December 2017

On December 19, 2017, DC Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced the District Tax Independence Act of 2017 (Act), which would require the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to submit a report outlining the steps and amendments necessary to decouple the District’s tax deduction laws from federal law. As introduced, the Act would require this report by no later than April 30, 2018. The Act was referred to the Committee on Finance and Revenue the same day it was introduced and has not been taken up by the committee, which has been dormant since and is not currently scheduled to meet again until the Council returns in late January. The legislation is co-sponsored by Councilmembers Allen, Evans, McDuffie, Bonds, Gray, Nadeau, R. White, Grosso, Silverman, T. White, and Chairman Mendelson. Notably, all members of the Committee on Finance and Revenue—including Chairman Evans—are co-sponsors. Practice Note The introduction of the Act signals the Council’s overwhelming disapproval of the federal tax reform enacted by Congress and signed by President Trump on December 22, 2017. This is a process that is likely to take place across the country as states begin to assess the revenue impact of the federal tax reform legislation on their state corporate income and franchise tax regime. The District currently conforms to many federal deductions on a rolling basis for purposes of the Franchise Tax, which is imposed on both corporations and unincorporated entities. See generally DC Code Ann. § 47-1803.03. As part of the decoupling process, the CFO and Council will need to determine which deductions to alter to avoid a significant revenue loss and what the DC treatment should be. Furthermore, the CFO and Council should consider which deductions are necessary to retain due to related increases to the federal tax base, which DC utilizes as the starting point for Franchise Tax purposes. The effective dates and relation to 2017 return deadlines will be critical to monitor as this process moves forward, as several portions of the federal tax reform are effective for the 2017 tax year—meaning the corresponding District changes (if any) will need to be retroactive since returns (absent extensions) are due before the CFO’s report to the Council is. DC taxpayers with specific questions on how this process may impact their Franchise Tax liability in 2017 and going forward are encouraged to contact the authors.

McDermott hosted its last Tax in the City® women’s tax roundtable of the year in its Chicago office on December 14, 2017.

The Chicago Year-In-Review event featured a CLE/CPE presentation, “Key Provisions of International Tax Reform,” by Britt Haxton, Kristen Hazel and Sandra McGill, followed by a roundtable discussion on interest expense limitations, changes to net operating loss provisions, pass through tax rates and effects of tax reform on benefits.

Additionally, Catherine Battin, Mary Kay Martire and Jane May discussed the SALT perspective on the international tax reform provisions.  A summary of key Illinois income tax changes is below, and a thorough explanation of the new SALT implications in the tax reform bills can be found here.

Continue Reading Final 2017 Tax in the City Meeting Focuses on Tax Reform

The federal tax reform package recently approved by Congress (the Bill) contains a cap on the state and local tax deduction that may be claimed by individuals on their federal income tax returns. The Bill provides that an individual may claim up to $10,000 of state and local property taxes and either income or sales taxes. The cap expires on January 1, 2026.

Individual taxpayers who have been considering prepaying their 2018 (or later) taxes in 2017 should be aware that the final version of the Bill contains a provision that prohibits individuals from prepaying their income tax for future years in 2017. As a result, any guidance issued by state revenue departments (for example, in Illinois) regarding the prepayment of 2018 income tax is no longer applicable. In certain jurisdictions, individuals may still have an opportunity to prepay their property tax assessments. For additional details, please contact your tax preparer.

In our holiday tradition, as a thank you to all of our Inside SALT readers and subscribers, we are pleased to present our annual Inside SALT Crossword Puzzle Contest. We hope you’ll enjoy this little diversion that tests your knowledge of key state and local tax developments this year. To enter, please download and print the puzzle by clicking on the image below. After you complete the puzzle, please send it as a PDF file to skranz@mwe.com no later than January 5, 2018, at 11:59 pm EST. The first eligible entrant to submit a complete and correct puzzle wins a $200 Amazon gift card. The contest is open to registered Inside SALT email subscribers from the United States and District of Columbia who are age of majority or older. (To become a subscriber, please enter your email address in the box on the right side of your screen.) Contest ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 5, 2018. Participation is subject to the Official Rules. For complete details, click here to view the Official Rules. This contest is void outside the US and DC and where prohibited, restricted or taxed. Please also share your feedback about what topics you would like to hear more about in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you and to bringing you timely SALT updates and analysis in the coming year!   Click puzzle to enlarge and download.

Overview

Illinois’ July 2017 Revenue Bill for the 2018 fiscal year included the Invest in Kids Act (Act), which creates a new program, effective January 1, 2018, that provides up to $75 million in income tax credits for Illinois taxpayers making contributions to eligible organizations that grant scholarships to students attending private and parochial schools in Illinois. The Act allows approved Illinois taxpayers to receive state income tax credits of 75 percent of their total qualified contributions to Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs), up to $1 million annually per taxpayer. For example, a contribution of $100,000 to an SGO allows an approved taxpayer to claim a $75,000 income tax credit. The program is administered by the Illinois Department of Revenue (Department). The Department will allocate the credits among taxpayers on a first-come, first-served basis.

Who Benefits?

The Act is intended to benefit students who are members of households whose federal adjusted gross income does not exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty level before the scholarship and does not exceed 400 percent of the federal poverty level once the scholarship is received. The Illinois State Board of Education will annually provide the Department with a list of eligible private and parochial schools that may participate in the program and receive scholarship contributions from SGOs. As of December 18, 2017, the list of eligible private and parochial schools for 2018 has not been published. Continue Reading Illinois’ Invest in Kids Tax Credit

On December 4, 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued its much-anticipated precedential opinion in Marathon Petroleum Corp. et al., v. Secretary of Finance et al., No. 16-4011. The opinion affirms the Third Circuit’s existing view (described in its 2012 New Jersey Retailers Association decision) that US Supreme Court precedent permits a private cause of action to enforce the federal priority rules, overruling the federal district court’s conclusion (in this case and Temple-Inland) that the priority rules only apply to disputes between states. Continue Reading Litigation Alert | Third Circuit Reaffirms Scope of Federal Priority Rules

Wrapping Up November – and Looking Forward to December

You can view all of the topics we discussed over the last month here. Our lawyers appear at the following State and Local Tax events in December:

December 4–5, 2017: Peter Faber, Arthur Rosen and Diann Smith spoke at the 36th Annual NYU Institute on State and Local Taxation.

December 14, 2017: Catherine Battin, Mary Kay Martire and Jane May are presenting about the SALT aspects of Tax Reform at the Tax in the City® – Year in Review, which will focus on tax reform.

While there are differences between the House and Senate tax reform bills that remain to be worked out between the two chambers, both bills are positioned to broaden the tax base and reduce the tax rate. This article highlights the possible impact on state income tax liabilities stemming from the base broadening provisions.

Continue Reading.

For Illinois corporate clients who pay significant Illinois corporate franchise tax, relief may be on the way.

Illinois is on the verge of joining Delaware and many other jurisdictions that permit simple conversions from corporate to limited liability company (LLC) form, by enacting the “Entity Omnibus Act” as part of House Bill 2963, passed by the Illinois General Assembly and sent to the governor’s office last week. Assuming the governor signs the Bill, the effective date of the new law would be July 1, 2018.

Corporations formed under the Illinois Business Corporation Act often face impediments to conversion to an LLC to be free of the franchise tax. The new Act should make planning and execution considerably easier.

As details of tax reform take shape, our team continues to evaluate proposed legislation and to provide critical, real-time guidance on the likely impacts to our clients.

McDermott has always partnered with our clients to design strategies that are both creative and sound—to effectively plan for long-term business success. Access our new Tax Reform Resource Center for strategies and tools that will continue to help you lead your organization through the opportunities and risks brought about by proposed tax reform. You can also subscribe to stay on top of McDermott’s latest take on tax.

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