On March 31, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a budget bill containing major corporate tax reform. That new law resulted in significant changes for many corporate taxpayers, including a complete repeal of Article 32 and changes to the Article 9-A traditional nexus standards, combined reporting provisions, composition of tax bases and computation of tax, apportionment provisions, net operating loss calculation and certain tax credits. Most of the provisions took effect on January 1, 2015.
Due to the sweeping nature of this corporate tax reform, taxpayers have been awaiting official guidance from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance on many areas of the reform. On January 26, 2015, the Department started releasing Technical Memoranda on certain aspects of the corporate tax reform.
The first Technical Memoranda, TSB-M-15(2)C, provides guidance on many transitional compliance issues, including, but not limited to, (1) clarifying the filing requirements for Article 32 and Article 9-A taxpayers with fiscal years that span both 2014 and 2015, (2) addressing the inclusion in a combined report of a member with a tax year end that is different from the designated agent, (3) addressing compliance issues involving short periods and corporate dissolutions, (4) clarifying the filing dates and estimated tax payment obligations for 2015 Article 9-A taxpayers.
The second Technical Memoranda, TSB-M-15(3)C, (3)I, addresses the benefits available to qualified New York manufacturers.
Transitional Compliance Issues
Taxpayers and tax return preparers should be particularly careful when preparing 2015 Article 9-A tax returns, as the Department’s guidance on transitional compliance issues indicates that returns submitted on incorrect forms or on prior year forms will not be processed by the Department and will not be considered timely filed, which could result in the imposition of penalties.
Fiscal Years Spanning 2014 and 2015
The Department’s guidance makes it clear that for any 12-month tax year that began before January 1, 2015, taxpayers must complete the relevant 2014 return (e.g., an Article 32 taxpayer must file a 2014 Article 32 franchise tax return and, if applicable, a MTA surcharge return) according to the Tax Law that was in effect before January 1, 2015. Fiscal year taxpayers, both Article 32 and Article 9-A, with a 12-month tax year that began in 2014, but will end in 2015, will not be permitted to file short period returns solely as a result of corporate reform.
Combined Reports that Include Taxpayers with Different Year Ends
For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2015, a taxpayer is required to file a combined report with other corporations engaged in a unitary business with the taxpayer if a more-than-50-percent common ownership (direct or indirect) test is met, with ownership being measured by voting power of capital stock. Under the Tax Law, a combined report must be filed by the designated agent of the combined group. The “designated agent” must have nexus with New York and is generally the parent corporation of the combined group. If there is no such parent corporation or if the parent [...]