In Texas, sales of alcoholic beverages can give rise to two types of taxes: Mixed Beverage Gross Receipts Tax, and Mixed Beverage Sales Tax. There are several complexities in how these are computed and how they interact with other state taxes, including the normal Sales and Use Tax. Additionally, the Comptroller’s audit methodology for these taxes often creates problems for taxpayers. Below is a brief summary of these taxes and some of the more prevalent issues they present.
Mixed Beverage Gross Receipts Tax
Texas Tax Code § 183.021 provides that a 6.7% tax is imposed on “the gross receipts of a permittee received from the sale, preparation, or service of mixed beverages or from the sale, preparation, or service of ice or nonalcoholic beverages that are sold, prepared, or served for the purpose of being mixed with an alcoholic beverage and consumed on the premises of the permittee.” 
In turn, the term “mixed beverage” is defined to mean:
“One or more servings of a beverage composed in whole or part of an alcoholic beverage in a sealed or unsealed container of any legal size for consumption on the premises where served or sold by the holder of a mixed beverage permit, the holder of certain nonprofit entity temporary event permits, the holder of a private club registration permit, or the holder of certain retailer late hours certificates.” 
This generally includes three primary categories of drinks: liquor (including mixed drinks), beer, and wine.
As noted, the 6.7% tax applies to the “gross receipts” of a permittee. This term is not defined by statute or by regulation, but the Comptroller’s regulations do provide some insight by stating “[t]he tax may not be separately charged to or paid for by the customer and cannot be considered included in the gross receipts amount.”  This language suggests the amount must be computed as 6.7% of the total amount charged to the customer, and must be paid separately by the permittee to the Comptroller.
The function and utility of computers has changed and evolved at an exponential rate over the last several years, and will likely continue to do so, particularly as advancements like artificial intelligence become integrated in more industries. Unsurprisingly, current Texas sales and use tax authority surrounding the use of computers is complex and can create problems for taxpayers who provide computer programs and software, and perform related services. The following types of transactions involving software and computer programs are discussed briefly below:
Sale of a computer program to a customer;
Providing “contract programming” services; and
Providing repair, maintenance, and restoration services for a computer program
Sales of Computer Programs or Software
Comptroller Rule 3.308(c)(1) provides that “[t]he sale, lease, or license of a computer program is a sale of tangible personal property. Tax is due when the computer program, or a license to use the computer program, is transferred for consideration in Texas, or stored, used, or consumed in Texas, in electronic form or on physical media.”  This stems from the Comptroller’s treatment of software as “tangible personal property”, the sale of which is generally taxable in Texas. 
The Regular Session of the 87th Texas Legislature adopted a number of changes that were favorable to Taxpayers.
According to HB1090, effective 9/1/21, the appraisal districts have less time to pick up erroneously omitted real property. Previously, the districts had five years to discover and correct the roll (which includes the back taxes, penalties, and interest); this period has now been reduced to three years. The personal property time period remains unchanged, at two years.
Also effective 9/1/21, taxpayers will now have two years to correct their personal property rendition filings. These returns are filed in Texas by April 15 (or by May 15 with extension), and given the chaos of the busy season…mistakes are frequent. The courts have historically been mixed regarding the taxpayer’s ability to “correct” those filings – so the legislature has resolved any such confusion.
In the United States, the sales tax landscape has changed drastically due to the recent U.S. Supreme Court Case of South Dakota v. Wayfair (June 2018). Following this landmark decision which made it easier for companies to create nexus in states, many states have enacted legislation which establishes guidelines, thresholds for economic nexus. In a previous blog, we talked about this epic decision.
What is Economic Nexus?
In the past, companies needed to have physical presence, or “boots on the ground,” in a state in order to have nexus (or taxable presence) in a state. This meant that a company needed to have offices, inventory, employees, or contractors in a state for a certain amount of time. Companies now don’t necessarily need to have physical presence in a state for them to create nexus; they now can have nexus in a state by virtue of economic nexus. Economic nexus essentially means that companies with sales of a certain dollar amount or a certain number of transactions with a state are required to register, collect and remit sales tax. Some states require both criterion. Additionally, note that some states base their economic threshold on taxable sales, while other states mention gross sales.
If you’re a homeowner, a residential property tax protest should always be on your radar around this time of year – even if you filed one last year and won.
The truth is, property tax calculations are based on a lot of arbitrary data – data you just don’t have control of. Appraisal districts use recent home sales and other market info to create your home valuation, and in today’s market, a good chunk of properties are being over-valued. In the end, that means a higher property tax rate and more money out of your pocket – year after year. Read More
Deadlines for property tax protests are quickly approaching, and if you want to lower your appraised value – and subsequently your annual tax burden – the time to act is now. To help you get started (and see success) we’ve pulled together some of our top property tax protest tips below. Use them to your advantage to lower your tax bill – both now and years down the line.
- Use a pro. When it comes to property tax protest tips, none is more important than this one. Using a professional to handle your tax protest comes with so many benefits. Most importantly, it gives you an expert, knowledgeable partner who can build your case and boost your chances of success. They know what it takes to win a protest, and they can make it happen. Using a pro also adds convenience for you. There’s no gathering of evidence or tedious forms, meetings or hearings. They do it all for you. It’s easy, simple and hassle-free.
There always seems to be an amnesty program going on somewhere, particularly if you know where to look.
States are aggressively pursuing delinquent taxpayers, while still making it relatively easy for them to come forward themselves. Last year, we wrote an article about some interesting amnesty programs in Connecticut (CT), Ohio (OH), and Rhode Island (RI).
Most amnesty programs allow for a waiver of penalties and a limitation on interest if businesses come forward under the terms of the program as specified by the state legislature. Most of the programs are limited in time (often only a two to three month window) and only cover certain taxes. Yet, with the right fact pattern, a company might benefit from engaging in such a program. But not always. As with most things related to multi-state tax issues, the answer may require a little more research and analysis. Read More