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State and Local Tax Blog

About This Blog

Taxes in New York (TiNY) is a blog by the Hodgson Russ LLP State and Local Tax Practice Group. The weekly reports are intended to go out within 24 hours of the Division of Tax Appeals’ (DTA) publication of new ALJ Determinations and Tribunal Decisions. In addition to the weekly reports TiNY may provide analysis of and commentary on other developments in the world of New York tax law.  

TiNY Report for July 2, 2020 (reporting on DTA cases issued June 25)

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Pretty small output from the DTA this week, but maybe that’s just the DTA’s present to us (well, me) before a long weekend.

From all your authors at TiNY, we hope everyone has a safe and socially distant Fourth of July Weekend!

TiNY Report for June 25, 2020 (reporting on DTA cases issued June 18)

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A light lift this week with two determinations and an ALJ order. There were no earthshaking rulings in the trio.  However, there were a few interesting tidbits . . . and one run-of-the-mill timy.

TiNY Report for June 18, 2020 (reporting on DTA cases issued June 8)

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Below are Emma’s reports on a Tribunal decision and a very rare Tribunal order. The last time we saw a Tribunal order was in 2018.

But before we get into all that, let me tell a true story about my trip back to the office on Friday. My visit to the office was necessary because I needed to get out a document with a “wet” signature. While I was there, I looked through the hard-copy mail that had been previously scanned and emailed to me. I do this from time to time to make sure that no time sensitive documents have missed my consideration. One of the documents was a Notice and Demand for $500,000 issued to one of our residency clients. It should not have been issued because the client (through Hodgson Russ) filed a timely request for conciliation conference. And once we drew the Department’s attention to the error, the Notice was promptly and courteously rescinded. The point of this story is not that a Notice had been issued in error, or that it had been rescinded, but that the Department sent an insert with the Notice requesting that my nonresident client sign up at http://donatelife.ny.gov/register to be a New York organ donor.

There’s nothing wrong with being an organ donor. I am registered with New York as an organ donor.  And if you are reading this and live in New York, I encourage you to register as a donor too (just go to the link in the last paragraph). But it seems a little over the top for New York to ask a person who moved (or even just claimed to have moved) out of the State for a literal “pound of flesh” in addition to resident taxes and interest. It used to be that penalties were rare. Now penalties are the norm and the State wants your kidneys too!

TiNY Report for June 11, 2020 (reporting on DTA cases issued June 3 and 4)

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Four determinations and three ALJ Orders this week. That’s a pretty big haul. But the cases were yawners from a substantive legal perspective. Timies galore!

TiNY Report for May 28, 2020 (reporting on DTA cases issued May 21)

Now we’re talking! There are two Tribunal decisions and four ALJ Determinations this week. Yeah, there are three timies and one other dismissal in the bunch, but one of the timies is a Tribunal reversal of an ALJ dismissal, and there are two cases that have some pretty involved substantive legal analysis. And, on balance, it was a pretty good day for taxpayers. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the cases, our summaries are a bit more long-winded than usual.

TiNY Report for May 15, 2020 (reporting on DTA cases issued May 7)

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After going “oh-for-April,” the DTA seems to be easing back into the swing of things by posting three Decisions last week and then two ALJ Orders this week. And thank goodness. We have been busy on client matters, but those don’t really invite inventive prose. TiNY, on the other hand, lets us write creatively and be opinionated, and that is a welcome diversion.

One of this week’s DTA postings is a mundane timy. But when your last meal was more than a month ago, even a couple of stale crackers looks like a feast!

TiNY Report for May 8, 2020 (reporting on DTA cases issued May 1)

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May Day. MAY DAY. MAY DAAAAAAAAY!!!!!

How very exciting! After a month of sitting on our pens (ouch), the TiNY editorial team finally has something on which to write. The Tribunal issued three decisions on May 1, ergo my “May day” reference. And if you are a fan of the Buffalo Sabres, you’ll recognize the line from the famous call, by play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret, of Brad May’s overtime goal to sweep the Bruins in the 1993 playoffs. And by “famous,” I mean legitimately famous. Jeanneret was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011, and the May day call was the one played as he mounted the stage to give his acceptance speech. If you can spare 53 seconds from your busy schedule, you can watch/listen to the call here.

There were two timies in the trio, and I am going to give those only a cursory review. The third decision is a partial reversal of an ALJ determination in an Article 9-A case dealing with the old capital base tax.

TiNY Report for April 2, 2020 (reporting on DTA case issued March 26)

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I don’t know about you, but days of the week have ceased to have meaning to me. I don’t drive to and from the office Monday to Friday and then spend my weekends on the couch catching up on work that I didn’t get to during the work week. Now each day just kind of blurs into the next – and now I know that I’m not alone in this feeling, the DTA is right there with me. DTA isn’t following its routine of posting cases only on Thursday, so this can only mean one thing, the days of the week don’t matter to the DTA either. Needless to say, we’ll just keep updating the TiNY Report every time something gets posted, like today – just don’t ask me what day of the week it is.

TiNY Report for March 31, 2020 (reporting on DTA case issued March 24)

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Last week I wrote that I was worried we’d not see any output from the DTA for a while. Then I woke this morning to find the Tribunal dropped a decision on the DTA’s website yesterday.  Bonus!
These are stressful times. Before summarizing the decision I offer the following tale to, I hope, relieve some of your tension:
 
Distraught and exhausted, Chris goes to his analyst complaining of severe anxiety that is disturbing his sleep. The analyst asks, “When you are asleep, do you dream?” Chris replies, “Yes.”
The analyst asks, “And do you remember your dreams?” Chris responds, “Yes. I have two recurring dreams. In the first one, I see myself looking down on an old-fashioned three-ring circus. I feel driven to protect the people watching the circus from rain and the other natural elements. The responsibility makes me very apprehensive.”
“Ah, I see,” says the analyst. “And what do you think that dream means?” Chris says, “I don’t know.”
The analyst asks about the second dream, and Chris reports, “In the other dream, which also makes me feel very anxious, I am off camping with a family. During the day, I am stuffed away in a backpack, but, at night, I am stretched, strung-out and gaze down on the family while they sleep safely underneath me in the forest.”
The analyst says, “I think I know what your problem is. You’re two tents.”
On a much less humorous note (and  just to close the loop on this issue), New York State has officially extended the 2019 state tax return filing and payment deadline from April 15 to July 15, 2020. There is no requirement to file an extension request to obtain this automatic deferral to July 15, 2020.
For estimated tax filers for 2020, the deadline for filing and payment of the first 2020 estimated tax installment is also deferred from April 15 to July 15. There is no deferral as of yet regarding the second 2020 estimated tax installment due June 15. I mentioned this in the March 26, 2020 TiNY Report and now we have clarity from the NYS powers that be.

TiNY Report for March 26, 2020 (reporting on DTA cases issued March 16 and 17)

Are you good?

Our entire TiNY writing staff (all three of us) claims to be healthy. But since we are all practicing from off-site locations this week, I cannot confirm that information. And TiNY’s lawyers (same three people) have said that confirming health information and then publishing it here is probably a HIPAA violation anyway (damned lawyers). I can confirm that I am asymptomatic, but I have put on a few pounds as a result of my new compulsory lifestyle which has morphed from a work/life balance to a work/life merger. There are upsides, of course. My 30-minute commute is now a 30-second commute. And I (finally) have a corner office worthy of the Editor-in-Chief of the TiNY Report.

I’m as busy as I’ve ever been, doing client work, tracking COVID-19 state tax developments, and getting alerts out to our clients and other interested parties. On that issue, I know they’ve got to be busy with other stuff, but, as of this writing, the Department of Taxation and Finance has not posted anything official on its website to the effect that income tax filing and payment deadlines are extended to July 15. The Director of Budget and the Governor have stated in separate press conferences that the deadline will be (or has been) extended. The Director of Budget’s statement appeared to be predicated on the assumption that state deadlines were dependent on federal deadlines, which is not the case: New York has deadlines that are distinct from the federal deadlines. And there was an email received last night by many accountants from Governor Cuomo stating “New York State's income tax filing deadline is delayed until July 15, 2020. Because New York State requires electronic filing, the date for filing state personal income taxes automatically travels with the federal filing date, which is now July 15. Further guidelines will be released soon.” I’m not sure how electronic filing controls legal filing deadlines, but I think that the that the Department of Taxation and Finance and the IRS share the same electronic filing processing platform, so it may be practical and not legal factors that are driving these statements. And the Governor’s statement, which is the most authoritative statement out there as of now, doesn’t say anything about Q1 estimated tax payments. So, until I see official guidance from the Tax Department, I’m planning on filing my New York return and paying my New York Q1 estimate on April 15. Y’all can do what you want.

There are one Decision, three Determinations and three ALJ Orders this week. Under the circumstances, this may be all we get for a while. Until next time, I hope you’ll heed Duke’s advice to his successor as Governor of American Samoa: “Be firm, fly low and stay cool” (GB Trudeau, “Doonesbury” January 10, 1976).

Chris