The Tax Trotter

On NH v. Mass. Remote Tax Case – Should SCOTUS Pass or Play? Reactions to the SG’s Brief

Posted by Richard Jones on May 28, 2021 2:27:34 PM

The Solicitor General has weighed in on New Hampshire's attempt to get #SCOTUS to strike down Massachusetts' temporary tax rules for remote workers. On the threshold question of whether the Court should take the case, the Solicitor General advises against.  A few comments and reactions to the SG’s brief:

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Topics: statetax, supremecourt, remotework

The Most Draconian Tax Rule in the World

Posted by Irina Pisareva on Mar 4, 2021 5:04:03 PM

Today, the Tax Trotter is pleased to present an article by her international tax partner Douglas S. Stransky. This article is the first installment in the 2-part post focusing on the Adams Challenge case.

In today's blog, we look at the most draconian tax rule in the world and examine whether the rule is valid. In addition, we examine a recent United States Tax Court case where the court upheld this draconian rule against a UK company, Adams Challenge (UK) Ltd. v. Commissioner, 154 T.C. 37 (2020).

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Topics: Tax Court, trade or business, United States tax law, federal income tax, nondiscrimination, business profits, Adams Challenge, Section 882, tax treaty

Tax Trotter Big Tech Files

Posted by Irina Pisareva on Feb 3, 2021 9:51:53 AM

On February 1, my brilliant partner Rich Jones (supported by our very own Caroline Kupiec and Joseph Donovan) presented oral argument on behalf of Oracle USA, Inc. and Microsoft in the case of Oracle USA, Inc. v. Commissioner of Revenue before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on February 1, 2021. The case, which the SJC transferred sua sponte from the Massachusetts Appeals Court, concerns taxpayers’ rights to apportion Massachusetts sales tax with respect to software purchased for use in multiple states. The case raises important issues concerning the Massachusetts Commissioner of Revenue’s authority, including whether it may promulgate substantive tax law and curtail taxpayers’ statutory abatement rights via regulation. At oral argument Rich explained that the Massachusetts Constitution vests the Legislature with the exclusive authority to impose tax, and contended that the Commissioner has authority only to determine how, and not whether, sales tax from software sales may be apportioned. He further argued that the Commissioner’s regulation did not (and indeed, could not) abridge a taxpayer’s right to seek apportionment through the statutory abatement process.

Click here to access a recording of the arguments. 

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Topics: sales tax, Massachusetts sales tax

Of Countertops and Sales Tax in Massachusetts

Posted by Irina Pisareva on Jan 25, 2021 3:15:00 PM

Remodeling one’s kitchen is undoubtedly one of the most expensive items on a fixer-upper owner’s budget. The Tax Trotter knows first-hand – she and Mr. Tax Trotter purchased the worst house on the best block 8 years ago and are still renovating it. Multiple cost-saving strategies have been deployed, including buying underpriced mahogany furniture sold on commission to affixing a custom-ordered granite countertop to a set of classic style cream cabinets sourced from IKEA on a savvy friend’s advice. There were some excesses because the Tax Trotter insisted on using a certain European paint brand – to the Tax Trotter’s eye the brand’s color palette did not appear as "fluorescent" as paints manufactured by brands offered in big box stores.

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Topics: Sales & Use Taxes, Tax Trotter: State Tax Files, State Taxation of Real Estate Contractors

The Trotter Interview Files: Nick O’Donnell of the Art Law Report

Posted by Irina Pisareva on Jan 11, 2021 12:00:00 PM

Last week the Trotter chatted with her partner and fellow blog editor, Nick O’Donnell. Nick’s practice focuses primarily on complex civil litigation, for which he has appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States. See Guelph Treasure Art Restitution Case Media Coverage. Nick’s blog, the Art Law Report, covers legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities, one of his areas of expertise.

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Home Office, Sweet Home Office, Could I Deduct Thee?

Posted by Irina Pisareva on Jan 8, 2021 12:00:00 PM

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a home office deduction ("HOD") remains one of the main triggers for a tax audit… And yet, with so many of us working from home in 2020, the home office deduction is most likely to make an appearance on most returns… or is it?

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A Warm Welcome to the Tax Trotter

Posted by Irina Pisareva on Jan 7, 2021 2:00:36 PM

Happy New Year and welcome to the Tax Trotter!

The Trotter’s goal is to bring you the insights, analysis and tax news from around the world in a timely, engaging and easy-to-read fashion. Whether you are an employee or an executive of a multinational corporation, an entrepreneur, an investor, a wealth adviser, an asset manager or are otherwise interested in tax and fiscal policy, the Trotter aims to inform and support you. You should expect in-depth weekly posts analyzing all matters tax, breaking tax news bites, monthly or more frequent “Tea with Trotter” podcasts with tax luminaries, weekend “detour” features introducing you to a more entertaining face of tax or things we tax people enjoy in our limited spare time (trust funds for puppies, anyone?) and Proust-style profiles of people in tax and beyond.

What a year 2020 has been! Stock markets running high, travel low, Zoom reigning supreme with the blue light eyeglass filter becoming as popular as the anti-glare… And those of us working from home feeling blessed and yet complaining of cabin fever… Cabin fever swiftly followed by guilt after a run-in with an essential worker (your postman, your Whole Foods cashier, the staff and the drivers at your favorite takeout restaurant, your urgent care nurse practitioner and many others) who has no choice but to interact with the greater world and, therefore, is risking so much more than any of us homebound.

A few specific cases and issues The Trotter is looking forward to in 2021:

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About the Blog


The Tax Trotter brings you tax insights from around the world.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

Meet the Editor


Irina Pisareva

Irina Pisareva is Tax Partner in Sullivan's New York office. She specializes in tax structuring of cross-border debt and equity transactions, alternative investment funds and investment management companies, international taxation of securities and private capital.

Before joining Sullivan, Irina was a partner at EY where she served as a lead international tax service partner for private equity, credit and multi-strategy asset management firms with $2bln to $300+ bill AUM. In addition to her structuring and transactional practice, Irina developed programs to reduce organizational tax risk and optimize global effective tax rate for companies and family offices.

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