Washington legislators may introduce a digital advertising tax bill in the state’s upcoming legislative session. See H-0028.1 (advance copy; not yet introduced). Washington’s potential legislation is the latest in a recent trend of digital advertising tax proposals (including in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Nebraska, New York, and West Virginia, none of which have become law as of the date of this blog post).
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”). 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.
Several states continue to move forward with the taxation of digital advertising and new tax proposals have entered the fray. We last updated you on the attempts by Maryland, Nebraska, and New York. Nebraska had a hearing on its sales tax bill in February, with relatively little movement after that. In contrast, Maryland and New York have continued their move towards imposing taxes on digital advertising in some form and West Virginia has entered the mix.
Continuing the unpleasant theme of aggressive state tax proposals, a bill has surfaced in the New York Assembly (following a companion bill that was introduced in the New York Senate last Spring) that seeks to impose a five percent tax on the “gross income . . . [from] every corporation that derives income from the data individuals of this state share with such corporations.” The new data tax is being proposed for inclusion in Section…