Inside Maryland State Taxes: And the Saga Continues…Maryland Tax Court Hears New Intangible Holding Company Case

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Last week, the Maryland Tax Court heard arguments in ConAgra Brands, Inc. v. Comptroller of the Treasury, No. 09-IN-OO-0150. ConAgra Brands is the most recent case in which the Comptroller has asserted nexus over an intangible holding company, and is the first case to be heard by the Tax Court on an intangible holding company issue since the court's October 2008 decision in Nordstrom, Inc., et al. v. Comptroller of the Treasury. However, it does not appear to be the last. Several other intangible holding company appeals are pending in Maryland. It remains to be seen whether ConAgra Brands or any of the taxpayers in the other pending cases will break the Comptroller's winning streak stretching back to Comptroller of the Treasury v. SYL, Inc.

Background

ConAgra Brands, Inc. ("CBI") was a Nebraska corporation and subsidiary of ConAgra Foods, Inc., a leading packaged food company. CBI was created in 1996 and licensed intellectual property to certain independent operating companies (IOCs) of the ConAgra family for use in the manufacture and distribution of food and related food products at locations outside of Maryland. In return, the IOCs paid CBI a royalty for their use of the intellectual property. CBI did not file Maryland tax returns and had no property, payroll or sales in the state. In addition, CBI performed quality control testing, licensed intellectual property to third parties, and defended and protected the intellectual property. CBI was also responsible for ConAgra's national advertising and marketing programs-spending millions of dollars on advertising and marketing campaigns each year.

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Topics:  Intangible Holding Company, State Taxes

Published In: Business Organization Updates, General Business Updates, Communications & Media Updates, Intellectual Property Updates, Tax Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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