Monday, October 20, 2014

2014 New England State and Local Tax Forum: Back by Popular Demand, Covering the Latest in Hot SALT Topics

2014 New England State and Local Tax Forum
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
7:30 a.m. to 5:10 p.m.
Boston Marriott, Newton, MA
More info at:
While State and Local Tax (SALT) developments in states across the country, as well as federal legislation that could limit or expand states’ authority, have garnered the spotlight this past year, we’ve seen some very significant changes in the New England states too. Consider Massachusetts’ recent adoption of market-based sourcing or New York’s Business Tax Reform. 

Both of these timely and relevant topics, plus many more, will be the focus of the upcoming 2014 New England State and Local Tax Forum (Conference).  If you have attended a prior NE SALT Forum Conference, then you’re well aware that this is a high quality conference featuring some of the nation’s finest and most respected SALT speakers presenting on some of the hottest and most challenging SALT topics.

And the 2014 NE SALT Forum will be no exception! Here’s some of what’s in store:
  •  Commissioner’s Panel: State of the States   Now here's something you don't see every day - several of the highest ranking State Tax Agency officials brought together in a panel to address SALT practitioner and taxpayer questions.  In this session, moderated by Joe Huddleston, Executive Director of the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC), the top ranking State Tax Agency officials from six New England states including Commissioners John Beardmore (NH), Mary Peterson (VT), Amy Pitter (MA), David Sullivan (RI), Keith Sullivan (CT) and Audit Director John Lewandowski (ME) will share their thoughts.   With participant comments from last year's conference such as, “The DOR Panel was very beneficial – great to get insights from these ranking officials,” it’s no wonder this session is back by popular demand!  
  •  Market-Based Sourcing: Massachusetts and Beyond   Here's another not-to-be missed session - this one covering the new Massachusetts market-based sourcing rules, the current status of the MTC’s effort to adopt a model statutory proposal, and much more. Wondering about the interplay between market based sourcing and nexus considerations? Or have practical questions that can arise when sourcing receipts? You’ll be able to pose these and other questions to this top panel, including Mike Fatale, Chief of the Massachusetts Rules and Regulations Bureau, Joe Garrett, Deputy Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Revenue, and Jane Steinmetz, National Indirect Tax Practice Leader/Financial Services for EY.
  •  New York State Business Tax Reform   It only took 25 years – but New York’s groundbreaking Business Tax Reform finally arrived with the 2014-2015 State Budget Act. And this major Tax Reform brought forth many changes, such as a new and unique approaches to unitary combined reporting, the taxation of alien corporations and the impact on business/non-business income. All this plus more will be presented on by New York based attorneys, Chris Doyle, Partner with Hodgson Russ LLP and Leah Robinson, Partner with McDermott Will & Emery.
  • But wait, there's more.... six additional sessions including the following, plus opportunities throughout the day to network with your fellow SALT colleagues. 

Top Issues in 
New England SALT

How to Successfully Manage an Audit

National SALT Update

Old Statutes...New World: How Should the Law Apply?

Unitary Combination Update

Top Sales/Use and Non-Income Tax Issues in 2014

When is the not-to-be missed, informative conference?

The 2014 Annual New England State and Local Tax Forum will be held on Wednesday, November 19, 2014, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:10 p.m. at the Boston Marriott Newton, 2345 Commonwealth Avenue, Newton, Massachusetts 02459. (Registration link below)

Yes, the State and Local Tax landscape continues to evolve, “nexus” standards continue to expand and states continue to deal with applying outdated laws to changing technologies and new business models. And so it’s more important than ever for SALT professionals – both those who advise clients with multi-state operations, as well as those charged with the responsibility of managing their employer’s SALT function – to stay up-to-date on evolving SALT trends. Join us on November 19th at the 2014 New England SALT Forum for those groundbreaking updates you need to know. 

Registration Information:   For more information about the 2014 State and Local Tax Forum, including information on registration fees, firm discounts, hotel information or to register visit the conference website at:  Inquiries can also be e-mailed to:, or

Spread the word:   If you’re planning on attending, please consider sharing this update via your personal, professional, firm or corporate social media account on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc. You'll find social media share buttons and a "Share This" icon at the bottom of this post for easy posting. Note that using the hashtag #2014NESALTForum on Twitter will allow others to easily follow your twitter updates related to the 2014 New England SALT Forum.

Also, feel free to link to this blog post in your own firm or corporate blog. (Here's the URL to this specific post:

And thanks in advance for helping to spread the word!


The New England State & Local Tax Forum is a non-profit organization formed to promote, encourage, assist and foster education in the area of state and local taxation and tax policy. The Forum was founded by Stan Arnold, formerly, the Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Revenue. The Forum’s primary activity is to organize and promote an annual, technically focused, in-depth conference covering significant SALT issues from across the country, with a particular focus on the New England states. For more about the organization visit the conference website at:

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Mobile Workforce SIT Simplification Act: Fixing The Conundrum of State Nonresident Payroll Withholding Rules

Image Source: Tax Foundation blog,
"Pennsylvannia Urged Not to Tax
Out-of-State Responders" 3/11/14
Federal Legislation With State Taxation Impact:  On April 29th the U.S. House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to discuss a federal solution to the lack of uniformity that exists among states as it relates to an employer's responsibility to withhold state income tax from the wages of its mobile workforce in non-resident states. 

One reason this federal legislation is being seriously considered stems from the fact that many companies are expanding their multi-state (and international) footprint. This expansion is often accompanied with the deployment of a mobile workforce, and a requirement to withhold and remit state income tax on the wages of employees who perform services in non-resident states.  

As states continue to search for revenue sources and, some would argue, transfer their tax burden to out-of-state business and individual taxpayers; non-resident payroll withholding is an area that employers who wish to be compliant cannot ignore. Unfortunately, as is the case with state laws in general, there is a lack of uniformity regarding when an employer must withhold in non-resident states. While some states provide for either a day or dollar ‘di-minimus’ threshold, the majority of states require employers to withhold from the very first day or dollar earned in the state. This lack of uniformity requires employers that deploy a mobile workforce to comprehend and apply a patchwork of state rules. 

Additionally, while both in-house corporate tax professionals charged with state tax responsibilities and external State and Local Tax (SALT) advisors are quick to note that deploying a mobile workforce into multiple states may create nexus for corporate income, franchise, sales & use and other entity level business taxes, many tax professionals are less likely to focus on a company’s responsibility to withhold on the wages of employees who perform employment duties in non-resident states even though this lack of compliance presents the same potential for exposure and penalties. 

What Are the Issues with Nonresident Payroll Withholding and What Will the Federal Mobile Workforce Legislation Do? 

Recently I authored an article that was published in the March 2014 issue of the Institute for Professionals in Taxation (IPT) Tax Report.  The article, aptly entitled "State Nonresident Payroll Withholding Rules Present Complexity to Employers that Deploy a Mobile Workforce - Is It Time for a Federal Mandate?" provides an overview of the non-resident payroll withholding rules and highlights how the lack of uniformity creates complexity for employers that wish to be compliant. 

Some of the specific topics I cover in the article include a discussion of the various thresholds employed by states currently (e.g., days exceeded, dollars earned) and how the rules within some states are inconsistent with the regards to the requirement to withhold on and the requirement to report non-resident wages, as well on an employee’s requirement to file a non-resident tax return. For instance, in some states even if an employee’s wages have not exceeded the threshold to withhold, the employer may still have a requirement to report  the non-resident’s wages to the state.  Similarly, a failure to withhold (because a threshold has not been exceeded) does not necessarily mean a employee is not subject to the same state's non-resident income tax filing requirements.

The article also discusses the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act of 2013 (H.R. 1129 / S. 1645), the federal proposal whose merits the House Judiciary Committee will debate on April 29th. (Note, the Judiciary Committee’s April 29th hearing will focus on the House version of the “Mobile Workforce” legislation - H.R. 1129. A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate on November 5, 2013, S. 1645, which is also titled the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act of 2013.) Thus, I also provide an overview of the provisions of H.R. 1129 in the article and discuss how the proposal, if enacted, would limit a State’s authority by imposing a uniform “days exceeded” threshold before a State could subject a non-resident employee to the state’s personal income tax and his employer to the State’s non-resident withholding and reporting requirements.

If you're following this development and would like to gain a better understanding of the issues and the specific provisions in the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act of 2013, I invite to download and read my recent article:

Sylvia's Summation

Will Mobile Workforce SIT Simplification legislation be enacted by the end of 2014? The Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act of 2013 (H.R. 1129/S. 1645) has received the strong backing of numerous prestigious professional organizations, including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Council on State Taxation (COST) and the American Payroll Association (APA) - organizations which have relentlessly supported prior similar proposals. However, the 113th Congress has been presented with several federal proposals which also focus, to some degree, on limiting or expanding State authority, such as the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 (S. 743/H.R. 684), the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 2992), the Digital Goods & Services Act (S. 1364) and the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act of 2013 (H.R. 434/S. 31). With only a little more than eight months remaining in the current Congressional session, it will be interesting to see where Congress turns its efforts.


Missed my last post? Catch it here: The Massachusetts Tech-Tax Fiasco - Good Policy, Bad Policy or No Policy Connection? 

On twitter? You can follow me at:  @SylviaDionCPA
You can also view my profile on LinkedIn at:
Or visit my company website at:

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Massachusetts "Tech-Tax" Fiasco - Good Policy, Bad Policy or No Policy Connection?

In a few months, I'll be presenting at a Cloud Services and Digital Goods Symposium - Avalara's Sales Tax Horizons 2014. I'll be a part of three member Policy Panel speaking on "Where We Are Today with Technology Tax Legislation." 

Of course I'm thrilled to have been invited to participate in this upcoming "First of its Kind" Tax Forum. One reason is that state tax policy is an area I follow very closely! Now I won't spend a lot of time talking about state tax policy in this post as I'd love to devote an entire post to that topic in the future. 

But this did get me to thinking about an article I recently authored for the Institute for Professionals in Taxation (IPT) Tax Report. In that article, titled "The Massachusetts 'Tech-Tax' Fiasco: It's History, Impact and Valuable Lessons Learned," I provided an overview of a controversial tax provision enacted last July (2013) as part of a Transportation Funding Bill, which would have expanded the Massachusetts 6.25% sales tax to computer software design and certain software modification services. Not only was the new tax provision both vague and complex, its enactment took many in the technology and business community by surprise, was seen as targeting a vibrant sector of the Massachusetts economy, and because it was effective only seven days after its enactment, it soon became the subject of widespread criticism. This led to a successful "grass-roots" effort to have the technology tax legislation repealed less than two months after its effective date.

Although the tax provision is no longer in effect, it remains an example of a bad tax policy approach, or should I say, an example of a "no tax policy connection."  You see, good tax policy often suggests that the object or persons being taxed have some connection to the desired outcome. This is the reason why cigarette taxes are so high (to potentially encourage the cessation of smoking) and why when Colorado legalized the use of recreational marijuana, it also enacted an additional 15% sales tax on the retail sale of marijuana. 

But where Massachusetts' "technology tax" was concerned, there was no viable policy connection. This was a tax on "technology" intended to fund current and future "transportation" needs - roads, bridges, buses and subway trains.  In the end the policy connection just wasn't there! 

Sylvia Summation

Ah, the Massachusetts "Tech-Tax" fiasco!  An example of a bad or "no connection" policy. With States continuing to search for new revenue sources, it's likely - though unfortunate - that we'll see similar legislative "fiascos" occur in other states. Here in Massachusetts, our legislators learned valuable lessons - but will other state legislatures take notice?

By the way, you can read and/or download the entire article from my firm's website, by clicking on the article title in the post above or here:  

"The Massachusetts 'Tech-Tax' Fiasco: It's History, Impact and Valuable Lessons Learned"

You can also read more about the Massachusetts "technology tax" (now repealed) at my prior "Buzz" post:

"Sales Tax on Computer Design, Software Modification Services: Massachusetts Issues Initial Guidance, Yet Questions and Challenges Remain"


On twitter? You can follow me at:  @SylviaDionCPA
You can also view my profile on LinkedIn at:
Or visit my company website at: