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On the heels of its loss in Matter of TransCanada Facility USA, Inc. DTA NO. 827332, on May 14, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance proposed draft regulations addressing the Article 9-A Franchise Tax treatment of Qualified New York Manufacturers (“QNYMs”).[1] These draft regulations, which are not currently in effect but which do shed light on the Department’s current thinking, amplify a position that the Department has taken in prior informal guidance and on audit regarding contract manufacturing arrangements and the scope of activities that constitute “manufacturing” that is not in the statute. The position that a taxpayer that engages in contract manufacturing cannot qualify as a QNYM is contrary to prior New York authorities addressing “manufacturing” in the investment tax credit context and contrary to judicial authorities defining “manufacturing” under relevant federal tax law. In addition, the draft regulations set out a new position—again, one not found in the statute—that “digital manufacturing” is not manufacturing, and that only manufacturing that results in the production of “tangible” goods will qualify for QNYM treatment.

The Texas Court of Appeals recently issued a decision that applied market-based sourcing for services, despite the state’s statute that requires the sourcing of receipts to the location where the service is performed.  In Hegar v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., No. 03-18-00573-CV (Tex. App. Austin, 2020), the court narrowly defined the scope of “performance” as the final act that gets the service to the customer, thereby ignoring all of the costs that went into the performance and production of the service up to that point.  Such an application produces a result that equates to market-based sourcing.

Over the years, too many corporations doing business in Illinois have had the unfortunate experience of receiving a notice of delinquency from the Office of the Secretary of State of Illinois (the “Secretary of State”) demanding immediate payment of additional franchise tax, penalties, and interest. Not to be confused with the Illinois corporate income tax, which is administered by the Illinois Department of Revenue, the Illinois franchise tax is codified in the Business Corporate Act of 1983, 805 ILCS 5/1.01, et seq. (the “BCA”), and is administered by the Secretary of State. The franchise tax is considered a fee for the privilege and protections of “incorporation”, and therefore only applies to “corporations” and not other business entities (e.g., LLCs, LLP, GPs, etc.). The Illinois franchise tax base is measured by a corporation’s Illinois “paid-in capital” — meaning, funds generated by corporations by issuing stock, plus additional cash/equity contributed by shareholders.

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).