Florida Department Of Revenue Issues Advisement Determining That A Reinsurer And Its Cedents Did Not Have Nexus In Florida For Tax Purposes

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On January 13, 2017, the Florida Department of Revenue issued a Technical Assistance Advisement regarding whether a reinsurer had nexus with the state of Florida that would require it to file a corporate income tax return and whether the Florida activities of the reinsurer’s ceding companies made Florida the location of the reinsurer’s and cedents’ regional home office. As to both questions, the DOR answered in the negative.

First, the DOR concluded that the reinsurer did not have nexus with the state because the reinsurer was not an approved reinsurer registered with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, and the reinsurer did not reinsure policies of insurers that were domiciled or commercially domiciled in Florida. Next, the DOR found that the ceding companies did not have a regional home office in Florida because – even though the ceding companies performed in Florida many activities traditionally carried out in a regional home office, such as selling insurance or approving or rejecting coverage, Florida was not the domicile or nerve center of the ceding companies.

Recognizing the term “regional home office” to have no definition, the DOR looked to the Department’s previous definition of the residence of a corporation as (1) a corporation’s domicile, or (2) with respect to diversity jurisdiction, “as the nerve center of the corporation”. The DOR then found that this standard was not met. The ceding companies’ “activities are not performed entirely for three states, or two states and one or more foreign countries … less than 5% of the ceding insurer’s underwriters are located in Florida … all national advertising [ ] is handled outside Florida … [and] the Florida office location only performs activities authorized by the home office.” In reaching this conclusion, the DOR further recognized as important the strict construction of taxing statutes in favor of the taxpayer. Florida Dept. of Revenue Technical Assistance Advisement – 17C1-001 (Jan. 13, 2017).

 

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Carlton Fields on:

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