• 07.27.2017
    New Seattle Income Tax: Answers to Your FAQs
    The City of Seattle adopted Ordinance 125339 on July 14, 2017, which imposes an income tax on Seattle residents and certain irrevocable trusts.
  • 01.04.2017
    India Amends Capital Gains Tax Treaty With Singapore
    The Government of India amended its double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) with Singapore on December 30, 2016.
  • 08.25.2016
    Indian Government Approves New India-Cyprus Tax Treaty
    The Indian government approved a new India-Cyprus tax treaty on August 24, 2016  that will allow the Indian government to tax capital gains on investments routed through Cyprus.
  • 08.11.2016
    Will the Panama Papers Lead to Criminal Charges Against U.S. Taxpayers?
    The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), collaborating with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, in spring 2016 began leaking approximately 11 million internal documents obtained without permission from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca by an anonymous whistleblower.
  • 05.16.2016
    New Production Tax Credit “Beginning of Construction” Advice from the IRS
    The IRS recently issued Notice 2016-31, providing further guidance regarding the “beginning of construction” requirement for the production tax credit (PTC).
  • 04.28.2016
    New HIPAA Phase 2 Audits: Targets Notified by Email Only
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights recently announced the long-awaited launch of Phase 2 of its HIPAA Audit Program.
  • 12.29.2015
    Capital Gains Tax Exclusion for Certain New Investments in Small Businesses Made Permanent

    President Obama signed into law the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act) on December 18, 2015.  Among other provisions, the PATH Act provides that the 100 percent exclusion from gross income of certain capital gains from sales of qualified small business stock will apply to all investments made after September 27, 2010, including investments made in 2015 that were not eligible for the exclusion prior to the passage of the PATH Act. 

  • 12.21.2015
    Congress Extends PTC and ITC Renewable Energy Tax Credits
    The renewable energy industry, particularly the wind and solar energy sectors, have been hopeful that the U.S. Congress would act this year to extend certain tax credits that project developers and related sectors, such as construction contractors and equipment manufacturers, are dependent on to finance their projects.  Congress passed legislation at the end of last week, which President Obama signed into law on December 18, 2015, that extends these tax credits as part of an omnibus spending package.
  • 12.04.2015
    M&A Transactions: Affordable Care Act Due Diligence Considerations
    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has significantly changed the legal landscape for employer-sponsored health plans by adding reporting obligations, benefit mandates, fees, notices and potential penalties for plans that do not meet specific coverage and cost requirements.
  • 09.21.2015
    The Price of Customer Loyalty: Rewards Programs and Sales and Use Tax Issues
    Retailers and other businesses use loyalty and rewards programs to draw in customers throughout the year. However, there are several sales and use tax consequences of promoting consumer loyalty.
  • 09.16.2015
    New IRS Guidance May Promote Community Residential Solar Developments
    On September 4, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service released a private letter ruling that could have meaningful impacts on the funding and development of certain residential solar developments, specifically community solar developments for use with residences.
  • 08.2015
    Sales and Use Tax Implications of Loyalty Programs

    WG&L Journals, Journal of Taxation

    Examining a loyalty program reward's form, structure, and parameters is essential for determining the state sales and use tax consequences.  Read the full article.
  • 07.21.2015
    U.S. DOL Sets Sights on Businesses Using Independent Contractors
    Employers should take immediate action to ensure that they are properly classifying their workers in light of new guidance released on July 15, 2015, by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
  • 05.01.2015
    Washington Court of Appeals: No Transactional Nexus Requirement or Dissociation for Washington B&O Tax
    On April 292015, the Washington Court of Appeals issued an important tax decision in Avnet, Inc. v. Washington Department of RevenueDkt. No. 45108-5-II.  In its most significant holding, the court of appeals effectively eliminated the transactional nexus requirement for Washington B&O tax.  
  • 03.26.2015
    IRS Issues Fourth Production Tax Credit Guidance
    The Internal Revenue Service recently issued the expected Notice 2015-25, which supplements its earlier notices on the same subject and provides additional guidance to renewable energy facility developers and investors when evaluating whether their facilities satisfy the “beginning of construction” requirement for the Section 45 renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and the Section 48 investment tax credit (ITC) in lieu of the PTC.
  • 05.21.2014
    Speak Up Now: Seattle $15 Minimum Wage Proposal Comment Period Begins May 22
    The Seattle employment community is abuzz about the prospect of a $15 minimum wage for all Seattle employees, which would make it the highest minimum wage in the nation.
  • 03.04.2014
    Final “Play-or-Pay” Regulations Provide Relief and Much Needed Clarification
    The Affordable Care Act added the so-called “Play-or-Pay” mandate or “Employer Shared Responsibility” provisions to the Internal Revenue Code (the Code).
  • 12.12.2013
    Oregon Supreme Court Decides Sales Factor Case
    On December 12, 2013, the Oregon Supreme Court issued its decision in Tektronix, Inc. v. Oregon Dep’t. of Revenue.  The court held that the taxpayer’s receipts from the sale of goodwill, making up a part of the sale of a business division, were excluded from the sales factor under ORS 314.665(6)(a).
  • 10.07.2013
    The Affordable Care Act Creates Compliance Challenges for HRAs and Other Arrangements
    On September 13, 2013 the U.S. Department of the Treasury (IRS), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), collectively referred to herein as the Departments, coordinated the issuance of guidance regarding the application of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to health reimbursement arrangements and other employer-sponsored healthcare arrangements.
  • 10.01.2013
    Financial Reform Act: SEC Proposes CEO Pay Ratio Disclosure Rules
    Recently, the SEC, by a vote of 3 to 2, proposed long-delayed and controversial rules to implement the “CEO pay ratio” disclosure mandated under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  The proposed rules, voted in on September 18, 2013, would require U.S. public companies to disclose the median annual total compensation of all employees and the ratio of that median to the annual total compensation of the company’s CEO.
  • 09.18.2013
    IRS Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage: Employee Benefit Considerations
    In response to the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), the Internal Revenue Service issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17 (Ruling) on August 29, 2013, in which the IRS set forth the following federal tax principles:
  • 08.26.2013
    Health Plan Agrees to $1.2 Million Settlement for Photocopier HIPAA Security Breach
    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a settlement on August 14, 2013, with Affinity Health Plan (Affinity), a not-for-profit managed care plan, which included a payment of $1,215,780, for a HIPAA security violation caused by Affinity’s failure to remove Electronic Protected Health Information (EPHI) from the hard drive of a leased photocopier that was returned to the leasing company.
  • 07.16.2013
    Post-Windsor Treatment of Same-Sex Spouses Under Qualified Retirement Plans
    The United States Supreme Court significantly changed the treatment of same-sex spouses under qualified retirement plans in United States v. Windsor.  For the implications of Windsor and its companion case Hollingsworth v. Perry on health and welfare plans, please read our prior Client Update.
  • 07.11.2013
    Washington Service B&O Tax Rate Drops From 1.8% to 1.5%
    In 2010, the Washington legislature passed significant B&O tax changes including the adoption of economic nexus and market sourcing for service activities, as well as the imposition of B&O tax on directors’ fees. However, the largest revenue raiser came from a temporary increase of the service B&O tax rate from 1.5% to 1.8% from May 1, 2010 through June 30, 2013. While there were concerns that the 2013 legislature would extend the “temporary” increase, it did not. As a result, the service B&O tax rate reverted to 1.5% beginning on July 1, 2013.
  • 07.03.2013
    Implications of Same-Sex Marriage Decisions by U.S. Supreme Court for Employer-Sponsored Health and Welfare Benefit Plans
    Two controversial cases involving same-sex marriage were decided on June 26, 2013 by the United States Supreme Court.  The first is United States v. Windsor and the second is Hollingsworth v. Perry.
  • 07.02.2013
    Play-or-Pay Tax Penalties Under Affordable Care Act Will Not Apply Until 2015, Treasury Department Announces
    The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced today that after hearing and considering the concerns of employers about the complexity of compliance with the Play-or-Pay requirements under the Affordable Care Act, it is postponing the mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements until 2015.
  • 06.12.2013
    Revised IRS Form 720, Updated for Reporting Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Fees, Now Available: Due by July 31, 2013
    The Affordable Care Act (the ACA) established the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (the Institute) in order to provide comparative clinical effectiveness research data so that patients, health care providers, purchasers of health care and insurance products and policy-makers can make informed decisions.
  • 06.10.2013
    AOL’s Washington Sales Tax Refund Award Affirmed
    On June 4, 2013, the Thurston County Superior Court issued a written decision affirming the opinion of the Washington State Board of Tax Appeals (Board) in AOL Inc. v. Washington Department of Revenue, No. 11-076 (Wash. B.T.A. May 9, 2012).
  • 05.17.2013
    In re LIBOR-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation: A Long Road Ahead
    In a self-described “unexpected” ruling for the defendants in the consolidated LIBOR proceedings, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald has dismissed the private plaintiffs’ antitrust and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claims and significantly narrowed the scope of the Commodity and Exchange Act (CEA) claim.
  • 04.22.2013
    The Affordable Care Act’s “Play-or-Pay” Mandate: Who Is a Full-Time Employee for Purposes of the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment?
    Recently, we published a Client Updateexplaining how the Play-or-Pay mandate, or Employer Shared Responsibility provision, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) generally works.
  • 04.01.2013
    2012 - 2013 Northwest State Tax Summary: Washington

    Tax Analysts, State Tax Notes

    This article, Part II of a two-part series, highlights some of the major state and local tax questions and developments in Washington state.
  • 03.27.2013
    Portland Adopts Mandatory Sick Leave Law
    Portland has become just the fourth U.S. city to require that employers provide sick leave. The Portland ordinance goes into effect January 1, 2014. Following is a brief summary of the ordinance. As the effective date approaches, we will provide updates dealing with the many traps and reporting difficulties created by the ordinance.
  • 03.25.2013
    2012 - 2013 Northwest State Tax Summary: Oregon

    Tax Analysts, State Tax Notes

    There was a great deal of state tax activity in Oregon and Washington in 2012 with the prospect of more developments to report in 2013. This article, Part I of a two-part series, highlights some of the activity in Oregon.
  • 02.12.2013
    The Affordable Care Act’s “Play or Pay” Mandate: How It Works
    The Affordable Care Act added the so-called “Play or Pay” mandate or “Employer Shared Responsibility” provisions to the Internal Revenue Code (the Code).  Starting in 2014, certain employers may be subject to a penalty tax, or “Employer Shared Responsibility Payment,” if (1) they fail to offer the opportunity to enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan that offers “minimum essential coverage” (MEC) to substantially all full-time employees (and certain dependents); or (2) MEC is offered but it is unaffordable or does not provide the required minimum value; and (3) at least one of the employer’s full-time employees receives a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction for purchasing health insurance through an Exchange.
  • 01.30.2013
    Exchange Notice Deadline Postponed: Employers Need Not Furnish the Notice of Coverage Options Available Through Exchanges by March 1, 2013
    The Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide written notice of coverage options available through an Exchange (the Exchange Notice) to each employee by March 1, 2013 and to each new employee thereafter on his or her date of hire.
  • 01.28.2013
    New HIPAA Omnibus Rule Implementing Provisions of the HITECH Act: An Overview of Changes
    Final implementing regulations for many provisions of the HITECH Act (Health Insurance Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act) were issued by the Department of Health and Human Services recently, and will appear in the Federal Register on January 25, 2013. Informally referred to as the Omnibus Rule, the regulations address a number of changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, HIPAA Security Rule, HIPAA breach notification rule, HIPAA privacy and security enforcement provisions, Business Associate definition and agreement requirements, and the interaction between HIPAA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
  • 01.23.2013
    Recent Changes to the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System

    To kick off 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Procedure 2013-12 updating the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), the voluntary compliance program for employer-sponsored retirement plans.  Changes become effective on April 1, 2013, but plan sponsors may elect to use the revised program as soon as the IRS releases the newly created Forms 8950 and 8951. 

  • 01.14.2013
    Investment Window for Capital Gains Tax Exclusion for Certain New Investments in Small Businesses Extended to December 31, 2013
    On January 2, 2013, President Obama signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the Act). Among other provisions, the Act provides that the 100% exclusion from gross income of certain capital gains from sales of qualified small business stock will apply to investments made after September 27, 2010 and before January 1, 2014, including investments made in 2012 that were not eligible for the exclusion prior to the passage of the Act.
  • 12.20.2012
    No Oregon Income Tax Nexus for Company Owning Intangibles Used in State
    A federal bankruptcy court judge has held that Washington Mutual, Inc. (WMI), a parent holding company that owned bank subsidiaries conducting business in Oregon, did not have nexus in Oregon by virtue of its ownership of the banks, the ownership of intangibles used by the banks in Oregon for no fee and the receipt of dividends from the banks.
  • 12.12.2012
    New Rules Will Be “Taxing” on Medical Device Manufacturers
    The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued much-anticipated final regulations under Section 4191 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code), which imposes a 2.3% tax on sales of any “taxable medical device” by a manufacturer, producer or importer (collectively referred to as “manufacturers”). The IRS simultaneously issued Notice 2012-77, providing interim guidance to manufacturers while it continues to study certain issues that are not addressed by the final regulations.
  • 11.13.2012
    Preparing for the 3.8% Medicare Surtax on Net Investment Income
    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Affordable Care Act) institutes a new 3.8 percent Medicare surtax on net investment income effective January 1, 2013.
  • 10.02.2012
    LIBOR Reform Plans Announced by U.K. Regulators
    In a move intended to ease the uncertainty surrounding the future role of LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate), on September 28, 2012, Martin Wheatley of the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority (the FSA) offered a path to overhauling the benchmark interest rate.  
  • 07.17.2012
    LIBOR Rate-Fixing Scandal Deepens as Potential Plaintiffs Consider Legal Options
    In the wake of the recent admissions by Barclays Bank PLC that its traders sought to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR"), corporations and other investors are only now beginning to appreciate the magnitude of the scandal and to consider how it might impact their own investments.
  • 05.25.2012
    AOL Gets Its Day in Court (Finally) and Is Awarded Washington Sales Tax Refund
    On May 9, 2012, the Washington State Board of Tax Appeals granted summary judgment to AOL, Inc., holding that AOL's purchases of services permitting its customers to connect with AOL's data center and the Internet were not subject to retail sales tax.  AOL Inc. v. Wash. Dep't of Revenue, No. 11-076 (Wash. B.T.A. May 9, 2012).  The procedural lessons of this case may be as important in Washington tax practice as the substantive case.
  • 04.12.2012
    2012 Washington Legislative Session: State Taxes
    In double overtime, the Washington State Legislature ended the 2012 legislative session Wednesday morning, April 11, closing a roughly half-billion dollar shortfall for the two-year budget cycle.
  • 12.14.2010
    Washington State Adopts Amnesty Program

    On December 11, 2010, in a one-day special session, the Washington state legislature passed its first ever amnesty program, which the Governor is expected to sign.  Under certain circumstances, taxpayers paying past tax liabilities will have their interest and penalties waived.

  • 11.03.2010
    Amazon.com Obtains Declaratory Judgment Against the State of North Carolina’s Efforts to Obtain Customers' Online Purchase Records
    The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington granted Amazon.com's request for  declaratory judgment that the North Carolina Department of Revenue’s (the Department) information requests for the production of customer purchase records violated the First Amendment and the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), 18 U.S.C. § 2710.  Amazon.com LLC v. Lay, No. C10-664-MJP, 2010 WL 4262266 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 25, 2010).
  • 09.03.2010
    Washington State Retail Sales Tax Litigation
    Collecting the right retail sales tax is sometimes a difficult task, but the government should not intentionally make it harder.  Unfortunately, because of a recent change in the law, retailers with operations in Washington state faced a confusing and uncertain tax environment, made worse by an unfortunate injunction obtained by the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County.
  • 08.25.2010
    Perkins Coie Obtains Modification of B.C. / Nonresident Sales Tax Exemption Injunction for Benefit of Retailers
    Since 1965 Washington State has granted a retail sales tax exemption for purchases of goods for use outside the state by residents of states and provinces with a retail sales tax of less than 3%.
  • 04.15.2010
    2010 Washington State Tax Legislation: What You Need to Know
    On April 12, 2010 the Washington State Legislature resolved the budget impasse and adopted a $794 million tax package that the governor is expected to sign.  The tax bill, 2ESSB 6143, contains a number of major changes to Washington’s tax system.