Tax Analysts Blog

 
Cara Griffith

Cara Griffith, editor in chief of Tax Analysts’ news operations, is an expert on state and local tax issues and policy. She contributes regularly to the Tax Analysts blog and writes the State Tax Notes column Practice Notes. Since joining Tax Analysts, Griffith has reported on many federal and state court cases, congressional hearings, and tax conferences. Previously, she was a manager with PwC and has written for a broad range of tax policy publications, including The Tax Adviser, The Hedge Fund Law Report, and The Hill. Griffith has a BA in political science and a BA in international studies from the University of Evansville and a JD from the George Washington University Law School.

Thursday, August 11, 2016 - 00:00

It is generally well accepted that the founders of the United States wanted a federalist system of government. That is, they wanted the national government to concern itself with issues that affect the entire country and the numerous subnational governments to take care of more local issues.  The powers granted to the federal government are enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. Article I, section 8 specifically provides that “Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the Unites States.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 - 23:30

Given that it’s a presidential election year, much of the discussion among tax policy experts will focus on the candidates’ appetites for federal tax reform. But what often gets lost in that discussion is how changes at the federal level might affect the states. The reason for this is that most states in some way conform to the Internal Revenue Code.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - 00:00

Managing nonresident employees has been a challenge for companies for several years -- in part because of states’ various requirements, but also because states continue to be aggressive in locating remote employees. It is part of the continuing trend by state tax departments to ensure they are getting every dollar of available revenue. This has translated into being more aggressive in enforcing their tax codes, including their nonresident withholding statutes. Although numerous states have had nonresident withholding requirements on the books for many years, recent budget strains have spurred states to increase their enforcement efforts.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - 00:00

I once got an email from Angie’s List with the subject line “$99 for $200 Credit Toward Plumbing Services.” I could pay $99 to receive a $200 credit that I could use for a variety of plumbing services.  Not a bad deal. It occurred to me that transferable tax credits could be marketed in a similar fashion. Recently, Tesla Motors Inc. could have sent out a comparable  email captioned  “$19 million for $20.4 million Credit Toward State Tax Liability.”  The Tesla deal isn’t quite as good as the plumbing service example, but transferable tax credits provide tangible benefits to both sellers and purchasers.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - 00:00

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this, and it won’t be the last. Part and parcel of maintaining a transparent tax system is having a press that can report on important issues and the actions of the government. Reporters can’t do that without sources willing to speak on the record and without access to events where government officials are speaking.

Thursday, May 19, 2016 - 00:00

The number of passthrough entities (which includes partnerships, limited liability companies, and S corporations) has been on the rise for the last 30 years. And along with the increase in the number of passthrough entities has been a decrease in the number of C corporations. According to the Tax Foundation, passthrough businesses now account for 94 percent of all businesses in the United States.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 00:00

Just days after Uber tentatively settled a lawsuit in California and Massachusetts for $100 million, another lawsuit was filed in Illinois. This suit, filed on May 2, once again raises the age-old (or at least year-old) question whether Uber could survive if its drivers were classified as employees rather than independent contractors.

Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 00:00

Few terms in state and local tax are more of a misnomer than “nonbusiness income.” It’s as if nonbusiness income would have no relationship to a business. In reality, though, nonbusiness income is part of a business’s total income; it is simply not apportionable income. Thankfully, many states and the Multistate Tax Compact now refer to business income as apportionable income and nonbusiness income as non-apportionable income. While that provides some clarity, the underlying definitions – and how states apply them – leave much to be desired.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - 00:00

It’s always enlightening to reduce information to a scoreboard. The state and local tax (SALT) team at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP apparently knows that as well. On April 6 Sutherland released its SALT Scoreboard, a quarterly feature tracking significant state tax litigation across the country.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - 00:00

An April 6 news article out of Sacramento caught the eye of an editor in my office. The story provides details about companies that are applying for tax credits in California. The first company mentioned was Faraday Futures, and the second was Snapchat, but it was the third company that made the story interesting to the editor. According to the story, the online news company, Politico, “would expand its California operation by adding 41 employees in Sacramento — if it received $205,000 in tax credits.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - 00:00

If it is conventional wisdom that good cases settle while bad cases go to trial, isn’t there a lot that could be learned if lawsuit settlements were made available for public scrutiny?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 00:00

Sometimes it really feels like something untoward is going on, but the suspicion is difficult to confirm. I’m having one of those moments regarding the Minnesota Tax Court.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 00:00
Sometimes it really feels like something untoward is going on, but the suspicion is difficult to confirm. I'm having one of those moments regarding the Minnesota Tax Court. Here's my concern: In doing regular research, staff at Tax Analysts realized that the Minnesota Tax Court hadn't published...
Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 00:00

Retailers and state officials are giving up on Congress and instead hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court will act to provide clarity and uniformity on the taxation of remote sales.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 - 00:00

Taxing guns and ammunition may seem like doing something about violence, but it’s not.

Friday, October 30, 2015 - 00:00
Newsflash…it's 2015, and it might be time to reexamine the idea of unpublished opinions. For many years, having an opinion go unpublished meant that it was literally hidden from lawyers because it was not published in an official reporter. Now unpublished opinions readily appear in online databa...
Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 00:00
Education funding is complicated. In the past year, New York, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, and very recently, Washington state have struggled with paying for education. On August 13 the Washington Supreme Court ordered the state to pay $100,000 per day in sanctions for its failure to produce a plan to...
Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 00:00
In Idaho, an “ad hoc working group” of legislators came under fire for meeting behind closed doors to discuss tax policy. According to a September 27 news story, the group has been meeting all summer, but is not listed as one of the official legislative interim committees or task forces. Those gr...
Friday, September 4, 2015 - 00:00
In the last month, I've spent more time than I'd like to admit trying to figure out how, when, and with whom state tax authorities share confidential taxpayer information and what safeguards are in place to avoid its misuse. What I've learned is that very little information is publicly available...
Friday, August 7, 2015 - 00:00
In September 2014 Tax Analysts sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the IRS for a list of all states and localities currently participating in IRS taxpayer information sharing programs, and all taxpayer information sharing agreements entered into between any state or territory of the United...