Indiana Gross Income Tax Definition
Indiana's gross income tax is imposed by Indiana Code 6-2.1-2-2, which provides:
(a) An income tax, known as the gross income tax, is imposed upon the receipt of:
(1) the entire taxable gross income of a taxpayer who is a resident or a domiciliary of Indiana; and
(2) the taxable gross income derived from activities or businesses or any other sources within Indiana by a taxpayer who is not a resident or a domiciliary of Indiana.
The term "gross income" is broadly defined: "except as expressly provided in article 2.1, 'gross income' means all the gross receipts a taxpayer receives." IND. CODE 6-2.1-1-2(a).
As applied to a taxpayer, "receipts" means "the gross income in cash, notes, credits, or other property that is received by the taxpayer or a third party for the taxpayer's benefit." IND. CODE 6-2.1-1-10 (West 1989).
Further, a taxpayer "receives" gross income upon:
(1) the actual coming into possession of, or the crediting to, the taxpayer, of gross income;
(2) the payment of a taxpayer's expenses, debts, or other obligations by a third party for the taxpayer's direct benefit." IND. CODE 6-2.1-1-11.
Our Supreme Court has defined agency as "the relationship which results from the manifestation of consent by one person to another that the other shall act on his behalf and subject to his control, and consent by the other so to act." Department of Treasury v. Ice Service, Inc., 220 Ind. 64, 41 N.E.2d 201, 203 (Ind. 1942) (citing RESTATEMENT OF THE LAW OF AGENCY, 1).
"A principal need merely have the right to control the alleged agent; it does not have to actually exercise control over the agent's activities." Policy Mgmt. Sys. Corp. v. Indiana Dep't of State Revenue, 720 N.E.2d 20, 24 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1999), review denied. In addition, the Department's regulations indicate that taxpayers acting as agents are merely conduits for the passing of funds:
Taxpayers are not subject to gross income tax on income they receive in an agency capacity. However, before a taxpayer may deduct such income in computing his taxable gross receipts, he must meet two requirements:
(1) the taxpayer must be a true agent; and
(2) the agent must have no right, title or interest in the money or property received or transferred as an agent.