Summer 2020

Letter from the Chair

I hope this edition of the Michigan Tax Lawyer finds you and your family healthy. This Letter from the Chair arrives at a time when we have seen a tremendous upheaval in our lives on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our Section members have been fortunate enough to be able to transition their practice to a home office and to adapt to working remotely. (I will spare everyone jokes about lawyers not being treated uniformly as “essential” workers under Michigan’s stay-at-home orders.) As I write this, some members have already returned to, or are preparing to return to, their business offices. However, there still remains significant uncertainty as to what the future will hold. Read More

Committee Reports

Lena Gionnette is the current Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee. On February 5, 2020, the Employee Benefits Committee held a breakfast event on fiduciary compliance. Brian Lakkides of Fiduciary Firewall Consulting led the discussion. On August 5, 2020, the Employee Benefits Committee held a virtual webinar on COVID-19 related guidance. The Committee is currently developing its schedule of future events. For information on upcoming events, or to become involved with the Committee, please register for the Employee Benefits Committee on SBM Connect or contact Lena Gionnette at or (585) 263-1669. The Committee welcomes ideas and volunteers for presentations, events, and articles in our field. Read More

Honigman v. City of Detroit: Service Providers Owe City Income Tax in the City in Which Work is Done

Tear Down That House: Defining “Modular Home”By Wayne D. Roberts and Darren J. Burmania

On May 18, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court decided the Honigman litigation to finally resolve a dispute over how legal services must be sitused, or sourced, for purposes of calculating the law firm’s City of Detroit income tax liability. In its decision, the Michigan Supreme Court held that services must be sitused using an “origin” methodology to the city in which the work is performed or “done.”  Read More

Selling Interests in Multistate Businesses: The Court of Appeals’ Recent Decision in Vectren Infrast

Tear Down That House: Defining “Modular Home”By Jay B. Long

The Michigan Department of Treasury (the “Department”) took an expansive position regarding the application of the Michigan Business Tax Act Apportionment Formula to a sale made by a multi-state business, but the court disagreed. In August 2018, the Michigan Court of Claims considered how the gain on the sale of an out-of-state business, which conducts some of its business activities in Michigan, should be taxed under the Michigan Business Tax Act. Read More

An Overview of the SECURE Act

Tear Down That House: Defining “Modular Home”By Brian T. Gallagher

As 2019 drew to a close, Congress finally passed the highly-anticipated Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (the "SECURE Act" or the "Act"), and it was signed into law by the President shortly thereafter. An essentially identical version of the Act had passed the House in May of 2019 on a 417-3 vote. However, despite enjoying virtually unanimous support in the Senate as well, this earlier version of the bill stalled in the Senate for political reasons, and many proponents feared that this legislation would die on the vine. The Act eventually passed as part of a spending bill, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020. Read More

Perpetual IRS Levies and the Statute of Limitations

Perpetual IRS LeviesBy Neal Nusholtz

Gold Forever Music, Inc. (“Gold Forever”) is a Detroit company formed in 1967 to publish and market music for its songwriters who are under contract to receive one-half of performance and sales royalties from the songs marketed. In 2012, the owner of Gold Forever had an unpaid tax liability. The IRS levied on Gold Forever’s royalty income in 2012 by sending alter-ego notices of levy to the companies that collect music royalties for Gold Forever. The notices of levy required the companies to pay to the IRS “property and rights to property such as money credits and bank deposits that you have or which you are already obligated to pay” to Gold Forever. Read More

Two Students Receive Achievement Award

WilsonMittison Megan Wilson and Zachary Mittison have been awarded the State Bar of Michigan Tax Law Student Achievement Award, which is designed to recognize law students who have excelled in tax courses and who have been involved in tax-based community service. Megan participated in two semesters of Michigan State University College of Law’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic and participated in Alternative SpringBreak last year where she traveled to northern Michigan with eight other students to provide tax counsel on the poverty exemption for property taxes. Read More

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September 29, 2020 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

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