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Tax Committee Update
July 7, 2011

Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky

2011 Legislative Session Wrap-up

The State legislature completed their regular 2011 session June 24th, with approval of a real property tax cap as one of their final actions. While the legislature is likely to return to Albany later this year to address several additional issues, it is unlikely that any significant tax legislation will be on their agenda.

The legislature also passed a flurry of local tax bills, including extensions of local sales tax authority for no fewer than fifty-three municipalities (mostly counties), as well as extensions of various municipal mortgage recording, hotel/motel, real estate transfer and personal income tax extensions. 

Moreover, the legislature took final action on a handful of more significant tax measures during May and June.  A summary of these bills is provided below.  The Business Council's comprehensive summary of the legislative session is available online here.

Complete text of all legislation is available on the Assembly's public web site. Please feel free to contact me for more information, or if you would like to discuss any of these issues.

Federal “Mobile Workforce” Legislation

The Business Council is working with the Council on State Taxation to support H.R. 1864, the “Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act of 2011,” now pending before Congress.  Basically, this legislation exempts employee income from state taxation, tax withholding, and tax reporting unless the employee is performing work duties in that state for more than thirty days in a calendar year.  In past years, we have heard concerns from member companies that the Department of Taxation and Finance's approach to temporary in-state employees has caused administrative burdens, and in some instances, has discouraged business activity in New York.

The Business Council and COST will be meeting with state budget and tax officials later this month to discuss this legislation. 

I would appreciate hearing from members that have had concerns about this issue, and that support the approach proposed in H.R.1864, so that we can engage you in our advocacy efforts at the state and federal issues.  Please contact me at your convenience to discuss this legislation.

Advisory Opinions

Several members of the Council's Tax Committee members met with Department staff last week to discuss options for improving its criteria and process for issuing Advisory Opinions. This meeting was a followup to prior discussions with Commissioner Mattox, who raised concerns about the value of the existing AO process. Tax Committee members made several specific recommendations, including making draft advisory opinions available for public review and comment prior to their adoption, especially in instances where an AO is addressing a new issue or where an AO addresses an issue of industry-wide interest, and publishing notices of topics on which advisory opinions have been requested. The Business Council work group agreed to provide the Department with suggested amendments to the Department's AO rule, 20 NYCRR Part 2376. The Council will also be making recommendations on areas of industry-specific concerns, such as tax issues related to emerging technologies, on which additional Departmental guidance would be useful. I would appreciate hearing from additional Tax Committee members on this issue, and we welcome additional Committee input into this AO procedural reform effort.