By Chelsea Marmor and Amy Nogid

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court and held that it lacked jurisdiction under the Tax Injunction Act  and the principles of comity to “enjoin, suspend or restrain the assessment, levy or collection” of any Ohio tax where a “plain, speedy and efficient remedy” exists in an Ohio court. Diversified Ingredients, Inc. (Diversified), a Missouri company not registered to do business in Ohio and having no employees or offices in Ohio, sold goods manufactured outside of Ohio to customers in Ohio. Diversified sought a declaration that the Interstate Income Act (IIA), 15 U.S.C. § 381, often referred to as Public Law 86-272, which limits the authority of states to impose net income taxes, deprived Ohio of the jurisdiction to assess and collect commercial activity tax (CAT). Diversified argued that because the CAT statute provides that the CAT is not subject to the IIA, a plain remedy does not exist. Diversified also argued that federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over the interpretation and enforcement of the IIA. The court disagreed, holding that the IIA does not explicitly provide for exclusive federal jurisdiction, and that Ohio provides the right to appeal to an appellate court that can determine whether the statute violates the IIA “regardless of the Ohio Legislature’s contrary intention.” Diversified Ingredients, Inc. v. Testa, No. 16-2791 (8th Cir. Jan. 23, 2017).