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Gross Receipts Tax

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State legislators in the Massachusetts House of Representatives recently introduced four bills on the taxation of digital advertising services. Two of these bills propose a tax on digital advertising services, a third bill would set up a “special commission” to study how to generate revenue from digital advertising, and a fourth bill appears to be a placeholder for some action on digital advertising taxation. This makes Massachusetts one of the latest states to join the wave of state digital advertising tax proposals targeting large digital advertising service providers. We have previously covered Maryland’s digital advertising tax, the first in the nation to become law, and various other states’ pending digital and data tax proposals, including New York and Texas. Below, we summarize and compare the various Massachusetts proposals.

Texas has now joined the growing number of states proposing digital advertising taxes that we have covered previously on SALT Savvy, including Maryland’s first-in-the-nation digital advertising tax law and other proposals from Connecticut, New York, and Montana. This new Texas bill—H.B. 4467— would take effect in 2022. The Texas proposal is very similar to the recently-enacted Maryland digital ad tax (H.B. 732) and would impose a new “digital advertising tax” on annual gross revenues derived…

In City & County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in the Matter of Proposition C, Dkt. A158645 (Cal. App., June 30, 2020), the California Court of Appeal upheld Proposition C—a voter initiative that created a new local business tax in San Francisco.  The court upheld the initiative that was enacted by a simple majority of electors.  This ruling answers a question that was been heavily debated since the California Supreme Court’s decision in California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland, 3 Cal. 5th 924 (Cal. 2017).  That is, do special taxes proposed by voter initiative require a supermajority of voters to pass?  This decision expressly narrows the supermajority requirement to only those tax measures proposed directly by local governments and will likely trigger more tax initiatives proposed and passed by citizen groups.

Numerous states have provided tax relief in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, often in the form of tax filing and payment deadline extensions.  At this time, 41 states and Washington, D.C. have provided a corporate income tax filing and/or payment deadline extension.  Most recently, Florida extended its May 1, 2020 corporate income tax deadlines to August 3, 2020 for filing and June 1, 2020 for payment.  Since the payment deadline is sooner than the filing deadline, the Florida Department of Revenue advised corporate taxpayers to submit payments based on their best estimate of the tax that would be due with the return.  Some states have also extended income tax deadlines for partnerships and other business entities and many states have extended individual income tax deadlines.