Washington, DC - The Council On State Taxation (COST) filed an amici "friend of the court" brief in the U.S. Supreme Court this week on behalf of Ford Motor Company, which is challenging the constitutionality of the application of Washington city business activity taxes on Ford's wholesaling activity. The National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce for the United States joined COST on the brief.
Ford petitioned the Supreme Court to review a Washington Supreme Court 5-4 decision against Ford. Ford Motor Co. v. City of Seattle and City of Tacoma, 156 P.3d 185 (Wash. 2007). The Washington Supreme Court decision upheld the cities' levy of business activity taxes on the entire value of Ford's wholesaling activity in their jurisdiction. Ford argued to the Supreme Court that because only a small portion of the business activity leading up the sales occurred in the cities, the tax base must be apportioned. Ford's Constitutional argument (which was embraced by the dissent) is that the lack of apportionment violates the internal and external consistency tests. The COST amici brief supports the request for review and stresses the importance of the issue beyond Washington by citing examples of unapportioned business activity taxes in other states.
COST is a nonprofit trade association consisting of nearly 600 multistate corporations whose objective is to preserve and promote equitable and nondiscriminatory state and local taxation.
Click here to view the brief.
If you have questions regarding the brief, please contact the author, Todd Lard.