By Charles Capouet and Scott Wright

The Michigan Court of Appeals held that sales of a Detroit attorney’s services can be included in the sales factor numerator for the Detroit income tax only if the client received the services in Detroit. The Detroit income tax apportions income by a three-factor, property, payroll and sales formula. Gross revenue is included in the sales factor numerator if derived from sales made and services rendered in the city. The law firm contended that its services are “rendered” where the client receives the services, rather than where the work is performed. The court of appeals compared the sales factor term “services rendered” to the payroll factor term “services performed” and concluded that the terms must have different meanings. The court also considered the term in the context of how the Legislature treated the sale of tangible goods. The court concluded that only services provided to a client in the city of Detroit are considered to be “in-city” services includible in the sales factor numerator. Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn LLP v. City of Detroit, No. 336175 (Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 18, 2018).