Upcoming National Meeting

51st Annual Meeting

2 ½ day program offering sessions for every state tax and government affairs professional with tax responsibilities. The meeting presents an extensive program covering all types of state and local taxes that business taxpayers are confronted with today. The ever-popular audit sessions and state chamber of commerce roundtables are included, and other conference sessions provide updates on key SAL

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Newsletters & Media

Cost Conscious

ISSUE 20-07; April 3, 2020

Top Two SALT Issues Arising from COVID-19 – What are the top two SALT issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic that concern your company the most? Please select two of the following:


Bloomberg TAX

Grassley Says Americans Need Warning About Stimulus Scams


Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley called on the IRS's watchdog to do more to educate Americans about potential scams related to economic stimulus payments that will soon be sent out.

Pelosi Says Next Stimulus Round Will Be $1 Trillion or More (1)


Congress‘s next stimulus bill to prop up the U.S. economy during the coronavirus crisis will be at least another $1 trillion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats on a private conference call.

Seattle Considers Payroll Tax on City's Largest Corporations


Amazon.com Inc. and other large companies in Seattle would collectively pay the city an estimated $500 million a year in taxes under a bill introduced Monday in the City Council.

State DOTs Seek $50 Billion to Offset Plummeting Revenues


State transportation departments need $50 billion in federal funds to offset significant revenue declines due to plummeting road travel and gasoline sales, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

New York Shifting Sales Tax Receipts to Help Hospitals (4)


New York is diverting sales tax proceeds to help struggling hospitals, and Massachusetts tax revenue actually came in ahead of expectations in March. In California, meanwhile, business groups aren't entirely pleased, but counties agreed to waive interest and fees on late property taxes. Here’s the latest on shifting state tax guidelines, deadlines, and policy to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. For Friday's coverage click here. Here’s a state-by-state roadmap.

Branson Shifts $1.1 Billion Galactic Holding Between Tax Havens


Richard Branson moved assets from the U.S. to the British Virgin Islands, highlighting his use of tax havens at a time one of his businesses sought a state bailout because of the coronavirus pandemic.

INSIGHT: The Practice of Law in the Time of Covid-19


The coronavirus pandemic has left law offices shuttering and their occupants shuddering, Epstein Becker Green’s James P. Flynn writes. He says the world needs resilient, optimistic lawyers who can cope with the changes in the profession as well as the many legal issues clients need help addressing.

Washington Appeals Board Sustains Assessor's Property Tax Valuation of Taxpayer's Memory-Care Facility


The Washington Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) Feb. 14 sustained the Kitsap County Assessor's property tax valuation of Taxpayer's memory-care facility. Both parties provided cost and income approaches to valuation. Taxpayer suggested a cost approach with 50 percent depreciation based on a 25-year effective age and a 50-year economic life. The assessor argued depreciation should be limited to 11 percent. The BTA found: 1) Taxpayer's age-life technique, used to estimate total depreciation, was excessive and lacked market support; 2) the passage of time may not, in itself, create depreciation if a property is well maintained and functionally sound; 3) the cost approach was preferable to the comparative sales and income approaches when, as here, a substantial portion of the business value was attributable to services rather than to real estate; and 4) Taxpayer didn't show that the assessor's value was erroneous. Accordingly, the BTA sustained the assessor's valuation. [WC Bremerton, LLC v. Cook, Wash. B.T.A., No. 94095, 02/14/20]

Washington Appeals Board Finds Taxpayer Wasn't Entitled to Property Tax Exemption Under Community Center Classification


The Washington Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) Feb. 28 found Taxpayer wasn't entitled to a property tax exemption on office space it leased from a church. Taxpayer, a 501(c)(3) organization, assisted a police department with crime prevention. The office space was used as a police substation by police officers and volunteers. Taxpayer sought the exemption under the community center classification. The Department of Revenue (DOR) denied the exemption. On review, the BTA noted: 1) the underlying parcel wasn't surplus to the need of a district by a local school board because it wasn't previously owned by a school district; 2) the DOR's personnel observed that the property's use by police and corrections officers wasn't a benevolent, protective, or rehabilitative social services use; and 3) the property therefore wasn't exclusively used for the purposes required by the exemption. Accordingly, the BTA proposed a decision affirming the denial of the exemption. [Stricker v. Dep't of Revenue, Wash. B.T.A., No. 94458, 02/28/20]

Washington Appeals Board Denies Taxpayer's Petition to Reconvene Equalization Board to Redetermine Property Tax


The Washington Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) Feb. 14 affirmed the Department of Revenue's (DOR) decision to deny Taxpayer's petition to reconvene a county equalization board to reconsider the property tax value of its property for 2017. The equalization board had earlier reduced the property's value. Taxpayer then sought and obtained valuation reductions for the three previous tax years. After receiving those decisions, Taxpayer petitioned the DOR to reconvene the equalization board to reconsider and further reduce the 2017 valuation. The DOR denied the petition and Taxpayer appealed. The BTA held: 1) the rule allowing the DOR to reconvene an equalization board presupposed that Taxpayer was deprived of the opportunity to challenge his assessment at the equalization board level; and 2) in this case, Taxpayer was afforded a hearing before the equalization board regarding the 2017 assessed value of the subject property. Accordingly, the BTA upheld the DOR's decision. [Zhu v. State of Wash. DOR, Wash. B.T.A., No. 96339, 02/14/20]

Tax Notes

Kentucky Legislature Passes Partnership Audit Bill


The Kentucky General Assembly has passed a revenue bill that would conform the state to the IRS’s centralized partnership audit regime, create new tax breaks for specific industries, and levy a tax on vaping products.

COST to California Court: Local Special Tax Measures Require Supermajority Vote


The Council On State Taxation is urging the California First District Court of Appeals to rule that all local special taxes must be approved by a supermajority vote.

Pennsylvania's Steep Revenue Drop Could Be Just the Beginning


Pennsylvania has announced a 6.2 percent shortfall in revenue collections for March, foreshadowing steeper declines for April.

Rhode Island Hearing Officer Permits Pre-Wayfair Refund


While an out-of-state company’s subscription television services are taxable, the company was not liable for Rhode Island sales tax during a pre-Wayfair period because it lacked in-state physical presence, according to a hearing officer.

Oregon Lawmakers Urge Technical Fixes to CAT


Oregon lawmakers appear likely to resurrect legislation to modify the state’s new gross receipts tax in an upcoming special session.

Opportunity Zone Deadlines Could Be Extended Due to COVID-19


Major disaster declarations made by states to address the COVID-19 pandemic could unlock deadline extensions for investments in federal Opportunity Zones, according to practitioners.

With Tax Deadlines Extended, States Offer Relief on Fines and Fees


State and local governments have extended their tax return deadlines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a growing number have also recognized the need to extend deadlines for fines and fees.

Oregon Tax Court Allows Telecom Appeal Without Issue Exhaustion


The Oregon Tax Court has held that Charter Communications could raise an issue when appealing assessments of its telephone property that it did not raise in a conference with the state Department of Revenue.

Nebraska Revenue Committee Continues Tax Relief Efforts Amid Pandemic


The Nebraska Legislature's Revenue Committee is continuing “critical” efforts to provide tax relief, despite a pause in the legislative session because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York Tribunal Disallows Broker Sourcing Rules for LLC


A taxpayer was not entitled to use New York's broker-dealer sourcing rules for receipts from its investment adviser limited liability company for purposes of the state corporation franchise tax, according to the state tax tribunal.

Featured Resources

COST - Council on State Taxation

Amicus Briefs

City & County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in the Matter of Proposition C

COST filed an amicus brief in support of the Appellants (the California Business Properties Association, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and California Business Roundtable) in the City & County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in the Matter of Proposition C. In July 2019, the trail court granted the City and County’s motion to validate Proposition C, which asked voters to impose an a

COST - Council on State Taxation

COST Studies, Articles & Reports

2019 State and Local Amnesty Programs

This report tracks state and local tax amnesty programs by state for 2019.

COST - Council on State Taxation

COST Comments & Testimony

Testimony to Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs & House Ways and Means Committees on Improving State Tax Administration

COST’s President Doug Lindholm was invited by the Louisiana Legislature to discuss Louisiana’s tax climate and steps the Legislature can take to improve taxpayers’ perceptions of the tax system as fair, efficient, and easily administered.