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Archive for State And Local Tax (SALT)

Changes to Pennsylvania Tax Law

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Pennsylvania, like many other states, is adjusting its tax statutes to include more goods and services within the taxable definitions. Following recent changes to its somewhat confusing new legislation, the state issued a “clarifying” bulletin for use in interpreting the new requirements. In this blog, we will discuss a few areas of this clarification, as well as an amnesty program available to some businesses.

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Sales Tax On Short-Term Rentals? Maybe!

Booking a Vacation Rental. TaxConnections Tax Blog

The ease of listing your home, vacation property or a room on Airbnb or similar web platform has turned a lot of individuals into landlords. We hear about these landlords being subject to local taxes such as the transient occupancy tax (hotel tax) and business license tax, but what about state and/or local sales tax?

In some jurisdictions, sales tax applies. So that is one more thing to check. (And don’t forget that one of the first things to check is if the local jurisdiction even allows short-term rentals!)

What do you think? Read more

Digital Economy, Tax Issues And Due Diligence

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We’ve been in the “digital economy” for some time, yet it continues to evolve with new business activities and ways of living. And, we see “old economy” businesses, like Ford Motor, move more into the new economy.

I define the digital economy from the perspective of how people and businesses engage in it:

• Transacting business with virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin;

• Providing digital goods and services; and

• Transacting business enhanced by the Internet, such as finding customers, including Read more

FLASH ALERT! WOTC: IRS Notice 2015-13: Providing Transition Relief For Employers Submitting Late WOTC Applications

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We Have Been Waiting For This!

The IRS has released IRS Notice 2015-13, which provides transition relief given the late retroactive renewal of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program in December 2014. Notice 2015-13 waves the 28-day deadline for submitting IRS Form 8850 (the WOTC Pre-screen Notice) for qualifying employees hired in 2014.  The extended deadline for submitting the applications for affected employees is now April 30, 2015.

From the Notice:

 

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State Taxes And Bitcoin

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What state tax rules and issues exist when a business accepts bitcoin from customers? What about for the customers? In March 2014, the IRS told us that convertible, virtual currency should be treated as property (rather than as currency under any special rule for currency, such as Code Section 988). That was in Notice 2014-21. States have mostly been silent on the topic. Where states conform to the federal system, that means, treat as property as well. But what about treatment for sales tax and some special state income tax issues, such as sourcing?

New York recently issued guidance on both income and sales tax.

I’m working on an article about state tax issues and virtual currency. What issues do you Read more

Inflation Adjustments In The Tax Law

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Our federal tax system includes numerous dollar amounts, such as for the standard deduction amount, personal exemption amount, credits, where different tax rates start and end, and defining the parameters of a “small taxpayer.” Some of these amounts are adjusted for inflation and others are not. Should they all be? That’s a good question.

I think where the tax rates of the graduated rate system start and end should be adjusted annually for inflation. This prevents “bracket creep” where a taxpayer is pushed into a higher tax bracket just because their income increased by the rate of inflation (yet their buying power and sense of wealth remained the same). The same logic calls for adjusting the standard deduction and personal exemption amounts. Read more

Why You Don’t Mess With California – A Primer On California Tax Collection Actions

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California is unique in the structure of its tax system. Most States operate under a single tax agency. The Federal government uses a single tax agency called the IRS. But California has three tax agencies! They are the Franchise Tax Board (“FTB”), Board Of Equalization (“BOE”) and the Employment Development Department (“EDD”).

What does FTB cover?

The FTB administers the income tax. This tax applies not only to individuals, but also to sole proprietorships, partnerships, estates, and trusts. In addition, the income “passed through” to individuals by Subchapter S corporations and certain other entities is subject to State Personal Income Taxation. The tax is applied to all sources of income unless specifically excluded, including wages and salaries, interest, dividends, business-related Read more

Amazon Fulfillment – Customer Convenience or Sales Tax Disaster

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Now more than ever Amazon has been a one stop shop for many consumers. Not only can you buy just about anything you can think of on the Amazon website, but you can also receive lightning fast delivery of whatever you buy. Over the past few years, Amazon has taken their company to the next level. Now, in addition to selling items, Amazon provides a fulfillment service to online retailers.

As Amazon puts it, their fulfillment business “helps you grow your online business by giving you access to Amazon’s world-class fulfillment resources and expertise.” Simply put, the online retailer sends their products to Amazon. Amazon stores the item at one of its distribution centers. Once the item is purchased, Amazon packs and ships your product to the customer. In addition, Amazon provides customer support. While it certainly Read more

California To Study Alternative To Current Gas Tax

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California SB 1077 (Chapter 835, 9/29/14) calls for creation of a Road Usage Charge (RUC) Technical Advisory Committee by the Chair of the CA Transportation Commission. This 15-member committee is to study alternatives to the gas tax and make recommendations to the Transportation Agency for a pilot program to begin by the start of 2017. The preamble to the legislation notes that existing revenues “for highways and local roads are inadequate to preserve and maintain existing infrastructure and to provide funds for improvements that would reduce congestion and improve service.” It also describes the gas tax as “an effective mechanism” for long-term infrastructure needs due to a few factors including use of more fuel efficient cars. It is estimated that by 2030, fuel efficiency will decrease otherwise available gas tax revenues by half. The bill also notes Read more

Kentucky Department of Revenue – Secrets Revealed

Top secret! - Young businessman with finger on his lips

Many states, like my home state of Florida, have broad freedom of information laws. Known in Florida as the Sunshine Laws, the state’s citizens can request a wide range of information from the government. Under the laws, so long as the information is not made confidential by a specific statute/law, then the government has an obligation to provide the citizen with whatever is requested. As a state and local tax (“SALT”) practitioner, I often use this knowledge to my advantage. I often request documents and statistics from the state that I find beneficial to myself, my client, or my practice.

Other states have similar laws. In Kentucky, the Open Records Act gives its citizens a mechanism to request a broad spectrum of information from its government. Like many state agencies believe, the Kentucky Department of Revenue thought it was above the law. Read more

Internet Tax Freedom Act Extended

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The Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), originally enacted in 1998 (P.L. 105-277, 10/21/98) and renewed twice, was set to expire on November 1, 2014. Its original expiration date was October 21, 2001 and then November 1, 2007. The ITFA prohibits state and local governments from imposing taxes on Internet access fees (unless already imposed and enforced before 10/1/98) or imposing any multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.

H.J. Res 124, Continuing Appropriations Resolution 2015, was signed into law on 9/19/14 (P.L. 113-164). It provides funding to keep the government running until 12/11/14 and extends the ITFA to that date as well. This resolution was passed in the House on 9/17/14 (319-108) and in the Senate on 9/18/14 (78-22). Read more

Don’t Mess With The Seminoles – Indians Win Sales Tax Case In Florida

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As a Florida state and local tax attorney I live in the world of strange. Few attorneys or tax professionals are even aware of our peculiar area of the law. Even fewer attorneys or tax professionals have heard of, let alone practiced in the even stranger area of Native American Taxation. During my travels and while earning my LL.M. at NYU, I was one of the few fortunate souls to be exposed to this spin off of state and local tax. In fact, there are only two courses offered in the United States at the LL.M. level on this subject. Native American Taxation is poorly developed, the rules are unclear, and the cases make no sense whatsoever. While this is common for Florida attorneys like me who live in a world with no clear answers, living in this gray area of the law is uncomfortable for most lawyers and professionals. Read more

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