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Corporate income tax

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Massachusetts recently joined a handful of other states (read: States over the Edge and Testing Boundaries with Business Activity Tax Nexus) by issuing a final revised regulation adopting a bright-line, $500,000, nexus threshold for its corporate excise tax. See generally 830 CMR 63.39.1. Echoing the language of the Wayfair decision, the state’s revised nexus regulation provides that “the Commissioner will presume that a general business corporation’s virtual and economic contacts subject the corporation to the tax jurisdiction of Massachusetts under M.G.L. c. 63, § 39, where the volume of the corporation’s Massachusetts sales for the taxable year exceeds five hundred thousand dollars.” 830 CMR 63.39.1(3)(d).

Wayfair has, for now, answered the question (at least, in part) of whether economic activity creates substantial nexus under the Commerce Clause for purposes of sales and use taxes. However, questions remain regarding whether and to what extent business activity tax nexus standards could be impacted. While states had boldly asserted economic nexus in the business activity tax context pre-Wayfair, the response since has been somewhat muted, until recently. Three states, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin, have recently sought to fill in the blanks with regard to business activity tax nexus, with varied and inconsistent results that may raise more questions and concerns than answers.

Baker McKenzie’s SALT practice secured a win for Leadville Insurance Company (“Leadville”) in Maryland Tax Court.   The Court ruled in favor of Leadville on its Motion for Summary Judgment and held that the Comptroller’s assessment of Maryland corporate income tax on Leadville was in error. Leadville Insurance Co. v. Comptroller of the Treasury, Case No. 13-IN-OO-0035 (Md. Tax Ct. Mar. 30, 2017).  The Court found that Leadville, a Vermont insurance company with interest income from an affiliate with Maryland operations, was not subject to Maryland corporate income tax.