Posted tagged ‘sale for resale’

Weekly SALT News Update

October 3, 2011

State DOR Letters and Administrative Rulings

The Indiana Department of Revenue provided guidance on what constitutes tangible personal property. That guidance includes the specific view that electricity is tangible personal property. It also discusses the taxation of intangibles in the state. It also ruled that medical devices are not exempt if there is not a prescription. So a sale of a medical device to a doctor or a hospital is not exempt as a device being prescribed. It may qualify for the sale for resale exemption, as the doctor resells the device to a patient, but the requirements to claim a sale for resale exemption must be followed.

The Connecticut Department of Revenue offered guidance on new sales tax changes for the sale of vehicles and extended warranties as a result of 2011 legislation. New taxable services include motor vehicle towing and road services, and motor vehicle storage services.

The Maine Department of Revenue revised guidance regarding warranty agreements, service contracts, and maintenance agreements.

Tennessee’s Department of Revenue ruled that an out-of state provider of telecommunication services is not subject to sales tax, but that the services are taxed where the services are actually performed. In another ruling, it found that a person who delivers rented tangible personal property to provide services must charges sales tax on those delivery charges. And over the counter sales of fuel are not exempt from sales tax, strictly construing the exemption for sales of fuel for residential use against the taxpayer. Last, software configuration services are not subject to sales tax.

 

State Regulations and Public Notices

Prior to the publication of Indiana Commissioner’s Directive #41, Indiana Department of Revenue imposed sales and use tax on products transferred electronically based on whether the products were taxable in their tangible forms. Citing compliance with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, the Department will impose sales and use tax on products transferred electronically only if the products meet the definition of specified digital products, prewritten computer software, or telecommunication services.

 

State Legislative Affairs

The bill in Michigan to institute a New York style Amazon tax has been introduced and numbered.

California adds olive trees to those items taxed at the 1% gross sales tax rate for deciduous pome and stone fruit trees, nut trees, and grapevines.

Massachusetts Senate pushed forward S.2015 that would authorize casinos and one slot parlors in the state. It levies a 25 percent gross gaming revenue tax, and a 40 percent daily tax on gross gaming revenue from a single slot parlor.

The National Conference of State Legislatures met in San Antonio, and reportedly ended with the Multistate Tax Commission (“MTC”) and Chainbridge Software, LLC playing defense. The MTC came under attack for not being quite up front and public in the decision making process, while Chainbridge was attacked for using unreliable data to calculate potential audit candidates for government authorities.

 

Judicial and Administrative Decisions

Texas Third Court of Appeals hears oral argument of DTWC Corp. v. Combs. The case involves a potential expansion of the sale for resale exemption to include any transfer of tangible personal property in connection with services, regardless of whether the services have been subject to sales tax. Also, potentially it loosens the requirement of consideration to be paid with a sale for resale. Oral argument appeared to go better for the taxpayer, the appellant, than the Texas Attorney General.

In Ivory Homes, Ltd. v. Utah State Tax Comm’n, No. 20090679, (Utah 2011), the Utah Supreme Court ruled against the taxpayer’s argument that charges for shipping that were not separately stated should be excluded from the imposition of sales tax. Utah does not impose sales tax on shipping charges so long as they are separately stated. Because there was no written evidence of an intent by the parties to separately charge sales tax, and the amount charged was presented as one amount (including shipping), sales tax was appropriate on the entire amount.

New York Tax Appeals Tribunal required a company to file a consolidated return with wholly-owned subsidiaries as taxpayer failed to rebut the presumption of distortion under 20 NYCRR 6-2-3.

The Ninth Circuit, in Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation v. Gregoire, Dkt. No. 10-35776 (9th Cir. Sept. 23, 2011), ruled in favor of the State of Washington, finding that the requirement for retailers of an Indian tribe to collect tax was not a tax imposed on the tribe, but a pass through tax. Further, collection of the tax is a minimal burden imposed on the tribe and permitted pursuant to Washington v. Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation, 447 U.S. 134 (1980).

 

Other News

Good article regarding the current status of the Amazon legislation across the country, including Amazon’s current “play nice” strategy with California.

Study by Rutgers University for the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association shows New Jersey lost between $52 million and $171 million due to non-payment by New Jersey residents of sales use taxes on Internet purchases.

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.

Weekly SALT News Update

September 6, 2011

The Alliance for Main Street Fairness Launches Website Targeting Amazon.com

On August 25th, the Alliance for Main Street Fairness launched a web site that asked individuals to anonymously submit stories relating to Amazon.com’s alleged efforts to avoid collecting state sales taxes. The Alliance, representing mainly brick-and-mortar business, has pushed for states to enact “Amazon” laws, arguing that such laws promote tax fairness.  Conversely, opponents to “Amazon” laws believe that states are reaching beyond their constitutional limits.

Although Supportive of “Amazon” Law, Wal-Mart Not Collecting California Sales Taxes by Online Retail Partner

CSN Stores, LLC is a Wal-Mart Marketplace vendor which uses an online platform.  During June, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the state’s “Amazon” law, which had been supported by Wal-Mart.  The California law established nexus and collection obligations for remote sellers who maintain in-state affiliate relationships.  While CSN has been making online sales into California, Wal-Mart has not collected taxes on those sales, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board Opposes Federal Digital Goods and Services Taxation Act

On August 31, the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board passed a resolution opposing the Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act.   The Act seeks to set national guidelines for state and local taxation of digital goods in a stated attempt to promote neutrality, simplicity, and fairness in the taxation of digital goods and digital services.  The Board opposes the Act because they believe that it contains language that conflicts with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.  Furthermore, some Board delegates argue that federal legislation should not address the digital goods taxation issues.  Instead, those delegates argue that the issue should be addressed through the streamlined agreement.

Pennsylvania Third Party Preparers Required to File Electronically or Pay Penalty

On August 27, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue issued a notice that any third party preparer who prepares fifty (50) or more Pennsylvania corporate tax reports is required to file electronically for all calendar years following the calendar year in which the third party preparer prepares fifty (50) or more Pennsylvania corporate tax reports.  If a third party preparer fails to file corporate tax reports electronically per the requirements of the notice, the preparer will be subject to a penalty of 1% of the tax due, amounting to a minimum penalty of $10 and a maximum penalty of $500.  Certain exceptions allowing for a waiver of penalty exist under delineated exclusions contained in the notice.

State DOR Rulings

The Iowa Department of Revenue issued two rulings. The first ruling addresses the taxation of “loyalty points” that are awarded by mobile companies and then used to reduce the purchase price of cell phones. In the analysis, such reductions in price are treated akin to coupons, and reductions of the purchase price subject to sales tax.

In the other ruling,  the Iowa Department of Revenue ruled that where a cell phone is replaced under a warranty program, the replaced cell phone is not subject to sales tax, but the deductible paid in the exchange (in this case, $100) is subject to sales tax.

Missouri’s Department of Revenue recently issued a ruling regarding the taxation of iPads and similar equipment. Missouri provides for a  sales tax holiday for retail sales of clothing, personal computers, and school supplies. The question is whether an iPad is a “computer” and therefore exempt from sales tax on the holiday. The Department answered in the affirmative for iPads, but not for “readers” such as the Kindles.

New Regulations

Rhode Island proposes a new regulation for the taxation of the sale of marijuana. The rule provides that such sale would be exempt when prescribed, just like other prescription drugs.

Legislative Affairs

Maryland’s  Department of Legislative Services staff are expected to testify to the Maryland Senate that a gross receipts tax would bring in more gross revenue. (We are withholding comment on the University of Maryland’s new uniforms, which apparently are a hit on campus.) You can see the a Power Point presentation here.

Judicial and Administrative Decisions

New York disregards the form of a transaction as between a husband and a wife.

The New York Division of Tax Appeals ruled that the auditor failed to give adequate notice for records. As time was running out for making the assessment, the auditor rushed through an audit, requested records, but failed to give a reasonable opportunity to the taxpayer to comply. The auditor than generated an estimated audit, which the taxpayer challenged as improper and inaccurate. The taxpayer won.

Weekly SALT News Update

August 29, 2011

Texas Supreme Court Rules “Pole Tax” Does Not Violate First Amendment

In a unanimous decision Texas Supreme Court rules stripper “pole tax” does not violate First Amendment. The decision reverses a 2-1 Third Court of Appeals decision, which had held the tax violated the First Amendment in upholding the trial court’s ruling. The decision remands the case to the trial court, where three arguments remain, all based on challenges to the tax under the Texas Constitution.

New Jersey Appeals Court Upholds Tax Court Finding No Unitary Nature of Limited Partnership

New Jersey Appellate Division holds limited partner of limited partnership was not subject to Corporation Business Tax because limited partner was not unitary with limited partnership and limited partner had no independent nexus with NJ. The decision upholds the lower court’s decision. The decision is discussed in greater detail at this blog post.

Missouri Denies Sale for Resale Exemption for Guest Houses

Worlds of Fun  (“WOF”) operated cabins and cottages that it rented to guests on a nightly basis. It claimed a sale for resale exemption on tangible personal property that it provided to the guests in the quarters, such as benches, beds and mattresses. The Administrative Hearing Commission denied the exemption on the basis that insufficient control was transferred to the guests. A similar case regarding toiletries is currently pending before the Texas Third Court of Appeals, for which the trial court denied the sale for resale exemption.

California Governor Asks Legislature for Mandatory Single-Factor Formula

The California governor asks the Legislature for a mandatory single-factor formula for state income tax based on sales in California. The hope is that such a change would incentivize business to maintain corporate headquarters in the state.

Pennsylvania Reissues Ruling on Computer “Help” Services

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has reissued SUT-6-014, which clarified those “help” services that are subject to sales tax. Where the taxpayer’s employees are not under the control of the customer, the services rendered are not taxable as a “help supply” service.  61 Pa. Code § 60.4.

Arizona Appeals Rules No Need to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

The Arizona Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision, and ruled that a direct appeal to the tax court is permitted in connection with a tangible personal property valuation.

New Mexico Accepts CPA’s Negligence to Waive Penalty

A taxpayer who had not filed for the New Mexico gross receipts tax was granted a waiver from the payment of penalty based on the representation that such non-filing was the result of advice provided by a CPA.

Allcat Replies to Texas Attorney General in Challenge to Texas Franchise Tax

Allcat has filed its reply to the Texas Attorney General in connection with its challenge that the Texas Franchise Tax (also known as the “margin tax”) is unconstitutional. Allcat argued that limited discovery was appropriate at the Supreme Court level, that the Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act does apply, and requested more time to brief the case.

New York Rules Estimated Audit Proper with Partial Records

The New York Division of Tax Appeals has ruled that due to only partial records being provided in a protracted audit of a taxpayer, that it was appropriate to estimate the sales tax due.

Texas Supreme Court Requests Briefing of Sale for Resale Case 

The Texas Supreme Court has requested briefing in connection with a claim for the sale for resale exemption for prizes sold in “claw” machines.

New York Rules Not Able to Estimate Tax Refund

The New York Division of Tax Appeals has ruled that a taxpayer cannot use estimate to calculate refund or credit amount for sales and use tax.

Indiana Tax Court Rules for Miller Brewing on Apportionment

Miller Brewing avoids income tax on Indiana sales if third party picks up at plant. Court says irrelevant that tax avoided in all states as a result of decision.

Georgia Considers Tax Court

A Georgia legislative subcommittee considered the creation of a tax court on August 24, 2011.