On March 1, 2023, a Florida Circuit Court rejected the Department of Revenue’s attempt to achieve a market-based sourcing result under Florida’s costs of performance sourcing rule that applies to receipts from services. In Billmatrix Corp. et al. v. Dep’t of Revenue, the court granted summary judgment in favor of a number of affiliated corporations that had sourced their receipts from the provision of financial technology services based on the location of the corporations’ income-producing activities and associated costs of performance. Following an audit, the Department had issued corporate income tax assessments after making adjustments to source the corporations’ receipts based on the location of the corporations’ customers. The court, however, found that the Department’s “focus on the ‘location,’ ‘destination, or ‘actions’ of customers contradicts the plain language of the rule and must be rejected.”  The court held that, “to determine the taxpayer’s income-producing activity the Department must look at the transactions and activity the taxpayer directly engages in for the ultimate purpose of obtaining gains or profits, rather than looking at the actions or location of the customer.”

The Billmatrix ruling comes on the heels of a decision issued on November 28, 2022 by the same court that also addressed Florida’s costs of performance sourcing regime. In Target Enter., Inc. v. Dep’t of Revenue, the court rejected the Department’s argument that a corporation that performed services for an affiliate failed to provide sufficient documentation to support the use of the costs of performance sourcing rule and that, as a result, the Department was entitled to use its equitable authority to craft a new apportionment methodology. The court found that the relevant income producing activity was the corporation’s provision of services to its affiliate under a services agreement, that the services were performed by the corporation’s employees, and that the best evidence of the costs to perform the services was the corporation’s payroll apportionment workpapers. The court determined that the workpapers provided by the corporation “make abundantly clear that the greater proportion of the costs to perform [the corporation’s] services were incurred outside Florida.”

The two Florida decisions stand in stark contrast to an opinion issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on February 22, 2023. In Synthes U.S. HQ, Inc. v. Commonwealth, the court held that under the state’s former costs of performance statute applicable to receipts from the provision of services, a corporation’s sales should have been sourced to the location where “the service is fulfilled and the income is finally produced, which is at the customer’s location.” The court reached its conclusion despite the fact that the Pennsylvania Legislature enacted a statutory amendment that adopted explicit market-based sourcing for receipts from services beginning in 2014 – after the years at issue in the case. Without citing to any Legislative history, the court stated that it did not view the amendment “as an attempt to alter the general framework for sourcing sales, but rather as an attempt to clarify the sourcing of sales of services to the point of delivery to the consumer.”