The South Carolina Administrative Law Court (ALC) held that the South Carolina Department of Revenue could require Tractor Supply and its affiliates to file a combined return notwithstanding that South Carolina law requires corporate taxpayers to file tax returns on a separate-entity basis. In a factually intensive ruling, the ALC found that the Department met its burden of proving that the taxpayer’s separate-entity return filings resulted in distortion and that combined reporting was a reasonable alternative method that fairly reflected the combined group’s business activity in the state. In rendering its decision, the ALC noted that the taxpayer’s expert admitted that the taxpayer’s original transfer pricing methodology was “flawed and unreliable” and its proposed alternative transfer pricing approach was not based on sufficient evidence. As a result, the ALC found that the Department was justified, in this circumstance, to exercise its discretion to require the taxpayer’s unitary group to file a combined tax return.  

Tractor Supply Co. v. S.C. Dep’t of Revenue, No. 19-ALJ-17-0416-CC (S.C. Admin. Law Ct., Aug. 8, 2023).