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District of Columbia Tax Updates

For the latest news and updates on District of Columbia tax

September 10, 2021

D.C. – Clarification of Taxation of Online Instructional Classes for Retail Sales and B&O

Washington’s Department of Revenue (DOR) released additional guidance on the taxation of online instructional classes. Online instructional classes that have real-time participants and interaction between the presenter and the participants will not be subject to retail sales tax. The interaction that the presenter and the participant have must be interactively part of a live class other than a chat room or help desk for a pre-recorded video. The revenue generated from interactive online instructional classes are subject to the state’s business and occupation (B&O) tax under the “Service and Other Activities” classification. Revenue generated from online classes where there is not an interaction between the presenter and the participant other than a chat room or help desk are subject to retail sales tax and B&O tax under the “Retailing” classification.

September 2, 2021

D.C. Enacts Budget Legislation for Fiscal Year 2022

DC enacted emergency budget legislation for DC fiscal year 2022 which includes numerous tax law changes. The legislation includes:

  • Personal income tax rate increases for taxpayers with high incomes. Following is a summary of the personal income tax rate increases effective January 1, 2021 for DC residents:
Taxable Income Over Old Marginal Rate New Marginal Rate
$60,000 8.5% 8.5%
$250,000 8.75% 9.25%
$350,000 8.75% 9.25%
$500,000 8.75% 9.75%
$1,000,000 8.95% 10.75%

Please note that DC can only impose a personal income tax on DC residents.  As such, DC nonresidents who work in DC are not subject to these increases.

  • Exclusions from tax for small business loans awarded and forgiven under section 7A of the Small Business Act and numerous types of public health emergency grants and assistance;
  • Expanding property tax exemptions to include properties leased to a nonprofit entity; and
  • Expanding the District’s unclaimed property laws to treat the following as unclaimed property:
    • Payroll cards;
    • Stored-value cards;
    • Municipal bonds;
    • Health savings accounts;
    • Virtual currency;
    • Commissions;
    • Employee reimbursements; and,
    • Custodial accounts for minors.

June 3, 2021

D.C. Provides Exclusion from Income for Certain District Public Health Emergency Grants

Effective May 25, 2011 (and expiring August 23, 2021), D.C. enacts the “Coronavirus Business Assistance Income Tax Relief Emergency Amendment Act of 2021.” The emergency legislation provides that, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2020, public health emergency response grants issued pursuant to Section 5b of the District of Columbia Public Emergency Act of 1980, effective March 17, 2021 (D.C. Act 24-30; D.C. Official Code § 7-2304.02) or successor law, are excluded from the computation of District gross income for purposes of the income and franchise tax.

May 21, 2021

D.C. Amends Casual and Isolated Sales Exception for Sales Tax

For sales tax purposes, the District of Columbia has amended its casual and isolated sales exception under D.C. Code Ann. §47-2005(7). Effective May 14, 2021, this exception is limited to sales of a non-recurring nature that are made by a vendor who is not regularly engaged in the business of making sales at retail. The casual and isolated sale exemption does not apply to the following sales: (1) sales by a vendor who is registered with the OTR for a sales and use tax account; (2) sales by a vendor who is regularly engaged in the business of making sales at retail regardless of whether the property being disposed was originally acquired for use or consumption by that vendor; (3) sales made on a marketplace as defined in D.C. Code Ann. §47-2002(g-4); or (4) a sale of the entire operating assets of a business or of a separate division, branch, or identifiable segment of a business where the sale is by a vendor who is regularly engaged in the business of making sales at retail.

May 13, 2021

In D.C., Pending COVID-19 Legislation Sent to Congress for Review

D.C.’s “Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2021” (the “Act”) has been signed and will be sent to Congress for review. The temporary legislation consolidates, updates, and amends previously enacted coronavirus (COVID-19) relief legislation, which had previously been enacted on an emergency and temporary basis. Among the temporary provisions of the Act, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, corporations, unincorporated businesses, and financial institutions are allowed an 80% deduction for any apportioned District of Columbia net operating loss (NOL) carryover, to be deducted from net income after apportionment. Further, the following items are excluded from District gross income for purposes of the income and franchise tax: (1) small business loans awarded and subsequently forgiven under 15 U.S.C § 9005; (2) public health emergency small business grants awarded under Section 2316 of the Small and Certified Business Enterprise Development and Assistance Act of 2005; and (3) public health emergency grants authorized pursuant to D.C. Code Ann. §1-309.13(m)(1). The provisions of the temporary legislation are made applicable as of March 12, 2021 and will expire 225 days after taking effect. For specific information, please see L. 2021, Act 24-62.

May 5, 2021

D.C. Makes Permanent the Sales & Use Tax on Off-premises Alcohol Sales

Enacted April 27, 2021, the District of Columbia’s “Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Support Clarification Amendment Act of 2020,” among other things, makes permanent the additional 1% sales and use tax imposed on gross receipts from the sale of or charges for spirituous or malt liquors, beer, and wine sold for consumption off the premises where sold under D.C. Code Ann. §47-2002.02(2) and D.C. Code Ann. §47-2202.01(2). This tax is applicable to sellers that are properly registered/licensed to sell beer, wine, or spirits in closed containers to individuals for carry out and delivery to consumers in the District between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m., 7 days a week (other limitations may apply in order to make such sales). Please see D.C. Code Ann. § 25-112(h)(1), D.C. Code Ann. § 25-113(a)(3)(C), D.C. Code Ann. § 25-113.01(f), and D.C. Code Ann. § 25-113.01(g) for full rules on the licensed sellers to which this tax applies. The additional 1% tax applies in addition to any applicable standard sales tax. This provision was previously enacted on a temporary basis by Law 23-176 (expires 08/04/2021) and on an emergency basis by Act 23-554 (expired 03/21/2021).

April 23, 2021

D.C. Releases Notice on Federal Unemployment Compensation Exclusion

The D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) issued guidance regarding steps D.C. taxpayers must take to claim the federal unemployment compensation exclusion on their individual District income tax returns. Because federal adjusted gross income (“AGI”) is the starting point for calculating D.C. tax liability, the federal exclusion for unemployment compensation paid in 2020 under the American Rescue Plan Act will also be reflected on District individual tax returns. For taxpayers who have not yet filed their D.C. tax return, taxpayers should use federal AGI as reported on their federal return. Taxpayers who have already filed their D.C. tax return should not file an amended return at this time because the OTR is waiting for more guidance from the IRS on how these re-calculations will be reported to taxpayers and state taxing agencies. For additional details, please see Dist. of Columbia Revenue Notice No. 2021-06, 04/15/2021.

D.C. Releases Guidance on Certain Federal Aid Programs 

The D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) issued a notice providing guidance to businesses and individuals on how to report and exclude from District gross income the amount of certain microgrants made by the District on their District income or franchise tax returns for tax year 2020. Dist. of Columbia Revenue Notice No. 2021-05, 04/14/2021 provides specific details on what lines and schedules should be used on D.C. tax returns to appropriately report and/or exclude grant amounts, for both corporate income tax and individual tax purposes. Additionally, with respect to the treatment of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, D.C. gross income does not include PPP loans that are awarded and subsequently forgiven. For D.C. purposes, to the extent that deductions for expenses paid using PPP loans are allowed by the Internal Revenue Code, the deductions will also be allowed to determine a taxpayer’s District taxable income. Please consult Dist. of Columbia Revenue Notice No. 2021-04, 04/14/2021 for specifics pertaining to PPP loans.

March 25, 2021

D.C. Amends False Claims Act to Include Tax Fraud Cases; Whistleblowers Can Receive up to 30% of Proceeds from Successful Lawsuits

Effective as of March 16, 2021, the District of Columbia’s “False Claims Amendment Act of 2020” allows certain tax enforcement actions to be filed under the False Claims Act. Previously tax-related claims could not be brought under the DC False Claims Act. Moreover, informants who report tax fraud can receive anywhere between 15% and 30% of the proceeds (other than penalties and interest) that the District of Columbia recovers, if successful.

March 23, 2021

District of Columbia Update on Extension of Filing Deadline

The D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) has extended the deadline for taxpayers to file and pay all income tax returns until May 17, 2021. The extension is automatic and does not require taxpayers to apply. The extension applies to all D-20 (Corporation Franchise Tax), D-30 (Unincorporated Business Franchise Tax), D-40 (Individual Income Tax), Standalone Schedule H (Homeowner/Renter Property Tax Credit), D-41 (Fiduciary Income Tax) , D-40B (Nonresident Request for Refund), and D-65 (Partnership Return) tax filers, and includes combined return filers. Taxpayers requiring additional time may request an extension to file their income, partnership and franchise tax returns to October 15, 2021, or November 15, 2021 for combined return filers. All extension requests must be made by filing the applicable extension form with the OTR and making all required payments for tax year 2020 by May 17, 2021. The deadlines to file Forms D-20ES, D-30ES, D-40ES and D-41ES and to make estimated tax payments remains unchanged. First quarter estimated tax payments are due April 15, 2021. (https://otr.cfo.dc.gov/node/1528916; Dist. of Columbia Revenue Notice No. 2021-02, 03/19/2021.)

March 21, 2020

District of Columbia Enacts COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020

The District of Columbia enacts the “COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020.” The emergency legislation, enacted to address the COVID-19 pandemic, provides that the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) may waive penalties and abate interest for failure to timely pay sales and use tax for periods ending on February 29, 2020, or March 31, 2020, provided that all taxes for such periods are paid in full on or before July 20, 2020. However, the waiver does not apply to hotels or motels that are permitted to defer property tax under another provision of the emergency legislation. Furthermore, property that is commercially improved and occupied and is a hotel or motel, the CFO may waive penalties and abate interest for the first installment of real property tax for the 2020 tax year (due on or before March 31) provided the property owner pays the installment by June 20, 2020. The D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue must issue guidance on the definition of a hotel or motel for this purpose. Learn more here.

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