By Robert Merten and Madison Barnett

The Oregon Tax Court held that Oregon was not constitutionally prohibited from determining the applicable graduated income tax rate of a part-year resident individual based on the individual’s full-year taxable income, even though a majority of that income was earned outside of the state. The taxpayer argued that applying a higher tax rate based on income earned outside of the state, while the taxpayer was not a resident, violated the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution under the Comptroller of the Treasury v. Wynne, 135 S. Ct 1787 (2015). The taxpayer earned income during the first half of 2014 in California and then moved to and earned income in Oregon for the second half of the year. The court upheld Oregon’s personal income tax scheme because “if every state adopted a scheme of applying a percentage of state income to federal income and allowed for a credit for out-of-state taxes paid, the Oregon law passed the internal consistency test.” The court determined that double taxation was avoided because only the taxpayer’s Oregon source income was taxed in Oregon, and tax credits were available in both states for taxes paid to the other state.  Brillenz v. Dep’t of Revenue, TC-MD 150518C.