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Tax Analysts’ State Tax News and Analysis Publications Announce New Column: The Jersey Short

April 10, 2014

New feature to analyze key aspects of the New Jersey tax system


FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Tax Analysts, the nonprofit provider of federal, state, and international tax news and analysis, today announced the launch of a new column, the Jersey Short, written by Leah Robinson, a partner with McDermott Will & Emery in New York. The monthly column will appear in State Tax Notes and State Tax Today, and will examine important issues in Garden State tax.

Robinson’s inaugural column, “New Jersey's Alternative Minimum Assessment Is Unconstitutional,” examines the application of business taxes to out-of-state companies that do business in New Jersey. Enacted in 2002, the alternative minimum assessment (AMA) is a gross receipts tax that ensures all corporations pay at least a minimum amount of tax and that provides the state a continuous stream of tax revenue. The article argues that imposing this tax on companies protected by Public Law 86-272 is unconstitutional. P.L. 86-272 enables multistate businesses to solicit sale orders without being subject to a net income tax.

“The AMA has effectively been repealed for most taxpayers but it is still imposed on companies that are protected from a net income tax by P.L. 86-272,” Robinson writes. “Because only out-of-state companies can be protected by P.L. 86-272, the AMA is now imposed only on out-of-state companies. That is discrimination against interstate commerce in violation of the commerce clause.”

Robinson writes that according to the U.S. Supreme Court, a tax is discriminatory when it results in “differential treatment of in-state and out-of-state economic interests that benefits the former and burdens the latter. If a restriction on commerce is discriminatory, it is virtually per se invalid.”

Robinson’s practice at McDermott Will & Emery is focused on state and local taxation. She regularly speaks and publishes on a variety of state tax topics and has been ranked as a leading tax controversy lawyer by The Legal 500 United States. Before joining McDermott, Leah worked at the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in Manhattan and was a member of the strategic trial attorney litigation team handling the largest section 482 transfer pricing controversy in history.

The full column is available here.

For more information, please contact Shaima Cardillo at 703-531-4852 or shaima_cardillo@tax.org.