The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a unanimous decision in North Carolina Dept. of Revenue v. The Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, ruling that residence in a state is not a sufficient reason to tax an out-of-state trust's undistributed income. Justice Sonia Sotomayer delivered the opinion, explaining the Court's two-step analysis of the case in regards to the 14th Amendment on due process. The judges considered that there must be "some definite link, some minimum connection, between a state and the person, property or transaction it seeks to tax" and that the "income attributed to the State for tax purposes must be rationally related to 'values connected with the taxing State.'" In this instance, "the presence of in-state beneficiaries alone does not empower a State to tax trust income that has not been distributed to the beneficiaries where the beneficiaries have no right to demand that income and are uncertain ever to receive it."
What do a U.S. Senator, the owner of an Albanian brokerage firm, an attorney who is a dual citizen of America and Israel, and a group of current and former U.S. citizen now living in Canada, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic all have in common? They have been denied review by the U.S. Supreme Court in their jointly failed attempt to enjoin the enforcement of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), certain intergovernmental agreements (IGAs), and the foreign bank account reporting (FBAR) penalty.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled today that states may now require online retailers to collect sales taxes from consumers, regardless of where the business is located or the product is delivered. In 1992, the same court ruled that a business had to have some kind of "physical presence" or "nexus" in order to be required to collect sales tax in a state. With the increased use of online shopping, however, it turns out not all taxpayers report non-taxed purchases to the states in which they reside. In fact, an estimated $33.9 billion goes uncollected in sales taxes each year, costing states a significant sum. Additionally, internet shopping tax-free has hurt the brick-and-mortar stores that already have higher operational costs due to a physical presence in a state, since they must collect sales tax on taxable transactions.
In January, 2015, the California Supreme Court granted review of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (Lee) (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 718.
Yesterday the Supreme Court issued an opinion in which it set forth standards for obtaining an evidentiary hearing in the context of a summons enforcement proceeding. Clarke v. U.S., No. 13-301 (June 19, 2014).
On Monday, December 2, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear a case that could have answered long-standing questions about a state's right to collect sales tax from internet retailers who do not have a physical presence in the state. Amazon and Overstock.com joined forces to challenge a New York state law that requires online retailers to collect the sales tax. The lawsuit claims the New York law is not constitutional because it violates the Commerce Clause, which limits the states' power to regulate interstate commerce.
Yesterday the Supreme Court held that the 40% gross valuation misstatement penalty under I.R.C. § 6662(h) is applicable in cases where the IRS determines that a partnership is a sham or lacks economic substance. United States v. Woods, No. 12-562 (U.S. Dec. 3, 2013). The Court's opinion in Woods provides two main holdings: (1) that the District Court had jurisdiction under TEFRA to determine whether the partnerships' lack of economic substance could justify the application of a valuation misstatement penalty on the partners; and (2) that the gross valuation misstatement penalty applied to the disallowed partnership losses.
I've recently blogged about the plethora of multi-jurisdictional tax issues which continue to increase as business becomes ever more globalized. On February 20th, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday heard oral argument in PPL Corp. v. Commissioner. In PPL, the Court is considering:
The Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) has published an article which argues that the activities involved in selling intangible goods, such as songs and digital books, by means of the Internet are not sufficiently connected to states so as to permit states to tax them. The article confines its analysis to an explication of Commerce Clause "nexus," but it also asserts along the way that the selling of intangibles on the Internet may also be protected from taxation by the Due Process Clause.
On October 9, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court denied, without comment, Scholastic Book Club's petition for certiorari, declining to hear an appeal regarding Connecticut's taxation of classroom catalog sales of books to students.