State Taxation: 'Food For Thought'

My recent posts have contained some of my notes and questions I recorded from attending the Paul J. Hartman State and Local Tax Forum last week. This is my last post which lists 20 takeaways or 'food for thought.'

  1. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) does not identify tax havens, so why are the states?
  2. Discretionary Authority is no warning. It doesn't allow taxpayers to know what a state will do (i.e., using alternative apportionment or combined reporting to force a taxpayer to deviate from the standard apportionment formula; or modifying a costs-of-performance statute to get a market-based sourcing result).
  3. International taxation is starting to use state tax concepts such as combined reporting and apportionment.
  4. "Are 'bright-line' tests knee-jerk reactions?" - quote from one of the speakers
  5. "Tax Haven legislation should be trashed. Tax haven legislation picks winners and losers." - quote from one of the speakers
  6. The only way to fight retroactive legislation is to monitor it and lobby against it before it is enacted.
  7. Should states be able to enact retroactive legislation to protect the state budget from financial loss?
  8. Should judicial decisions only apply to the taxpayer involved in the litigation if it involves a refund?
  9. Retroactive legislation should not be able to increase revenue.
  10. Ask yourself, if a 'technical correction' is creating new law or changing the interpretation of the law from the original interpretation that has been followed by taxpayers for years. If the answer is yes, do something.
  11. Should retroactive legislation be limited to a state's statute of limitations?
  12. Prior legislatures can't bind future legislatures.
  13. New legislatures can't determine, or know, the intent of prior legislatures. Shouldn't be able to unbind or unwind prior legislation.
  14. "Retroactive legislation is telling you what the law was." - quote from one of the speakers
  15. Are we moving from apportionment to allocation when we use single-sales factor apportionment and market-based sourcing?
  16. Is single-sales factor apportionment 'fair apportionment'? Moves income to customer states, not to states where the activities occurred that generated the income. Income is not based solely on sales.
  17. "Throwback and throwout rules are unconstitutional because they look beyond the borders of the state." - quote from one of the speakers
  18. If alternative apportionment is wide open and anything goes, why have statutes?
  19. "To gain true insight, read the entire case - don't just read the blurb. See what it says and what it doesn't say." - quote from one of the speakers. Get creative. See the case, the issue from a different perspective. Ask "why not."
  20. Does common sense apply? If so, is your definition of 'common sense' the same as mine?

Obviously, I obtained all of the thoughts above from the Forum. Some are quotes from speakers, some are ideas paraphrased from a speaker's discussion, and others are personal reflections.