2023 was a year of brisk activity in the state tax world. States remained focused on the digital economy, with numerous new tax proposals being offered in legislatures. Departments of Revenue were also busy issuing regulations and guidance—and in the case of New York’s corporate tax reform regulations, almost a decade in the making. State litigation dockets also continued to be active as they worked through heavy caseloads, issuing numerous income tax and sales tax decisions.

Throughout the year, the Eversheds Sutherland SALT team continued tracking and summarizing SALT developments – nearly 200 items were posted to this site. In addition, we continued discussing key cases and SALT trends through our SALT Shaker Podcast. (You can catch up on 2023 episodes here, and if you would like to receive all of our updates by email, please register here.)

The following selected developments exemplify interesting 2023 SALT trends. While the digital economy continued to take center stage from both a legislative and tax administration perspective, income tax disputes, and apportionment specifically, continue to remain a focal point of state tax controversies.

Digital Economy Tax Proposals

As with 2022, 2023 was yet again a busy legislative year with numerous jurisdictions discussing new ways to tax the digital economy, such as digital advertising taxes and social media taxes.

Digital Economy Sales Tax Decisions

It was not just the legislatures in 2023 focused on the digital economy, as several states issued decisions addressing the continually expanding digital environment in which we live.  We expect as many or even more of these type of decisions in 2024 as disputes work their way through litigation.

Regulations and Department Guidance

2023 was a busy year for Departments around the country as they promulgated and finalized long-awaited regulations, including the Texas Comptroller amending its sourcing regulations in light of the Texas Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Sirius XM v. Hegar, and the New York Department of Taxation and Finance finally adopting regulations implementing the state’s 2015 corporate tax reform.

Income Tax and Apportionment

In 2023, income tax controversies continued to occupy a central role in state tax litigation around the country. Specifically, cases regarding apportionment, from cost of performance disputes to look through sourcing, highlighted litigation dockets. We do not anticipate this trend slowing down in 2024. 

Sales and Use Tax Cases

Sales and use tax cases continued to maintain its status as a leading focus of state tax disputes. 2023 also saw the role of class-action sales tax disputes and qui tam cases continue unabated.     

Constitutional Issues

In 2023, multiple jurisdictions issued decisions in favor of taxpayers on constitutional grounds, reinforcing the importance of raising constitutional claims during litigation.