Client Alert

Virginia Supreme Court Confirms that the Department’s Interpretation is Entitled to No Weight

22 Mar 2018

The Virginia Supreme Court granted the Company’s petition for rehearing and confirmed that the Department of Revenue’s interpretations that are not contained in regulations are entitled to no weight. 

The Court’s ultimate conclusion in the matter remained the same.  In a 4-3 decision, the Court held that the subject-to-tax safe harbor to the royalty addback was ambiguous and applies only to the extent that the royalties are actually taxed by another state. In addition, the Court agreed with the Company’s alternative argument that a portion of the royalties qualify for the safe harbor when: (1) the royalties are taxed by states that require the royalty payor to add back the royalty payments; or (2) the royalties are taxed by states that require combined or consolidated reporting. Three justices dissented and agreed with the Company that the subject-to-tax safe harbor does not require that the royalties actually be taxed.

Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc. v. Virginia Department of Taxation, Record No. 160681 (Va. Mar. 22, 2018).

Morrison & Foerster LLP was lead counsel in this case and was assisted by Hunton & Williams LLP.

Read a copy of the decision.

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