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SALT TALK:  Aliens, Adult Entertainment, and Amnesty

Wayne Berkowitz CPA, J.D., LL.M. 09.19.2016 | SALT TALK

We have recently reached the one year milestone with our Berdon Blogs (see ...announcement…).  What better way to celebrate than to come up with a title for this week’s blog that will hopefully propel its readership past that of the previously most popular article by my Partner Scott Ditman!  So here are a few interesting state and local tax tidbits that address aliens, adult entertainment (in New York), and tax amnesty (in Pennsylvania).

Facebook is locating a new datacenter in Los Lunas, New Mexico while New York adult entertainment establishments continue to battle the sales tax.  In exchange for property and sales tax breaks reported to be worth millions, Facebook will make an initial investment of $250 million to locate part of the cloud a mere 200 miles away from the UFO capital of Roswell. 

And in another example of “you just can’t make this stuff up,” the New York Tax Appeals Tribunal held that an adult entertainment establishment was clearly a place of amusement subject to the sales tax. The sales tax exemption for dramatic or musical performances did not apply.

I’m also keeping the promise I made in the August 1, 2016, blog to fill you in regarding the details of Pennsylvania’s recently enacted and very generous amnesty program.  The 14 pages of the Department of Revenue’s Tax Amnesty Program Guidelines announce the amnesty period will begin on April 21, 2017, and end on June 19, 2017.  All taxes administered by the DOR for tax delinquencies (not tax periods) through Dec. 31, 2015 are eligible. 

Interestingly, taxpayers must be current for all returns subsequent in order for Amnesty approval.  For example, Personal Income Tax returns for the tax year ended Dec. 31, 2014 (due April 15, 2015) are the latest eligible.  The taxpayer would need to be current for the 2015 and 2016 tax years to be approved for Amnesty.  Other restrictions include having no criminal proceedings (past or present) related to taxes administered by the DOR or having participated in the 2010 Amnesty.

While the program is very generous in completely abating penalties and one half of the interest due, all payments must be made during the amnesty period.  If an applicant claims serious financial hardship, the Guidelines permit payment of one half of the total balance due along with two other payments to be made during the limited amnesty period.

Questions?  Contact your Berdon advisor or Wayne Berkowitz at WBerkowitz@Berdonllp.com.

Wayne Berkowitz, a tax partner and head of the State and Local Tax Group at Berdon LLP, New York Accountants, advises on the unique requirements of governments and municipalities across the nation.

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