P.L. 86-272


Many employees continue to telecommute due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  As discussed in our previous blog post on state tax nexus and apportionment issues, out-of-state employers may need to consider whether a telecommuting employee’s activities could create nexus, exceed Public Law 86-272 protections, or impact the employer’s state income tax apportionment factor (particularly in states with a payroll factor or a sales factor where receipts are sourced based on cost of performance).

Many employees are now telecommuting due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  In our previous blog post, we discussed employers’ potential withholding issues as a result of employees working remotely.  In this blog post, we will discuss potential nexus and apportionment issues due to employees working remotely.

Pop quiz: when it comes to business earnings, the State of Texas imposes: (a) an income tax; (b) a business activity tax that is not an income tax; or (c) no tax at all. Good news (or bad news)—no matter which answer you chose, you may be right (or wrong).  Right now, the answer appears to be (b), but in a few months we may find out that the answer is actually (a), and barring a change of course by the State Legislature, the answer may be (c) in the near future.  One thing is clear; the Texas Franchise Tax (or “margin tax,” as it is colloquially known), is in a state of flux.

On February 6, 2017, the Tax Court of New Jersey granted partial summary judgment to the taxpayer in Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Director, Division of Taxation. The court held that the New Jersey Division of Taxation (“Division”) improperly applied the state’s Throw-Out Rule by excluding receipts that were “subject to tax” in the originating state.  The decision clarifies the scope of the Throw-Out Rule’s “subject to tax” language by finding that receipts may be “subject to tax” even when the destination state is precluded from taxing the sale under Public Law 86-272.