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Wrapping Up August – and Looking Forward to September

Upcoming McDermott Will & Emery SALT Activities in September: September 14, 2017: Robin Greenhouse, Kristen Hazel, Sandra McGill and Alysse McLoughlin will be speaking at McDermott Will & Emery’s Tax in the City®: A Women’s Tax Roundtable meeting in New York City about local tax updates and ethics. September 15, 2017: Jane Wells May is speaking in Austin, TX at the ABA Tax Section Meeting about “False Claims Acts and State Taxes.” September 18, 2017: Mary Kay Martire is speaking in San Antonio, TX at the 2017 IPT Sales Tax Symposium about “Third Party Tax Enforcement Actions.” September 19, 2017: Arthur Rosen is speaking in San Antonio, TX at the 2017 IPT Sales Tax Symposium about sales tax nexus –“Son of Quill: The Sequel.” September 19, 2017: Stephen Kranz is speaking in San Antonio, TX at the 2017 IPT Sales Tax Symposium about uncollectible debts – “Breaking Bad from Bad Debt.” September 26, 2017: Cate Battin and Mary Kay Martire are presenting a...

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MTC Marketplace Seller Voluntary Disclosure Initiative Underway

Yesterday, the application period opened for the limited-time MTC Marketplace Seller Voluntary Disclosure Initiative opened and it will close October 17, 2017. Since our last blog post on the topic detailing the initiatives terms, benefits and application procedure, six additional states (listed below) have signed on to participate in varying capacities. The lookback period being offered by each of the six states that joined this week is described below. District of Columbia: will consider granting shorter or no lookback period for applications received under this initiative on a case by case basis. DC’s standard lookback period is 3 years for sales/use and income/franchise tax. Massachusetts: requires compliance with its standard 3-year lookback period. This lookback period in a particular case may be less than 3 years, depending on when vendor nexus was created. Minnesota: will abide by customary lookback periods of 3 years for sales/use tax and 4 years (3...

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MTC Offers 18 State Marketplace Seller Amnesty Initiative

The Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) is moving quickly to implement a multistate amnesty program through its current National Nexus Program (NNP) for sellers making sales through marketplaces. The new MTC marketplace seller amnesty program is limited to remote sellers (3P sellers) that have nexus with a state solely as the result of: (1) having inventory located in a fulfillment center or warehouse in that state operated by a marketplace provider; or (2) other nexus-creating activities of a marketplace provider in the state. Other qualifications include: (1) no prior contact/registration with the state; (2) timely application during the period of August 17, 2017 through October 17, 2017; and (3) registration with the state to begin collecting sales and use tax by no later than December 1, 2017, and income/franchise tax (to the extent applicable) starting with the 2017 tax year. The baseline guarantee is prospective-only (beginning no later than Dec. 1, 2017)...

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MTC Arm’s-Length Adjustment Service (Part II): “An Expression of Grief, Pity, or Concern”

Executive Summary Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) transfer pricing program moving forward in some fashion; Priority includes information sharing among participating states (and possibly their third party vendors) on transfer pricing issues. Because a formal agreement was found necessary, the scope of the information shared is presumed to include taxpayer specific information; and States currently have significant inventory of transfer pricing audits that they admit they do not have the expertise to properly examine or defend in a protest. The inaugural meeting (via conference call) of the Multistate Tax Commission’s Committee (Committee) addressing transfer pricing issues (ALAS) took place on April 7, 2016, and was certainly interesting.  A predecessor Working Group had created an extensive plan that is intended to be implemented by the Committee over 4 years.  The plan initially anticipated that approximately 10 states (at least) would agree to fund the cost...

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How Far Back Can a Back Tax Go? Petition for Certiorari in Hambleton Asks Supreme Court to Right Unjust Retroactivity

Retroactivity is an endemic problem in the state tax world.  In this year alone, we have seen retroactive repeal of the Multistate Tax Compact (MTC) in Michigan, as well as significant retroactivity issues in New York, New Jersey and Virginia.  But after decades of states changing the rules on taxpayers after-the-fact, relief may be on the way if the Supreme Court of the United States grants certiorari in a Washington estate tax case, Hambleton v. Washington, with retroactivity that makes you say "What the heck?". The taxpayers filed a petition for certiorari on June 5, 2015.  The Court requested a response, which is now due by September 9, 2015.  The Tax Executives Institute filed an amicus brief on July 6, 2015. The case involves two widows’ estates.  As stated in the petition: Helen Hambleton died in 2006, and Jessie Macbride died in 2007.  Each was the passive lifetime beneficiary of a trust established in her deceased husband's estate, and neither...

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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...

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Let the Training Begin: MTC Transfer Pricing Audits Draw Near

Deputy Executive Director Greg Matson (a nice guy at heart) announced this week that the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) has hired its first transfer pricing training consultant and is scheduled to begin training state auditors.  The training, titled “Identifying Related Party Issues in Corporate Tax Audits” will be hosted by the North Carolina Department of Revenue from March 31 to April 1, 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  While the much anticipated Arm’s Length Adjustment Service (ALAS, discussed in more depth in our February 6, 2015 blog post, available here) is still pending approval of the MTC Executive Committee and ratification at the annual meeting this summer, it has not stopped MTC officials from moving forward with training state auditors on transfer pricing.  This training (and any subsequent training offered before the annual meeting) will be conducted as part of the MTC’s “regular training” schedule (and is not directly tied to the ALAS program...

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MTC Puts Designs on Increasing State Transfer Pricing Revenues

This past December, the Multistate Tax Commission’s (MTC) transfer pricing advisory committee and its project facilitator Dan Bucks recommended what it calls the “preliminary design” approach for a proposed Arm’s Length Adjustment Services (ALAS) program.  While still subject to approval, states already anticipate that the program will increase their state transfer pricing revenues. The MTC ALAS is an attempt to bring to state governments a comprehensive and coordinated program to address income shifting and the loss of state tax revenues, much along the lines of what the United States and other foreign governments have been trying to do, most recently in their Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative.  The ALAS program is intended to address both interstate income shifting, which is never addressed at the federal level, and international income shifting, which the MTC believes is massively under-audited at the federal level.  According to some...

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Multistate Taxpayers Take Note! Recap of the First Day of the MTC Pricing Summit

On October 6, 2014, the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) held the first day of a two-day meeting intended to educate state revenue authorities on corporate income tax issues surrounding intercompany transactions, and further refine a path forward for states interested in collaborating on audit and compliance strategies.  This first day focused entirely on presentations by specialists in transfer pricing and related intercompany transaction issues.  Two important themes and one blatant omission regarding future enforcement emerged from the first day:  (1) suggestions for increased disclosure and substantiation requirements; (2) safe harbor options and (3) a lack of discussion of how to prevent the risk of double taxation. Taxpayers should be particularly concerned with the stress placed by the specialists on increased disclosure and substantiation requirements.  Most of the specialists emphasized the importance of getting information into the hands of revenue...

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MTC State Transfer Pricing Program Looms on the Horizon

More formal, rigorous, and perhaps more frequent, state transfer pricing audits appear to be looming on the horizon, as the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) is set to launch a design and development project tasked with presenting a preliminary draft program by year’s end, with a final program recommendation due by the MTC’s annual meeting in July 2015.  The intent would be to create a dedicated MTC program, including staff, that would assist, as well as train, member states (both combined and separate reporting states) in conducting state transfer pricing audits as an alternative to hiring contracted consultants. Read the full article.

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