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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.

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