By Alla Raykin and Eric Coffill

The Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board (ATB) upheld the Commissioner’s assessment, resulting from a denial of a subsidiary’s securities corporation classification for corporate excise tax purposes. Companies classified as securities corporations receive favorable excise tax treatment under G.L. c. 63, § 38B(a), including not being subject to inclusion in the parent’s combined group. The ATB found that classification required either submitting an application before the end of the taxable year or having a classification from the Commissioner from a previous taxable year. The Commissioner denied the classification because the company did not file the required application. The ATB determined that the Commissioner’s prior acceptance of returns without audit did not constitute acquiescence to the classification. Without the classification, the subsidiary should have been included in the parent’s combined reporting group, which resulted in a higher tax liability for both the subsidiary and its parent. Techtarget, Inc. v. Commissioner of Revenue, No. C314725, ATB 2016-481 (Mass. App. Tax Bd. Nov. 18, 2016).