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Florence County’s Tax Referendum Can Be Voted on in November

In State v. County of Florence, the Department of Revenue (“DOR”) sought to enjoin the County of Florence from placing a proposed tax referendum on the November 5, 2013 ballot.  The supreme court denied the relief sought.

In 2006, Florence County held a countywide referendum to approve a one percent sales and use tax to raise $148 million for six road projects.  The voters approved the tax.  As of January 31, 2013, a projected $447.6 million had been raised by the tax, but only an amount of $35.6 million had been spent on the six roads.  The tax is set to expire on April 30, 2014.  Florence County sought to put a referendum on the ballet to reimpose the tax but for entirely different projects.  Continue reading

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Same-Sex Couples Legally Married in another State or Country but Domiciled in South Carolina Can File Joint Returns for Federal Tax Purposes

In Revenue Ruling 2013-17, 2013- ___ I.R.B. ___ (Aug. 30, 2013), the Internal Revenue Service decided that same-sex married couples can file joint tax returns even if they are domiciled in a State that does not recognize same-sex marriage, like South Carolina, so long as they were lawfully married.  In addition, this Ruling states that the words “spouse,” “husband,” “wife,” and “husband and wife” are gender neutral terms for purposes of federal tax law.

 Thus, it does not matter for federal tax purposes that a couple’s marriage is not recognized in South Carolina.  See S.C. Const. Art. XVII, section 15; S.C. Code Ann. § 20-1-15 (1996).  So long as the couple was married in a State (which includes foreign jurisdictions) that lawfully permits same-sex marriage, the couple can file a joint tax return and receive the same benefits of opposite sex married couples.  Under this Ruling, South Carolina same-sex couple can also file amended tax returns within the applicable statute of limitations to receive the benefits of the Ruling.

 This Ruling is a follow up to the United States v. Windsor decision which was discussed in a post entitled: “The Impact (If Any) of Windsor and Perry on South Carolina’s Definition of Marriage.”

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A Partnership Is Not a “Taxpayer” for Purposes of Infrastructure Tax Credits

In Centex International, Inc. v. South Carolina Department of Revenue, the supreme court held that a corporation could not claim infrastructure tax credits because the corporation’s partnership incurred the expense, not the corporation itself.

Centex International’s three corporate affiliates owned a general partnership, Centex Homes.  Centex Homes incurred $68,000,000 of infrastructure project expenses.  Centex International claimed tax credits of $5,113,040 for the expenses incurred for the infrastructure projects. Continue reading

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“What Is the Difference Between a Taxidermist and a Tax Collector?”

“The taxidermist takes only your skin.”  Justice Hearn began the unanimous, majority decision in Bodman v. South Carolina with that quote from Mark Twain.  Bodman challenged the constitutionality of the exceptions to and cap schemes on the state sales and use tax because, in his opinion, they removed any rational relationship to the tax itself.  He did not challenge the constitutionality of any of the individual taxes; instead he challenged the scheme as a whole. Continue reading

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The Court Will Not Issue Advisory Opinions When There Is No Actual Dispute

In Tourism Expenditure Review Committee v. City of Myrtle Beach, the supreme court refused to decide a case for want of subject matter jurisdiction when there was no tax dispute between the City of Myrtle Beach and the Tourism Expenditure Review Committee (TERC).

The South Carolina Accommodations Tax imposes a 7% tax on all sleeping accommodation provided to overnight guests.  The 7% includes a 2% “local accommodations tax” which is remitted to the counties and municipalities where it is collected. The local accommodations tax (The Tax) is what is at issue in this dispute. Continue reading

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