A few big bills filled with various tax provisions remain. Ones dealing primarily with property tax are SB 308 and HB 1290, and another affecting sales and income taxes is SB 309. Meanwhile, a couple bills – SB 323 and HB 1215 – call for important issues to be studied during the interim. And another bill cleans up last year’s “de minimus” legislation in HB 1169. All par for the course going into the final leg of the session.
Senate Bill 308, authored by Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek), and HB 1290 authored by Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville), are intended to take another shot at the “big box” property assessment issue and will require the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee chair (Hershman) and the House Ways and Means Committee chair (Brown) to work out some differences in conference committee. There is much agreement on a new approach to incorporate the concept of market segmentation into the process, but disagreement on the need to include a provision concerning actual building construction costs (that was part of the legislation from last year that is being repealed and replaced with the market segmentation provisions).
The two chairmen will also have to sit down and sort through differences in SB 309 that gets into all kinds of other tax matters. This bill is the one that effectively overturns the Tax Court case regarding the taxation of materials used in construction projects (the Lowe’s case.) Senate Bill 323, also a Sen. Hershman bill, directs the Legislative Services Agency to study mandatory unitary combined reporting for apportioning Indiana’s corporate income tax. This is an issue of great significance and concern to the Chamber. The House amended this bill to add transfer pricing, a related issue, to the scope of the study. Transfer pricing was at the heart of the Tax Court cases that spurred Sen. Hershman to promote the idea of combined reporting.
Another bill, HB 1215, authored by Rep. Brown, asks for the study of the personal property audit process. The Chamber welcomes this initiative to take a closer look at how these audits are conducted by private consultants working for the county assessing officials.
And lastly, we are pleased to report the passage of HB 1169, introduced by Rep. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville) to remove the notarization requirement attached to last year’s “de minimus” personal property tax exemption. Last week, the Senate took out the House’s reduction of the maximum county option fee; Rep. Saunders and the House concurred to that change and the legislation now moves to the Governor for signature.