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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 [...]

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Inside the New York Budget Bill: Apportionment

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 fourth in a series analyzing the New York Budget Bill, and summarizes the technical corrections to New York’s apportionment provisions.

Treatment of Excess Investment Income

As discussed in a previous blog post, the Budget Bill includes a “cap” whereby investment income cannot exceed 8 percent of a corporation’s (or a combined group’s) entire net income.  A follow-up issue is the impact of this cap and the “excess” investment income that it creates on the apportionment factor that will be applied to a taxpayer’s business income, assuming that inclusion of the excess investment income is Constitutional.

As a preliminary matter, the excess investment income will not be eligible for the 8 percent fixed sourcing election since such income cannot be considered income from qualified financial instruments (QFIs); a financial instrument that qualifies as investment capital cannot also qualify as a QFI.  Even though through operation of the cap excess investment income will be treated as business income and not investment income, there is no corresponding provision in the statute specifying that the character of investment capital that gave rise to such excess investment income will switch to business capital.  Thus, a taxpayer’s election to use the 8 percent fixed sourcing election will not apply to any excess investment income.  Instead, the excess investment income will need to be sourced under the general customer sourcing rules for financial instruments.  Under those general rules, dividends and net gains from sales of stock are not included in either the numerator or denominator of the apportionment formula, unless the Commissioner determines that inclusion is necessary to properly reflect the business income or capital of the taxpayer.  The Commissioner’s determination is governed by the Tax Law’s general provision on alternative apportionment, meaning that taxpayers can request factor representation to the extent necessary to properly reflect their business income or capital.  Interestingly, in those cases where the excess investment income is properly included in business income, inclusion in the apportionment formula should be required on Constitutional grounds (factors used in an apportionment formula must reasonably reflect how income is earned).

Description of QFI

The rule concerning what will qualify as a QFI for purposes of the 8 percent [...]

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Inside the New York Budget Bill: Tax Base and Income Classifications

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 second in a series analyzing the New York Budget Bill, and summarizes the technical corrections to New York’s tax base and income classifications.

Although the modifications are described as “corrections” to last year’s corporate tax reform provisions, the Budget Bill makes a number of substantive changes with respect to the income classification rules.

Investment Capital 

Last year’s corporate tax reform narrowed the definition of investment capital to mean investments in stocks held by a taxpayer for more than six consecutive months but not held for sale to customers in the regular course of business, and excluding stock that is a “qualified financial instrument” for which the taxpayer has elected to use the 8 percent apportionment sourcing rule, stock in a unitary business, stock in a business that is included in a combined report with the taxpayer, and stock issued by the taxpayer.

This year’s Budget Bill further narrows the definition of investment capital by extending the holding period from six months to one year, by tying the definition of investment capital to certain Internal Revenue Code provisions, and by requiring taxpayers to separately identify stock held as investment capital in their books and records.  Investment capital now means investments in stocks that meet the following criteria:

  • Satisfy the definition of a “capital asset” under section 1221 of the Internal Revenue Code at all times the taxpayer owned the stock during the taxable year;
  • Are held for investment for more than one year;
  • The dispositions of which are, or would be, treated by the taxpayer as generating long-term capital gains or losses under the Internal Revenue Code;
  • For stocks acquired on or after January 1, 2015, have never been held for sale to customers in the regular course of business at any time after the close of the day on which they are acquired; and
  • Before the close of the day on which the stock was acquired, are clearly identified in the taxpayer’s books and records as stock held for investment in the same manner as required under section 1236(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code for the stock of a dealer in securities to be eligible for capital gain treatment (for [...]

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N.Y. ALJ Holds Taxpayer’s Motives for Acquiring Stock and How Stock Is Used Irrelevant in Determining Investment Capital

A New York administrative law judge recently held in Matter of C.V. Starr & Co., Inc. that income received by a taxpayer from its ownership of common stock was investment income.  In so holding, the ALJ addressed an important issue for many New York taxpayers and concluded that a taxpayer’s motive or intent for acquiring and holding stock and the manner in which the taxpayer used that stock are irrelevant to the determination of whether that stock qualifies as investment capital for corporate income tax purposes.

Read the full article.




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