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Pennsylvania Unwraps Final Market-Sourcing Guidance

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (the Department) recently finalized its Information Notice on sourcing of services for purposes of determining the appropriate net income and capital franchise tax apportionment factors.  The guidance also addresses the Department’s views on the sourcing of intangibles under the income producing activity test.  Since Pennsylvania is not a member of the Multistate Tax Compact, it is no surprise that the Department did not wait for the Multistate Tax Commission to complete its model market sourcing regulation before it issued its guidance.

Under the Pennsylvania statute (72 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 7401(3)(2)(a)(16.1)(C)), for tax years beginning after December 31, 2013, receipts from services are to be sourced according to the location where the service is delivered.  If the service is delivered both to a location in and outside Pennsylvania, the sale is sourced to Pennsylvania based upon the percentage of the total value of services delivered to a location in Pennsylvania.  In the case of customers who are individuals (other than sole proprietors), if the state or states of delivery cannot be determined for the customer, the service is deemed to be delivered at the customer’s billing address.  In the case of customers who are not individuals or who are sole proprietors, if the state or states of delivery cannot be determined for the customer, the service is deemed to be delivered at the location from which the service was ordered in the customer’s regular course of operations.  If the location from which the service was ordered in the customer’s regular course of operations cannot be determined, the service is deemed to be delivered at the customer’s billing address.

The statute generated more questions than it answered.  Key terms such as “delivered” and “location” were not defined.  The Department’s Information Notice provides answers to many of taxpayers’ questions.  However, unlike the draft Information Notice released in June 2014, the final Information Notice shies away from providing a succinct definition of “delivery” and resorts to defining the term through various examples.  (For our coverage of the Department’s draft Information Notice, click here.)  However, the Information Notice does define “location” stating that “location” generally means the location of the customer and, thus, delivery to a location not representative of where the customer for the service is located does not represent completed delivery of the service.

The Information Notice is chock full of examples to guide taxpayers.  The Department’s views relating to various scenarios when services are performed remotely on tangible personal property owned by customers are of interest.  If a customer ships a damaged cell phone to a repair facility that repairs and returns it, the Department deems the service to be delivered at the address of the customer.  Contrast that with a situation when a customer drops a car off for repair at a garage and later returns to pick it up.  One may conclude that the service should also be deemed to be delivered at the address of [...]

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Pennsylvania Issues Draft Guidance on Market-Based Sourcing of Services

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (PA Department) released a draft Information Notice containing guidance on how to source services under Pennsylvania’s new market-based sourcing scheme for tax years beginning after December 31, 2013. 72 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 7401(3)(2)(a)(16.1)(C).  By statute, service receipts are sourced to Pennsylvania if the service is delivered to a location in Pennsylvania.  If the service is delivered both to a location in and outside Pennsylvania, the sale is sourced to Pennsylvania based upon the portion of the total value of the service delivered to a location in Pennsylvania.  In the case of customers who are individuals (other than sole proprietors), if the state or states of delivery cannot be determined for the customer, the service is deemed to be delivered at the customer’s billing address.  In the case of other customers (e.g., corporations), if the state or states of delivery cannot be determined for the customer, the service is deemed to be delivered at the location from which the service was ordered in the customer’s regular course of operations.  If the location from which the service was ordered in the customer’s regular course of operations cannot be determined, the service is deemed to be delivered at the customer’s billing address.

Despite the new statutory scheme, taxpayers have been wondering exactly what “delivery” of a service to a Pennsylvania location means.  The draft Information Notice released by the PA Department on June 16, 2014, attempts to answer that question.

According to the PA Department, delivery occurs “at a location where a person or entity may use the service.”  The PA Department believes that this definition eliminates those parties that simply pay for the service (but do not actually use it) or other intermediaries.  The PA Department’s view is that the statute’s use of billing address (for individual customers) and location of purchase or billing address (for corporate customers) are mere “defaults”—neither of which may represent the true marketplace for the service and should only be used as a last resort.

The PA Department’s guidance also addresses delivery in the context of electronically delivered services, stating that delivery may be established through IP address records or other network data.  Interestingly, the PA Department’s guidance also provides that delivery of certain electronic data services to “the cloud” or other data storage device does not constitute delivery of those services—because those locations are not considered to be the locations of the user.

While the PA Department’s guidance provides some clarity it also exemplifies the ever divergent market sourcing regimes.  See our article discussing the wide variety of market-based sourcing rules.  For example, the PA Department draft guidance contains the following example:

Taxpayer is a provider of third-party payroll processing services for Company A. Half of Company A’s employees are located in PA and half are located in New York. Company A’s headquarters and human resources functions are located in PA. Taxpayer sources all of the payroll services to PA.  Note in this example that payroll [...]

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