State and Local Tax

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Dickinson Wright’s State & Local Tax (SALT) attorneys bring decades of experience in the gamut of taxes imposed by states, provinces, counties, special-purpose districts, and municipalities across the United States and Canada. They combine backgrounds in tax law, municipal and government law, constitutional law, commercial litigation, and appellate advocacy, as well as sophisticated knowledge of mergers, acquisitions, and reorganizations. They advise and assist clients in every stage of tax work: counseling on evaluating and structuring transactions, handling audits and assessments, managing property appraisals, pursuing appeals of valuation and classification, litigating tax controversies in administrative and judicial forums, and working on legislative solutions.

Types of Taxes

Whether the issue involves a single state or multistate analysis, Dickinson Wright’s SALT team works on types of taxes that often are unique to the field and have no parallel in federal tax law:

• Real and personal property taxes
• Sales and use taxes
• Transaction privilege taxes
• Franchise taxes
• Excise taxes on particular types of businesses or occupations
• Luxury taxes
• Income taxes
• Premium and retaliatory taxes

Clients and Industries

Dickinson Wright attorneys have represented a wide variety of businesses and individuals in a wide range of SALT matters:

• Industrial and manufacturing companies
• Energy production and distribution industries
• Publishers, data processors, and telecommunications companies
• Shopping malls and retail stores
• Transportation and travel companies
• Hotels, casinos, golf courses, and other hospitality companies
• Office and mixed-use buildings
• Financial companies
• Apartment complexes and residential developers

Types of Tax Relief

Dickinson Wright’s SALT lawyers regularly provide a range of services to clients aimed at mitigating tax burdens and obtaining relief:

• Advising clients regarding the state and local tax implications of mergers, acquisitions, and asset purchases
• Advising clients regarding successor liability for taxes
• Pursuing multistate voluntary disclosure agreements to reduce penalties and past tax liabilities
• Obtaining refunds of overpaid sales and use taxes
• Advising developers and construction contractors regarding transaction privilege tax liability
• Advising computer data center and renewable energy properties regarding tax incentives, sales and use taxes, contracting, taxes, and property taxes
• Obtaining property tax exemptions for nonprofit entities

Statutory and Constitutional Issues

SALT raises both statutory and constitutional issues that are specific to single- and multi-jurisdictional contexts:

• Application of unique state statutes, city tax codes, and local ordinances
• Sourcing, allocation, and apportionment of income under the Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act (UDITPA) or other statutory regimes
• Constitutional “nexus” issues affecting sales and use taxes as well as income taxes
• Due process, federal commerce clause, and equal protection challenges to state and local taxes
• Challenges to property taxes under the “uniformity clauses” of state constitutions
• Federal preemption of state taxes, including categorical and Bracker preemption under federal Indian law
• Tax exemptions
• Tax incentives
Representative Matters

• Successfully represented the owner of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties in establishing both in the Arizona Court of Appeals and through prospective legislation that LIHTC properties are valued based on actual government-restricted rents rather than imputed market rents.

• Successfully represented the owner of a power plant constructed on land leased from the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation in establishing in the Arizona Court of Appeals that federal Indian law categorically preempts state and local ad valorem property taxes on permanent improvements.

• Successfully represented a residential developer in establishing that it was not liable for speculative builder taxes and advising commercial developers to properly ascertain and plan for speculative builder tax

• Successfully represented numerous manufacturing and industrial properties to reduce their ad valorem liabilities by millions of dollars.

• Advised multistate multilevel marketing companies regarding sales and use tax nexus matters.

Successfully established that newspaper-production software was eligible for the state machinery-and-equipment transaction-privilege-tax exemption because newspaper publishers qualify as “manufacturers.”
• Represented, on a pro bono basis, Jewish, Catholic, and Lutheran school tuition organizations in upholding the constitutionality of Arizona’s private-school tuition tax credit and filed the only amicus brief approvingly cited by the U.S. Solicitor General and State of Arizona.
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