Upcoming National Meeting

Spring Audit Session & Income Tax Conference

2 ½ day conference which combines technical and policy presentations from seasoned professionals focused on current income and franchise tax issues. It is COST’s primary audit session, where current audit information on all 50 states is shared among the membership. The conference is targeted to income and franchise tax professionals at all levels of experience.

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Newsletters & Media

Cost Conscious

ISSUE 18-06; March 16, 2018

Benchmarking Question: Open Audits – On average, approximately how many state and local direct tax (income, CAT, etc.) audits does your company have open at any one time?


Bloomberg BNA

Backers of Federal Digital Tax Provision Come Up Empty-Handed


It appears a digital sales tax provision will be absent from an omnibus spending bill despite a push from lawmakers to enact legislation before a pivotal U.S. online tax ruling can be handed down in...

Amazon Sellers Armed With New Tax Compliance Information


A tax software company will offer a new tool to assist Fulfillment by Amazon sellers with remote sales tax compliance.

State Taxes Could Save Executives’ Performance Pay


States could help preserve an approach to executive compensation popular with corporate shareholders after the new federal tax law eliminated its deductibility.

Court or Congress? State Online Sales Tax Power Set for Change


South Dakota’s latest filing with the U.S. Supreme Court reiterated the state’s call for the justices to annul a much-maligned constraint on states’ taxing authority over online retailers.

High Court Digital Tax Ruling Could Spur More Amazon-Based Laws


The future of marketplace-provider laws requiring Amazon-type platforms to collect tax on its third-party sales hinges on a monumental U.S. Supreme Court case, according to tax professionals.

Duke, FirstEnergy Fight Rate Reductions From Federal Tax Savings


Duke Energy Corp., American Electric Power Co. Inc., FirstEnergy Corp., and the Dayton Power and Light Co. are putting up a legal fight to rate reductions based on their decreased tax liabilities...

New Alabama Tax Break Tops Off $700M Toyota-Mazda Incentives


Alabama created another local property tax break for economic development as Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed legislation Feb. 6 to help secure a recently announced Toyota/Mazda manufacturing plant.

States in Pickle Over Deductions for Federal Taxes


<p>Six states that provide a deduction for federal taxes will look for ways to reduce an increased burden on taxpayers or to spend the extra loot stemming from the new federal tax law.</p>

States Eager to Act Must Wait for Model Law on Partnership Audits


Most states seeking to address the new federal partnership audit regime are in a holding pattern as they look for a model statute to provide guidance.

Amazon’s HQ2 Finalists Bait With Tax Breaks


Twenty cities across the U.S. and Canada remain contenders in the largest corporate jobs contest in modern times after an Amazon announcement cleared more than 200 cities from the list of potential sites for its second headquarters.

Lawmakers Push IRS to Allow Prepaid 2018 Property Taxes


State residents who rushed to prepay their 2018 property taxes before the end of the year deserve a deduction from the federal government, New York and New Jersey lawmakers told the IRS Jan. 9.

Lawsuits, New Charities? States Eye Ways Around Federal Tax Law


Several states are already pushing plans to mitigate the negative impact taxpayers may feel from the federal tax law’s new limit on the deductibility of state and local taxes on federal returns.

Wayfair, Overstock Urge High Court to Deny Digital Tax Case


South Dakota has “manufactured an entirely inappropriate vehicle” for the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its 25-year-old decision restricting states’ ability to tax remote retailers, according to...

Expedia Wins Lodging Tax Dispute With Illinois Towns


Online travel companies (OTCs) won a major victory against Illinois municipalities seeking millions of dollars in unpaid lodging taxes after a federal appeals court found their local ordinances...

Will Goodlatte’s Retirement Lead to Federal Digital Tax Solution?


It’s not certain that Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) retirement will open the door to long-awaited federal legislation addressing states’ taxing authority over remote retailers.

Will Multiple Briefs Sway Supreme Court to Take Digital Tax Case?


The U.S. Supreme Court has dozens of state attorneys general and interest groups knocking on its door to take up the issue of states’ taxing authority over remote retailers.

House GOP Tax Plan Draws Protests Over State Impact


Federal lawmakers and groups representing state and local governments are pushing back against a key deduction contained in the House Republican tax reform plan released Nov. 2.

Wave of Amazon HQ2 Bids Unlike Anything Experts Have Seen


Is the nationwide tidal wave of proposals for Amazon’s second headquarters an unprecedented incentive bonanza, a game-changer, or a PR-stunt precipitating a dozen more PR stunts?

Reworking Intercompany Loan Rules a Mixed Blessing for States


Treasury Department recommendations to simplify Obama-administration documentation requirements on intercompany lending may be good news and bad news for states deciding whether to conform.

First Digital Sales Tax Dispute Reaches U.S. Supreme Court


South Dakota’s Attorney General has filed the first of an expected wave of state petitions asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider a 25-year-old opinion restricting states’ ability to tax remote retailers.

State Groups Vow Fight for Tax Deduction Despite Trump, Big Six


Groups representing state and local officials will lobby hard to persuade members of Congress not to go along with calls from President Donald Trump and GOP leaders to end the federal deduction for...

States Won’t Sweat Conformity to Retroactive Tax Reform


States that want to follow retroactive provisions of whatever tax reform package comes from Congress this year probably wouldn’t worry about legal challenges.

Federal Partnership Rules May Be Tricky for States: ABA Group


State and local governments may find themselves in a pickle when a new federal partnership audit regime goes into effect, according to a Sept. 11 letter addressed to Internal Revenue Service...

First U.S. Prosecution Over ‘Zapper’ Software Nets Guilty Plea


A Seattle-area restaurant owner accused of using software to hide receipts and steal sales tax revenue pleaded guilty Aug. 30 in the first such prosecution in the U.S., the Washington Attorney...

IRS Asked to Help States by Clarifying Partnership Audit Regime


An influential tax group is asking the IRS to clarify how proposed regulations will implement certain aspects of the new federal partnership audit regime.

Michigan’s Value-Added Tax: A Cautionary Tale for Feds, States


The U.S. has been among a small number of developed countries for most of the last century in resisting an academically revered economic policy—the value-added tax. Michigan’s failed VAT may help...

‘Looking at You, Kid': Tax Credits for Movies, TV in Focus


The stiff competition among states to lure the multibillion-dollar film and television industry with lucrative tax credits may be going through a Darwinian period where only the strongest survive.

State Deduction Needed for Tax Reform After Health Care Failure


Republicans’ failure to repeal the taxes underlying the Affordable Care Act makes eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes even more important to their tax reform plans.

Federal Tax Reform Driving States to Digital Sales Taxes


Federal lawmakers’ efforts to control states’ taxing authority over remote retailers is adding pressure as potential federal tax reform threatens to further deplete states’ coffers.

Federal Bills Fighting to Modernize Interstate Taxes


A House-passed bill standardizing rules for taxing nonresident workers will face stiff opposition from large states that stand to lose millions in revenue, an original co-sponsor of the Senate...

Businesses Face a Patchwork of Trade Show Tax Rules


Businesses that use trade shows to promote and sell their products would be well-advised to research the hosting state’s nexus rules if they hope to avoid long-term sales and use tax duties in that jurisdiction, tax practitioners told Bloomberg BNA.

Prolific Tax Whistle-Blower Must Rethink Strategy


A Chicago lawyer regarded as the most prolific tax whistle-blower in the U.S. will have to reconsider his relentless litigation strategy in light of a state appeals court finding him ineligible for...

IRS Releases Proposed Partnership Audit Rules After Delay


The IRS proposed rules to implement the new partnership audit regime after a regulatory freeze delayed release of the guidance for five months.

Parties Unveil Model State Statute for Partnership Audit Law


Practitioners have rolled out draft model legislation that many hope will serve as the starting point for uniform state statutes addressing the new federal partnership audit regime.

States No Longer Fretting Over Federal Tax Reform This Year


The pressure to go into special session or take immediate action this year in response to federal tax reform no longer exists for state lawmakers and governors

Gray Areas in State Tax Policies: Bloomberg BNA Survey


Lawmakers’ strategy to strike a decades-old, state-border restriction on taxing sales may prove fruitful before the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a leading state and local tax practitioner.

States Eye New York Whistle-Blower Law as Tax Fraud Tool


State lawmakers and tax administrators are taking a closer look at enacting whistle-blower statutes as a strategy for prosecuting big-ticket incidents of tax fraud and scooping revenue into state coffers.

Tax Reform Would Send States Back to ‘Drawing Board’


Most modifications materializing from a potential federal tax reform package would throw states’ personal and corporate income tax structures up in the air, according to a leading tax professional.

States to Battle White House for Tax Deduction, Muni Exemption


States and cities are fighting to preserve a deduction for taxes paid to local governments after the White House’s tax plan said it would jettison the popular tool.

States, Tax Groups Furiously Planning for Partnership Audit Law


States and taxpayers aren’t waiting for a fix to the new federal partnership audit regime as they wade further into it to assess how the law will shape state tax systems.

Carried-Interest Bill Gets Attention in Connecticut


A subcommittee in the Connecticut Legislature heard testimony April 11 from the group called Patriotic Millionaires on a bill that would end the carried-interest tax advantage that benefits...

Digital Sales Tax: Hit and Miss in States


States’ collective agenda to rope in lost revenue from remote sales has yielded mixed results so far in 2017.

Most States Sick Over GOP Health Bill, Impact on Budgets


Rick Noonan said he wanted to cry when he heard the American Health Care Act was getting closer to becoming law.

Rise of Machines to Spark Rise of San Francisco Taxes?


Whether San Francisco should adopt an automation tax to replace taxes lost to automated jobs is the subject of a hearing proposed by a supervisor backing CEO pay surcharges.

Online Sales Tax Marching Toward South Dakota High Court


The South Dakota Supreme Court could soon take up the state’s online sales tax that a lower court ruled unconstitutional.

End of An Era: State Tax Legend Paul Frankel Dies


A light has gone out in the state and local tax world with the passing of one of its most preeminent and beloved practitioners.

Kansas Passthrough Exemption on Life Support


A controversial income tax break came back from the dead in the Kansas Legislature Feb. 22, but it appears to have little chance of ultimately surviving the current legislative session.

Business Tax Burdens Possibly on States’ Chopping Block


State efforts to carve out business personal property from taxation are gaining steam amid continuing calls for states to remove business inputs from the sales tax base.

Import-Export Tax Idea Presents State Constitutional Pitfalls


States could run afoul of the Constitution by following a federal border-adjustments plan advocated by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to tax imports and exempt exports.

Trump’s High Court Pick May Shadow Scalia in State Tax Cases


Justice Antonin Scalia’s potential successor may be cut from a similar judicial cloth—but it remains to be seen how the Supreme Court nominee could shape state tax issues.

“High” Taxes—States Continue to Look to Marijuana to Generate Revenue


As Colorado and Washington continue to experiment with legalized marijuana, state lawmakers’ attention has turned to preserving the new revenues and tweaking tax provisions. Meanwhile, at least nine...

Taxation of LPs and LLCs: Variances Among States Pose Traps for the Unwary


Two of the most popular business structures for small business owners are limited liability companies (LLCs) and limited partnerships (LPs). These business entities offer a host of practical...

Corporate Close-Up: Five Things to Watch for in State Corporate Income Taxes in 2017


In Chinese astrology, 2016 is the year of the monkey, a symbol of mobility and action, apt for a year setting the stage for potentially massive tax overhauls. The coming year will be symbolized by...

Three Prominent State and Local Tax Practitioners' Outlook on What's Ahead in 2017


Bloomberg BNA recently asked three prominent state and local tax thought leaders about changes they see on the horizon for 2017. Below are the responses from EY's Joe Huddleston, KPMG's Harley Duncan...

Alabama to Push Online Tax Bill After High Court Clears Way


Alabama’s tax commissioner said she will ask the state Legislature to consider a Colorado-style reporting and notice requirement for out-of-state retailers that don’t collect and remit the state’s...

Comcast Scores Partial Win in California Tax Dispute


A California appellate court panel affirmed a trial court ruling that was a partial win for both Comcast and the Franchise Tax Board in a dispute about Comcast’s unitary ties with another company and...

Featured Resources

COST - Council on State Taxation

Amicus Briefs

Phone Recovery Services, LLC v. CenturyLink, Inc., et al.

On Feb. 6, 2018 COST submitted an amicus brief in support of Minnesota's telecommunication providers arguing that Minnesota's false claims act bars 911, TAP and TAM fees from such action based on those fees constituting a "tax", which is barred from a false claims action. COST's brief also asserts the State's normal administrative process for these fees should be used, a false claims action is n

COST - Council on State Taxation

COST Studies, Articles & Reports

The Impact of Federal Tax Reform on State Corporate Income Taxes

COST and STRI have commissioned a study by EY to assess the impact of the corporate tax provisions of the federal tax reform on state corporate income taxes. The overall conclusion of the study is that conformity with federal tax reform will result in an estimated state corporate tax base increase averaging 12% for the first 10 years.

COST - Council on State Taxation

COST Comments & Testimony

COST Supports Michigan Legislation Regarding Contractor Use Tax Liability

Testimony submitted to the Michigan Senate Finance Committee supports Senate Bill 887, which would ensure there is no double taxation of transactions under the state use tax and relieve contractors of liability for purchases they have not made.