Finnigan Rule California

In Matter of Finnigan Corp. (1988 Cal), it adopted what is now referred to as the "Finnigan rule." California's "throw back" rule, modeled after a Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act (UDITPA) provision, required that sales not taxable in the state of the destination of the goods by operation of Public Law 86-272 be assigned back to California if the property was shipped from California. The California Franchise Tax Board would "throw back" these sales regardless of whether the company reported its income in the destination state as part of a unitary group of which other members were taxable. Finnigan maintained that for purposes of consistency, the word "taxpayer," used in the throw back provision, must mean all of the corporations in the unitary group. California courts have since defended the Finnigan rule from Public Law 86-272 attack, finding no violation as the apportionment did not amount to a tax (see Deluxe Corp. v. Franchise Tax Bd., No. 403-204 Cal Ct App 2001 "By applying principles of combined reporting and formula apportionment, California seeks only to determine the income attributable to California generated by members of (the) unitary group... . (B)y applying the Finnigan methodology, California does not seek to tax any individual member of (the) unitary group not otherwise subject to tax in the state"). Thus, the courts analyzing pre-Huffy and post-Huffy tax assessments have determined that either method was legally acceptable (see Citicorp N. Am., Inc. v. Franchise Tax Board, 83 Cal App 4th 1403, 100 Cal Rep 2d 509, 524 2000 "the SBE returned to the Joyce rule without finding legal flaws in the Finnigan rule").