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Choices for Illinois Taxpayers in Implementing the 2017 Income Tax Rate Increase

Last year, Illinois enacted a mid-year income tax rate increase. Effective July 1, 2017, Illinois increased the income tax rate for individuals, trusts and estates from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, and for corporations from 5.25 percent to 7 percent. The Illinois Personal Property Replacement Tax (imposed on corporations, partnerships, trusts, S corporations and public utilities at various rates) was not changed.

As we previously reported, the Illinois Income Tax Act contains a number of provisions intended to resolve questions regarding how income should be allocated between the two income tax rates applicable in 2017. 35 ILCS 5/202.5(a). The default rule is a proration based on the number of days in each period (181/184). For taxpayers choosing this method, the Department of Revenue (Department) has recommended the use of a blended tax rate to calculate tax liability. A schedule of blended rates is included in the Department’s instructions for the 2017 returns. The blended rate is 4.3549 percent for calendar year individual taxpayers and 6.1322 percent for calendar year C corporation taxpayers. (more…)

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Implications of Federal Partnership Audit Rules for State and Local Taxation

The new federal partnership income tax audit rules, scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2018, will have significant implications for the state and local taxation of partnerships and their partners. Most, but not all, states that impose a net income-based tax adopt by reference the federal definition of taxable income, but those that do typically adjust that income to reflect differences between state and federal tax policies. Moreover, state revenue departments generally do not regard themselves as being bound by Internal Revenue Service interpretations of the Internal Revenue Code even when substantive Code provisions are incorporated into state law by reference. The federal statutory rules relating to partnership audits are procedural rules and not ones of substantive tax law, so they will not be automatically adopted by states that generally conform to Internal Revenue Code provisions relating to taxable income. State legislatures may decide to adopt some or all of the federal statutory rules, or they may decide to adopt none of them. Arizona has already adopted its own version of the federal rules, and other state revenue departments are considering recommending to their legislatures that the legislatures take similar action, but most states have not reacted to the federal rules at this time. (more…)

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Alenia Decision May Benefit D.C. Corporate Taxpayers

The recent decision in Alenia N. America, Inc. v. District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue in the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) could present opportunities for District taxpayers to receive corporate franchise tax refunds by including their joint ventures’ apportionment factors in the taxpayers’ District apportionment percentage calculation.  Alenia N. America v. District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, Dkt. 2012-OTR-00015 (D.C. O.A.H.  Mar. 11, 2014).

Through an unwritten, internal policy, the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) prohibited separate filers from including the apportionment factors of joint ventures in which a taxpayer was a member/partner in the apportionment percentage calculation while permitting consolidated filers to do so.  Alenia N. America challenged this interpretation of the District’s apportionment formula, filing a protest in OAH.  Alenia is a separate filer C Corporation headquartered in the District.  A portion of Alenia’s 2010 tax year income resulted from its 51 percent ownership in a Mississippi LLC, Global Military Aircraft Systems (GMAS).  Because OTR required Alenia to include the income resulting from ownership of GMAS in its apportionable tax base but exclude the apportionment factors of GMAS, Alenia’s District apportionment percentage increased from 55.1899 percent to 86.1993 percent.  OTR effectively asserted the power of taxation over income derived from sources outside of the District.

OAH granted a summary decision in favor of Alenia, holding that GMAS’ apportionment factors could be included by Alenia because Alenia and GMAS were unitary and the District’s apportionment statute was designed with the purpose to create uniformity; most states applying formulaic apportionment allow for the inclusion of the apportionment factors (see Homart Development Co. v. Norberg, 529 A.2d 115 (R.I. 1987); Malpass v. Dep’t of Treasury, 494 Mich. 237, 833 N.W.2d 272 (2013)); and factor inclusion was necessary to reflect the source of the GMAS income.  Reading the District’s apportionment statute, D.C. Code § 47-1810.02, “consistently with its constitutional underpinnings and its general purpose to promote uniformity” overcame the silence as to whether the inclusion of factors applied to separate filers.  OTR’s misinterpretation of District law was “in conflict with the statute.” Alenia, Dkt. 2012-OTR-00015 at *26.

In light of the holding in Alenia allowing for the inclusion of the apportionment factors of joint ventures, taxpayers should consider whether District refunds are now available to them.  Further, an argument can be made that the holding in Alenia continues to apply despite the District’s switch to a combined reporting regime because of the court’s insistence that factor inclusion is necessary to reflect the source of the taxpayer’s income.

For a copy of the decision, contact one of the authors.

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