combined reporting
Subscribe to combined reporting's Posts

Connecticut Limits New Tax Haven Law

In June of 2015, Connecticut passed legislation that implements combined reporting for tax years beginning on, or after January 1, 2016. Part of the new regime, which is codified by Conn. Gen. Stat. P.A. 15-5, § 144 (2015), requires water’s-edge combined groups to include entities incorporated in tax havens in the combined group. Just before the holidays, the Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation that narrowed the definition of a “tax haven” from the originally adopted definition. Under the originally passed combined reporting law, the determination of whether a jurisdiction was a “tax haven” was made using five different definitions. If any one definition was satisfied, the jurisdiction was a “tax haven.” None of the five definitions is entirely clear and each generally required an analysis of facts related to the jurisdiction’s government rather than the activities of a taxpayer in the jurisdiction. The original definition of tax haven was similar, but not identical to the Multistate Tax Commission Proposed Model Statute for Combined Reporting. The new law required the commissioner of revenue to publish a list of jurisdictions determined to be tax havens by September 30, 2016. In December, the Connecticut General Assembly convened a special session and passed Public Act 15-1, which amends the newly enacted tax haven law in section 37. As amended, the Connecticut statute still contains the five different definitions. However, the amended law excludes from the definition of a tax haven “a jurisdiction that has entered into a comprehensive income tax treaty with the United States” and which meets certain other requirements. Additionally, the December legislation also repealed the requirement for the commissioner to publish a list of tax havens. In sum, the limiting amendment to the tax haven law should provide taxpayers with some clarity, although that will be somewhat offset by the lack of a formal list. Connecticut is one of four New England states that considered and/or passed legislation adding tax haven provisions to their combined reporting regimes. Tax haven legislation passed in Rhode Island in 2015, as part of Rhode Island’s adoption of combined reporting effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2015. The Maine and Massachusetts legislatures considered tax haven provisions, but ultimately did not pass such laws in 2015.




District of Columbia’s Transfer Pricing Enforcement Program and Combined Reporting Regime: Taking Two Bites of the Same Apple

In his recent article, “A Cursory Analysis of the Impact of Combined Reporting in the District”, Dr. Eric Cook claims that the District of Columbia’s (D.C. or the District) newly implemented combined reporting tax regime is an effective means of increasing tax revenue from corporate taxpayers, but it will have little overlap with D.C.’s ongoing federal-style section 482 tax enforcement.  Dr. Cook is chief executive officer of Chainbridge Software LLC, whose company’s product and services have been utilized by the District to analyze corporations’ inter-company transactions and enforce arm’s length transfer pricing principles.  Combined reporting, (i.e., formulary apportionment, as it is known in international tax circles) and the arm’s length standard, are effectively polar opposites in the treatment of inter-company taxation.  It is inappropriate for the District (and other taxing jurisdictions) to simultaneously pursue both.  To do so seriously risks overtaxing District business taxpayers and questions the coherence of the District’s tax regime.

History

Both combined reporting and 482 adjustments have had a renaissance in the past decade.  Several tax jurisdictions, including the District, enacted new combined reporting requirements to increase tax revenue and combat perceived tax planning by businesses.  At the same time, some tax jurisdictions, once again including the District, have stepped up audit changes based on use of transfer pricing adjustment authority.  This change is due in part to new availability of third-party consultants and the interest in the issue by the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC).  States have engaged consultants, such as Chainbridge, to augment state capabilities in the transfer pricing area.  At the request of some states, the MTC is hoping to launch its Arm’s Length Audit Services (ALAS)[1] program.  States thus have increasing external resources available for transfer-pricing audits.

International Context

A similar discussion regarding how to address inter-company income shifting is occurring at the international level, but with a fundamentally important different conclusion.  The national governments of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the G-20 are preparing to complete (on a more or less consensual basis) their Base Erosion and Profit Shifting action plan.  This plan will reject formulary apportionment as a means of evaluating and taxing inter-company transactions.[2]  Thus, in the international context, formulary apportionment and transfer pricing adjustment authority are not seen as complementary, but instead are seen as mutually exclusive alternatives.  The history of formulary apportionment in international context sheds light on why states make a mistake when they seek to use both combined reporting and transfer pricing adjustments.

A combined reporting basis of taxation seeks to treat the members of a consolidated group as a single entity, consolidating financial accounts of the member entities and allocating a portion of the consolidated income to the taxing jurisdiction based on some formula or one or more apportionment factors.  Under the arm’s length approach, individual entities of a consolidated group within a single jurisdiction are treated (generally) as stand-alone entities and taxed according to the arm’s length value (the value that would be realized by independent, [...]

Continue Reading




Decoding Combination: What Is a Unitary Business

This article is the first of our new series regarding common issues and opportunities associated with combined reporting. Because most states either statutorily require or permit some method of combined reporting, it is important for taxpayers to understand the intricacies of and opportunities in combined reporting statutes and regulations.

In this article, we will explore the foundation for combined reporting – the unitary business principle.

Read the full article.




Inside the New York Budget Bill: Combined Reporting

The New York Legislature has passed bills related to the 2015–2016 budget (S2009-B/A3009-B and S4610-A/A6721-A, collectively referred to herein as the Budget Bill) containing several significant “technical corrections” to the New York State corporate income tax reform enacted in 2014, along with sales tax provisions and amendments to reform New York City’s General Corporation Tax.  The Budget Bill’s technical corrections to last year’s corporate income tax reform include changes to the economic nexus, tax base and income classification, tax rate (including clarifications to rules applicable to certain taxpayers, such as qualified New York manufacturers), apportionment, combined reporting, net operating loss and tax credit provisions.  The technical corrections are effective on the same date as last year’s corporate income tax reform, which was generally effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2015.

This post is the fifth in a series analyzing the New York Budget Bill, and summarizes the technical corrections to New York’s combined reporting provisions.

Investment Income                                 

Last year’s corporate reform provisions provided that (1) the election to reduce investment income or other exempt income by 40 percent in lieu of attributing interest expenses to that income and (2) the election to apportion income and gains from qualifying financial instruments using the 8 percent rule apply to all members of a combined group.  The Budget Bill provides that the following elections also apply to all members of the combined group: the election to waive the net operating loss carryback period and the election to deduct up to one-half of the prior year net operating loss conversion subtraction pool over a two-year period beginning with the tax year beginning on or after January 1, 2015.

The Budget Bill also provides that the new 8 percent cap on investment income (for more information about this cap see our prior post, Inside the New York Budget Bill: Tax Base and Income Classifications) applies by comparing the investment income of the combined group (before the deduction of attributable interest expenses) to the entire net income of the combined group.

Designated Agent

Under current law, each combined group must have one designated agent, and that designated agent must be a New York taxpayer (i.e., must have nexus with New York).  The Budget Bill eliminates the requirement that the designated agent be the parent corporation of the combined group (taxpayers were permitted to choose another designated agent only if there was no parent corporation included in the combined group or the parent was not a taxpayer).  This change gives combined groups greater flexibility in selecting the designated agent for the combined group.

The Budget Bill made a few additional clarifying amendments to the combined reporting provisions:

  • When computing the combined business income base, the apportioned business income of the group is reduced by any prior net operating loss conversion subtraction as well as any net operating loss deduction (the original reform provision referred to only the net operating loss deduction).
  • A combined net operating loss is composed of net [...]

    Continue Reading



Inside the New York Budget Bill: Economic Nexus

The New York Legislature has passed  bills related to the 2015–2016 budget (S2009-B/A3009-B and S4610-A/A6721-A, collectively referred to herein as the “Budget Bill”) containing several significant “technical corrections” to the New York State corporate income tax reform enacted in 2014, along with sales tax provisions and amendments to reform New York City’s General Corporation Tax.  The Budget Bill’s technical corrections to last year’s corporate income tax reform include changes to the economic nexus, tax base and income classification, tax rate (including clarifications to rules applicable to certain taxpayers, such as qualified New York manufacturers), apportionment, combined reporting, net operating loss and tax credit provisions.  The technical corrections are effective on the same date as last year’s corporate income tax reform, which was generally effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2015.

This post is the first in a series analyzing the New York Budget Bill, and summarizes the technical corrections to New York’s economic nexus provisions.

The New York Tax Law provides that a corporation is subject to corporate income tax if it is “deriving receipts from activity in [New York].”  A corporation is deemed to be “deriving receipts from activity in [New York]” if it has $1 million or more of receipts included in the numerator of its apportionment factor, as determined under the Tax Law’s apportionment sourcing rules (New York receipts).  Furthermore, a credit card company is deemed to be doing business in New York if it has issued credit cards to 1,000 or more New York customers; has contracts covering at least 1,000 merchant locations; or has at least 1,000 New York customers and New York merchant locations.  The Tax Law also has special rules (aggregation rules) for corporations included in combined reporting groups.  This year’s Budget Bill slightly modified those aggregation rules.

Under the Tax Law as originally amended by last year’s corporate income tax reform, if a corporation did not meet the $1 million threshold itself, but had at least $10,000 of New York receipts, the $1 million test was to be applied to that corporation by aggregating the New York receipts of all members of the corporation’s combined reporting group having at least $10,000 of New York receipts.  Similarly, a credit card corporation that did not meet the 1,000 customer and/or merchant location threshold by itself, but had at least 10 New York customers, at least 10 New York merchant locations or at least 10 New York customers plus merchant locations, would have been subject to tax in New York if all members of its combined reporting group with 10 such customers and/or locations, on an aggregated basis, had at least 1,000 New York customers, 1,000 New York merchant locations or 1,000 New York customers plus merchant locations.

As a result of the technical corrections, the $1 million New York receipts and 1,000 New York customers/merchant locations aggregation tests now apply to a corporation that is part of a unitary group meeting the ownership test of Tax Law section 210-C (more [...]

Continue Reading




Yes, Distortion is Enough: New York Tax Appeals Tribunal Clarifies Combined Reporting Requirements

On September 18, 2014, the New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal released its first decision interpreting New York State’s post-2007 combined reporting laws and, in doing so, answered a question that has been lingering in the minds of taxpayers and the Department’s auditors—whether distortion alone can still justify combined reporting.  Reversing a June 2013 determination of a New York Division of Tax Appeals Administrative Law Judge, the Tribunal, in Matter of Knowledge Learning Corp. et al., DTA Nos. 823962; 823963 (N.Y. Tax App. Trib. Sept. 18, 2014), held that distortion, even in the absence of substantial intercorporate transactions, can provide the basis for combined reporting.

Before January 1, 2007, New York required combined reporting for companies that were linked by common ownership and engaged in a unitary business if separate filing would result in distortion of income.  Under prior law, distortion was presumed where taxpayers in a purported combined group engaged in substantial intercorporate transactions (SIT).  The 2007 amendment to the combined reporting statute converted the presumption arising from the presence of SIT into a rule of law, with taxpayers now required to file combined reports if SIT are present.  Unclear after the 2007 law change was whether taxpayers could be permitted or required to file on a combined basis if separate filing would distort the taxpayers’ New York incomes, even if the combined group did not engage in SIT.

The petitioners in Knowledge Learning Corporation filed a combined return for the tax year ending December 29, 2007 and argued (1) that the parent and subsidiaries included on the combined report engaged in SIT and (2) that, regardless of whether the SIT test was met, separate filing would result in distortion.  The ALJ declined to address the petitioners’ argument that there was actual distortion even if there were not SIT, stating that “distortion is not the proper analysis in light of the 2007 statutory amendment”—a conclusion with which many practitioners disagreed.  (See prior coverage here).  The Tribunal reversed, concluding that the amended law “allows combined reports to be filed, even in the absence of substantial intercorporate transactions, when combined filing is necessary to properly reflect income and avoid distortion.”  The Tribunal also overruled the ALJ’s conclusion that the petitioners did not engage in SIT and, after conducting a fact-intensive inquiry into the group’s operations, held that the leasing of employees to the subsidiaries by the parent and the parent’s payment of all of the subsidiaries’ expenses met the SIT test such that combination was required.

This decision is noteworthy for a number of reasons:  First, because the Tribunal found in favor of the taxpayer, the New York State Department of Taxation cannot appeal and the decision constitutes binding precedent.  Furthermore, although the Tribunal did not reach the issue of whether the petitioners had actually proved distortion, a wealth of New York case law discussing what is necessary to prove distortion (such as Matter of Autotote Limited, Matter of Heidelberg Eastern Inc. and Matter of Mohasco Corporation) exists, and [...]

Continue Reading




Tax Reform in New York: Implications for Corporate America

The corporate tax reform portion of the New York State 2014–15 Budget Bill resulted in major changes for virtually all corporations—even many that are not currently New York taxpayers.  In this video (produced by SmartPros), McDermott partners Arthur Rosen, Maria Eberle, Lindsay LaCava and Leah Robinson will discuss the implications of New York State’s sweeping corporate tax reform, including changes to the Article 9-A traditional nexus standards, the combined reporting provisions, the composition of the tax bases and computation of tax, the apportionment provisions and the net operating loss calculation.

For more information on these issues, please click here for our Special Report, “Inside the New York Budget Bill: Corporate Tax Reform Enacted.”




STAY CONNECTED

TOPICS

ARCHIVES