Supreme Court May 2015

Supreme Court of the US upholds MD taxpayers’ right to credit for taxes paid to other states
Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Wynne

In its May 18, 2015 Wynne v. Comptroller of Maryland decision, the Supreme Court upheld the taxpayers right to receive a credit for taxes paid to other states against both the state portion of the tax and the county piggyback portion of tax.

The Wynne’s are Maryland residents and shareholders in a pass-through entity. The income of the pass-through entity is taxed in other states. Maryland also taxes this income, but grants a credit for taxes paid to the other states to offset the MD state tax and prevent double taxation on the income. Maryland has a “piggyback” tax added to its state tax and its long standing position has been to not grant a credit against this portion of tax.

The piggyback tax is an additional portion of state income tax given that even nonresidents have to pay an equivalency through the “special nonresident tax”.

The Supreme Court held that not granting the credit against the additional portion of tax is unconstitutional because it violates the dormant commerce clause. This is particularly seen through the internal consistency test. If every state adopted Maryland’s tax structure, taxes would be lower on in-state business as compared to interstate business.

Impacted taxpayers can amend prior income tax returns to claim the additional credit for taxes paid to other states, subject to the 3 year statute of limitations. Current and future filings can utilize the full credit once Maryland’s computers are updated for the new processing method.

Here is a link to the actual Supreme Court decision: