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Unclaimed Property Hunger Games: States Seek Supreme Court Review in ‘Official Check’ Dispute

Background As detailed in our blog last month, MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc. (MoneyGram) is stuck in between a rock and a hard place as states continue to duel with Delaware over the proper classification of (and priority rules applicable to) MoneyGram’s escheat liability for uncashed “official checks.”  The dispute hinges on whether the official checks are properly classified as third-party bank checks (as Delaware directed MoneyGram to remit them as) or are more similar to “money orders” (as alleged by Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and numerous other states participating in a recent audit of the official checks by third-party auditor TSG). If classified as third-party bank checks, the official checks would be subject to the federal common law priority rules set forth in Texas v. New Jersey, 379 U.S. 674 (1965) and escheat to MoneyGram’s state of incorporation (Delaware) since the company’s books and records do not indicate the apparent owner’s last known...

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Tax Amnesty Hits the Midwest (and Beyond)

With many state legislatures wrapping up session within the past month or so, there has been a flurry of last-minute tax amnesty legislation passed. Nearly a half-dozen states have authorized upcoming tax amnesty periods. These tax amnesties include a waiver of interest and, in some circumstances, allow taxpayers currently under audit or with an appeal pending to participate. This blog entry highlights the various enactments that have occurred since the authors last covered the upcoming Maryland amnesty program. Missouri On April 27, 2015, Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill (HB 384) that creates the first Missouri tax amnesty since 2002. The bill creates a 90-day tax amnesty period scheduled to run from September 1, 2015, to November 30, 2015. The amnesty is limited in scope and applies only to income, sales and use, and corporation franchise taxes. The amnesty allows taxpayers with liabilities accrued before December 31, 2014, to pay in full between September...

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Oklahoma Supreme Court KOs the Constitution

On April 22, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma released its opinion in CDR Systems Corp. v. Oklahoma Tax Commission.  Case No. 109,886; 2014 OK 31.  The Oklahoma Supreme Court, overturning the decision of the Court of Civil Appeals, held that an Oklahoma statute, which grants a deduction for income from gains that result from the sale of all or substantially all of the assets of an “Oklahoma company,” is constitutional under the Commerce Clause.  “Oklahoma company” is defined as an entity that has had its primary headquarters in Oklahoma for at least three uninterrupted years prior to the date of the taxable transaction. In a 5-4 decision, the Oklahoma Supreme Court determined that there was no discrimination against out-of-state commerce.  Even if there was discrimination, the Oklahoma Supreme Court held that the statute does not facially discriminate against interstate commerce, does not have a discriminatory purpose and has no discriminatory effect on...

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