By Michael Penza and Timothy Gustafson

The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) issued an information letter explaining that a trust is taxable in California if any of the following three conditions are met: (1) the trust has income from California sources; (2) a trustee is a resident of California; or (3) a non-contingent beneficiary is

This morning, the North Carolina Court of Appeals released its decision in Delhaize America, Inc. v. Lay, No. COA11-868 (N.C. Ct. App. 2012). Delhaize, formerly known as Food Lion, formed an intangible holding company as part of a restructuring in the late 1990s. The Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Revenue sought to combine Delhaize with its intangible holding company on the ground that combination was necessary to reflect Delhaize’s “true earnings,” which is a North Carolina statutory standard used to justify the application of forced combination. The Department assessed Delhaize approximately $20.6 million in tax, interest, and penalty, which Delhaize challenged primarily on procedural due process grounds.

The definition and application of “true earnings” has been a controversial issue. In Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc. v. Hinton, 676 S.E.2d 634 (N.C. Ct. App. 2009), the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that the Secretary of Revenue has discretionary authority to apply forced combination, and the court will not disturb the Secretary’s findings absent an abuse of discretion. Moreover, the Wal-Mart court defined “true earnings” to include income up to the limit found in the U.S. Constitution.


Continue Reading Delhaized and Confused: North Carolina Court of Appeals Finds Forced Combination, Penalty

The Indiana Tax Court granted a motion for partial summary judgment to AE Outfitters Retail Co. and held that the Indiana Department of State Revenue may require combined reporting only after first determining that other alternative apportionment methodologies would result in an equitable apportionment of the taxpayer’s income. AE Outfitters Retail Co. v. Ind. Dep’t of State Revenue (Ind. Tax Ct. Oct. 25, 2011).

The dispute in the case was whether the Department was required to first apply statutorily provided remedies to adjust a taxpayer’s income before applying combined reporting. Like many states, Indiana statutes provide alternative apportionment methods for re-determining income if the taxpayer’s income is not fairly represented, including separate accounting, the exclusion of factors, the inclusion of additional factors, or any other method to effectuate an equitable allocation and apportionment of the taxpayer’s income. Ind. Code § 6-3-2-2(l). Furthermore, in the case of commonly owned or controlled businesses, the statute allows the Department to “distribute, apportion or allocate the income derived from sources within the state of Indiana between and among those organizations, trades or businesses in order to fairly reflect and report the income derived from sources within the state of Indiana by various taxpayers.” Ind. Code § 6-3-2-2(m). The statute, however, limits the Department’s ability to use combined reporting in situations where it “is unable to fairly reflect the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income for the taxable year through use of other powers granted to the department by” those other statutory provisions.


Continue Reading Indiana Combination Is Last Resort

North Carolina

North Carolina H.B. 692 contains several important, and somewhat disconcerting, changes for unclaimed property holders. The bill provides that for amounts due to the apparent owners of intangible property valued at $50,000 or more, holders must report the following information with respect to the owner: “full name, last known address, SSN or TIN

Most separate reporting states give the department of revenue discretionary authority to require affiliated companies to file a combined return under certain conditions. This authority can be a valuable when applied fairly and appropriately but can cause significant problems when abused. In this A Pinch of SALT, Sutherland SALT attorneys Jonathan Feldman and Madison Barnett