Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen is the chair of Akerman’s State and Local Tax Practice, a national team advising multistate clients on compliance, controversy, and litigation matters in all 50 states. He serves clients in the financial, automotive, manufacturing, retail, ecommerce, pharmaceutical, healthcare, energy, telecommunications, technology, and insurance sectors as well as professional athletes and high net worth individuals. Michael prosecutes and defends tax controversy and litigation matters across the United States at the audit, administrative, and judicial levels. He litigates issues such as nexus, apportionment, sales tax refunds, and constitutional issues. Michael’s clients value his 50-state knowledge and his litigation experience, which include high stakes, precedent-setting cases.

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Arizona v. California: A Clear Case of “Passive Aggressiveness” in the State Taxation of Nonresidents

The State of Arizona has asked the Supreme Court of the United States to hear a challenge to the State of California’s taxation of nonresident members of California LLCs and nonresident shareholders of California corporations.  The crux of the dispute relates to California’s “doing business” tax on all entities that conduct business in the State.  … Continue Reading

Nothing to See Here? – Kaestner Trust Decision Leaves Many Unanswered Questions

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued its decision in North Carolina Department of Revenue v. Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Trust.  The Court unanimously determined that the residency of in-state beneficiaries alone is an insufficient basis for a State’s taxation of trust income where (1) the beneficiary did not receive distributions of trust income, (2) the … Continue Reading

Notable Changes to Florida Tax Law

The Florida legislature recently wrapped up its 2019 session. Of particular note, the following tax law changes were enacted. Documentary Stamp Tax – Deeds between Spouses Florida imposes a surtax – referred to as the “documentary stamp tax” – on real estate deeds based upon the consideration paid for the transfer. Mortgage indebtedness on the … Continue Reading

A Case of History Repeating Itself: State Taxation of Transportation Related Companies

During the Great Depression, the taxi industry boomed in the United States. This growth was fueled, in part, by the fact that the industry was largely unregulated. With many unemployed and underemployed individuals in need of extra money at the time, driving a taxi was a popular pursuit. At that time, drivers used “call boxes” … Continue Reading

Annie Get Your Gun: Wayfair and the Unresolved Ambiguities of Sales Tax Nexus

In the late nineteenth century, Annie Oakley was arguably the most famous woman in the country. She was renowned for her skill as a sharpshooter and traveled the country in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show performing mind-blowing feats. She is credited with shooting the ashes off a lit cigarette hanging out of someone’s mouth and … Continue Reading

You Can’t Touch This: Sale of Partnership Interest by Nonresident Corporate Partner Deemed Subject to NYC Tax Despite Lack of Unitary Business

The decision by the New York City Tax Appeals Tribunal in Goldman Sachs Petershill Fund Offshore Holdings Corp (“Petershill Fund“), unfortunately, does not involve parachute pants or any reference to the “Running Man” dance. Setting this disappointment aside, the case does address a critical constitutional issue impacting passive investors in partnerships. The crux of the … Continue Reading

Tempest in a Teapot? The Due Process Clause Implications of Kaestner Trust

The two primary constitutional weapons used to combat the application of state tax laws are the Due Process Clause and the Commerce Clause.  That said, for decades Due Process Clause arguments were often afterthoughts to those made under the Commerce Clause.  All that changed when the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair.  … Continue Reading

It’s Like Déjà Vu, All Over Again: Wayfair and the Evolution of Commerce

The United States Supreme Court has recently agreed to hear oral argument in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. – a case exploring the boundaries of sales and use tax nexus.  The crux of the dispute in Wayfair relates to the defining purposes and protections of Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  Much of the discussion … Continue Reading

“It’s Not You, It’s Me” – Agilent Technologies and the Inclusion of Foreign Holding Companies in Combined Corporate Income Tax Returns

In the famous Seinfeld episode titled “The Lip Reader,” George Costanza’s girlfriend breaks up with him by telling him “It’s not you, it’s me.”  George famously replied, “You’re giving me the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ routine? I invented ‘It’s not you, it’s me.'”  In the recent case of Agilent Technologies, Inc. v. Colorado Department … Continue Reading

Risky Business? – South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. Sets Stage for SCOTUS Review of Physical Presence Requirement for Sales and Use Taxes

It has long been the law of the land that a taxpayer must have a discernable physical presence in a state before it can be required to collect and remit sales and use taxes. The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed this bright-line test in the 1992 case of Quill Corp. v. North Dakota. In Quill, the … Continue Reading

Where’s My Sales? – Sourcing Sales Receipts for Ohio CAT Purposes

The cornerstone of any taxing regime is the situsing of receipts.  The taxpaying public must have certainty regarding when its income is subject to tax in a jurisdiction.  Recent rulings from the Ohio Department of Taxation (the “Department”) regarding the situsing of receipts for the Ohio Commercial Activity Tax (“CAT”), however, inject ambiguity into what … Continue Reading

Does One “Wrong” Make Two “Rights”? – The Demise of the Board of Equalization Results in Sweeping Changes in California

The California legislature has voted to strip the Board of Equalization of all powers and duties except for those originally given to it by constitutional amendment in 1879.  Over time, the board received the statutory authority to administer the California sales and use tax and many other state taxes and fees.  The Board also was … Continue Reading

Transfer Pricing Agreements in State Tax Planning

Multistate businesses routinely strive to make their corporate structures more efficient.  This goal often entails forming corporate affiliates with a single functional purpose.  For example, an entity could be formed to handle “back office” operations, to operate as the distributor of products sold by the business, to operate as the “bank” for the multistate operation, … Continue Reading

Back to the Future – Is there a Limit on the Retroactive Effect of State Tax Laws?

Like the premise of Back to the Future, state governments are tinkering with time. To improve future budget revenues, states are enacting retroactive tax levies. Much to the disappointment of taxpayers, the U.S. Supreme Court recently denied review in several state tax cases challenging the reach of retroactive tax laws.  These laws can have a … Continue Reading

On Shaky Ground: Are Pass-Through Entity Withholding Statutes Constitutional?

Taxpayers routinely use pass-through entities (PTEs) such as limited partnerships, limited liability companies, or S corporations to conduct multistate business. Because most states conform to federal law, there is no entity-level tax on the PTE. Instead, states seek to tax the owners of the PTE on the income received – or passed-through – from the … Continue Reading

TracFone Denied Sales Tax Exemption for Sale of Telecommunications Services

The Supreme Court of Missouri recently held that TracFone, a Miami-based telecommunications company, was not entitled to claim a statutory sales tax exemption relating to retail sales “in commerce.” TracFone purchased “air time” from national carriers for resale.  The “air time” and a TracFone handset were sold to Missouri residents in prepaid packages.  All handsets … Continue Reading

Instant Gratification and the Concept of Real Time Sales Tax Collection

In his fiscal year 2018 budget proposal, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker proposes a somewhat novel approach to the collection and remittance of sales taxes. Specifically, the Massachusetts Governor is proposing same-day collection and remittance.  How is this possible? You ask?  Through the assistance of third-party credit card processors.  The thought is that at the time … Continue Reading
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