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New York State Department Intends to Finalize Corporate Tax Regulations This Fall

Almost seven years after it started releasing draft regulations concerning sweeping corporate tax reforms that went into effect back in 2015, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (Department) has issued guidance, stating that “the Department intends to begin the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) process to formally propose and adopt” its draft corporate tax regulations this fall.

The Department has released many versions of “draft” regulations addressing corporate tax reform since September 2015. However, these draft regulations have been introduced outside of the SAPA process because the Department intended to formally propose and adopt all draft regulations at the same time. In the meantime, the Department warned taxpayers that so long as the regulations remain in draft form, they are not “final and should not be relied upon.”

Now, the Department has given its first public signal that it is prepared to formally adopt the draft regulations later this year. On April 29, 2022, the Department released “final drafts” of regulations that address a variety of topics, including nexus and net operating losses, and indicated that it will release final draft regulations addressing “apportionment, including rules for digital products/services and services and other business receipts” this summer.

Notably, the draft regulations released on April 29 include new provisions, “largely modeled after the [Multistate Tax Commission (MTC)] model statute . . . to address PL 86-272 and activities conducted via the internet.” Like the MTC model statute, the new draft regulations take a broad view of internet activities that would cause a company to lose PL 86-272 protection. In one example, the draft regulations state that providing customer assistance “either by email or electronic ‘chat’ that customers initiate by clicking on an icon on the corporation’s website” would exceed the scope of protections provided under PL 86-272.

As it intends to formally propose the draft regulations this fall, the Department is “strongly” encouraging “timely feedback” on all final draft regulations. With respect to the final draft regulations released on April 29, the Department is asking for comments by June 30, 2022.




New York State Tax Department Releases Guidance on Tax Reform Legislation

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (the Department) has been issuing guidance explaining the 2014 corporate tax reform legislation (generally effective on January 1, 2015) through a series of questions and answers (known as FAQs), recognizing that providing guidance through regulations is cumbersome and takes a long time.  On April 1, the Department issued a new set of FAQs explaining some aspects of the legislation.  Some of the highlights are discussed below.

Under the new law, related corporations may, and may be compelled to, file combined returns if they are engaged in a unitary business.  The old requirement that separate filing distort the incomes of the companies, which led to much controversy, has been repealed.  An issue that has been highlighted by the legislation is whether a newly acquired subsidiary can be considered to be instantly unitary with the parent so that the corporations can file combined returns beginning on the date of the acquisition.  The FAQs explain that this will depend on the “facts and circumstances” of each case, which is not very informative.  We understand from informal conversations with senior Department personnel that their approach, which they have not published, is that corporations will generally be considered to be instantly unitary if they had a significant business relationship before the acquisition (e.g., the subsidiary was a supplier of goods to the parent).  If no such pre-existing relationship exists, the corporations will generally not be found to be unitary until the beginning of the next taxable year after the acquisition.  The FAQs also clarify that corporations with different taxable years can be included in a combined return.  When a related corporation does not have the same taxable year as the company designated as the group’s agent for filing purposes, the related corporation’s income and activities for its taxable year ending within the agent’s taxable year are included in the combined report for the agent’s taxable year.

The FAQs explain that the corporate tax reform legislation has not changed the method for determining the partnership income of a corporate partner in a partnership.  The current approach, under which partnership items of income and expense flow through to the corporate partner, has been retained.  This approach is reflected in Department regulations.  The New York City Department of Finance has not adopted regulations on this subject and we understand that the City does not feel itself bound by the State approach.  Taxpayers should be aware that corporations that are limited partners with limited liability and no voting rights may be able to argue successfully that they do not have nexus with New York if they have no other contacts with New York besides their limited partnership interest.  Courts in other states have so held, although the case law in New York is not favorable.

Several FAQs focus on the new economic nexus rule in New York State.  The FAQs indicate that franchisors that sell goods and services or licenses to franchisees located in New York [...]

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Inside the New York Budget Bill: Guidance Released Regarding Transitional Compliance and Qualified New York Manufacturers

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 [...]

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New York Corporate Tax Reform: Benefits (and Burdens?) for Qualified New York Manufacturers

Earlier this year, New York enacted sweeping corporate tax reform that included a number of special benefits for qualified New York manufacturers.  (For a discussion of this corporate tax reform, see our Special Report.)  Unlike most of the corporate tax reform amendments (which are generally effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2015), some of the benefits for qualified New York manufacturers are effective immediately for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2014.

The new benefits available to qualified New York manufacturers are:

  1. A 0 percent tax rate for purposes of computing tax on the entire net income base (for 2014) or the business income base (for 2015 and later);
  2. New reduced tax rates for purposes of computing tax on the capital base (with the capital base tax to be fully phased out for all taxpayers by 2021)
    • Retention of the $350,000 cap on the capital base tax (while the cap was increased to  $5 million for other taxpayers);
  3. Lower fixed dollar minimum tax rates; and
  4. A refundable real property tax credit equal to 20 percent of the real property tax paid during the taxable year on property owned (and in some cases leased) by the taxpayer and principally used in manufacturing.

A corporation or a combined group is a “qualified New York manufacturer” if (1) more than 50 percent of the taxpayer’s or combined group’s gross receipts are from qualifying activities (e.g., manufacturing, processing or assembling) and (2) it has property meeting the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) requirements located in New York State with a basis of at least $1 million.  A taxpayer, or combined group, that fails the receipts test may still be a qualified New York manufacturer if it has at least 2,500 New York manufacturing employees and at least $100 million of manufacturing property in New York.

Notwithstanding these tax benefits, the Department’s recently released FAQs highlight a potential negative financial statement consequence for taxpayers with significant deferred tax assets, including New York net operating loss carryforwards.  In the FAQs, the Department confirms that the value of the prior net operation loss conversion subtraction for a qualified New York manufacturer “is $0 due to the 0 % ENI rate.”  In other words, a qualified New York manufacturer cannot carry forward or use its existing net operating loss carryforwards in future years, which may result in negative financial statement consequences.

Qualified New York manufacturers with significant New York credit carryforwards may also suffer a financial statement impact, but the forecast is not as bleak.  They may still have the ability to apply most unused credits against the capital base tax (until it is fully phased out).

Stay tuned for additional guidance regarding qualified New York manufacturers.  The Department is preparing a technical memorandum regarding qualified New York manufacturers that is expected to be released by the end of this year.




New York Releases Corporate Tax Reform FAQs

Earlier this year, New York enacted sweeping corporate tax reform, generally effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2015, including a new economic nexus standard, changes to New York’s combined reporting regime, changes to the tax base and traditional New York income classifications, changes to the receipts factor computation, and changes to the net operating loss calculation and certain tax credits and incentives.  (For a more detailed discussion of these changes, see our Special Report.

While this corporate reform is quite comprehensive, a number of open issues remain so taxpayers and practitioners have been eagerly awaiting additional guidance from the Department of Taxation and Finance.  As a first step in providing that much-needed guidance, the Department has released its first set of responses to frequently asked questions on a new “Corporate Tax Reform FAQs” section of its website.  Most notably, the responses clarify that the non-unitary presumption based on less than 20 percent stock ownership for purposes of determining exempt investment income is a rebuttable presumption.  The responses also clarify that the business capital base includes items of capital that generate exempt income.  Other topics addressed include economic nexus, credits, the Metropolitan Transportation Business Tax (MTA surcharge) and net operating losses.

The Department plans to update the Corporate Tax Reform FAQs on an ongoing basis as it continues to receive questions from taxpayers and practitioners, which can be submitted on the Department’s website.  We will be submitting questions and comments and can do so on behalf of companies that do not want to be identified.  The Department is also in the process of revising its current regulations (which are expected to be released before the end of 2015) and plans to issue two technical memoranda in the interim, one discussing qualified New York manufacturers and one discussing the new expense attribution rules.  Stay tuned for updates regarding this additional guidance.




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.”




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