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California FTB to Discuss Apportionment of Combined Group Income

The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) will hold a second Interested Parties Meeting at their office in Rancho Cordova on April 20, 2016, dealing with the apportionment of income for combined reporting groups with both financial and non-financial members.  The Notice of Interested Parties meeting provides a description of the sourcing methods used in other states and solicits comments on four specific proposals. The current statute and regulations, applied literally, in effect assign the majority of combined income of bank(s) and broker-dealer(s) to the location of the bank(s) or broker-dealer(s) and its customers.  This can produce an issue worth many hundreds of millions of dollars to the bank or broker dealer.  We understand that the California FTB has issued ad hoc Notices of Proposed Assessment to some taxpayers based on a distortion theory; some of these cases have gone to the Settlement Bureau, where both the FTB and the taxpayers have settled and...

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A Steep Slope — Vermont Supreme Court Finds AIG Not Unitary With a Ski Resort Based On a Clear and Cogent Evidence Burden of Proof

In the first Vermont Supreme Court decision addressing combined unitary reporting since Vermont’s combined reporting regime became effective in 2006, the court affirmed a lower court’s decision that AIG, the multinational insurance company, was not unitary with a ski resort operated by a subsidiary in Vermont; accordingly, a combined report covering the two businesses was not required. The decision is important because it lays the foundation for future unitary cases in Vermont. The court agreed with AIG that there were no economies of scale between the operations of AIG and the ski resort. “Because [the entity] is a ski resort and therefore its business type is not similar to AIG's insurance and financial service business, there is no opportunity for common centralized distribution or sales, and no economy of scale realized by their operations.” On centralization of management, the court noted that although AIG controlled the appointments to the ski resort’s...

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NYS Tax Appeals Tribunal Provides Guidance Respecting Unitary Business Determinations

The New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal has just provided timely guidance respecting the unitary business rule in New York State.  In SunGard Capital Corp. and Subsidiaries (DTA Nos. 823631, 823632, 823680, 824167, and 824256, May 19, 2015), the Tribunal found that a group of related corporations were conducting a unitary business and that they should be allowed to file combined returns, reversing an administrative law judge determination. The unitary business rules have assumed increased importance in New York this year because of recently-enacted corporate tax reform legislation.  Effective January 1, 2015, the only requirements for combination in New York State and City are that the corporations must be linked by 50 percent stock ownership and must be engaged in a unitary business.  It is no longer necessary for the party seeking combination (whether the taxpayer or the Department of Taxation and Finance) to show that separate filing would distort the...

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Decoding Combination: What Is a Unitary Business

This article is the first of our new series regarding common issues and opportunities associated with combined reporting. Because most states either statutorily require or permit some method of combined reporting, it is important for taxpayers to understand the intricacies of and opportunities in combined reporting statutes and regulations. In this article, we will explore the foundation for combined reporting – the unitary business principle. Read the full article.

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