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A Federal Contractor, the Missouri DOR and a Rabbi Trust Walk Into a Bar: Taxpayer Has Last Laugh in Missouri Nonbusiness Income Ruling

By Madison Barnett and Timothy Gustafson

The Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission ruled that interest income and capital gains

March 11, 2013

By Madison Barnett and Timothy Gustafson

The Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission ruled that interest income and capital gains generated by a “rabbi trust”—a trust established to fund a nonqualified deferred compensation plan for the taxpayer’s officers—constituted nonbusiness income under the Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act (UDITPA). The trust income failed the transactional test because the taxpayer, a federal contractor tasked with managing U.S. Department of Labor Job Corps Centers, did not regularly engage in making investments in the trust. Further, the income failed the functional test because there “was no relevant ‘acquisition’ involved in the trust”; the trustee (not the taxpayer) managed and disposed of trust assets; and the taxpayer “exercised no control over the Trust and could not access the trust corpus or income.” Thus, the Commission concluded, the income “was not attributable to the acquisition, management, and disposition of property constituting an integral part of [the taxpayer’s] regular business.” In addition, the Commission called into question the validity of the Department of Revenue’s expansive regulation defining a “taxpayer’s trade or business” as “all transactions and activities of the taxpayer which are dependent upon or contribute to the operations of the taxpayer’s economic enterprise as a whole,” finding that the regulation “could constitute” an impermissible expansion of the UDITPA business income definition. MINACT, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue, No. 10-1951 RI (Jan. 28, 2013).

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