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Earlier this week, the Supreme Court denied New Hampshire’s motion to sue Massachusetts for the Bay State’s taxation of New Hamsphirites working from home during the pandemic. In doing so, the Court missed an important opportunity to provide some certainty to remote workers about which states have a right to tax their income — and which do not.
Early on in the pandemic, Massachusetts’s Department of Revenue issued a tax rule that required non-residents who commuted to Massachusetts prior to the onset of the pandemic to continue paying income taxes to Massachusetts, even if they were working from home across state lines. While this rule was confusing and illogical for commuters from all nearby states, it was particularly impactful for New Hampshire residents, as the Granite State has no income tax.
That meant that rather than paying no state taxes on their work income at all, they were stuck paying Massachusetts income taxes. A family filing jointly with one dependent making the median New Hampshire income of $74,000 paid an additional $2,711 in taxes from this rule alone.
That’s especially hard to stomach considering how federal policy focused on getting middle-class families more money to make it through the pandemic, not hiking taxes. Unfortunately, Massachusetts’s aggressive tax scheme would take a large chunk out of the relief the federal government tried to deliver to the above family.
It shouldn’t be controversial to say that taxpayers should benefit at some level from the taxes they pay. Yet New Hampshirites working remotely in New Hampshire don’t benefit from Massachusetts’s education programs, road infrastructure, or law enforcement. In fact, odds are they didn’t set foot in Massachusetts at all for the final nine or ten months of 2020.
And the taxation of remote workers was an issue that went well beyond New England. Millions of Americans across the country faced uncertainty, unexpected filing requirements, and higher tax bills due to states like Massachusetts targeting tax revenue from nonresidents who switched to remote work during the pandemic. New York took this aggression to awhole new level by demanding that healthcare workers who volunteered to come to the state to help with New York City’s health crisis pay New York state taxes for their time there.
This is not a problem confined to the pandemic. Remote work certainly isn’t going away, and it’s likely to be far more prevalent in the aftermath of the pandemic than it was beforehand. Absent strong guidelines, these workers risk having their income targeted by unscrupulous state bureaucrats desperate to prevent the erosion of their tax base, and even the prospect of double taxation.
That, more than the narrow issue of a dispute between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, is what the Supreme Court failed to address. Left to their own devices, states are claiming more and more power to tax outside their borders, so either the Court or Congress badly needs to step in and lay some ground rules.
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It seems that the Court, with the exception of Justices Alito and Thomas (who would have granted the motion), failed to appreciate this. It’s even possible that a significant factor in the Court’s decision was the fact that Massachusetts dropped its policy moving forward, which the other seven justices may have misunderstood as making the issue moot. It certainly did not, and not only does the Court’s decision permanently stick New Hampshirites with tax bills they were sent by Massachusetts during the pandemic, but it also fails to provide remote workers with protection from double taxation moving forward should future lockdowns trigger another tax rule like the one at issue here.
It’s unfortunate that the Supreme Court missed this opportunity, but it should only emphasize the importance for Congress to address this issue. Members of Congress like Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) have already drafted common sense legislation to address these issues, and should form the basis of a long-term fix.
Congress has let this issue lie for long enough. Taxpayers deserve certainty that their tax system is fair, standardized, and not unnecessarily burdensome. Current tax treatment of remote workers fails on all three counts.
Andrew Wilford is a policy analyst with the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to tax policy research and education at all levels of government.
New Conservative Network Seeks Crowdfunding Help
They say we have to go big or go home. We’re trying to go big and bring the patriotic truth the the nation, but we need help.
Readers may or may not realize that over the past year, we’ve been bringing more conservative news and opinion outlets under our wing. Don’t take our expansion as a sign of riches; all of the “acquisitions” have been through sweat and promises of greater things to come for all involved. As a result, we’ve been able to bring together several independent media sites under a unified vision of preventing America from succumbing to the progressive, “woke,” Neo-Marxist ideologies that are spreading like wildfire across America.
The slow and steady reopening of America is revealing there was a lot more economic hardship brought about from the Covd-19 lockdowns than most realize. While we continue to hope advertising dollars on the sites go up, it’s simply not enough to do things the right way. We are currently experiencing a gap between revenue and expenses that cannot be overcome by click-ads and MyPillow promos alone (promo code “NOQ” by the way).
To overcome our revenue gap and keep these sites running, our needs fluctuate between $3000-$7000 per month. In other words, we’re in the red and hemorrhaging.
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The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring the truth to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well.
As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report and the other sites in the network going.
Thank you and God Bless,
They’re Trying to Shut Us Down
Over the last several months, I’ve lost count of how many times the powers-that-be have tried to shut us down. They’ve sent hackers at us, forcing us to take extreme measures on web security. They sent attorneys after us, but thankfully we’re not easily intimidated by baseless accusations or threats. They’ve even gone so far as to make physical threats. Those can actually be a bit worrisome but Remington has me covered.
For us to continue to deliver the truth that Americans need to read and hear, we ask you, our amazing audience, for financial assistance. We just launched a GiveSendGo page to help us pay the bills. It’s brand new so don’t be discouraged by the lack of donations there. It’s a funny reality that the fewer the donations that have been made, the less likely people are willing to donate to it. One would think this is counterintuitive, but sometimes people are skeptical because they think that perhaps there’s a reason others haven’t been donating. In our situation, we’re just getting started so please don’t be shy if you have the means to help.
Thank you and God bless!