Friday, July 16, 2010

Many Franchisors Fail to Report Franchisees' Sales to New York State Tax Authority

This posting was written by John W. Arden.

Only 400 of the thousands of franchisors having franchisees within the State of New York have filed annual information returns with the New York Department of Tax and Finance as required by a 2009 statute, according to state officials speaking at a July 14 meeting of the New York State Bar Association Franchise Law Committee.

Last year, New York enacted legislation requiring all franchisors having franchisees within the state to file annual information returns, reporting the gross sales of each franchisee within the state, sales by the franchisor to the franchisee, and any franchisee income reported to the franchisor. The law also requires the franchisor to report such information to the relevant New York franchisees.

The first report was to be filed by September 20, 2009, with a 90-day automatic extension process making the filing deadline December 20, 2009.

The officials made it clear that the Department of Tax and Finance was using the information returns primarily as a means of auditing the sales tax returns of the franchisees, said Bruce S. Schaeffer of Franchise Valuations, Ltd.

“Franchisors should be aware that they are risking substantial audit fees, penalties, and the potential for offending the authorities with respect to back taxes that may be found to be due,” said Schaeffer.

Attendees suggested an amnesty program from franchisors determined to be “out of compliance” with the law. The suggestion was taken under advisement, according to Schaeffer.

Text of the New York statute (New York Tax Law, Article 28, Sections 1136(i) and 1145(i)) appears at CCH Business Franchise Guide ¶4321.

Further information regarding the CCH Business Franchise Guide appears here on the CCH Online Store.

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