpayers by statute, the Court, nonetheless, addressed the argument in Secretary, Dep’t of Revenue, State of La. v. Gap (Apparel), Inc., 886 So.2d 459 (La.App. 2004) (finding that a company’s receipt of royalties from the use of its intangible property in Louisiana). Because the property being used was not owned by the taxpayers, Gap did not apply.